Monday, 20 February, 2023

Threatened species back from brink; Japan’s shape-shifting robot; Dog bites shark; and here comes Harry.


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Today’s Quick Links: 

Threatened species back from the brink:

Shape-shifting robot: Video:

Dog takes on hammerhead:

Petunia the pygmy hippo:

Dig Deeper:

What kids can do to help save threatened species:

Pygmy hippo facts:

Robot clearing foreign body from stomach:

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There was some good news at the weekend for no fewer than 29 of Australia’s threatened species after a team of academics declared conservation efforts were working and extinction was no longer on the cards. 

The burrowing bettong, the blue petrel, the southern cassowary and the humpback whale are among the species that were considered endangered but have pulled themselves back from the brink – thanks, according to the scientists, to us human helpers.

Feral cats, pigs and foxes pose a major threat to lots of Aussie native animals – but according to these scientists, thanks to the creation of sanctuaries populations of threatened species are recovering. 

A sanctuary in this case is a fenced-off area keeping feral predators out.

The scientists say that when humans put their minds to saving threatened species – it’s amazing how effective we can be. They point to the laws that stopped the hunting of humpback whales which has in turn seen their numbers in the wild go through the roof.

I’ve stuck a link to the article in today’s episode notes – which also features a super cute photo of a burrowing bettong … because I know since I mentioned it a couple of paragraphs ago you’ve been wondering what it is.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in China AND the US where scientists have worked together to create a shape-shifting robot.

I’ve stuck a link to a video in today’s episode notes to show the robot in action – a solid figure in a mini-jail which manages to melt itself down using magnetic fields to slide between the bars of its cell. 

If you’ve ever seen the movie Terminator II – you’ll know what I’m talking about. 

The scientists said they hoped the shape-shifting robot could be used in medical procedures – including inside the human body – retrieving things that kids have accidentally swallowed, for example.

And get this: they got their inspiration from sea cucumbers – which are big, slug-like looking creatures that live on the ocean floor and can go from being limp and jelly-like to rigid and solid. Amazing. 




And because it’s a Monday – it’s an animal kingdom double-header today … starting with the dog who took on a shark in The Bahamas – a country in the Caribbean. 

Tourists were horrified and amazed in equal measure last week when a plucky pooch saw a massive hammerhead shark in the water and jumped in to attack it. 

Yes, the dog decided to take on the hammerhead. Happily, as the video in today’s episode notes shows, the hammerhead realised it was facing off with a heroic hound and turned tail and scampered. Foolhardy dogs 1 – hammerheads 0.

Meanwhile, everyone at a zoo in the United States is going gaga after the birth of a baby pygmy hippo.

Petunia the pygmy hippo was born back in December but has only just gone on display at the Metro Richmond Zoo .. not only is she cutest thing you will see on the internet today, she’s also part of a global zoo program to save the pygmy hippos from extinction. With experts estimating there are only 2,500 pygmy hippos left in the wild, the conservation of this precious animal species rests on the tiny shoulders of Petunia and others like her. 


There goes the CCC … reminding us that today’s Classroom Companion worksheets are tied to this news item in the podcast. Squiz Kids very own teacher person, Christie has come up with some fun activity sheets  – for all ages and ability levels. If you’re a teacher and haven’t already signed up to receive these FREE classroom resources, do yourself and the kids in your world a favour and head to now to do so.




You won’t be able to move this week in Australia for English pop stars as Ed Sheeran continues his multi-city stadium tour around the country and the one and only Harry Styles brings his world tour to our shores.

Ed has been earning rave reviews from audiences and critics alike for his show – which even had the God of Thunder himself, Chris Hemsworth, in the audience in Brissie on Friday night. 

Meanwhile, Harry Styles fans have taken over Perth as the pop star prepares to start his Aussie tour there tonight. 

Harry Mania will sweep Melbourne, Queensland and Sydney as the Grammy Award winner plays to sell out crowds across the country. Rock and roll …




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. What sort of shark did a dog try to take on in The Bahamas?
  2. What’s the name of the newborn pygmy hippo?
  3. Name the two British pop stars on tour in Australia this week?






It’s February 19 – the BAFTA Awards take place in London today .. they’re Britain’s film and TV awards .. and it’s also Rhianna’s birthday today – her Superbowl Half Time show has just clocked up over 64 million views on YouTube … whaaaa?


It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… 

Darcy from Berkeley Vale, Camden from Montmorency, Teddy from Busselton, Tommy from Warrnambool, Sebastian from Wandin North, Marcus from Middle Harbour, Aashi from Mt Waverley, Georgia from Albury, Issac from Narrandera, Orson from the Northern Beaches, Riley from Oyster Bay, Bobby from Brisbane, Audrey from Redfern, Luiza and Abbie from Sydney and Gustavo listening over in Mexico!

Belated birthday wishes go to … Braxton, Raphael and Gus from Sydney, Riley from Bangor, Zara from the Northern Beaches, Matilda from Wagga Wagga, Chelsea from Sutherland, and Ari listening from Atlanta, USA. 

Classroom shout-outs go to…3K and Mrs Morley Davies at Floraville Public School, 

class 5/6H and Miss Hayley at Portland North Primary School, room 17 and Mrs Potter at Bellevue Heights Primary School in Adelaide and a thank you to Miss Fyfe at All Saints College in Maitland – for being the best Science teacher ever!! 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  • Hammerhead
  • Petunia 
  • Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles