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Animals/Wildlife: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
The 6 Basic Animal Groups
Unlock the basics behind how scientists classify animals in this beginner's guide to the six basic animal groups.
10 Facts About Owls
Facts about owls, a group of birds known for their distinct calls, nocturnal habits, and silent flight.
Top 10 Wildlife Conservation Organizations
A list of my top ten favorite conservation organizations that work to protect animals and wildlife around the world.
Animals: Key Characteristics
Learn about the key characteristics of animals including multicellularity, eukaryotic cells, sexual reproduction, movement, and more.
The 6 Basic Invertebrate Groups
An introduction to six basic groups of invertebrates including arthropods, cnidarians, echinoderms, mollusks, segmented worms, and sponges.
10 Facts About Mammals
Learn interesting facts about mammals and find out about their diversity, evolutionary history and the characteristics make them different from other animal groups.
10 Animals of North America
A list of some of the animals that inhabit North America including the nine-banded armadillo, tufted titmouse, caribou, monarch butterfly, and more.
10 Facts About Reptiles
Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates that diverged from ancestral amphibians about 340 million years ago.
10 Facts About Birds
Facts about birds, a group of vertebrates that includes nearly 10,000 species that are unique for their feathers and furculas, also know as wishbones.
The 21 Basic Mammal Groups
An introduction to the basic mammal groups including aardvarks, bats, carnivores, cetaceans, elephants, marsupials, primates, rodents, and many others.
10 Simple Things You Can Do to Protect Animals
It's easy to feel overwhelmed in the face of species loss and habitat destruction. Here is a list of things you can do to help protect wildlife.
10 Facts About Amphibians
Learn facts about frogs and find out about their diversity, evolutionary history and the characteristics make them different from other vertebrates.
What Are Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes?
All living organisms can be sorted into one of two groups depending on the fundamental structure of their cells - prokaryotes or eukaryotes.
11 Facts About Octopuses
Octopuses are known for their intelligence, their uncanny ability to blend into their surroundings and the unique way they get around.
What Is Descent with Modification?
Descent with modification refers to the passing on of traits from parent organisms to their offspring.
Reptiles: Key Characteristics
Explore the basic characteristics that are shared by all reptiles—from snakes and lizards to crocodiles and turtles.
10 Facts About Invertebrates
Learn interesting facts about invertebrates, a group of animals that accounts for 97 percent of all known species.
10 Facts About Mollusks
Boost your understanding of mollusks, a group of invertebrates known for their remarkable diversity—in both sheer number of species as well as variety of form.
Mammals: Key Characteristics
Mammals display a remarkable array of adaptations, some of which (hair, mammary glands, specialized ear bones) are shared by no other animal groups.
10 Facts About Giraffes
Facts about giraffes, a group of mammals that are best known for their tall profile, long neck, and the distinct patchwork pattern of their fur.
Reptiles: Cold-Blooded Yet Charismatic
Reptiles are a group of vertebrates that colonized terrestrial habitats more extensively than their amphibian ancestors.
10 Facts About Arthropods
Learn interesting facts about arthropods, a group of invertebrates that have an exoskeleton and a segmented body.
Animal Profiles: By Scientific Name
An A to Z list of animal profiles available in The Animal Encyclopedia, sorted alphabetically by scientific name.
10 Facts About Dolphins
Learn interesting facts about dolphins and find out about the characteristics make them different from other animal groups, their life cycle and their evolutionary history.
10 Facts About Bears
Facts about bears, a group of carnivores known for their burly build, impressive agility and, in some species, their winter sleep habits.
Facts About Great Horned Owls
Great horned owls are a large species of true owls that inhabits many parts of North and South America.
10 Facts About Jellyfish
Jellyfish get a lot of negative press for the threats they can pose to swimmers and holiday makers visiting beaches around the world.
Mollusks: Mussels, Clams, Scallops, and More
Mollusks are a group of invertebrates that includes squids, octopuses, cuttlefishes, nudibranchs, snails, slugs, limpets, mussels, and many more.
Mammals: The Furry Tetrapods
Mammals are a group of tetrapods that includes bats, carnivores, cetaceans, elephants, hoofed mammals, primates, monotremes, marsupials, and rodents.
The Life Cycle of a Jellyfish
The most recognized image of a jellyfish is that of the adult jellyfish, with its bell-shaped body and long tentacles.
Endangered Species: A Closer Look
Scientists and conservationists who study the animal species that face a high risk of extinction refer to such species as endangered species.
