Monday, September 19, 2011

Extreme Weather

Picture courtesy of Storm Chaser, Mike Holingshead

I have been studying weather.
Tornadoes are one of the most dangerous types of weather, so listen for tornado warnings. Tornadoes form from thunderstorm clouds called "super cells." They sound like ten or twenty trains going by all at once! The inside of a tornado is like a huge vacuum cleaner. It sucks up anything that gets in its way.

Hurricanes are another one of the most dangerous types of weather, so again it is important to listen for warnings. Hurricanes are bigger than tornadoes, but the wind speeds are weaker. Hurricanes form over water while tornadoes form over land. 

Picture courtesy of Storm Chaser, Mike Hollingshead
During the spring, lots of thunderstorms happen. With thunder comes lightening. It can brighten the sky, and thunder can make very loud sounds. Lightening can strike people, houses, or even trees. Thanks to Benjamin Franklin, most buildings are safe because he invented the lightening rod. The lightening rod is placed on the top of the house or building, and a wire is attached from the rod to a metal piece on the ground. It leads the electricity to the ground and away from the building. 

Picture courtesy of Storm Chaser, Mike Hollingshead
When there is a lot of rainfall during a storm, it can cause flooding. Again it is important to listen for flash flood warnings and go to higher ground. Some traffic signs will flash a warning saying, "Turn Around--Don't Drown!"

Picture courtesy of Mike Hollingshead
Who puts out these warnings? The National Weather Service. Meteorologists are scientists who work for the weather station and for news stations. They are very important, so people can evacuate and stay safe.

Here is a storm chasing video of a F5 that touched down in Joplin, Missouri. Storm chasers are kind of crazy. It is very dangerous work, and they have lots of weather tools that help them predict where and when a super cell is likely to form a tornado, but people without equipment should not try to be storm chasers because a tornado can change directions and grow very quickly:

If you'd like to see more videos and images by Storm Chaser, Mike Hollingshead, you can visit his web site:  Extreme Instibility

Friday, August 5, 2011

Saving a Snake

Look Closely!

I found a garter snake in my yard. It was hurt! I took it into my house, and I kept it overnight. In the morning, we were going to let it go, but we decided it needed some more time to heal. Look at the pictures. You can see it was injured after eating a mouse. The mouse's leg is sticking out of the snake's body!

Slimy Snake Secrets

Lots of people think snakes are slimy, but they are not. They are smooth. 

Some snakes are venomous and harmful to humans, but garter snakes are not.

Many people call these garden snakes, but they are actually garter snakes. The full name is Western Terrestrial Garter Snake. Watch the short clip below of another family finding some of these snakes while hiking.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Reading

I spent part of my summer reading. At the top of my blog, there is a bookshelf of books I've read. One of the books I read, I also wrote a review of, and it was the Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl. He is a good writer. He also wrote other books like Matilda, The BFG, George's Marvelous Medicine and even Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If you put your mouse over the cover of The Enormous Crocodile, you can read my review!

What did you read this summer? Have you read any of the books I've read? If so, did you like them?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Big Cat Rescue Centers

I celebrated my 8th birthday at Serenity Springs Wildlife Center, in Calhan, Colorado. It is a Big Cats Rescue facility and has over 120 big cats! Instead of presents, I asked my friends to help me raise money for the cats. We had a lot of fun!

Wild Facts About Cats

Some interesting things we learned about the big cats were:
  • Some are born white. This makes it harder for them to hide from their prey and from predators.

  • All cats can spray to mark their territories, but pet cats usually don't. We almost got sprayed by one. He lifted his tail and turned his back to us. We all yelled and backed away!
  • Some tigers can leap more than 30 feet! Our guide turned her back to the fence and one tiger slowly stalked and pounced! That really surprised us! The tiger was just playing because it was a trained tiger who used to be in the movies. 

  • Baby tigers are sure cute, but they are not good pets. At the end of our tour, our guide surprised us by letting us pet a baby tiger and take pictures with it. It climbed onto one of my friends and began sucking on her shirt! 
You Can Help Too
It costs a lot of money to take care of big cats. Just look at the chart my dad and I made. A large size cat, like a tiger, takes about $8,000 a year to feed and care for. A medium size one, like a leopard costs about $6000 per year; and a small cat, like a bobcat, costs about $4,000 per year. My friends and I only raised about $60.  
     Even though we didn't raise enough to feed one tiger for a year, we still helped.  Samadi, one of the big tigers at Serenity Springs can eat about 50 pounds of meat in one week! If you look at this chart, you can see that within three weeks, he's up to 150 pounds and the line would go on, and on, and on, and . . . yikes!
    It can cost close to one dollar per pound of meat, so we were able to feed a tiger Samadi's size for at least one whole week, so that's pretty good! The cats need a lot of help from people. They are losing their homes; they still get hunted, and some people think they make good pets, but then they start to get too big to care for, so they end up in shelters like this one. We also need shelters because we use wild cats for movies and even magic shows. When the cats get too old to perform, they have to be taken care of. If you would like to donate to the big cats of Serenity Springs Wildlife Center, you can click on their link below. There are lots of other wild animal shelters though that also need money. 

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    What I Found in My Backyard

    A couple of days ago, I found something interesting in my backyard. My dog, Mocha, was looking in the wood pile under our back porch. I went to go see what Mocha was looking at. It was a bat! I called my mom and dad to come look. We took pictures. After we went back inside, we looked up "bats of Colorado" on the Internet. We learned that it must have been a brown bat. I wanted to give the bat fruit, but we learned that they eat bugs. Then I wanted to feed it ladybugs, but my mom didn't let me. A little while later, I went to go look at it again. I thought it was gone. My dad came out, and I asked him, "Which piece of wood was it on again?" He picked it up. The bat was hanging upside down! We took more pictures. When it started to get cooler, we kept checking on it. It was now closer to our patio window, and it was stretching its wings! Then, it went back to sleep. The next time I checked, it was gone for real.

    Brown Interesting Facts About Bats:

    Bats are nocturnal which means they are active at night.
    People are sometimes afraid of bats, but I am not because I know they will not hurt me unless I bother them.
    I also know that they are good for the environment because they eat bugs.