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Animals/Wildlife: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
The Big 6: The Basic Animal Groups
An introduction to the six basic groups of animals including amphibians, birds, fishes, invertebrates, mammals, and reptiles.
Comparing Prokaryote and Eukaryote Cells
All living organisms can be sorted into one of two groups depending on the fundamental structure of their cells - prokaryotes or eukaryotes.
10 Facts About Owls
Facts about owls, a group of birds known for their distinct calls, nocturnal habits, and silent flight.
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.
Top 10 Wildlife Conservation Organizations
A list of my top ten favorite conservation organizations that work to protect animals and wildlife around the world.
Mammal Profiles Sorted by Common Name
The following is an A to Z list of mammal profiles available, sorted alphabetically.
New Order of Insects Identified
A new order of carnivorous insects has been declared. The Mantophasmatodea includes several formerly-unidentified specimens that date back to 1909.
The Largest Mammals
A list of the largest species in each group of mammals that inhabit our planet today.
What Makes an Animal an Animal?
Learn about the key characteristics of animals including multicellularity, eukaryotic cells, sexual reproduction, movement, and more.
The Basic Invertebrate Groups
An introduction to six basic groups of invertebrates including arthropods, cnidarians, echinoderms, mollusks, segmented worms, and sponges.
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.
Animal Profiles: An A to Z List by Common Name
An A to Z list of animal profiles available in The Animal Encyclopedia, sorted alphabetically by common name.
10 Cool North American Animals
A list of some of the animals that inhabit North America including the nine-banded armadillo, tufted titmouse, caribou, monarch butterfly, and more.
7 Kinds of Animals Found at the Great Barrier...
A list of some of the animals that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef including sea birds, mollusks, marine mammals, marine reptiles, and more.
Arthropods: Centipedes, Millipedes, Spiders,...
Profile of arthropods, a group of invertebrates that includes insects, spiders, crustaceans, scorpions, centipedes, and many others.
Fast 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.
What You Should Know About Molluscs
Molluscs are a group of invertebrates that includes squids, octopuses, cuttlefishes, nudibranchs, snails, slugs, limpets, mussels, and many more.
The 8 Key Characteristics of Mammals
Mammals display a remarkable array of adaptations, some of which (hair, mammary glands, specialized ear bones) are shared by no other animal groups.
Cool 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.
Basic Mammal Groups - Guide to Animal...
An introduction to the basic mammal groups including aardvarks, bats, carnivores, cetaceans, elephants, marsupials, primates, rodents, and many others.
Mammals: The Furry Vertebrates
Mammals are a group of tetrapods that includes bats, carnivores, cetaceans, elephants, hoofed mammals, primates, monotremes, marsupials, and rodents.
Facts You Should Know 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.
Quiz - 6 Basic Animal Groups
Put your animal identification skills to the test in this quiz.
What Is Descent with Modification?
Descent with modification refers to the passing on of traits from parent organisms to their offspring.
What Defines an Endangered Species?
Definition of endangered species, a term used to refer to a species in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
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.
Organ Systems in Animals
Animals' bodies are made up of various organ systems, groups of organs that work together to perform a function.
What You Probably Don’t Know 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 Jellyfish
Jellyfish get a lot of negative press for the threats they can pose to swimmers and holiday makers visiting beaches around the world.
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.
What's a Cnidarian?
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.
Reptile Characteristics: Scales, Scutes, and...
Explore the basic characteristics that are shared by all reptiles—from snakes and lizards to crocodiles and turtles.
Fast Facts About Invertebrates
Learn interesting facts about invertebrates, a group of animals that accounts for 97 percent of all known species.
Fast Facts About Amphibians
Learn facts about frogs and find out about their diversity, evolutionary history and the characteristics make them different from other vertebrates.
Evolution: The Basics and Beyond
A brief overview of the history of life from the time the first life evolved until the present day. Page 2.
Scientists Declare New Species of Leopard
Scientists have discovered that the clouded leopards that prowl the islands of Sumatra and Borneo are different to those that inhabit the mainland.
10 Little-Known 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.
How Communities and Ecosystems Interact
The natural world is characterized by many complex interactions. Individuals belong, in turn, to populations, species, communities, and ecosystems.
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.
Beyond the Arms: 11 Facts about Octopi:
Octopuses are known for their intelligence, their uncanny ability to blend into their surroundings and the unique way they get around.