What Do Turtles Eat?
From leaves and grasses to fish and crustaceans, the diet of today's turtles is really quite varied.
Segmented Worms: More Than Merely Earthworms
Segmented worms are bilaterally symmetrical invertebrates that include more than 12,000 species such as earthworms, ragworms and leeches.
10 Facts About Snowy Owls
Snowy owls are large owls with white plumage and their extreme northerly range which includes tundra habitat throughout Alaska, Canada and Eurasia.
Cute Birds: The Top 10 Most Adorable Birds
Get a glimpse of some of the most adorable birds alive today and discover why each species is more than just cute, it is also entirely unique.
Animal Profiles: By Common Name
An A to Z list of animal profiles available in The Animal Encyclopedia, sorted alphabetically by common name.
Animals of the Great Barrier Reef
A list of some of the animals that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef including sea birds, mollusks, marine mammals, marine reptiles, and more.
Arthropods: The Exoskeleton-Clad Invertebrates
Arthropods are a group of invertebrates that includes insects, spiders, crustaceans, scorpions, centipedes, and many others.
Animals: Multicellular Creatures That Move
Explore the vast diversity of animal life, from arrow worms to waterbears, and discover how these remarkable organisms differ from all other living things.
Population Biology Basics
Explore the nitty gritty of population biology, a fascinating branch of zoology that investigates the ways in which populations change over time.
Organ Systems in Animals
Animals' bodies are made up of various organ systems, groups of organs that work together to perform a function.
A Guide to the Cnidarians
Cnidarians are diverse and come in many shapes and sizes but there are some basic anatomical features that most members of the group share in common.
Barn Owls: The Heart-Shaped Face Owls
Barn owls are a group of owls that have a heart-shaped face, long legs and powerful talons. Barn owls are medium-sized birds with a large wingspan.
Top 10 Facts About Animals
Expand your understanding of animals and learn some of the basics behind their biology as well as a handful of lesser-known animal facts.
What Do Reptiles Eat?
What reptiles eat differs from species to species but here you'll find out about some of the general dietary trends for various reptiles.
The Largest Mammals
A list of the largest species in each group of mammals that inhabit our planet today.
What Is Sexual Dimorphism?
Sexual dimorphism is the difference in form between male and female members of the same species.
10 Facts About Fishes
Learn interesting facts about fishes and find out about their diversity, evolutionary history and the characteristics make them different from other animal groups.
10 Facts About Carnivores
Canids are long-legged carnivores that include wolves, coyotes, jackals, foxes, wild dogs and domestic dogs.
Understanding Communities and Ecosystems
Decode some of the jargon that is used in the science of ecology to describe natural communities, populations, and ecosystems.
Lion: The Most Social of the Big Cats
The lion is a species of large cat that has a buff colored coat, white underparts, and a long tail that ends in a black tuft of fur.
Owls
Owls are a group of birds that have strong talons, a downward-curved bill, acute hearing, and keen eyesight.
Jellyfish: Flimsy, Floating Carnivores
Jellyfish are a group of carnivorous cnidarians with a bell-shaped body and tentacles. Jellyfish are delicate, soft-bodied animals.
Lion Pride: The Social Circle Lions Keep
Gain an intimate view of the social lives of lions, the only species of cat that hangs out in groups called prides.
Amazon River Basin Animals
A list of animals of the Amazon River basin in South America including harpy eagles, three-toed sloths, toucans, and more.
How Many Animal Species Are There on Earth?
Find out how scientists estimate and count the many millions of animal species that live on our planet today.
10 Facts About Marsupials
Learn interesting facts about marsupials and find out about the characteristics make them different from other animal groups, their life cycle and their evolutionary history.
Aquatic Biome: Reefs, Mangroves, and More
The aquatic biome consists of habitats around the world that are dominated by water, from tropical reefs, to brackish mangroves, to Arctic lakes.
Invertebrates: The Spineless Majority
Scientists have identified nearly one million living species of invertebrates, but this is only a small fraction of the invertebrates alive today.
10 Facts About Zebras
Facts about zebras, a group of equids with a distinct black and white striping pattern.
Carnivores: The Mammals That Hunt
Carnivores are a group of mammals that includes dogs and their relatives, bears, racoons, mustelids, civits, hyenas, aardwolf, and cats.
Habitat Loss, Fragmentation, and Destruction
Habitat destruction is fueled by a fast-growing human population. As human populations increase, we use more land for agriculture, cities, and towns.
