Otto & Friends: The Great Arkansas Mystery Coloring & Activity Book

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OTTO & FRIENDS:

THE GREAT ARKANSAS

MYSTERY

COLORING &

ACTIVITY

BOOK


Meet Our

Our zookeepers L.R. Lion and Zuzu are here to help teach you about Otto the Otter and his friends, and about how litter impacts their homes.


Zookeepers


Otto You can find river otters in every single county in Arkansas!

They don’t always live in rivers. North American river otters make their homes (dens) on the shorelines of all kinds of aquatic habitats, like lakes, ponds and streams.

O t te r facts


More than 4 trillion cigarette filters are littered each year around the world, and they are the No. 1 littered item in Arkansas! Smoking is not only deadly for our bodies, it’s deadly for the environment, too! Cigarette filters are extremely toxic for animals when eaten and to plants and all other life when their toxins (chemicals such as arsenic and formaldehyde) leach into the ground and rivers from rainwater. Animals like Otto depend on us to help keep their homes and water sources clean and safe, and since the only source of cigarette litter is humans, it’s up to us to do our part. Cigarettes are not biodegradable; it takes 10 years for one cigarette filter to breakdown! Protect yourself and the environment and don’t smoke!

Otters are playful social creatures and prefer the company of other otters. They live in large family groups and communicate with a variety of different chirps, squeals, screams, chuckles, chatters and

It is a lot of fun watching the antics of otters, just don’t get too close. Otters may look friendly BUT, unlike our Otto, they are wild animals with razor sharp teeth, and they will bite! It’s best to follow the “look and don’t touch” rule when you encounter otters or any other wild animals.

warning growls.

When in water, otters will hold onto

Otters are carnivores, their main food

Aquatic: living in or near water.

each other creating a “floating raft.”

source being fish. It is important to

Carnivore: an animal that eats meat only.

They are mostly nocturnal animals

keep our waterways clean and litter-

but can often be seen sunning

free so that we have a healthy fish

themselves on rocks or riverbanks

population and habitat for otters and

during the day.

all our aquatic wildlife friends!


Bigfoot We should all be like Bigfoot and never, EVER litter. Not only is littering bad for the

environment, all sorts of animals can mistake trash for food or shelter and get hurt

or sick. We can all do our part and help and Leave No TraceTM ! Remember to securely cover trash and recycle bins so that animals can’t disturb them or fall inside and get stuck! Always leave the outdoors better than you found it. If you see litter, safely pick it up and properly dispose of it. Your actions help save the environment and could be the difference between life and death for an animal.

B i g fo o t facts

Legend: a traditional story from the past sometimes believed by many people but cannot proven true. Myth: a traditional story from the past describing beings with more than human (supernatural) powers that attempts to explain mysterious events.

In North American folklore, Bigfoot or Sasquatch is said to be a hairy, apelike creature that walks upright and lives in the wilderness, leaving no trace behind except for huge footprints in the mud.

The enormous footprints for which the creature is named are claimed to be as large as 24 inches long and 8 inches wide. Some footprint casts have also

Bigfoot is a

The first newspaper

mythical creature and

report of a sighting came in

a North American legend.

1850; however, the most famous

There have been thousands of

sighting is the legend of the “Fouke

reported Bigfoot sightings in

Monster” from 1971. A Texarkana family

Arkansas dating all the

said they encountered a mysterious

way back to 1834!

creature, and their story inspired the “Legend of Boggy Creek” films.

contained claw marks!

People describe Bigfoot as a large, muscular creature, roughly 6 to 9 feet tall, covered in black, dark brown or dark reddish hair and weighing 200 pounds.


Bigfoot sightings are still being reported in Arkansas today; just ask Otto!


whitey ver i r e t i h W cts a f r e t s Mon

The first national publicity about Whitey appeared in 1937 when farmer Bramblett

The White River Monster, or the “magic dragon” as he is sometimes called, is a legend that can be traced to Native Since at least 1915, residents of Newport in far northeast Arkansas have been reporting sightings of a fearsome river monster – known locally as “Whitey” – in the muddy waters of the White River.

American folklore.

Bateman reported to the media that he had watched a gigantic sea serpent-like beast frolic in the river near his home. Since then, there have been hundreds of alleged sightings of Whitey.


