Speed Reading — Animal Ears - Level 3 — 200 wpm

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Have you ever wondered what animal has the biggest ears? Of course, it's the African elephant. We all know this. Scientists know this. However, scientists have looked at what animal has the biggest ears for its body size. The elephant has big ears but it also has a giant body. Zoologists from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City have found out which animal has the biggest ears relative to its body size. And the answer is... the long-eared jerboa. Not many people know about this cute, big-eared creature. It is a rodent. It lives in the deserts of China and Mongolia. It is a nocturnal creature, which means it is active at night and sleeps during the day.

Zoologist Mary Ellen Holden described the jerboa. She said its body measures about 10 centimetres (not counting its long tail). Its ears are 3.8 to 5cm long. This means its ears are 40 to 50 per cent as long as its body length. The elephant's ears are just 17 per cent of its body length. Professor Holden said: "The jerboa has the longest ears for the size of its body in the entire animal kingdom." Professor Holden explained why some animals have large ears. They usually live in very hot areas. Large ears help an animal to keep cool in the heat. Their ears are large, thin and have many tiny blood vessels. The blood releases heat from the body into the air, which helps the animal cool down.

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