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A good way to observe the birth of animals is to have a tank of guppies. They reproduce easily, and their young grow rapidly - at least they do if the parents don't eat them! You can see as they grow that they soon look just like the parents, and you won't even be able to tell the difference between parents and young.

The important part of this lesson is that animals reproduce their own kind. For example, you cannot get a bear to mate with a cow and produce a bow or a cear. Bears and cows don't like each other that much, and nature doesn't work that way with animals.

Sometimes, plants get mixed up by being planted next to some other kinds of plants, and the bees carry pollen to the wrong plants. That is how some hybrid plants are grown. That might be how they grow square tomatoes.

However, animals reproduce their own kind, and they do the same kinds of things as those within their species.

If you are going to be guppy detectives, you should have one pair of guppies, some gravel and a few plants from the pet store, in about a 5-gallon aquarium. You will see at the pet store that they have some plastic "plants" that float. It may be a good idea to get one or two of them so that the babies can use them for hiding places. Keep the temperature from dropping below 72 degrees F (22 degrees C). Feed the guppies daily with guppy food from the pet store. If you have a freezer, you could sometimes treat them to some brine shrimp and daphnia.

You will notice that the female is larger than the male, but
he is usually more colorful. You can see the male court the
female as he swims around her and turns his body into an S-shape.
A pregnant female will produce a brood in twenty-one to twenty-eight days and can continue to do so up to eight months, from only one mating.

Before you know it, the babies will be there, and the mom and dad will be swimming around eating as many of the babies as they can. Why do you think it is that Mother Nature allows that to happen?

As the babies grow, compare their characteristics to those of the parents.

Have you seen any other kinds of animals being born? Tell of experiences you have had in seeing or knowing of the birth of kittens, puppies, hamsters, or other animals. Some of you may have been present when baby brother or sister was born. Mother Nature is pretty wonderful!


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