Young Zoologists Club

Eagle Ray, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

The Young Zoologists Club is run by the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge for 6 – 13 year olds interested in animals.

Membership is free. Members will receive a welcome pack on joining, a newsletter 4 times a year, and priority booking for special events.

To join, please email the child’s name, name of parent/guardian, postal address and date of birth to  umzc   zoo cam ac uk.

As well as newsletters, workshops and events, you can explore more of the animal kingdom right here on this webpage, with our ‘Animal of the Month’, animal profiles and zoology puzzles and activities.

If you are over 13 but would like to discover more about the amazing world of animals and the science of zoology, the University Museum of Zoology runs the UMZC Zoology Club for 13-18 year olds.

Animal of the Month

Pearly Nautilus
Nautilus pompilius

Nautilus shell, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

This beautiful shell belongs to an animal called the Pearly Nautilus. This is a member of the Cephalopod Molluscs, the same group of animals that includes octopuses, squid and cuttlefish. When you see the live animal, you can see the similarity with octopus and squid, with the tentacles and large head. Their shell protects them from predators, but has another important role: keeping these animals afloat.

This shell has had one side cut away to show the structure inside. You can see that rather than being a continuous space, this shell is made up of a series of chambers. The animal lives in the big chamber at the end. As the animal grows it builds a new, larger chamber in front and builds a wall behind it. Look carefully and you can see that the walls between the chambers are pierced with a tube. This held a thread of the animal that stretched back through the chambers called the siphuncle. The siphuncle is able to alter the amount of seawater in the chambers. Pumping out seawater causes the gas dissolved in the water to bubble out to fill the space. This makes the animal more buoyant – it floats higher in the sea. Nautilus tend to rise to around 150m below the sea surface at night to feed, and sink deeper in the daytime to stay away from predators. The greatest depth a Nautilus has been found at is 703m. Their shells break under the pressure of the water above them at 800m.

Previous Animals of the Month

Animal Profiles

Download and find out more about the mighty Finback Whale

Puzzles and Activities

Rockpool colouring-in

Puzzles and activities about the amazing world of animals for you to download

International Sloth Day Competition 2013

Thank you to all the Young Zoologists who entered the competition for International Sloth Day on 20 October 2013. All entries can be seen below:

YZC Sloth Day competitions

Christmas with the Young Zoologists

A Christmas Coral – The Answers

Before Christmas you were asked to find the animals in the re-writing of the Dickens classic below. The answers can be found at the bottom.

coral, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Jacob Marley was dead. He had died 7 years ago on this very night, Christmas Eve. His partner Ebenezer Scrooge sat in the office counting his monkey. In the back room sat Bob Crachitt. He was totting up a column of numbers. He had always been a good adder. Into the office came two gentlemen.
“Cow do you do” they said. “could you spare some cats for the poor”.
“Whale” said Scrooge. “I don’t think there are any poor. You are just lion to me. And now I have to fly. It is past my bedtime”

Up in his room, Scrooge sat down. He was old and out of breath, really puffin. There was a clanking on the stairs and through the walrus came a figure.
“I’m the goat of Jacob Marlin. You will be visited by 3 more ghosts. Now go and get some sheep. You’ll wallaby fast asleep when the first one comes.”

At one o’clock, Scrooge was awoken by a bright light. It was the ghost of Christmas Past. Emu all about Scrooge. He took Scrooge to a dance. They were doing the foxtrot.
“There’s Ann” said Scrooge.
“Ann?” asked the ghost.
“Miss Teater” said Scrooge. “I was in love with Ann Teater”

The ghost took him back to his horse. There the next ghost was waiting. The ghost took him to Bob’s house.
“Why am I here?” asked Scrooge
“I’ve brought you here on porpoise” said the ghost.
“I’m not herring you properly” said Scrooge.
“There’s Tiny Tim, eating his roast moose. He’s not very well.”

The ghost left Scrooge in the street.Along the toad came a sinister figure. The ghost of Christmas yet to come.Scrooge trembled in his coots. The ghost pointed at grave stone. It was Scrooge’s.

Scrooge woke up in his own mouse. It had all been a bream.

There are 24 animals in the story: 1 Monkey; 2 Adder; 3 Cow; 4 Cats; 5 Whale; 6 Lion; 7 Fly; 8 Puffin; 9 Walrus; 10 Goat; 11 Marlin; 12 Sheep; 13 Wallaby; 14 Emu; 15 Fox; 16 Anteater; 17 Horse; 18 Porpoise; 19 Herring; 20 Moose; 21 Toad; 22 Coots; 23 Mouse; 24 Bream. How many did you find?

Christmas with the Young Zoologists Club

Alternative Twelve Days of Christmas, Young Zoologists Club, UMZC

Here’s the Twelve Days of Christmas rewritten by the Young Zoologists, as well as animal themed Christmas decorations to make at home. To celebrate the festive season we have put our Young Zoologists Club Christmas Decorations on the website for you to download, print and make. There are decorations inspired by the weird crushing ‘teeth’ of the wonderful Lungfish, spirals based on the fabulously festive Christmas Tree Worms, and a garland based on the shape of the neck bones of our mighty Megatherium, the Giant Ground Sloth:

Last updated: 24 March 2014