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.
Great Facts About Great Horned Owls
Learn interesting facts about great horned owls and find out about the characteristics make them different from other animal groups, their life cycle and their evolutionary history.
What You Probably Don’t Know About Reptiles
Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates that diverged from ancestral amphibians about 340 million years ago.
What’s a Chordate? You’re a Chordate
Chordates are a group of animals that includes more than 75,000 species. Chordates are divided into three groups: vertebrates, tunicates, lancelets.
Vertebrates Versus 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.
Turtle Tidbits: What Do Turtles Eat?
Turtle eating habits are varied--what they eat depends on the available food sources, the habitat in which the turtle lives and the turtle's behavior.
What Life Is Like for a Jellyfish
The most recognized image of a jellyfish is that of the adult jellyfish, with its bell-shaped body and long tentacles.
Lion Pictures
Lions are the largest of all African cats. They are the second largest cat species worldwide, smaller than only the tiger. Lions range in color from nearly white to tawny yellow, ash brown, ochre, and deep orange-brown. They have a tuft of dark fur at the tip of their tail.
Why Keystone Species Are So Important
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.
Why Habitat Destruction Is So Harmful
Definition of habitat destruction, a term that is used to describe the process by which natural habitat is damaged or destroyed.
Learn Your Basic Amphibian Groups
An introduction to the three basic groups of amphibians including salamanders and newts, caecilians, and frogs and toads.
Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Cheetahs and Other Cats
In this photographic guide, find out more about cats, their classification, adaptations, and natural history.
Why You’re a Heterotroph
A heterotroph is an organism that is unable to obtain its carbon from carbon dioxide. Instead, heterotrophs obtain carbon from organic material such as other organisms, living or dead.
Fact Sheet: Carnivores - Racoons, Fur Seals,...
Carnivores are a group of mammals that includes dogs and their relatives, bears, racoons, mustelids, civits, hyenas, aardwolf, and cats.
Endangered Animals
Endangered animals are species or populations that are at risk of becoming extinct.
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.
Animals: Arthropods, Chordates, Molluscs,...
Animals are multicellular organisms that are capable of locomotion and that rely on other organisms to obtain their nourishment.
10 Interesting Facts About Arthropods
Learn interesting facts about arthropods, a group of invertebrates that have an exoskeleton and a segmented body.
Understanding Population Biology
Populations are groups of individuals belonging to the same species that live in a shared region at the same time.
Incredible Insects
Profile of insects, a highly successful group of animals that accounts for more species of animals than any other class of animals.
Learn the Basics About Birds
Birds are vertebrates that have four limbs, wings, feathers, hollow bones and other adaptations for an aerial lifestyle.
10 Essential Facts About Animals
Learn interesting facts about animals and find out about the characteristics make them different from other groups of living organisms.
Sponges: Glass Sponges, Demosponges, and...
Sponges are a group of simple aquatic invertebrates that include glass sponges, demisponges, and calcareous sponges.
Can You Define “Species”?
The term species can be defined as a group of individual organisms that are capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring in nature.
Invertebrate Pictures
Pictures of invertebrates including horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, ladybugs, snails, spiders, octopus, chambered nautiluses, mantises, and more.
Vertebrates: Famous for Their Backbones
Vertebrates are a group of chordates that includes lampreys, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fishes.
30 Groups of Birdies: The 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.
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.
Do You Know What an Echinoderm Is?
Echinoderms are a group of marine invertebrates that includes star fish, sea lilies, feather stars, brittle stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins.
Classification of Cats
Cats belong to the group of vertebrates known as mammals. Within the mammals cats are classified with other meat eaters in the Order Carnivora (known commonly as 'carnivores'). Page 3.
10 Interesting Facts About Molluscs
Molluscs are invertebrates that include animals such as squid, octopuses, cuttlefish, nudibranchs, snails, slugs, limpets, sea hares, mussels, clams, oysters, scallops, as well as many lesser known creatures.
Get the Facts on 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.
What’s a Deciduous Forest?
Profile of the deciduous forest, a type of forest in which the trees shed their leaves during the cold months of the year.
Bird Characteristics: Feathers, Flight, and More
Bird characteristics include numerous adaptations for flight such as feathers, a furcula and hollow bones. This article explores the key characteristics that together distinguish birds from other animal groups.
Why Males and Females Look Different
Sexual dimorphism is the difference in form between male and female members of the same species.
