Jack Hanna's Wackiest, Wildest, Weirdest Animals

PHOTO© 2009 by Rick A. Preberg, World Class Images/© 2009 by Skip Higgins

Jack Hanna stopped by "Good Morning America" today with five of his most interesting animal friends.

In his new book, "The Wackiest, Wildest, Weirdest Animals in the World," Hanna, the director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, shares some of his extensive animal knowledge with kids of all ages.

Two North American porcupines, a lemur, a slow loris, a serval and a giant toad all came to visit the "GMA" Times Square studio. Learn more about them and see below for more of Jack Hanna's wild and wacky animals.

Jack Hannas Wacky, Wild AnimalsPlay

North American Porcupine Babies

The North American porcupine babies Hanna brought are just four weeks old, so their quills are still soft. They live throughout the North American desert regions and in the West all the way to Canada.

North American porcupines are the second largest of all rodents. The porcupine has a life span of about 10 years in captivity and between five and six in the wild. They grow to 25-40 inches long, have a thick muscular tail that can be as long as 8 inches and weight anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds.

They are usually solitary, nocturnal animals that spend much of their time up in trees.

A porcupine has up to 30,000 quills interspersed among the dark, coarse guard hairs on its back and tail. The black-tipped, yellowish quills are stiff, barbed spines about 3 inches long that can be deadly once embedded in another animal's flesh.

But porcupines don't use the quills for catching prey -- they are strict vegetarians. The quills are their way of protecting themselves.

When a porcupine feels romantic, the male will look for a mate with a high falsetto squeak and the female will announce her availability with a squall. When the two come together, they confirm their interest by rubbing noses.

Jack Hanna at GMA

Ryan, the Red-Ruffed Lemur

Four-year-old Ryan is slender and long-legged with a fox-like snout and small ears hidden by a ruff of hair. Lemurs have scent glands on their rump, used for group identification, and have acute senses of smell, vision and hearing.

In the wild, Ryan would eat fruits, leaves, nectar and seeds. At the zoo, he lives on leaf-eater chow and greens.

Ruffed lemurs are the only primates that produce litters -- usually three per litter. Newborns are not mobile at birth, but at seven weeks, youngsters can follow their parents through the treetops.

Gum Gum, the Slow Loris

The slow loris lives in the tropical South and Southeast Asian rainforests. The species is vulnerable due to illegal trade, and it is unknown how many actually live in the wild.

The slow loris faces many threats. Predators include cats, sun bears, palm civets and humans, who hunt the animals for use as good luck charms or as a remedy for women having difficulty in childbirth.

The Serval<p>

This beautiful cat is from the East African savannas, where they usually live near the water. The serval, one of seven species of small to medium-sized African cats, is an adept hunter and eats a wide variety of prey, including rodents, birds, lizards, frogs and insects.

Serval kittens are born in litters in the summer months. They are born in a lair and the mother will frequently move them to new hiding places for their protection.

Because of their beautifully marked coats, the cats are hunted for the fur trade. It takes a large number of serval pelts to make a single coat, because of the intricate process of matching spots, stripes and bars.

The Giant Toad -- The Cane Toad

From northern South America through Central America to southern Texas, the giant toad is the most widespread Latin American amphibian.

The toads, who live up to 14 years in captivity, will eat almost anything up to the size of a mouse or small bird and have even been known to try to eat ping pong balls.

The giant toad's skin is very poisonous, with the greatest amount of venom located in a pair of small glands on the shoulders. When attacked, it will ooze this milky venom into the predator's mouth. The venom is highly toxic and can blind a human for hours and can kill children and small animals within a few hours.

More Wacky, Wild and Weird Animals from Jack Hanna

Naked Mole Rat

The naked mole rat uses its teeth for digging. Its mouth is specially designed to close behind the teeth to keep it from getting a mouthful of dirt while it works. The naked mole rat can live up to 30 years or more and can run as fast backward as it can forward.


Did you know that in an elephant's trunk alone, there are about 40,000 muscles? Humans, on the other hand, have only 600 to 800 muscles in their entire body. An elephant drinks up to 50 gallons of water per day.


An ostrich can run up to 45 miles per hour, which makes it the fastest animal on two legs. The ostrich has only two toes on each foot.


The okapi doesn't need cotton swabs; it can lick its own ears. The okapi eats leaves, grasses, fruits, fungi, and even charcoal.