The Insect 4-H Club

The Insect 4-H ClubThis is my project for the Calumet County Fair this year.  I got the idea from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., which we visited this summer.  We saw a beetle collection that was in the shape of a beetle!  I thought that was cool, so I wanted to make a bug collection that was in the shape of something.

The Calumet County Fair is today through Monday, August 30-September 2, 2013.  Besides my project, the fair has an Australian animal show!  And I like chickens, so you need to see all the chickens at the fair, too.  I’m working at the 4-H food booth on Saturday at lunchtime, so if you come on Saturday, stop by and say, “Hi.”

If you can’t come to the fair, you can see my project below.  Click on the picture to see it big.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I had an insect collection at the fair last year.

The Insect 4-H Club, full view

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Paper Birch Tree Octopus

Pair of paper birch tree octopi

These are paper birch tree octopi.  They are also called Wisconsinite Tree Octopus and pigmy tree octopus.  They only live in paper birch trees.  We found these on our tree this morning.  They are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals.  They eat the bark and leaves on paper birch trees, and they also eat the aphids that are on the tree.  They have no bones, so they can hide from predators under the bark of the tree.  The predators are three different types of hawks: the red-tailed, the sharp-shinned, and the Cooper’s.

Female paper birch tree octopusIt is easy to tell between the female and male tree octopus.  The female is pink, and the male is brown.  Just like their cousin, the giant pacific octopus, they have a tube on the bottom of their head that lets them make a quick escape if a predator is coming.  They pump air into the tube and can blow the air out fast.  The paper birch tree octopus is related to the endangered pacific northwest tree octopus.  It is not related to the octowalrus.

Male paper birch tree octopus with Raymie

The paper birch tree octopus is quite common in Wisconsin, but they are hard to find because they hide under the bark.  They are just starting to come out for the year, so the next time you are out for a walk, look for them on birch trees.

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Mystery Bug

It’s time for another Raymie’s Zoo game!  This is a mystery bug.  Its species is already on my website.  You have to leave a comment and guess what species it is.  In a few days I will tell you what it is.  Have fun!

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Insects of High Cliff

I joined 4-H this year, and this is my first project for the Calumet County Fair.  It’s called “Insects of High Cliff.”  I call it this because I collected all of the insects at High Cliff State Park.  My dad and I went to High Cliff a bunch of times this summer to collect the bugs, and there are 30 bugs in all in that box.  There is a map of the park, and we pinned the bugs where we found them in the park.  We got the idea from a bug collection that we saw this summer at the Field Museum in Chicago. We numbered each of the bugs so that you can look on the side and see what kind of bug it is.

My favorite insect in the project is the Grapeleaf Skeletonizer, which is number 4.  But I have a lot of favorites.  I used a blue number tag for my favorites.

I liked going to all the different areas of the park to catch insects.  I started collecting bugs for this when I went camping at the beginning of July, and we went back to the park to visit the Red Bird Trail, the Indian Mound Trail, the beach, and the Forest Management Trail.

The project is on display this weekend at the Calumet County Fair in Chilton, Wisconsin, on August 31-September 3, 2012.  If you go on Saturday, I will be working at the 4-H food booth during lunch.  You should also see a Miller and Mike show while you are there.

You can also get a closer look at my project by looking at the picture below.  Click on it to make it bigger.


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Scarlet Ibis

This is a scarlet ibis.  Shhh!  Don’t wake it up!  They get their scarlet color from eating red crabs.  They are the only red shorebird in the world.  When they are juveniles, they are brown, gray, and white, with a tiny bit of red.  As they grow up and eat more crabs, they turn red.  They are related to the American white ibis and the bare-faced ibis.  Like all ibises, they have a beak that is curved down.  They live in South America and Cuba, and some people have said that they have even seen them in Florida, but this is rare.  Usually you only see the American white ibis in Florida.

I saw the scarlet ibises in these pictures at Sea World in February 2011.

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Turtle Car

This my car for the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby this year!  Its name is Speedy the Turtle.  It is supposed to be a Southern Painted Turtle.  We picked that turtle because it has a cool orange stripe down the middle of its shell, and we think it looks like a racing stripe.  My car number this year is 58.

The most fun part was going to the hobby store and picking out the paint colors.  We used leather brown, dark green, flat black, cadmium yellow, and international orange.  We used a paintbrush to paint the turtle car, instead of the spray paint that we used on last year’s flamingo car.

