Friday, August 30, 2013

The Lion Whisperer

Okay, this guy is cool. His name is Kevin Richardson and his nickname is The Lion Whisperer. Why you ask? A self taught animal behaviorist, Kevin has spent his entire life caring for animals and the better part of his adult life breaking every safety rule in the book building relationships with natural born predators. Not believing in traditional methods of breaking an animal's spirit with sticks and chains, but instead using love, understanding and trust to develop personal bonds and getting to know their personalities, what makes them happy or irritated.

Kevin runs The Kingdom Wildlife Sanctuary for lions, hyenas, leopards and antelope in South Africa. The sanctuary is made up of a number of natural enclosures where the animals rotate to keep them stimulated and enriched. He is apart of the PAW Protecting African Wildlife Conservation Trust and is passionate about stopping the legal slaughter of 1000 lions annual for sport.

You can watch Kevin on his show on the National Geographic Channel called The Lion Ranger, or his feature film or numerous documentaries. Volunteer options are available - talk about an experience!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sea Turtle Protection Society Saves 80 Turtle Babies!

Something very exciting just happened in Indialantic, Florida in cooperation with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society.

A call came into the pager of one of the volunteers, she was told baby sea turtles were popping out of the nest. The volunteer headed to the scene, with a bucket in tow hoping to save as many of the babies as possible. They succeeded in saving 80 sea turtle babies. During the day the sand is so hot it will fry the babies if they are not picked up right away. They were released that night as during the day it's too hot and too dangerous due to predators.

It takes 1,000 eggs to have one mature sea turtle. So the stranding team works very hard to save as many turtles on the beaches. The Sea Turtle Protection Society periodically gets these kinds of calls. Earlier last week, 5 babies were rescued but we're deceased before they reached the facility. Two weeks prior, 23 babies were rescued then released into the water.

The STPS's mission is simple "to help sea turtles survive". The volunteers are dedicated to sea turtle educating the public about protecting sea turtles, research and rescuing sick and injured sea turtles that arrive on their beaches. They often take advantage of educate the public in the vicinity as they release babies into the water.

The Sea Turtle Protection Society is happy to announce that Brevard Zoo will be opening a rehab center that will save turtles a long trip to another facility and this will save more lives.

Sea turtles are an endangered species.

photos taken by Debbie Livingston

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wildlife Vacations: Exploring the United States

You don't have to travel 10,000 miles to go on a wildlife safari, viewing majestic beasts in their natural habitats. The United States is home to hundreds of wildlife parks and refuges for mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, big and small. In fact, 757 wildernesses make up the National Wilderness Preservation System accounting for a total of 109,511,966 acres of protected land. However, only about 5% of the United States is protected as wilderness.

These parks and refuges are some of the best in the United States. Where visitors can see these spectacular critters in their environment, some as they have been for thousands of years.

Olympic National Park - Washington

Olympic is situated in coastal Washington State where visitors can see raccoons, beaver, mink, elk, deer, cougars, and bears on land and dolphins, whales, sea lions, seals, and sea otters just offshore in the Pacific Ocean.

Moose Alley - New Hampshire

Be careful driving this section of Rte 3 as it's a dependable place for moose spotting, particularly at dawn or dusk. The last eleven miles of route three is Moose Alley.

Everglades National Park - Florida

The Everglades National Park is a World Heritage site which protects unparalleled landscape as habitat for numerous rare and endangered critters such as the American crocodile, manatee and Florida panther.

Yellowstone National Park - Wyoming, Montana, Idaho

Mount Washburn hike in Wyoming is particularly recommended by park workers for its elk, grizzly and black bears, bison, wolves, and moose.

Rocky Mountain National Park - Colorado

From mighty elk to rare boreal toads, bighorn sheep to mountain lions, bobcats to black bears, there are 67 mammals, 5 amphibians and reptiles, and 282 species of birds in the park.

Land Between the Lakes - Kentucky

Land Between the Lakes Recreational Area is home to white-tail deer, turkey, foxes, snakes, coyotes, and a drive-through elk and bison prairie.

