Anatomy: Wildlife

Wildlife Anatomy

Wildlife Anatomy

Welcome to wildlife (Rheyam Wodeja) anatomy (Wîchasta Tachâ)! We will be going through some of the important anatomical adaptations that reindeer (Tatoga) and muskox have. We will also go into some detail about a very unique terrestrial animal, the giraffe (Tahu Gapeya)!



Owls (Hîhâ ) are very interesting birds. Did you know that owls (Hîhâ ) have a visual field of 110 degrees. Owls can spin their heads around and even turn them upside down! Since owls have no teeth they will swallow their food ((Wonâpche)) whole or tear it up with their sharp beaks (Pudể) before swallowing it. They have a two part stomach (Tethi) and any food (Wonâpche) they cannot digest is turned into a pellet that the owl (Hîhâ ) can regurgitate (throw up). This process doesn't hurt them at all.

Owl Ear

Owl Ears

Owl (Hîhâ) ears (Norhể) are actually just holes in their heads. If you look into an owl ear you can actually see the back of their eyes (îsta) and sometimes even their optic nerve! In this photo you can see the back of the owl's eye when looking through their ear! Owl ears are also different heights. This allows them to differentiate where sounds are coming from! 

Staying Warm in the North

Have you ever wondered how animals such as reindeer (Tatoga) or muskox stay warm in the arctic? Watch the video below with Dr. Muench to find out!


Hippopotamus (Mînî Suwatâga) Anatomy (Wîchasta Tachâ)

A hippopotamus (hippo) (Mînî Suwatâga) can weigh between 1500 and 3200 kg when they are full grown! Hippos have pores on their skin (Ha) that excrete a thick, oily substance that is a red and orange colour that acts as a natural sunscreen. This is sometimes called "blood sweat", but it has no actual blood in it! Hippos have short stumpy legs (Cheja), webbed feet and are actually almost completely hairless. Hippos are herbivores and a fun fact is that they will lose water (Mînî) in dry air at a rate four times greater than a human being!

Hippo skull

Hippopotamus (Mînî Suwatâga) Skull

Hippo's have two pairs of tusks on their lower jaw. They have large mouth that can open 1.2 meters!  Hippos are considered semi-aquatic mammals. A hippo can stay under water (Mînî) for long periods of time, between three and five minutes. They have nostrils (Porhể Orhnora) that are located on the top of their head, that will actually close as an adaptation for being under water! Hippos will even sleep underwater and they will rise up and breathe without ever waking up! Hippos have canine teeth (Hîthke) that can be almost 30 inches long. You can see the canine teeth (Hîthke) in this image of a hippo skull. 

Antlers vs. Horns

Not sure what the difference between an antler and a horn is? Watch the video below where Dr. Muench explains the difference and shows you some cool specimens!

Giraffe Anatomy

Giraffe (Tahu Gapeya) Anatomy (Wîchasta Tachâ)

Giraffe's have two ‘bumps’ on the top of their heads are called ossicones, which are anatomically different than horns seen in other species. These ossicones function in helping to regulate body temperature and can also be used in male battles.  One of the most characteristic features of the giraffe (Tahu Gapeya) is their long and powerful neck (Tahu). It is important to remember though that like all other mammals, giraffes only have 7 cervical vertebrae (Châkahu). However, these vertebrae are much larger compared to the cervical vertebrae of other mammals such as dogs (Sûga). As a result of their long necks, the blood (Wể) has a very long distance to travel. Due to this, giraffe’s have a higher concentration of red blood cells, as well as more valves in their blood vessels to help control blood flow. 

Giraffe limb

Giraffe (Tahu Gapeya) Limbs (Cheja)

Giraffes (Tahu Gapeya) are very unique in their body structure and composition compared to other terrestrial mammals. They are actually the tallest of the terrestrial mammals and can weigh between 1800-2600 pounds! Their legs (Cheja) are extremely long and powerful and contribute to the giraffe’s height. Interestingly, when giraffes are using their walking gait, they will move both legs on the same side at the same time. 


Learn more about antlers and how they are shed in the below video with Dr. Muench!