Fishing is a favorite outdoor sport for many Arkansans, including Otto! But remember what Otto says, “If you reel it out, reel it in!” Fishing line and hooks left behind have devastating effects on marine life, especially when swallowed. It takes 600 years for fishing line to break down! That’s 600 years one string of fishing line can potentially harm millions of animals! By getting tangled around their bodies, gills, beaks and wings, or mistaken for food and eaten, it can cut off blood circulation, cause intestinal blockages and disease, and even lead to death. Hooks can get lodged into the skin and eyes of animals and cause damage and infection. Metal hooks rust over time, leading to dangerous bacteria in the soil around them that can infect humans and animals. Remember to always show respect for nature while enjoying the great outdoors; reel in your trash and your fishing line before you head home!

Although referred to as a “monster,”

Next time you are in the Newport area near

Whitey is considered a beloved

the White River in Jackson County, keep an

town member by locals. In fact, in

eye out for ’ole Whitey!

1973, the Arkansas State Legislature amusingly and playfully created the White River Monster Refuge, making it illegal to harass or harm the creature.

Folklore: the traditional beliefs, customs and stories of a community, passed down through generations by word of mouth.


patty bat


All creatures, big and small, flying, swimming and crawling, serve a very important role in keeping our planet healthy and green, especially bats! Bats, however, are unfortunately a largely misunderstood group. We are here to help clear the air and get bats back on track! The biggest threat to bats and all other wildlife globally is habitat destruction caused by humans. Bat numbers are on the decline due to habitat destruction and loss, deforestation, roost (their homes) disturbance, persecution, misinformation and mining. How can you help save bats? Knowledge is power! Get to know the bats in your area and learn how to take the steps to protect and save them. And remember, don’t be afraid when you see a bat! They are very gentle and shy animals and typically avoid human contact, so you have nothing to fear! Bats are nature’s

BAT facts

environmental cleaners! They provide awesome pest control for all sorts of bugs, including mosquitoes. One bat can eat more than 6,000 insects a night!

Bats are crucial to our ecosystem and are key players

There are 16 different types

in keeping our environment clean,

of bats that call the caves and

balanced and healthy. You can create

forests of Arkansas home, including

a safe home for the bats in your area by building a bat house. You can also create a habitat garden near your bat house to help attract bats and other local wildlife. Ask your parents for permission

three endangered species! The most common type of bat in Arkansas is the red bat. The Indiana, gray and Ozark bigeared bats are all endangered species,

and help!

Bats are not blind! They have very sensitive vision that helps them see in pitchblack conditions. They are mostly nocturnal (active during the night), using echolocation to find their way quickly and hunt for food in total darkness.

considered threatened. Bats are mammals and so are humans, which means we share similar traits like being warm-

blooded and having hair. However, bats have a pretty cool trait we don’t have! They are the only mammals that can fly! Arkansas is home to the fastest flying animal in the world, the Brazilian free-tailed bat, which can reach speeds of up to 99 mph!

Ecosystem: an ecosystem is a community made up of all the living and nonliving things in an area. This includes all the plants, animals and other living things, along with nonliving things, like rocks, soil and water.

while the northern long-eared bat is

Echolocation: the use of sound waves and echoes to locate objects. Bats send out sound waves from their nose or mouth and, when those waves hit an object, it produces an echo. The echo will bounce off the object and return the sound to the bats’ ears. This tells them what size, shape and how far away the object is. Other animals that use echolocation are whales, dolphins, shrews and certain species of birds! Some blind humans have also learned how to use echolocation as navigation!

Endangered species: a species of animal or plant that is likely to become extinct (disappear forever) in the very foreseeable future. Factors that put endangered species at risk are habitat destruction, invasive species (plants or animals), disease and poaching (illegal hunting).


Clyde clopper Do you know the difference between a rabbit and a hare? • Baby rabbits, called kittens or kits, are born hairless and blind. Baby hares, called leverets, are born with fur and sight. • Hares change colors! While rabbits’ fur stays the same color all year, hares’ fur changes from white in the winter months to brown or gray in the warmer months. They also have black markings on their ears, which are longer than rabbits’. • While rabbits are social animals that live in groups underground, hares prefer to spend most of their time alone and live in nests above the ground. • You can have a pet bunny, but you can’t have a pet hare! Rabbits can be domesticated (kept as a pet); hares stay wild.