Birds: Our Fine Feathered Friends
From feathers to furculas, birds are some of the most distinct vertebrates alive today, exhibiting a remarkable suite of adaptations for their aerial lifestyle.
Learn About Appalachian Mountain Habitat
Profile of the Appalachian Mountain Range, an ancient band of mountains that stretches in a southwestern arc from Newfoundland to Alabama.
The Basics of Vertebrate Evolution
An overview of vertebrate evolution that explores the key developments in the evolution of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
How Do Species Interact?
It gets complicated when species share the same habitat. This guide will help you to untangle the many interactions that arise when species mingle.
The 3 Basic Fish Groups
An introduction to the basic fish groups including bony fishes and cartilaginous fishes.
The Biggest Threats to Animals and Wildlife
Living organisms face a constant barrage of external stresses or threats that challenge their ability to survive and reproduce.
Why Species Have Niches
Definition of a niche, a term used to describe the role an organism or population plays within its community or ecosystem.
Tiger: The World's Largest and Most Powerful Cat
Tigers are the largest and most powerful of all cats. Tigers have a distinct orange coat, black stripes and white markings.
The 4 Basic Reptile Groups
An introduction to the four basic groups of reptiles including crocodilians, lizards, snakes and turtles.
Cnidarians: The Radially Symmetrical Invertebra...
Cnidarians are a group of aquatic invertebrates that includes jellyfish, corals, sea anemones and hydras.
Birds: Key Characteristics
Bird characteristics include numerous adaptations for flight such as feathers, a furcula and hollow bones.
Vipers: The Notorious, Venomous, Long-Fanged...
Vipers are a group of snakes that include true vipers, bush vipers, rattlesnakes, pit vipers, adders and night adders.
Animals of the Arctic
The Arctic is a region that encircles the north pole and extends southward over the Arctic Ocean, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, and Russia.
Amphibians: The First Vertebrates to Venture...
Amphibians are the most ancient of all tetrapod lineages and the first to have climbed onto dry land some 370 million years ago.
The 3 Basic Amphibian Groups: A Beginner's...
Decode the secrets of amphibian classification in this beginner's guide to the three basic amphibian groups.
Vertebrates: Famous for Their Backbones
Discover how the innovation of a supportive backbone enabled the vertebrates to stand tall and go beyond their chordate ancestors.
Fast Facts About Frogs
Learn interesting facts about frogs and find out about their diversity, evolutionary history and the what make them different from other amphibians.
Chordates: Bilaterally Symmetrical Critters
From vertebrates to tunicates to lancelets, chordates are a diverse group of animals notable for a rather innovative structure called a notochord.
The Mystery of North America's Black Wolves
Despite their name, gray wolves are colorful canines. Their coat color ranges from white to gray to black and is regulated by complex genetic factors.
Echinoderms: Famous For Their Five-Point Symmetry
Echinoderms are a group of marine invertebrates that includes star fish, sea lilies, feather stars, brittle stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins.
Squamates: The Flexible-Jawed Reptiles
Squamates are a group of reptiles that sheds their skin periodically in patches and have uniquely jointed skulls and jaws.
Learn About the Stages in a Frog's Life
The life cycle of a frog includes three stages: egg, larva, and adult. This article explores the developmental changes a frog experiences in its life.
Sponges: Glass Sponges, Demosponges, and...
Sponges are a group of simple aquatic invertebrates that include glass sponges, demisponges, and calcareous sponges.
Invertebrate Pictures
Pictures of invertebrates including horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, ladybugs, snails, spiders, octopus, chambered nautiluses, mantises, and more.
Endangered Species: Frequently Asked Questions
Endangered species are at risk of extinction due to threats such as habitat destruction, climate change, or the ill effects of invasive species.
Cephalopods: The Super-Smart Mollusks
Cephalopods are a group of mollusks that include octopuses, cuttlefish, squid and the chambered nautilus.
Wildlife Conservation Society
The Wildlife Conservation Society supports zoos and aquariums while promoting environmental education and conservation of wildlife and habitats.
Snow Leopard: The Reclusive Mountain Cat of Asia
Meet the snow leopard, an elusive cat that inhabits the cold, high mountain ranges of central and southern Asia.
Desert Biome: The Driest of All Terrestrial...
The desert biome covers one-fifth of the earth's surface and includes habitats that receive very little rainfall each year.
The 30 Basic Bird Groups
An introduction to the 30 basic groups of birds including birds of prey, buttonquails, gamebirds, herons, hummingbirds, owls, rheas, and many others.
