Sharks vs. Sloths
In one corner, swinging in ever so slowly, is the chillest dude himself: Sloth! And making a splash in the other corner is Shark, ready to sink her teeth into this competition! Get ready to rumble in this latest installment of the funny face-off series! Check out a sneak peek of the book and vote for your fave.
Atlantic puffins are birds that live at sea most of their lives. They fly through the air like most birds, but they also "fly" through the water, using their wings as paddles. As they swim, they use their webbed feet to steer, much as a boat uses a rudder. Puffins eat small fish—such as sand eels and herring—which they hunt underwater. They generally stay underwater for 30 seconds or less, but are able to dive 200 feet deep and stay down for up to a minute. Well adapted for their home in the water, puffins are also speedy in the air. They flap their wings up to 400 times a minute, speeding along in the air at 55 miles an hour—as fast as a car on a highway (How many times can you flap your arms in one minute?) . As a puffin matures, its beak and feet change from a dull gray color to bright orange. In the spring and summer, thousands of puffins gather in colonies on the coasts and islands of the North Atlantic Ocean. They stay in colonies to limit their chances of being eaten by the herring gulls that fly overhead. At the ages of 4-6, pairs of puffins often become mates for life, finding each other at their breeding colony year after year. They show affection by rubbing and tapping beaks. The pair often uses the same burrow they used the year before. Using their beaks and claws, puffins build their burrows between two boulders or in a rocky crevice. They line the burrow with feathers and grass before laying the egg that will incubate for 42 days. A baby puffin is known as a chick or puffling. When it first hatches, it looks like a furry ball of feathers. As it gets older, it will grow sturdy and smooth feathers to help it swim and fly. Born on North Atlantic islands, pufflings leave their burrows after 45 days. They won’t return until it is their turn to lay eggs. A puffling eats so much food that both the mother and father have to supply it with fish. In one day a parent may dive 276 times, bringing back 10 fish each time. The puffling swallows the fish head first and whole. By the time the puffling leaves its burrow, each parent will have dove 12,420 times. Check out the book Penguins vs. Puffins for more about these amazing birds!
Adélie penguins breed and raise their young on the continent of Antarctica. In September and October—springtime in that part of the world—thousands of Adélies gather on the rocky Antarctic shoreline. The huge gatherings are called colonies. Adélie penguins build nests by scooping out areas in the ground. The female usually lays two eggs in the nest. Adélie penguin eggs hatch in December. In the Antarctic winter, the Adélie penguins live at sea. Both parents care for the eggs. While one stays behind keeping the eggs warm and safe from predators, the other parent heads out to sea to eat. They feast mainly on krill, tiny shrimplike animals, but also eat fish and squid. Parents take turns caring for their youngsters after they hatch until the chicks are about three weeks old. At that point, both parents may leave to forage for food while the chicks gather in the safety of a large group of other young penguins. These groups of young Adélies are called crèches. By March, when Adélie chicks are about nine weeks old, their downy baby feathers have been replaced by waterproof adult feathers. They plunge into the sea, and start hunting for food on their own. Like other penguin species, Adélies are excellent swimmers. They're powerful and graceful in the water, with torpedo-shaped bodies that pierce through the water. Their modified wings help propel them through water instead of air. These birds are swimmers, not fliers. Check out the book Penguins vs. Puffins for more about these amazing birds! Watch a YouTube playlist all about penguins.