Rabbits are eating machines! They are herbivores that eat mostly grasses, clover, berries, fruits, seeds, roots, buds and even

Bunny facts

tree bark. They are picky eaters who use their nose to turn food until they find the cleanest parts to eat.

The Little Rock Zoo has domestic

Herbivore: animals eat plants only and do not eat meat.

You might think that

Rabbits create their homes,

rabbits love carrots,

called warrens, by tunneling

which they do, but

or burrowing into the ground.

carrots are like

Warrens have multiple rooms for

candy for rabbits,

sleeping and nesting and offer

and too much can be

underground protection against

bad for them.

the elements and predators.

rabbits in the Animal Ambassador Program that would love to meet you!

Rabbits use their very large ears to listen for predators, such as hawks, foxes and coyotes. You won’t see them outside on windy days because the wind makes predators harder to hear.


& Trish trash Gum is tasty, and blowing gum bubbles is fun! Unfortunately, gum is not so much fun for our furry friends. Chewed gum is litter and is hazardous when thrown on the ground! Not only does it get stuck to our shoes, it can get stuck in the fur and feathers of animals, making it difficult for them to move, fly or avoid danger. It can also cause intestinal issues and blockages when eaten by some animals. How can you help? It’s simple! Never spit gum onto the ground; rather, wrap it in paper or the wrapper it came in and dispose of it in a proper trash can.


MOLLY MOCKINGBIRD


Litter isn’t always discarded on the ground. Sometimes we litter the atmosphere and don’t even realize it! Free-flying balloons become litter at best; at worst, they pose dangers to wildlife. Once they are in the air, they can travel hundreds of miles and end up in lakes, streams, rivers and, eventually, the ocean. Animals are attracted to balloons’ bright colors and, when ingested, cause choking, intestinal blockages and toxic poisoning. It can take one latex balloon anywhere from six months to four years to biodegrade! How can you do YOUR part? It’s simple! Never release balloons into the air. Instead, when you’re done enjoying them, release the air from them and properly dispose of them in the trash.

rd i b g n i k c mo facts The northern mockingbird is the state bird of Arkansas! It was adopted as the state bird by the General Assembly on

Mockingbirds are

March 5, 1929.

omnivores, eating a

They do not migrate (fly south for the winter)

variety of berries, insects and

and can be seen here in

worms. You will often see

Arkansas all year.

them in open grassy areas foraging for food. Mockingbirds have very distinct songs and average 25-30 songs per

bird, but can learn up to 200 songs! They will mimic the calls of other birds, animals, insects, amphibians and even some inanimate objects like alarms and dripping water! It’s no wonder mockingbirds are considered one of the most intelligent species of birds!

Mockingbirds are very observant and always learning. They have been known to recognize and identify individual people, so next time you see a mockingbird in your neighborhood, wave and say hello! It might just recognize you and answer!

Omnivore: a person or animal that eats both plants and meats.


Otto the Otter and

“Do Your Part.


d his friends say,

Don’t Litter.”


UPTOWN BEAR

Bear facts

Bears have excellent

eyesight, and they can even see in the dark! It is widely believed they can see in color as well.

Other native Arkansas animals that hibernate during the winter are wood frogs, Gila monsters (lizards), snails, turtles, snakes, bees, groundhogs (woodchucks), ladybugs, ground squirrels and whippoorwills (birds).


Bears and other animals have a nose for food and love to stick it in jars and cans to find out what’s inside. The problem is, once they do, they can get stuck or hurt! That’s why it’s important when camping or during other outdoor activities to keep your food and other items securely covered and out of reach of wildlife and why you should never litter. Unclean dishes, food items and trash attract animals and insects, so be sure to wash out any used items and secure all trash bags and cans. You can do YOUR part! When camping, be sure to Leave No TraceTM . Discarded cans, jars and bottles are tempting to animals that are looking for food or shelter but can cause cuts and abrasions, so please don’t ever litter! Jars, cans and bottles can all be recycled! At home, rinse and crush cans then fold back the tab to block off the opening on the top before putting them into recycling bin. Black bears are not Black bears, like

always black, they come in

mockingbirds, are omnivores.

