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Animals/Wildlife: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
The 6 Basic Animal Groups
An introduction to the six basic groups of animals including amphibians, birds, fishes, invertebrates, mammals, and reptiles.
10 Facts About Owls
Facts about owls, a group of birds known for their distinct calls, nocturnal habits, and silent flight.
Counter Shading
Counter shading is a common color pattern in animals in which the dorsal side (upper side) of the animal is darker than their ventral (lower) side. Such a color pattern provides camouflage for the animal when viewed from above, below, and even from the side.
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.
Animals: Key Characteristics
Learn about the key characteristics of animals including multicellularity, eukaryotic cells, sexual reproduction, movement, and more.
Top 10 Wildlife Conservation Organizations
A list of my top ten favorite conservation organizations that work to protect animals and wildlife around the world.
10 Facts About Reptiles
Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates that diverged from ancestral amphibians about 340 million years ago.
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.
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.
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 Facts About Invertebrates
Learn interesting facts about invertebrates, a group of animals that accounts for 97 percent of all known species.
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.
Reptiles: Key Characteristics
Explore the basic characteristics that are shared by all reptiles—from snakes and lizards to crocodiles and turtles.
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.
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.
How Communities and Ecosystems Interact
The natural world is characterized by many complex interactions. Individuals belong, in turn, to populations, species, communities, and ecosystems.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reptiles: Cold-Blooded Yet Charismatic
Reptiles are a group of vertebrates that colonized terrestrial habitats more extensively than their amphibian ancestors.
Population Biology Basics
Populations are groups of individuals belonging to the same species that live in a shared region at the same time.
10 Facts About Molluscs
Molluscs are a group of invertebrates known for their remarkable diversity—both sheer number of species as well as variety of form.
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.
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 Bears
Facts about bears, a group of carnivores known for their burly build, impressive agility and, in some species, their winter sleep habits.
Mammals: The Furry Tetrapods
Mammals are a group of tetrapods that includes bats, carnivores, cetaceans, elephants, hoofed mammals, primates, monotremes, marsupials, and rodents.
10 Facts About Arthropods
Learn interesting facts about arthropods, a group of invertebrates that have an exoskeleton and a segmented body.
Owls are a group of birds that have strong talons, a downward-curved bill, acute hearing, and keen eyesight.
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.
What Is Descent with Modification?
Descent with modification refers to the passing on of traits from parent organisms to their offspring.
Animals: Fact Sheet
Animals are multicellular organisms that are capable of locomotion and that rely on other organisms to obtain their nourishment.
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.
Arthropods: Centipedes, Millipedes, Spiders,...
Arthropods are a group of invertebrates that includes insects, spiders, crustaceans, scorpions, centipedes, and many others.
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.
Organ Systems in Animals
Animals' bodies are made up of various organ systems, groups of organs that work together to perform a function.
Animal Profiles: An A to Z List By Scientific...
An A to Z list of animal profiles available in The Animal Encyclopedia, sorted alphabetically by scientific 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.
What Do Turtles Eat?
Turtle eating habits are varied. Their diet depends on the available food sources, the habitat in which the turtle lives and the turtle's behavior.
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.
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.
Top 10 Cute Birds
Of all animals, birds are among the most varied in color, shape and size. In this gallery we'll catch a glimpse of a small handful of the many birds that can claim to be the cutest of their kind.
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.
How a Pride of Lions Operates
Definition of lion pride, a term that refers to a group of line that typically includes about five females and two males and their young.
The 4 Basic Amphibian Groups
An introduction to the three basic groups of amphibians including salamanders and newts, caecilians, and frogs and toads.
10 Facts About Carnivores
Canids are long-legged carnivores that include wolves, coyotes, jackals, foxes, wild dogs and domestic dogs.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jellyfish: Fact Sheet
Jellyfish are a group of carnivorous cnidarians with a bell-shaped body and tentacles. Jellyfish are delicate, soft-bodied animals.
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.
Animals and Their Environment
A first step to understanding individual animals and populations of animals is to understand the relationship they have with their environment.
The Largest Mammals
A list of the largest species in each group of mammals that inhabit our planet today.
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.
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.
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.
