Australian budgerigar parakeet (Melopsittacus undulates)
A parakeet (Melopsittacus undulates) is any one of a large number of small to medium-sized species of parrot, in multiple genera, that generally have long tail feathers. The name parakeet is derived from the French word perroquet. It is however a pseudo-francism as perroquet means parrot in French, while the French for parakeet is perruche.
The Australian budgerigar, also known as "budgie", Melopsittacus undulatus, is probably the most common parakeet. It was first described by zoologists in 1891. It is the most popular species of parakeet kept as a pet in North America and Europe.
The term "grass parakeet” refers to a large number of small Australian parakeets native to grasslands. The Australian rosellas are also parakeets. Many of the smaller, long-tailed species of lories may be referred to as "lorikeets". The vernacular name ring-necked parakeet (not to be confused with the Australian ringneck) refers to a species of the genus Psittacula native to Africa and Asia that is popular as a pet and has become feral in many cities outside its natural range.
Many different species of parakeets are bred and sold commercially as pets, the budgerigar being the third most popular pet in the world. After cats and dogs. Budgerigars are great companions for any age and can be easily trained.
Parakeets often breed more readily in groups; however, there can be conflicts between breeding pairs and individuals especially if space is limited. The presence of other parakeets encourages a pair to breed, which is why breeding in groups is better, however many breeders choose to breed in pairs to avoid conflicts and because that way they know for sure which parents produced any given birds. Parakeets produce about three to eight eggs on average.
Make sure to swing by Parakeet Cove while visiting the Zoo for a fun encounter with our parakeets. These lovable and colorful birds fly freely in an enclosed aviary while guests walkabout enjoying time with them in their natural surroundings. For an additional adventure, purchase a $2 bird feed stick and make a new best friend or two. Parakeet Cove is located near the entry to the Skylift Adventure Ride in the Zoo’s Australian realm.
Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) is the largest of all kangaroos, the largest mammal native to Australia, and the largest surviving marsupial. It is found across mainland Australia, avoiding only the more fertile areas in the south, the east coast, and the northern rainforests.
This species is a very large kangaroo with short, red-brown fur, fading to pale buff below and on the limbs. It has long, pointed ears and a squared-off muzzle. Females are smaller than males and are blue-grey with a brown tinge, pale grey below, although arid zone females are colored more like males. It has two forelimbs with small claws, two muscular hind-limbs, which are used for jumping, and a strong tail which is often used to create a tripod when standing upright.
The Red Kangaroo's legs work much like a rubber band. The males can leap over 9 meters (30 ft) in one leap.
Males grow up to a body length of 1.4 meters (4 ft 7 in) long and weigh up to 85 kilograms (190 lb). Females reach a body length of up to 1.1 meters (3 ft 7 in) long and weigh up to 35 kilograms (77 lb). Tails can be from 0.9 to 1 meter (3.0–3.3 ft) long. The average Red Kangaroo stands approximately 1.5 meters (4 ft 11 in) tall. Accounts of sizes greater than this are not uncommon, with some large males reportedly reaching approximately 2 meters (6 ft 7 in).
The Red Kangaroo maintains its internal temperature at a point of homeostasis about 36 °C (97 °F) using a variety of physical, physiological, and behavioral adaptations. These include having an insulating layer of fur, being less active and staying in the shade when temperatures are high, panting, sweating, and licking its forelimbs.
The Red Kangaroo's range of vision is approximately 300°, due to the position of its eyes.
The Red Kangaroo ranges throughout central Australia. Its range encompasses scrubland, grassland, and desert habitats. It prefers open grassland and normally avoids areas with many trees and shade. The Red Kangaroo prefers to eat grasses. It also includes significant amounts of shrubs in its diet. It can go long periods of time without water, as long as it has access to green plants, since it has the ability to take moisture out of plants.
At times, red kangaroos congregate in large numbers; in areas with much forage, these groups can number as much as 1,500 individuals. Red kangaroos are mostly crepuscular and nocturnal, resting in the shade during the day. However, they sometimes move about during the day. Most of their active period is spent in grazing. Like most kangaroo species, they are mostly sedentary, staying within a relatively well-defined home range. However, great environmental changes can cause them to travel far. The Red Kangaroo is too big to be subject to significant non-human predation. They can use their robust legs and clawed feet to defend themselves from attackers with kicks and blows. However, dingoes and eagles will kill and eat joeys. Joeys are thus protected in their mother's pouch. The Red Kangaroo did have major predators that are now extinct. The Thylacine, considered by palaeontologists to have once been a major natural predator of the kangaroo, is now extinct. Other extinct predators included the Marsupial Lion, Megalania, and the Wonambi.