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.
Aquatic Biome: Tropical Reefs, Brackish...
The aquatic biome consists of habitats around the world that are dominated by water, from tropical reefs, to brackish mangroves, to Arctic lakes.
Learn the Basic Reptile Groups
An introduction to the four basic groups of reptiles including crocodilians, lizards, snakes and turtles.
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.
Reptiles: Scaly and Cold-Blooded, Yet...
Reptiles are a group of vertebrates that colonized terrestrial habitats more extensively than their amphibian ancestors.
Defining Zoology
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.
What You Should Know About Jellyfish
Jellyfish are a group of carnivorous cnidarians with a bell-shaped body and tentacles. Jellyfish are delicate, soft-bodied animals.
Net Primary Production
Net primary production (NPP) is the total energy (or nutrients) accumulated by an ecological unit of interest (such as an organism, a population, or an entire community).
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.
What to Know About Tigers
Profile of tigers, the largest and most powerful of all cats that have a distinct orange coat, black stripes and white markings.
Animal Environments
A first step to understanding individual animals and populations of animals is to understand the relationship they have with their environment.
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.
Mammal Pictures
Pictures of mammals, including mammal photos such as pronghorn, meerkats lions, koalas, hippopotamuses, dolphins and more.
Interesting Facts About Snowy Owls
Learn interesting facts about snowy owls and find out about the characteristics make them different from other owls, their life cycle and their evolutionary history.
Fast Facts About Fish
Learn interesting facts about fishes and find out about their diversity, evolutionary history and the characteristics make them different from other animal groups.
Things You Probably Don’t Know About Zebras
Facts about zebras, a group of equids with a distinct black and white striping pattern.
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.
Facts About Carnivores
Learn interesting facts about carnivores and find out about the characteristics make them different from other mammals, their life cycle and their evolutionary history.
Learn Your Fish Groups
An introduction to the basic fish groups including bony fishes and cartilaginous fishes.
Cartilaginous Fish - Chondrichthyes - The...
Profile of cartilaginous fishes, a group of fishes that includes the largest and most formidable marine predators alive today -- sharks.
Learn About Lions
Profile of the lion, 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.
A Guide to Cats
Second page of 10-part introduction on cats. This part discusses traits, like claws, of the cat that make them adapt to many environments.
The Nature Conservancy
Profile of The Nature Conservancy, a conservation group that works with governments, communities, and others to solve conservation challenges.
World Wildlife Fund
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a global-scale conservation organization that works in 100 countries and consists of nearly 5 million members worldwide.
Get Educated About Amphibians
Amphibians are a group of tetrapods that include modern-day frogs and toads, caecilians, and newts and salamanders.
Bony Fishes: Ray-Finned Fishes and Lobe-Finned...
Profile of bony fishes, a group of vertebrates characterized by having a bony skeleton unlike the cartilaginous fishes whose skeleton consists of cartilage.
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.
Arthropod Pictures
Pictures of arthropods including spiders, scorpions, horseshoe crabs, katydids, beetles, millipedes, and more.
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.
Reptile Pictures
Pictures of reptiles, including reptile photos such as anoles, chamelons, geckos, alligators, turtles, snakes and more.
Harvestmen: Otherwise Known As Daddy-Long-Legs
Harvestmen, also referred to as daddy-long-legs, are a group of arachnids known for their long, delicate legs and their oval body.
Prokaryote
Prokaryotes are organisms made up of cells that lack a cell nucleus or any membrane-encased organelles.
Storming the Beaches: Tetrapods And The Tricky...
During the Devonian Period, about 375 million years ago, a group of vertebrates clamoured their way out of the water and onto land.
The 5 Basic Biomes of the World
Biomes are large regions of the earth that share similar characteristics such as climate, soils, precipitation, plants, and animals.
Owl Pictures
Pictures of owls, including owl photos such as snowy owls, northern saw whet owls, great horned owls, barn owls and more.
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.
Tiger Pictures
Tigers are the largest and most powerful of all cats. They are extremely agile despite their bulk and can leap between 8 and 10 meters in a single bound. They are also among the most recognizable of cats thanks to their distinct orange coat, black stripes and white markings.
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.
Mammalian Temperature Regulation
To maintain correct body temperature, mammals must conserve body heat in cold conditions and dissipate extra body heat in warmer conditions.
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.