A to Z List of Mammals Sorted by Scientific Name
The following is an A to Z list of mammal profiles available, sorted alphabetically by scientific name.
Amphibians: The First Vertebrates to Venture...
Amphibians are a group of tetrapods that include modern-day frogs and toads, caecilians, and newts and salamanders.
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.
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.
Lion: Fact Sheet
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.
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.
10 Facts About Animals
Learn interesting facts about animals and find out about the characteristics make them different from other groups of living organisms.
Birds: Key Characteristics
Bird characteristics include numerous adaptations for flight such as feathers, a furcula and hollow bones.
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.
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.
Zoology Glossary
A glossary of zoology terms.
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.
Animal Profiles: By Common Name
An A to Z list of animal profiles available in The Animal Encyclopedia, sorted alphabetically by common name.
How Animal Populations Interact
Populations of animals interact with each other and their environment in a variety of ways.
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.
Vertebrates: Famous for Their Backbones
Vertebrates are a group of chordates that includes lampreys, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fishes.
The 4 Basic Reptile Groups
An introduction to the four basic groups of reptiles including crocodilians, lizards, snakes and turtles.
Cnidarians: Fact Sheet
Cnidarians are a group of aquatic invertebrates that includes jellyfish, corals, sea anemones and hydras.
Sponges: Glass Sponges, Demosponges, and...
Sponges are a group of simple aquatic invertebrates that include glass sponges, demisponges, and calcareous sponges.
Birds: Our Fine Feathered Friends
Birds are vertebrates that have four limbs, wings, feathers, hollow bones and other adaptations for an aerial lifestyle.
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.
Tiger: Fact Sheet
Tigers are the largest and most powerful of all cats. Tigers have a distinct orange coat, black stripes and white markings.
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.
Armadillos, Sloths and Anteaters: Fact Sheet
Armadillos, sloths, and anteaters are notable for the unique joints in their backbone that give them strength and support to dig and burrow.
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.
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.
The 3 Basic Fish Groups
An introduction to the basic fish groups including bony fishes and cartilaginous fishes.
Keystone Species: The Wide Reach of a Single...
A keystone species is a species that plays a critical role in the structure of an ecological community and whose influence is greater than expected.
American Black Bear: Fact Sheet
The American black bear is a large carnivore that inhabits the forests, swamps, tundra throughout the more northerly reaches of North America.
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.
Crocodilians: Good Reptilian Parents
Crocodilians are a group of large reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and the gharial.
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.
How Do Species Interact?
Wildlife species interact with each other in numerous, complex ways. Fortunately, we can make some general statements about these interactions.
Chordates: Bilaterally Symmetrical Critters
Chordates are a group of animals that includes more than 75,000 species. Chordates are divided into three groups: vertebrates, tunicates, lancelets.
10 Facts About Zebras
Facts about zebras, a group of equids with a distinct black and white striping pattern.
Wildlife of The Great Lakes
The Great Lakes is a chain of five large, freshwater lakes that are located in central North America astride the Canada-Unisted States border.
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.
Fishes: Fact Sheet
Fishes are a group of aquatic chordates that have gills and lack limbs. Fishes include bony fishes, cartilaginous fishes, and hagfishes and lampreys.
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.
Tetrapods: The Four-By-Fours of the Vertebrate...
Tetrapods are a group of vertebrates that includes amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Early tetrapods were the first vertebrates to live on land.
Starfish: The Stellar Echinoderms
Starfish are a group of echinoderms that include about 1500 living species. Starfish have five or more arms that radiate outward from a central body disc.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a conservation group that works with governments, communities, and others to solve conservation challenges.
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.
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.
Amphibian Pictures
Pictures of amphibians including red-eyed tree frogs, axolotl, green tree frogs, California newts, leopard frogs, and more.
The Domestication of Horses
Domestication is the process by which humans take wild species and acclimatize them to breeding and surviving in captivity.
Reptile and Amphibian Identification Key
Through a series of steps, this identification key will help you to learn the basics of identifying the main families of reptiles and amphibians.
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.
Why Are Amphibians in Decline?
In recent years, scientists and conservationists have been working to raise public awareness of a global decline in amphibian populations.
Conservation Organizations That Protect Animals
If you are interested in getting involved in wildlife conservation, be sure to consider this list of organizations.