all shapes, colors and sizes! They

They will eat just about anything

come in a wide range of colors and can

they can get their paws on, and it’s true

be all shades of brown and even white.

that they love honey, too! They are known to

Some have a distinct white patch on their

raid hives and eat everything in sight, including

chest known as a “blaze.” The typical weight

the bees! Beekeepers use electric fences around

for female black bears in Arkansas is 90-

their hives to keep out bears. Bears need to eat

300 pounds and males is 130-300 pounds;

A LOT in the spring and summer when food

however, some males can grow to

is plentiful so that they can hibernate all

over 6 feet tall and weigh up to

winter. They can eat up to 90 pounds of food per day leading up to hibernation!

Arkansas was once

600 pounds!

known as The Bear State, thanks to our large population of American black bears. Sadly, by the late 1950s, the American black bear was almost extinct in

Hibernate: during the winter months, certain animals, like bears, fall into a deep sleep from which they don’t awaken until the spring!

Arkansas! Thanks to wildlife conservation efforts by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to repopulate the American black bear, there are now more than 5,000 black bears here! The reintroduction of the American black bear in Arkansas is considered one of the greatest successful repopulations of a large carnivore (meateater) species in the history of the world.

The Little Rock Zoo is home to grizzly bears, which do hibernate, and sloth bears, which do not hibernate.


LIGHTNIN’ BOB

help? u o y n a How c le shopping bags

usab • Use re le. er possib rings, whenev of plastic s n io t c e art all s • Cut ap mond. g the dia in d straws. lu c in eusable r r e h t o etal or henever • Use m lastic w p r u o y bag • Recycle e plastic n o s e k . It ta wn! possible breakdo to s r a e -20 y alone 10

turtle facts


When a plastic bag is floating in water, turtles cannot tell the difference between it and their natural food sources. When turtles and other marine wildlife consume plastic, they are at risk of not only choking but other major health problems caused by the chemicals in the plastic and the inability to properly digest plastic. Hard plastics like disposable spoons and forks can take up to 1,000 years to breakdown!

Sixteen different turtle species

Like Uptown Bear, many species of

While no species of turtle in

live in waterways and forests all

turtles go into their own unique type

Arkansas is considered endangered,

around our state. Some species in

of hibernation, called brumation,

state law protects the western

Arkansas can live up to 30 years

during colder months. They are

chicken turtle, alligator snapping

in the wild, while it’s believed the

typically only active during the

turtle and box turtle from collection.

alligator snapping turtle, known

months of April through October in

as the dinosaur of the turtle world,

Arkansas.

can live to be anywhere from 50-100 years old!

A turtle is always at home, that’s because a turtle’s shell is attached to its spine! They cannot ever leave

Don’t pick up a snapping turtle! Turtles are reptiles. Like all reptiles,

Most turtles are harmless; however,

they are cold-blooded; you will often

snapping turtles have a nasty

see them basking in the sun on logs

bite! You can identify a snapping

and at the edge of the water in order

turtle by its long tail, dark shell and

to raise their body temperature.

inability to retract its large head entirely inside its shell.

their shell, but they always have a safe place to hide from predators. Do you know the difference between a turtle and a tortoise? Most turtles Some species are omnivores and will eat aquatic vegetation as well as fish; however, most turtles are carnivores and eat mostly fish, insects and crustaceans.

can swim and spend most of their

We have alligator snapping turtles

time in the water while tortoises

(the largest freshwater turtle in

cannot swim and spend most of

North America) and two kinds

their time on land.

of tortoises that live at the Little Rock Zoo!

Reptiles: a cold-blooded vertebrae animal having dry or scaly skin or plates and typically laying soft-shelled eggs on land. Other Arkansas reptiles include snakes, lizards and alligators.