Assateauge Island National Seashore - Maryland

Explore sandy beaches and beautiful wild ponies running free. The are most likely descendants of horses shipwrecked hundreds of years ago so enjoy from afar! The best time to visit is mid-May to October.

National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge - Montana

Drive and hike through the range as the bison roam free along with elk, white tail and mule deer.

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge - New Jersey

Close to being turned into an airport, this swamp is home to 39 species of mammals including the red fox, white-tail deer, coyotes, raccoons, river otter, as well as 42 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 10 species of bats.

The Wilds - Ohio

Considered one of the largest conservation centers in the US, The Wilds sits on over 10,000 acres of natural, open range habitat. The Wilds is available for mountain biking, zip lining, horseback riding and more and is home to mammals such as bison, antelope, giraffe, zebra, cheetah... see you really don't have to go all the way to Africa!

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

Bison, longhorn cattle, deer, prairie dogs, eagles and elusive elk call these prairie and grasslands home in the Wichita Mountains.

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge - Texas

Watch out for bobcats and alligators in the 34,000 acres of prairies and wetland refuge.

Nulhegan Basin in Silvio O Conte National Wildlife Refuge - Vermont

One of the state's best kept secrets as it possesses high diversity and rare species where visitors can see moose, black bears, and white-tailed deer.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park- North Carolina and Tennessee

Biological diversity is the hallmark of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors of the park can see 65 species of mammals including elk as they were reintroduced in 2001, as well as 13 frogs and toads. It is also the "salamander capital of the world" hosting 5 families of salamanders and 30 species.

Some of the biggest threats to wilderness are overuse, pollution, and lack of public awareness. The latter is just one thing that LittleCritterz is devoted to. By spreading awareness of the wilderness systems, we hope to save the land, the animals, the plants and the ecosystem for future generations. We believe that if something is not known, it cannot be understood. If something is not understood, it is not valued. If something isn't valued, it isn't loved. If it isn't loved, it isn't protected. If it isn't protected, it is lost. We don't want to lose it.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Green Roof: Good for the Environment, Neighborhood and Wallet

Lately, we've been seeing more and more about green roofs. No longer for hobbits, this sustainable addition to the home minimize bills while maximize the beauty of urban landscape. Green roofs, or vegetated roofs, which have a layer of living plants on top of the structure.

  • Green roofs reduce storm water runoff. Grass and plants absorbs rainwater and minimize run off as well as potential flooding. 
  • It also lasts longer than traditional roofing by protecting it from sun damage. Extending the life of the roof saves you money and keeping waste out of landfills from re-roofing.
  • Keeps roof and house cooler by acting as an insulation. You can set the thermostat 6-8 degrees cooler than non green roof homes while also minimizing Urban Heat Island Effect, the premise that cities are warmer than the neighboring countryside. This reduces summertime cooling necessities, saving money and energy.
  • Green roofs are a source of oxygen and a habitat for birds, insects, chickens, and even goats to graze on. Feel free to raise your own food and vegetation since you'll have the room!

Green roofs have so many benefits, and they're just so pretty! Take a look at a few of our favorites.

Is this something you would consider doing?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

12 Coolest Caves

Reed Flute Cave - Guilin, China 

Located in the Guangxi region of southern China, the Reed Flute Cave is a natural limestone cave over 180 million years old and known for its multicolored lighting. It has over 70 inscriptions in the cave, some dating back to 792AD.

Luray Caverns - Virginia

Discovered in 1878, the Luray Caverns is the largest cave in the eastern US where visitors can see bizzare formations like the "Throne Room", "Giant's Hall" and "Fried Eggs".

Green Grotto Caves - Jamaica

A large labyrinth limestone cave located near Discovery Bay, is named for the green algae covering its walls. The caves are historical rich from the first Jamaicans, to the takeover of the English, to the two world wars.

Carlsbad Caverns - New Mexico

Below the rugged ground of rocky slopes, shrubbery and cactus lies 118 caves in the Carlsbad Caverns. The caverns host the Big Room which is the third largest chamber in North America and the seventh in the world.

The Baths - Virgin Islands

Giant boulders brought to surface by volcanic eruption are scattered about forming tranquil pools, tunnels, arches and beautiful grottos.