Gastropods: The Coil-Shelled Molluscs
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.
Animal Cells, Tissues, Organs and Organ Systems
To understand animals and their biology, it helps to understand the cells, tissues, organs and organ systems that comprise them.
Owl Pictures
Pictures of owls, including owl photos such as snowy owls, northern saw whet owls, great horned owls, barn owls and more.
Elephants: Fact Sheet
Elephants are a group of mammals that are noted for their large size, massive skull, and long muscular trunk.
10 Facts About Primates
In this article, you'll learn interesting facts about primates and find out about their unique characteristics, life cycle, and evolutionary history.
Mammal Pictures
Pictures of mammals, including mammal photos such as pronghorn, meerkats lions, koalas, hippopotamuses, dolphins and more.
The Temperate Forests
Temperate forests evolved 65 million years ago when global temperatures dropped and, in areas further from the equator, cooler climates emerged.
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.
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.
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.
Bivalves: Clams, Scallops, Cockles and More
Bivalves are a group of molluscs that include clams, scallops, oysters, mussels, borers, trough shells and many others.
Invertebrate Pictures
Pictures of invertebrates including horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, ladybugs, snails, spiders, octopus, chambered nautiluses, mantises, and more.
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.
Cartilaginous Fish: Fact Sheet
Cartilaginous fishes are a group of fishes that includes the largest and most formidable marine predators alive today: the sharks.
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.
Rocky Mountains: The Backbone of the West
The Rocky Mountains stretch through western North America from Alaska to New Mexico, forming the middle section of the Western Cordillera.
Mammalian Temperature Regulation
To maintain correct body temperature, mammals must conserve body heat in cold conditions and dissipate extra body heat in warmer conditions.
Eastern Deciduous Forests
Deciduous forests once stretched from New England to Florida and from the Atlantic Coast to the Mississippi River.
Even-Toed Hoofed Mammals: Fact Sheet
Even-toed hoofed mammals include cattle, goats, deer, sheep, antelope, camels, llamas, pigs, hippopotamuses, and many others.
Cephalopods: The Super-Smart Molluscs
Cephalopods are a group of mulluscs that include octopuses, cuttlefish, squid and the chambered nautilus.
Cat Pictures: The Small Cats
In this photographic guide, find out more about cats, their classification, adaptations, and natural history.
Mouse-Like Rodents: Rodents With Mighty Medial...
Mouse-like rodents are a group of rodents that differ from other rodents in the arrangement of their jaw muscles and the structure of their teeth.
Bony Fishes: Fact Sheet
Profile of bony fishes, a group of vertebrates characterized by having a bony skeleton unlike the cartilaginous fishes whose skeleton consists of cartilage.
Wildlife Conservation Society
The Wildlife Conservation Society supports zoos and aquariums while promoting environmental education and conservation of wildlife and habitats.
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.
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.
Arthropod Pictures
Pictures of arthropods including spiders, scorpions, horseshoe crabs, katydids, beetles, millipedes, and more.
African Elephant: Fact Sheet
The African elephant is the largest living land mammal and one three species of elephants alive today.
Perching Birds: Fact Sheet
Perching birds are a group of birds known for their specialized feet and the complex vocalizations and songs.
Cetaceans: Mammals of the Sea
Cetaceans are highly specialized mammals with numerous adaptations that make them well-suited for living in water.
Lion Pictures
Pictures of lions, the largest of all African cats and the second largest cat species worldwide, smaller than only the tiger.
The Biomes of the World
Biomes are large regions of the earth that share similar characteristics such as climate, soils, precipitation, plants, and animals.
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.
Monotremes: The Egg-Laying Mammals
Monotremes are a group of mammals that include echidnas and the platypus.
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.
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.
Brown Bears: The Largest Living Land Carnivores
Brown bears are the largest of all the bear species and are considered to be the largest living land carnivore.
Herons, Storks, and Relatives
Herons and their relatives are wading birds that have long necks, large bodies, long legs, and strong, specialized bills.
Toothed Whales: Belugas, Narwhals, and More
Toothed whales, as their name implies, have teeth, a characteristic that distinguishes them from their baleen whales.

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