The Red Kangaroo breeds all year round. The females have the unusual ability to delay birth of their baby until their previous Joey has left the pouch. This is called embryonic diapause. The Red Kangaroo has the typical reproductive system of a kangaroo. The neonate emerges after only 33 days. Usually only one young is born at a time. It is blind, hairless, and only a few centimeters long. Its hind legs are mere stumps; it instead uses its more developed forelegs to climb its way through the thick fur on its mother's abdomen into the pouch, which takes about three to five minutes. Once in the pouch, it fastens onto one of the two teats and starts to feed. Almost immediately, the mother's sexual cycle starts again. Another egg descends into the uterus and she becomes sexually receptive. Then, if she mates and a second egg is fertilized, its development is temporarily halted. Meanwhile, the neonate in the pouch grows rapidly. After ca. 190 days, the baby (called a joey) is sufficiently large and developed to make its full emergence out of the pouch, after sticking its head out for a few weeks until it eventually feels safe enough to fully emerge. From then on, it spends increasing time in the outside world and eventually, after ca. 235 days, it leaves the pouch for the last time. The young Joey will permanently leave the pouch at around 235 days old, but will continue to suckle until it reaches 12 months of age. A doe may reproduce as early as 18 months of age and as late as five years during drought, but normally she is two and a half before she begins to breed.
The female kangaroo is usually permanently pregnant, except on the day she gives birth; however, she has the ability to freeze the development of an embryo until the previous joey is able to leave the pouch. This is known as diapause, and will occur in times of drought and in areas with poor food sources. The composition of the milk produced by the mother varies according to the needs of the joey. In addition, the mother is able to produce two different kinds of milk simultaneously for the newborn and the older joey still in the pouch.
The Red Kangaroo can be found in the Australian realm of the Montgomery Zoo.
Red River Hog (Potamochoerus porcus)
The Red River Hog (Potamochoerus porcus), also known as the bush pig is a wild member of the pig family with most of its distribution in the Guinean and Congolian forests. It is rarely seen away from rainforests, and generally prefers areas near rivers or swamps.
The red river hog has striking orange to reddish-brown fur, with black legs and a tufted white stripe along the spine. Adults have white markings around the eyes and on the cheeks and jaws; the rest of the muzzle and face are a contrasting black. The fur on the jaw and the flanks is longer than that on the body, with the males having especially prominent facial whiskers. Unlike other species of pig native to tropical Africa, the entire body is covered in hair, with no bare skin visible.
Adults weigh 99 to 254 lb and stand 22 - 31 inches tall, with a length of 39 - 57 inches. The ears are also long and thin, ending in tufts of white or black hair. Boars are somewhat larger than sows, and have distinct conical protuberances on either side of the snout and rather small, sharp tusks. The facial protuberances are bony and probably protect the boar's facial tendons during head-to-head combat with other males.
Both sexes have scent glands close to the eyes and on the feet; males have additional glands near the tusks on the upper jaw and on the penis. There is also a distinctive glandular structure on the chin, which probably has a tactile function. Females have six teats.
The red river hog lives in rainforests, wet dense savannas, and forested valleys, and near rivers, lakes and marshes. The species' distribution ranges from the Congo area and Gambia to the eastern Congo, southwards to the Kasaiand the Congo River. The exact delineation of its range versus that of the bushpig is unclear; but in broad terms, the red river hog occupies western and central Africa, and the bushpig occupies eastern and southern Africa. Where the two meet, they are sometimes said to interbreed, although other authorities dispute this. Although numerous subspecies have been identified in the past, none are currently recognized.
The species is omnivorous, eating mainly roots and tubers, and supplements its diet with fruit, grasses, herbs, eggs, dead animal and plant remains, insects, and lizards. It uses its large muzzle to snuffle about in the soil in search of food, as well as scraping the ground with their tusks and fore-feet. They can cause damage to agricultural crops, such as cassava and yams.
Red river hogs are often active during the day, but are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular. They typically live in small groups of approximately six to 10 animals, composed of a single adult male, and a number of adult females and their young. However, much larger groups, some with over 30 individuals, have been noted in particularly favorable habitats. The boar defends its harem aggressively against predators, with leopards being a particularly common threat.
They communicate almost continuously with grunts and squeals with a repertoire that can signal alarm, distress, or passive contact.
Red river hogs breed seasonally, so that the young are born between the end of the dry season in February and the midpoint of the rainy season in July. The oestrus cycle lasts 34 - 37 days. Gestation lasts 120 days.
The mother constructs a nest from dead leaves and dry grass before giving birth to a litter of up to six piglets, with three to four being most common. The piglets weigh 23 - 32 ounces at birth, and are initially dark brown with yellowish stripes and spots. They are weaned after about four months, and develop the plain reddish adult coat by about six months; the dark facial markings do not appear until they reach adulthood at about two years of age. They probably live for about fifteen years in the wild.
Make sure to swing by to see our Red River Hogs while visiting the Zoo. They are located near the entry to the Skylift Adventure Ride in the Zoo’s Australian realm.