POSEY OPPOSSU

Marsupial: mammals that are born and then carried and fed until fully’ developed in a pouch on the mother’s belly. Virginia opossums or ’possums” are the only marsupial in North America! Like the kangaroos, wallabies and koalas of Australia, mother opossums carry their young in a pouch. The only places in the world marsupials can be found are Australia, New Guinea and Americas.

um o p p o ss facts


Littered foam containers are almost irresistible to opossums. They not

UM

only eat the leftover food; they will eat the container too! Since it is a type of plastic, it causes many of the same problems for wildlife and water quality that other plastics do when eaten, like choking and sickness. It is also very absorbent; it can soak in other pollutants like pesticides and chemicals and leach them into our waterways and the digestive systems of animals and plants, making foam containers extremely toxic! In water, foam containers will breakdown into tiny pieces and get eaten by fish and other animals. It takes 50 years for foam containers to completely breakdown! foam containers cannot be recycled. It’s best to avoid using foam containers whenever possible. If you do, please rinse all leftover food particles from the containers before securely putting them in your trash can and NEVER litter!

Opossums are nocturnal animals and, like bats, they aren’t

We have opossums in

blind either! While possums

our Animal Ambassador

have keen night vision, they

Opossums are tricksters! Although

do not have excellent general

they are peaceful animals, they will hiss

eyesight and must use

and bare their teeth to try and scare away

all their senses to

potential threats, which can be a scary sight

find food.

since they have 50 teeth! (That’s more teeth than

Program at the Little Rock Zoo. They love to come out and meet people and are sometimes even in the shows!

any other mammal in North America!) If this fails, they will fall over and play dead, or “play possum” as it’s commonly called. They can remain in this state anywhere from 40 minutes to four hours! Once the threat is cleared, they will hop up and waddle away to safety! Opossums cannot hang upside down from their tails, but they do use them to hang on to branches when they’re climbing so that they don’t fall! It is common to see young opossums that have outgrown their pouch catching a ride on the mother’s back. They will wrap their tails around their mother’s tail to help hold on extra tight!

Like our friend Patty Bat, opossums are essential for our ecosystems! They are omnivores that eat garden pests along with fallen fruits and vegetables that attract insects. A single opossum can eat more than 5,000 ticks each year! They also kill and eat poisonous snakes and are immune to snake venom and rabies. They are nature’s “road crew” and eat dead animals from the highways, which helps keep our environment clean and safe.



Help Otto find all of the littered items.

ANSWERS: crayon, baseball, apple, pizza, banana peel, pickle, carrot and watermelon

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics provides research, education and initiatives so every person who ventures outside can protect and enjoy our world responsibly. When camping and visiting the great outdoors, practice the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace: • Plan Ahead & Prepare

• Respect Wildlife

• Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces

• Be Considerate of Other Visitors

• Dispose of Waste Properly • Leave What You Find • Minimize Campfire Impacts



Word search DIRECTIONS: Find and circle all of the words hidden in the grid. Search up, down, forward, backwards and diagonal to find them all! R

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OTTO PATTY BAT MOLLY MOCKINGBIRD UPTOWN BEAR POSEY OPPOSSUM LIGHTNIN BOB WHITEY

CLYDE CLOPPER TRISH TRASH BIGFOOT LITTER RECYCLING ARKANSAS CLEAN

BEAUTIFUL ENVIRONMENT NATURE WILDLIFE HABITAT POLLUTION



Do Your Part. Don’t Litter!



I will: • Throw away my trash • Not litter • Recycle • Keep Arkansas beautiful

Name

Town

Otto the Otter

––––––––––––––––––––––

Date

––––––––––––––––––––––

I ––––––––––––––––––––––––––– promise to keep ––––––––––––––––––––––––––– litter-free.

Anti-Litter Pledge


There is a mystery brewing in Arkansas. Who is leaving a destructive trail of litter across the state? Otto the Otter is on the case! Follow Otto as he journeys across Arkansas to solve the mystery of who or what is destroying the environment, one piece of litter at a time. From rolling hills and magnificent mountains to grand rivers and majestic lakes, Otto meets an unlikely team of litter-fighting friends along the way to help him solve the Great Arkansas Mystery, as they work together to Keep Arkansas Beautiful.

The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional staff of three and a nine‑member advisory board appointed by the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. As a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc., KAB inspires and educates individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is funded through its 1-percent portion of the eighth‑cent Conservation Tax and, by mobilizing volunteers, returns to the state a cost benefit of more than $6 in community service for each program dollar spent.