National GeographicNat Geo Wild


  • The Sulcata tortoise is the third largest tortoise species in the world. The largest is the Galapagos tortoise, followed by the Aldabra giant tortoise. 

  • Sulcata tortoises live an average of 54 years in captivity, but can live to be over 100!

  • Hedgehogs get their name from the pig-like grunt they make when foraging for food.

  • If threatened, hedgehogs will curl into a ball, exposing their spiny coat. 

  • Corn snakes are believed to have gotten their name from the markings on their bellies, which resemble checkered patterns of Indian corn.

  • Corn snakes are non-venomous and though they do have fangs, their bite is not threatening to humans.

  • Bush babies are believed to have gotten their common name because some of their calls sound like a human baby’s. 

  • A corn snake, or red rat snake, can live up to 23 years in captivity. 

  • Adult corn snakes can grow up to 72 inches long, though they’re generally only a few feet long. 

  • Bush babies have muscular hind legs, which enable them to jump up up to 25 feet in a single bound. 


  • In the wild, prairie dogs remain in their burrows during winter, sustaining on the fat reserves they build up during the warmer seasons. 

  • A prairie dog’s burrow contains extensive tunnels and, some designated for specific purposes such as nurseries or sleeping rooms.

  • A prairie dog usually lives between 3 and 5 years in the wild, but can live up to 8 years in captivity.

  • Rats’ front teeth grow around 4.5 -5.5 inches every year, and have to be worn down by gnawing on anything they can get their mouths on. 

  • Rats do not sweat very much.

  • Cockatiels are exclusively native to Australia.

  • Raccoons will sometimes “wash” their food in a body of of water before ingesting it.

  • Ball pythons will curl into tight balls in response to threats.

  • Most ball pythons in the captive pet trade are imported directly from Africa as hatchlings of wild ball pythons.

  • The ball python helps rural African communities regulate rodent populations, a valuable service. 

  • There are over 350 species of birds in the parrot order, including Amazons, lorikeets, lovebirds, and cockatoos.

  • Amazon parrots can live up to 70 years in captivity. 

  • The largest prairie dog town ever discovered extended over 25,000 square miles and was home to as many as four hundred million prairie dogs!

  • In the 20th century, the prairie dog lost 98% of its population and its territory has dwindled to about 5% of its natural range.

  • Some pet ball pythons (native to Africa) have escaped or been released into the wild in Florida. The presence of those escaped pets in has a negative impact on local ecosystems.


  • Fennec foxes are the smallest of the Canidae family, which includes species such as wolves, coyotes, dingoes, and domestic dogs.

  • Fennec foxes live in family groups that can contain ten or more members.  

  • A chinchilla’s fur is so thick that 60 hairs can grow out of one follicle. 

  • Chinchillas are social, and can live in groups of 100 or more in the wild.

  • Hunted for their pelts, chinchilla populations were decimated a hundred years ago, nearly reducing them to extinction.

  • Veiled chameleons have eyes that move independently, which means they can look in two different directions at the same time.

  • The prehensile tail of a veiled chameleon can be used as an extra appendage while it climbs a tree. 

  • The veiled chameleon’s sticky tongue can be one and a half times the length of its body.

  • The red-lored parrot and the African grey are among the few animals that can mimic the human voice.

  • The red-lored parrot is one of about 50 species of Amazon parrots.

  • Pot-bellied pigs originated in Vietnam.

  • Uterine cancer is common in unspayed older female pot-bellied pigs. 

  • The guinea pig was domesticated more than 400 years ago.

  • Fennec foxes have fur-soled feet to protect them from scorching sand.


  • Green iguanas can swim well, using their long tails to maneuver through the water. They can submerge for up to half an hour. 

  • As a defense mechanism, iguanas can lose part of their tail in order to confuse a predator, giving them enough time to escape. A new tail will grow back where the original tail was dropped.

  • Iguanas rely on their environment to regulate their body temperatures, and they require ambient heat for proper digestion.

  • Wild ring-tailed lemurs can only be found on the African island of Madagascar.

  • Young blue and yellow macaws are able to fly at aound 3 months old.

  • Like domestic dogs, there are many different breeds of domestic chickens, such as the Rhode Island red and Dutch bantam.

  • There are roughly 25 billion chickens in the world today (estimates vary), which makes them more populous than any other species of bird.

  • There are 17 different species of macaws. 

  • Macaws are the largest members of the parrot family. 

  • Over half of the species of macaw are listed as either endangered, threatened, or vulnerable.

  • Pot-bellied pigs are sensitive to the sun, and oftentimes require sunscreen. In the wild, they will wallow in the mud to protect their skin. 

  • When troops of ring-tailed lemurs roam around in family groups, they raise their black-and-white, which act as flags to keep members together.



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