The race is this Friday.  Wish me luck!

Update: 1/17/2014

Speedy the Turtle won every race he was in!  That was two years ago.  I made a car last year, and I’m working on a car right now, and I’ll make posts about them soon.

In the comments, Macon asked to see the bottom of the car.  So here it is.  You can click on the picture to make it bigger, just like any other picture on my blog.

Turtle Car, bottomWe cut out an area for his belly and for his tail, so it is like his wheels are on his legs.  We originally painted his belly to look like the bottom shell of a Southern Painted Turtle, but we had to sand it down because we were a little over weight.  On the bottom near the back wheels, you can see three spots where we drilled holes and put weights inside.  Then we filled up the holes with wood putty.

Posted in Reptiles | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Giving Christmas Animals

There is a wonderful group called Gospel for Asia that helps people in need in Asia.  They have a really neat website where you can actually buy animals and other things, and they will give them to families in Asia that can use them to provide food and money for themselves. You can buy chickens, goats, rabbits, pigs, camels, lambs, cows, and water buffalo.

I love the idea of giving animals to people that need them, so just like last year, we bought some animals.  We bought a pair of chickens, a pair of rabbits, and a lamb.  The families that get them will have eggs, meat, milk, wool, and even be able to sell the animals’ offspring to raise money.

If this sounds like a good idea to you, think about giving the gift of animals to someone in need.

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Puppy and Kitty


Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Raymie’s little sister, Evie.

This is Puppy and Kitty.  Puppy is a dog, and Kitty is a cat.  They sleep in my bed with me every night.  They like to lick things.  Why do they like to lick things?  I don’t know.  Maybe because they taste yummy.  Puppy says “Woof.”  Kitty says, “Meow, meow.”  They really sleep with me and walk with me all day.  They really love me so much.  They really like to walk.  They like so much to walk.  They really love to sniff things.  They really like everything.  They sniff and walk.  They really sniff everything.  They like to watch TV with me.  They like to eat everything, like dog food and kitty food.  And they love me so much that they like to lick me.  And they love everything so much!

Now I’m going to tell you about a funny story.  I’m going to type it myself.

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Editor’s Note: Evie typed that story using a Dvorak keyboard.  Impressive, isn’t it?


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Boesman’s Rainbowfish

This is a Boesman’s rainbowfish.  It is also called a Boesmani rainbowfish, and the word Boesman is sometimes spelled Boseman or Boeseman.  They live in Papua New Guinea in streams and lakes.  They are a popular aquarium fish because of their colors.  The front half is purple, and the back half is yellow.  I saw this fish today at an aquarium at the doctor’s office at Affinity in Neenah.  They have a really cool aquarium in the lobby.  The aquarium was a freshwater warmwater tank, but it had artificial coral in it.  The fish seemed to like the coral.  They even hide in the coral.  When my dad saw the fish, he called it a Minnesota Vikings fish because of the color.  The coral was mostly Packer colors.

Boesman’s rainbowfish are not considered a beginner’s aquarium fish, but there are lots of other fish that they will get along with in a tank, including clown loaches, one pleco, one red-tailed black shark, one rainbow shark, platys, swordtails, mollies, barbs, danios, and bala sharks.

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Crested Screamers

This is a crested screamer, also called southern screamer.  They live in South America in the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.  They can swim like ducks and build their nests near water.  But their legs are a lot longer than ducks so they can wade around in marshes.  They also don’t have webbed toes like ducks do.  They are called crested screamers because they have a crest of feathers on their heads and their call sounds like a scream.  The chicks are light yellow with a darker yellow cap on their heads.  Crested screamers are stable and not endangered.

The crested screamers in these pictures are a mated pair that live in the Milwaukee County Zoo next to the macaques, silver pheasants, and whooping cranes, in the old Humboldt penguin exhibit.  I visited the zoo with my family in July this summer.  The screamer in the picture above is making a funny pose, because it is holding out one of its wings and hiding one of its legs.

The other screamer was sitting on some eggs in the nest.  In this picture, it stood up to check on the eggs, and you can see the eggs.  It’s hard to see the eggs, but we think there was at least 4 eggs.  Crested screamer pairs take turns sitting on the eggs, so we don’t know which one of these birds is the male and which one is the female.

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