About Elephants' Trunks
Elephants' trunks are muscular, flexible extensions of their upper lip and nose. To drink, elephants suck water up into their trunk
Cats of Africa - Caracal, Serval, Cheetah,...
The cats of Africa include the caracal, serval, cheetah, lion, and leopard. Page 8.
Mammal Profiles - An A to Z List of Mammals
The following is an A to Z list of mammal profiles available, sorted alphabetically by scientific name.
What to Know About Elephants
Profile of elephants, a group of mammals that are noted for their large size, massive skull, and long muscular trunk.
Learn About the Arctic Wolf
Profile of the Arctic wolf, a subspecies of grey wolf that lives in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, and northern Greenland.
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.
The History of Domestication of Horses
Domestication is the process by which humans take wild species and acclimatize them to breeding and surviving in captivity.
The Anatomy of a Cell
The cell is a fundamental component of our modern definition of life and living things. The cell is regarded as the basic building block of life and is used in the elusive definition of what it means to be 'alive'.
Gross Primary Production
The total energy (or nutrients) assimilated by an ecological unit (such as an organism, a population, or an entire community).
How to Choose the Right Binoculars
A guide to the different kinds of binocular technology and their many features and how to select what you need for quality, comfort, ease, and price.
Black Rhinoceros - Diceros bicornis - The...
The black rhinoceros is a critically endangered species of rhinoceros, It has poor eyesight but acute hearing and sense of smell.
How Animals and Wildlife are Classified
For centuries, the naming and classification of living organisms into groups has been an integral part of the study of nature.
How Are Coral Reefs Formed? (Plus Why They Are...
Stony corals are a remarkable group of animals that inhabit tropical marine waters around the world and form vast colonies known as coral reefs
What Are Fish?
The term fish is used to refer to any aquatic vertebrate that has a skin covered with scales, two sets of paired fins, some unpaired fins, and a set of gills.
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.
American Black Bear: One of North America's...
The American black bear is a large carnivore that inhabits the forests, swamps, tundra throughout the more northerly reaches of North America.
American Beaver
Profile of the American beaver, one of two living species of beavers and the world's second largest rodent, only the capybara of South America is larger.
Coelenterates
A group of primitive aquatic animals that includes jellyfish, corals, and sea anemones.
The Crazy Things 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.
Perching Birds: Wagtails, Swallows, Crowas,...
Profile of perching birds, a group of birds known for their specialized feet and the complex vocalizations and songs.
Grebes
Grebes are group of medium-sized freshwater diving birds that inhabit wetlands such as lakes, ponds and slow-flowing rivers.
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.
Bivalves: Clams, Scallops, Cockles and More
Bivalves are a group of molluscs that include clams, scallops, oysters, mussels, borers, trough shells and many others.
Invertebrates: The Animal Kingdom's Spineless...
Scientists have identified nearly one million living species of invertebrates, but this is only a small fraction of the invertebrates alive today.
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.
Amphibian Pictures
Pictures of amphibians including red-eyed tree frogs, axolotl, green tree frogs, California newts, leopard frogs, and more.
Spotted Hyena
Profile of the spotted hyena, a scavenger that inhabits the grasslands, savannahs, and semi-deserts of sub-Saharan Africa.
The Largest Organisms on Earth
Giant sequoias, blue whales, Komodo dragons, and African elephants all share the distinction of being among the world's largest organisms.
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are tiny birds that have metallic green feathers on their back and white feathers on their belly.
How to Tell the Panthera Species Apart
The identification of the various panthera species (or 'roaring cats') can be confusing but armed with a few facts, you can quickly narrow down the possibilities when trying to place a name with a cat. Page 9.
Wildlife Conservation Society
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) supports zoos and aquariums while promoting environmental education and conservation of wild populations and their habitats.
How Do Species Interact?
Wildlife species interact with each other in numerous, complex ways. Fortunately, we can make some general statements about these interactions.
Crocodilians: Alligators, Caimans, Gharials,...
Profile of crocodilians, a group of large reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and the gharial.
Butterfly
Butterflies are a group of insects that include more than 15,000 species. Members of this group include swallowtail butterflies, birdwing butterflies, white butterflies, yellow butterflies, blue butterflies, copper butterflies, metalmark butterflies, brushfooted butterflies, and skippers. Page 2.
Owls
Profile of owls, a group of birds that have strong talons, a downward-curved bill, acute hearing, and keen eyesight.
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