Zoology: The Science and Study of Animals
Zoology is the study of animals; yet this definition implies a simplicity that does not exist; instead, zoology is a complex discipline, drawing upon a diverse body of scientific observation and theory.
World Wildlife Fund
The World Wildlife Fund is a global-scale conservation organization that works in 100 countries and consists of nearly 5 million members worldwide.
Grassland Biome: Where Grasses Rule and Trees...
The grassland biome is a terrestrial biome with a vegetation structure that is dominated by grasses and that is largely void of trees or shrubs.
Cartilaginous Fish: Gentle Giants and Fierce...
Cartilaginous fishes are a group of fishes that includes the largest and most formidable marine predators alive today: the sharks.
How Animals Are Shaped by Their Environment
Discover the remarkable ways that animals are shaped by the natural environment in which they live.
Arctic Wolf: The White Wolf
The Arctic wolf, also known as the white wolf, is a subspecies of grey wolf that lives in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, and northern Greenland.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a conservation group that works with governments, communities, and others to solve conservation challenges.
Myriapods: The Many-Legged Arthropods
Myriapods are a group of arthropods that includes millipedes, centipedes, pauropods, and symphylans. Myriapods are noted for their having many legs.
American Black Bear: North America's Smallest...
The American black bear is a large carnivore that inhabits the forests, swamps, tundra throughout the more northerly reaches of North America.
Temperate Forests: The Mild-Climate Forests
Temperate forests evolved 65 million years ago when global temperatures dropped and, in areas further from the equator, cooler climates emerged.
A Glossary of Zoology Terms
This glossary defines terms that you might encounter when studying zoology.
Lion Pictures
Pictures of lions, the largest of all African cats and the second largest cat species worldwide, smaller than only the tiger.
Evolution: The Basics and Beyond
Evolution is change over time. Under this broad definition, evolution can refer to a variety of changes that occur over time—the uplifting of mountains, the erosion of riverbeds, or the creation of new species.
Krakatau: The Island That Exploded
On the morning of August 27, 1883, Krakatau Island was violently re-sculpted. What followed was a dramatic demonstration of wildlife resilience.
Crocodilians: Good Reptilian Parents
Crocodilians are a group of large reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and the gharial.
A Guide to Vertebrates and Invertebrates
One criteria by which all animals are described is whether or not they have a backbone. This article explores facts about vertebrates and invertebrates.
Cetaceans: Mammals of the Sea
Cetaceans are highly specialized mammals with numerous adaptations that make them well-suited for living in water.
African Elephant: The Largest Living Land Mammal
The African elephant is the largest living land mammal and one three species of elephants alive today.
Owl Pictures
Pictures of owls, including owl photos such as snowy owls, northern saw whet owls, great horned owls, barn owls and more.
Elephants: The Mightiest of All Living Land...
Elephants are a group of mammals that are noted for their large size, massive skull, and long muscular trunk.
Rodents: Fact Sheet
Profile of rodents, a group of mammals that includes squirrels, dormice, mice, rats, gerbils, beavers, gophers, kangaroo rats, pocket mice, and many others.
The Biomes of the World
Biomes are large regions of the earth that share similar characteristics such as climate, soils, precipitation, plants, and animals.
Peppered Moths: A Natural Selection Case Study
H.B.D. Kettlewell, an English physician, had an interest in butterfly and moth collecting that lead him to explain the color variations of London's peppered moths.
Bony Fishes: Fish Built On True Bone Scaffolding
Profile of bony fishes, a group of vertebrates characterized by having a bony skeleton unlike the cartilaginous fishes whose skeleton consists of cartilage.
Florida Panther Pictures
Pictures of Florida panthers, an endangered subspecies of panther that scientists believe are healthier and fitter than they were fifteen years ago. They have higher genetic diversity, better immunity to disease, and fewer genetic abnormalities. They suffer fewer heart defects, enjoy higher fertility and are better able to climb trees.
Mountain Lion: North America's Big, Wild Cat
Mountain lions are large, lean cats with a coat that ranges in color from yellow-brown to gray-brown.
From Forest Floor to Canopy: The Layers of a...
Mature forests often have several distinct layers including the forest floor, herb layer, shrub layer, understory, canopy, and emergents.
Monotremes: The Egg-Laying Mammals
Monotremes are a group of mammals that include echidnas and the platypus.
10 Facts About Corals
Learn about corals and find out about their diversity, evolutionary history and the characteristics make them different from other invertebrate groups.
