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Jump to a Species >> American River Otters | Florida Panthers | Red Tailed Hawks | American Alligators | American Crocodiles | Gopher Tortoises | Florida Kingsnakes

Introduction - Seven Species of Animals Native to the State of Florida

In "Florida's Wild Future" wildlife experts Jason and John introduce students to seven species of animals native to the State of Florida. Jason brings the Tiger Homes Sanctuary's knowledge and experience so that viewers learn important physiological and behavioral information about: American River Otters, Florida Panthers, Red Tailed Hawks, American Alligators, American Crocodiles, Gopher Tortoises, and Kingsnakes. Additionally viewers are introduced to some of the threats facing these magnificent animals, and a list at the end of the programme provides viewers with a list of conservation organizations involved in their protection.

Together the film and activities are designed to give students an introduction to some of Florida's native wildlife. At the end of the unit students should have:
· Learned the basic natural history of the seven species presented in the film
· Have learned and used some or all of the vocabulary provided in the curriculum
· Enhanced their Natural History research skills in both printed and on-line formats
· Gained an understanding of some of the conservation issues facing Florida wildlife
· Integrated science and creative skills in an informative and aesthetically pleasing way

Curriculum Objectives

This Curriculum is designed to give teachers some very basic background information about Florida wildlife and their place in the animal kingdom in order to better help them teach about these animals, and to pursue further explorations in zoology, wildlife, and conservation. A set of activities in the form of longer projects and shorter work sheets and quizzes have been provided to enhance students' understanding of zoological concepts and methods, and to help them integrate analytic, research and creative skills. Teachers are encouraged to modify any of these activities to best serve the learning needs of their students.

Elements of this programme (Field guide entries, quizzes, work sheets) have been formatted to allow teachers to photocopy them easily for class distribution.

The project-length activities can be used and modified for a broad range of ages and learning abilities.

Each of the four quizzes varies in degree of difficulty, #1 being the easiest and designed with 3-5 graders in mind, number four appropriate for students up to early high school level. Answer keys are provided.

Vocabulary Related to the Seven Species Native to Florida

· Crocodilian: Member of the order of large amphibious reptiles that include crocodiles, alligators, caymans and gharials. All species have short legs with clawed and webbed toes. They have long snouts, with strong jaws, and a massive, powerful tail

· Carnivore: A) An animal or plant that eats flesh b) Any member of the mammal order of 'Carnivora'. Note: not all mammal carnivores are dietary carnivores… many canid (dog/fox) species, and bear species are omnivores( eat plants and flesh) and one, the Panda is vegetarian.

· Aquatic: Growing or living in or near water

· Semi Aquatic: Spending part of a life cycle in or near water

· Predator: An animal that feed on other animals

· Habitat: The natural home of an organism

· Ecosystem: a community of organisms and the physical environment in which they interact

· Raptor: A bird of prey… including eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls

· Hawk: A member of the accipiter genus of birds. All hawks are diurnal, with curved beaks, short rounded wings and long tails. Hawks are birds of prey

· Semitropical: Describes a climate that has predominantly tropical qualities, hot often humid etc. but that is subject to seasonal colder spells and occasional frost.

· Bird of prey: A bird which hunts animals for food: includes hawks, eagles, falcons and owls

· Species: Plants or animals with clearly defined characteristics that can interbreed and produce viable (non sterile) offspring.

· Food Chain: A sequence of organisms each depending on the next in the sequence as a source of food. A food chain with a cougar at the top of the chain might be: grasses, deer, cougar

· Terrestrial: Ground dwelling. Animals that spend most of their lives on the ground are terrestrial

· Venomous: Containing, secreting, or injecting venom or poison

· Evolution: The means by which biological organisms gradually change from simpler to more complex forms

· Constrictor: A snake that kills its prey by coiling its body around the prey and compressing.

· Olfactory/olfaction: Pertaining to the sense of smell/ the sense of smell

· Jacobsen's organ: A sense organ in the roof of the mouth of many animal species. Part of the olfactory system, the organ uses a combination of taste and smell. In snakes information is carried to the Jacobsen's organ on the animal's forked tongue

· Nocturnal: Active at night

· Diurnal: Active during the day

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