Ruby Falls - Tennessee

Ruby Falls located within Lookout Mountain, is Americas highest underground waterfall at over 1120 feet below the surface.

Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves - Austria

Eisriesenwelt is the German word for World of the Ice Giants. The cave is inside Hochkogel Mountain of the Alps and is the largest ice cave in the world.

Blue Grotto - Capri, Italy

The Blue Grotto is a sea cave located in southern Italy where the sunlight passes through underwater cavities and causes a rich blue reflection upon the water, illuminating the cavern. A tiny entrance allows passenger to come through in small groups by tiny boats. This blue grotto is one of several, another is located just off the coast of Split, Croatia.

Lascaux Caves - France

We've all heard about the Lascaux Caves in southwestern France as the setting of Paleolithic cave paintings. Discovered by a couple of young boys, the cave paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old. Fungus and black mold have begun to cover the art due to human introduced moisture since the 1990s, they may not be around much longer.

Cave of Crystals - Chihuahua Mexico

Connected to the Naica Mine, the main chamber contains giant selenite crystals, some of the largest found in the world. The cave is extremely hot, reaching temperatures of 138F, so proper protection is recommended.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves - New Zealand

The glowworm species, Arachnocampa, is found exclusively on New Zealand and is responsible for the illumination of the cave.

Cave of the Swallows - Mexico

The Cave of the Swallows is an open air pit cave with a 1214 free fall drop, making it the largest shaft cave in the world. A skyscrapper can easily fit inside of it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

7 Benefits of Buying Local Products

There are almost 2 million farms in the US, 80% of which are small farms and most of those are family owned. These are parents, neighbors, PTA members, and soccer coaches.

Support Community and Strengthen Local Economy

Buying local produce and food products is simply the concept of buying food grown or raised as close to your home as possible, while supporting the people of your community and strengthening your local economy.

Fresher and More Nutritious 

There are many benefits of buying local produce other than supporting local farmers, ensuring jobs for them and income for their families. Local produce is also fresher. Local farm food was most likely picked one or two days from the time of purchase, ensuring optimal freshness and taste. Food also looses its nutrients the longer it takes to get to your home and into your diet.

Environmentally Friendly and Chemical Free

Local produce is also better for the environment and for your body. Local food doesn't travel far. Food from large producers travels about 2,00 miles on average from farm to table. This transportation and storage is energy intensive and pollutes both the air and table. Buying produce straight from the grower is the best way to know what goes into the soil and on your food. Small farms reduce the amount of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc. You can ask the farmer about their process and treatment, face-to-face. Isn't that a wonderful way to protect your family?

Easy to Find Every Day of the Week

Buying local products is easy. Visit and enter in your zip code for a list of farmers markets in your area. Then get shopping! Don't forget to bring your reusable bags!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

14 Unusual Facts About Hummingbirds

Here at Little Critterz, we are fascinated by hummingbirds. I bet that everyone knows they can fly incredibly fast, and they are so often found in our gardens I enjoy having a humming bird feeder. But did you know this about these birds?

  1. The average lifespan of a hummingbird is about 4 years. In one instance, a female hummingbird lived over 12 years. 
  2. Common hummingbirds wing beats 50-200 times per second, on average.
  3. It's a common misconception that the sugar-water in the feeder should be red. It shouldn't. Do not put any dye into the mixture. The red and yellow coloring on the feeder itself is what attracts the hummingbird.
  4. Hummingbirds are able to hover by flapping their wings in a figure-8 pattern.
  5. They are an endangered species.
  6.  Hummingbirds are only found in the Western Hemisphere.
  7. Habitat loss and climate change are the biggest threats to hummingbirds.
  8. They are the smallest bird in the world.
  9. They can flash or hide their colors when they want. 
  10. A hummingbird's brain is 4.2% of it's body weight, the largest in the bird kingdom.
  11. They can hear better and see farther than humans.
  12. Hummingbirds do not use their beaks to drink nectar like a straw, they lap up the liquid using their tongue.
  13. They can weigh between 2-20 grams. A penny weighs 2.5 grams.
  14. They can dive at speeds up to 60 miles per hour.