My Top 10 Animals (+Quokkas)

I am an animal lover – always have been.

As I have grown older, however, my love of animals has become more selective.  I primarily love mammals, especially fat or furry ones, and birds. I no longer adore insects and reptiles.

Here are my favorite wild animals. Do you agree with my selections?

1. Koalas

  • “Koala Bears” are not “bears;” they are Australian marsupials.
  • Koalas are naturally mellow and carefree.
  • They sleep up to 18 hours a day.
  • They are fussy eaters, eating primarily eucalyptus leaves
  • Eucalyptus leaves do not make them “high” or drunk.” That is a myth.
  • They are on the decline due to diminishing habitat

2. Pandas

  • Giant Pandas or Panda Bears are native to South Central China.
  • They have carnivorous teeth but eat bamboo and fruit.
  • They are “lazy” and sleep and eat most of their day.
  • They eat between 25-80 pounds of bamboo a day, and poop about 60 pounds.
  • They are good tree climbers and swimmers.
  • Their babies are considered the “cutest” animal.
  • They are endangered. 
  • The entire world celebrates when a giant panda gives birth in a zoo.

3. Quokkas

  • Quokkas are marsupials only found on two Australian islands.
  • They are called “the happiest animal in the world” because of their natural perpetual smiles.
  • They are nocturnal herbivores.
  • One negative – they throw away their babies in order to escape predators.
  • They are friendly and #QuokkaSelfies has become very popular on social media.
  • They are a vulnerable species.

4. Manatees

  • These cow-like mammals   are thought to have inspired mermaid legends.
  • Manatees never leave the water and typically come up for air every 3-5 minutes.
  • Their closest living relatives are elephants.
  • Manatees are typically found in warm shallow coastal areas and rivers where they feed on sea grass, mangrove leaves, and algae. 
  • Weigh up to 1200 pounds and eat 10% of the weight each day.
  • They have no natural predators; most injuries and death are caused by boats.
  • They are a “vulnerable” species

5. Hippopotamuses

  • “Hippopotamus” comes from the Ancient Greek for “river horse”
  • Hippo’s cannot swim
  • They have very sensitive skin and secrete an oily red “Hippo Sunblock” that protects their skin from the sun’s rays and germs
  • They are territorial, but only under water
  • They can hold their breath up to 5 minutes
  • Can run faster than a human
  • Hippos can weight up to 4 tons (8,000 pounds)
  • Hippos are the most dangerous African mammal, killing 400-500 people a year
  • They are a vulnerable species.

6. Elephants

  • Elephants are the largest land animal, weighing up to 6 tons (12,000 pounds)
  • They are constantly eating (12-18 hrs. every day) and need about 300 pounds of food a day
  • The African and Asian species are distinguished by the size of their ears
  • Their trunks can be used to smell, eat, drink (“straw”), breathe underwater (“snorkel”), make sounds (“trumpet”), clean and defend themselves, and pick up even tiny objects
  • “Elephants never forget,” Their temporal lobe is larger and denser than humans.
  • They are good swimmers
  • Baby elephants stay with their moms up to ten years
  • They use dirt and mud as sunscreens
  • Survival information and other knowledge is passed down by their elders.
  • The Asian elephant is endangered, and the African elephant is vulnerable.

7. Bears

  • During winter bears hibernate up to 100 days
  • Bears have excellent senses of smell, sight, and hearing
  • Only one bear species lives in the southern hemisphere (“spectacled bear”)
  • Polar bears are the largest bears and can swim up to 200 miles.
  • Bears have a “sweet tooth” and love sweet berries.
  • Mothers and cubs are extremely close
  • There are eight species of bears, with brown bears being the most common
  • They are natural diggers
  • Adult bears are typically solitary
  • Six bear species are vulnerable or endangered

8. Orangutans

  • They are the heaviest tree dwelling animal
  • They often eat with their feet
  • Their powerful arms are stronger and longer than their legs
  • They are endangered
  • “Orangutan” is Malaysian for “humans of the forest”
  • There are three species and they live only on two Asian islands (Borneo, Sumatra)

9. Sea Otters

  • Sea otters have the densest fur of all mammals, about 1 million hairs per square inch
  • They eat about 25% of their body weight each day (urchins, crabs, clams, snails)
  • They can stay under water up to 4 minutes and dive up to 300 feet.
  • They use rocks to crack open clams
  • They hold hands and entangle themselves in kelp when they sleep to keep them from drifting away
  • They can smell under water
  • They are busy creatures and like to play
  • Baby otters, born in the sea, can float, but not swim. 
  • The mothers keep busy grooming an aerating their fur to keep them buoyant.
  • Mothers often forage 14 hours a day to feed herself and the baby. and forage for the baby.  They often wrap the baby in kelp to anchor, it while she hunts.
  • Of the 13 species of otters, 5 are endangered, 5 are threatened, and 2 are vulnerable

10. Sea Lions

  • They can hold their breath up to 20 minutes
  • They can swim up to 25 miles per hour, and dive up to 1,000 feet
  • They eat a variety of fish
  • They are an endangered species
  • Male sea lions eat up 30-45 pounds of food every day.  Female lions each 15-25 pounds
  • Sea lions are very playful and like to body surf
  • There are seven major species
  • They are very social and travel in large colonies
  • They have ear flaps that keep water out while swimming
  • Their whiskers help them navigate
  • They have excellent eyesight and the US government trains them to retrieve objects under water.

More Quokkas “Happiest Animal in the World”

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