Polar Bear
Polar bears are the second largest species of bears, smaller than only the brown bear. Their size helps them conserve heat.
Turtles: The Carapace-Clad Reptiles
Turtles are a group of reptiles best known for the hard shell which is a modification of their ribcage and vertebral column.
Cats: The Perfect Predators
Cats are a group of carnivores that includes domestic cats, tigers, ocelots, lions, jaguars, mountain lions, lynx, leopards, and many other groups.
How Waves and Tides Work
Waves give rhythm to the ocean. They transport energy over vast distances. Where they make landfall, waves help to sculpt a unique and dynamic mosaic of coastal habitats.
Toothed Whales: Belugas, Narwhals, and More
Toothed whales, as their name implies, have teeth, a characteristic that distinguishes them from their baleen whales.
Keystone Species: Animals With Critical Roles
Discover how some species can be the glue that holds an entire ecosystem together. And find out why such keystone species are sometimes the least likely critter.
Feathers: Their Structure and Function
Feathers are a unique adaptation of birds. Feathers are made up of keratin, an insoluble protein that is also found in mammalian hair and reptilian scales.
The Wildlife of Africa
Africa is the second largest continent, it is smaller than only Asia, and home to a extraordinary variety of habitats and wildlife.
The Basics of Chimp Technology
Chimpanzees are second only to humans in the variety of tools they use and the innovative ways they employ those tools.
The Great Lakes: Erie, Huron, Michigan,...
The Great Lakes is a chain of five large, freshwater lakes that are located in central North America astride the Canada-Unisted States border.
Caecilians: The Snake-Like Amphibians
Don't be fooled into thinking these legless amphibians are snakes. They are closer kin to frogs and salamanders than to any scale-covered reptile.
Cat Pictures: The Small Cats
In this photographic guide, find out more about cats, their classification, adaptations, and natural history.
10 Facts About Primates
Boost your knowledge of primates with this fact-packed article that highlights the many remarkable ways in which primates are unique among mammals.
Gastropods: The Coil-Shelled Mollusks
Gastropods are a group of mollusks that undergo torsion as they develop which results in a twisting of their body along its head-to-tail axis.
Perching Birds: Fact Sheet
Perching birds are a group of birds known for their specialized feet and the complex vocalizations and songs.
Eastern Deciduous Forests: The Magnificent...
Deciduous forests once stretched from New England to Florida and from the Atlantic Coast to the Mississippi River.
Tetrapods And The Tricky Transition to Life On...
During the Devonian Period, about 375 million years ago, a group of vertebrates clamoured their way out of the water and onto land.
Tundra Biome: The Coldest Biome
Explore the tundra, a remarkable biome where extreme cold, long winters, and nutrient-poor soils push life to its limits.
Insects: The Most Diverse of All Animal Groups
Profile of insects, a highly successful group of animals that accounts for more species of animals than any other class of animals.
Edge Habitats and Their Animal Inhabitants
Across the globe, human development now fragments a once-continuous landscape into isolated patches of natural habitats.
The Domestication of Horses
Domestication is the process by which humans take wild species and acclimatize them to breeding and surviving in captivity.
Amur Leopard: The Most Endangered of All...
The Amur leopard, a subspecies of leopard, ranks among the world's most endangered cats. There are only 25 to 57 individual Amur leopards alive today.
Bivalves: Clams, Scallops, Cockles and More
Bivalves are a group of molluscs that include clams, scallops, oysters, mussels, borers, trough shells and many others.
Arthropod Pictures
Pictures of arthropods including spiders, scorpions, horseshoe crabs, katydids, beetles, millipedes, and more.
Even-Toed Hoofed Mammals: The Cloven-Hoofed...
Even-toed hoofed mammals include cattle, goats, deer, sheep, antelope, camels, llamas, pigs, hippopotamuses, and many others.
Brown Bears: The Largest Living Land Carnivores
Brown bears are the biggest of all bears. In fact, brown bears are also the larges of all land carnivores, outranking their cousins, the polar bears by a smidgen.
Conservation Organizations That Protect Animals
If you are interested in getting involved in wildlife conservation, be sure to consider this list of organizations.
Insectivores: Moles, Moonrats, and More
Insectivores are a group of mammals that include hedgehogs, moonrats, shrews, and moles. Insectivores are generally small mammals with nocturnal habits.
Fishes: The Scaly Rulers of the Seas
Discover the secrets of the fishes, a diverse and ancient group of animals whose earliest ancestors appeared some 510 million years ago.

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