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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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Is Descent with Modification?
Descent with modification refers to the passing on of traits from parent organisms to their offspring.
Animal Profiles: By Common Name
An A to Z list of animal profiles available in The Animal Encyclopedia, sorted alphabetically by common name.
The Largest Mammals
A list of the largest species in each group of mammals that inhabit our planet today.
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 Bears
Facts about bears, a group of carnivores known for their burly build, impressive agility and, in some species, their winter sleep habits.
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.
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.
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 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 Are 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.
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.
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.
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.
Cnidarians: Key Characteristics
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.
Endangered Animals
Endangered animals are species or populations that are at risk of becoming extinct.
Why Males and Females Look Different
Sexual dimorphism is the difference in form between male and female members of the same species.
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 Reptiles
Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates that diverged from ancestral amphibians about 340 million years ago.
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.
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.
10 Facts About Arthropods
Learn interesting facts about arthropods, a group of invertebrates that have an exoskeleton and a segmented body.
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.
Reptiles: Key Characteristics
Explore the basic characteristics that are shared by all reptiles—from snakes and lizards to crocodiles and turtles.
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.
Molluscs: Fact Sheet
Molluscs are a group of invertebrates that includes squids, octopuses, cuttlefishes, nudibranchs, snails, slugs, limpets, mussels, and many more.
Mammal Profiles: By Common Name
The following is an A to Z list of mammal profiles available, sorted alphabetically by common name.
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 Amphibians
Learn facts about frogs and find out about their diversity, evolutionary history and the characteristics make them different from other vertebrates.
Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Cheetahs and Other Cats
In this photographic guide, find out more about cats, their classification, adaptations, and natural history.
Habitat Destruction
Definition of habitat destruction, a term that is used to describe the process by which natural habitat is damaged or destroyed.
Animals: Fact Sheet
Animals are multicellular organisms that are capable of locomotion and that rely on other organisms to obtain their nourishment.
Arthropods: Centipedes, Millipedes, Spiders,...
Arthropods are a group of invertebrates that includes insects, spiders, crustaceans, scorpions, centipedes, 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.
Interesting 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.
The 4 Basic Amphibian Groups
An introduction to the three basic groups of amphibians including salamanders and newts, caecilians, and frogs and toads.
Tiger: Fact Sheet
Tigers are the largest and most powerful of all cats. Tigers have a distinct orange coat, black stripes and white markings.
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.
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.
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.
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 Basics of Vertebrate Evolution
An overview of vertebrate evolution that explores the key developments in the evolution of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
10 Facts About Zebras
Facts about zebras, a group of equids with a distinct black and white striping pattern.
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).
How Communities and Ecosystems Interact
The natural world is characterized by many complex interactions. Individuals belong, in turn, to populations, species, communities, and ecosystems.
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.
The Key to Keystone Species
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.
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.
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.
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.
10 Facts About Animals
Learn interesting facts about animals and find out about the characteristics make them different from other groups of living organisms.
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.
Mammals: The Furry Vertebrates
Mammals are a group of tetrapods that includes bats, carnivores, cetaceans, elephants, hoofed mammals, primates, monotremes, marsupials, and rodents.
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.
Reptiles: Cold-Blooded Yet Charismatic
Reptiles are a group of vertebrates that colonized terrestrial habitats more extensively than their amphibian ancestors.
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.
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 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.
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.
Sponges: Glass Sponges, Demosponges, and...
Sponges are a group of simple aquatic invertebrates that include glass sponges, demisponges, and calcareous sponges.
Population Biology Basics
Populations are groups of individuals belonging to the same species that live in a shared region at the same time.
Cats of Asia - Snow Leopard, Clouded Leopard,...
Snow leopards live in mountainous habitat at elevations of between 2000 and 6000 meters. Their range extends from northwestern China to Tibet and the Himalayas. Page 10.
Learn About the Arctic Wolf
The Arctic wolf is a subspecies of grey wolf that lives in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, and northern Greenland.
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.
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.
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.
Cartilaginous Fish: Fact Sheet
Cartilaginous fishes are a group of fishes that includes the largest and most formidable marine predators alive today: the sharks.
The Cheetah - A Unique Cat
The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a highly unusual cat that has numerous characteristics that set it apart from all other cats. Page 11.
Organ Systems in Animals
Animals' bodies are made up of various organ systems, groups of organs that work together to perform a function.
Turtle Tidbits: 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.
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.
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.
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.
How Do Species Interact?
Wildlife species interact with each other in numerous, complex ways. Fortunately, we can make some general statements about these interactions.
The 3 Basic Fish Groups
An introduction to the basic fish groups including bony fishes and cartilaginous fishes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Endangered Species Act (ESA)
Definition of Endangered Species Act
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.
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.
Cats of Africa - Caracal, Serval, Cheetah,...
The cats of Africa include the caracal, serval, cheetah, lion, and leopard. Page 8.
Jellyfish: Fact Sheet
Jellyfish are a group of carnivorous cnidarians with a bell-shaped body and tentacles. Jellyfish are delicate, soft-bodied animals.
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.
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.
Elephants: Fact Sheet
Elephants are a group of mammals that are noted for their large size, massive skull, and long muscular trunk.
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.
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.
Quiz - 6 Basic Animal Groups
Put your animal identification skills to the test in this quiz.
What Is a Rain Shadow?
A rain shadow is an area of dry land on the leeward side of a mountain. This profile explores the geography, habitat, and wildlife of rain shadows.
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.
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.
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.
Birds: Our Fine Feathered Friends
Birds are vertebrates that have four limbs, wings, feathers, hollow bones and other adaptations for an aerial lifestyle.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a conservation group that works with governments, communities, and others to solve conservation challenges.
Mammal Pictures
Pictures of mammals, including mammal photos such as pronghorn, meerkats lions, koalas, hippopotamuses, dolphins and more.
Birds: Key Characteristics
Bird characteristics include numerous adaptations for flight such as feathers, a furcula and hollow bones.
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.
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.
Gross Primary Production
The total energy (or nutrients) assimilated by an ecological unit (such as an organism, a population, or an entire community).
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.
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.
10 Facts About Carnivores
Canids are long-legged carnivores that include wolves, coyotes, jackals, foxes, wild dogs and domestic dogs.
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.
Pentaradial Symmetry
Definition of pentaradial, a term that describes a type of radial symmetry in which body parts are arranged along five rays of symmetry.
Owl Pictures
Pictures of owls, including owl photos such as snowy owls, northern saw whet owls, great horned owls, barn owls and more.
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.
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.
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.
Vertebrates: Famous for Their Backbones
Vertebrates are a group of chordates that includes lampreys, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fishes.
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.
Amphibian Pictures
Pictures of amphibians including red-eyed tree frogs, axolotl, green tree frogs, California newts, leopard frogs, and more.
Owls
Owls are a group of birds that have strong talons, a downward-curved bill, acute hearing, and keen eyesight.
Wildlife Conservation Society
The Wildlife Conservation Society supports zoos and aquariums while promoting environmental education and conservation of wildlife and 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.
Books and Articles About Cats
Ceylon Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya). Page 12.
Amphibians: The First Vertebrates to Venture...
Amphibians are a group of tetrapods that include modern-day frogs and toads, caecilians, and newts and salamanders.
About Elephants' Trunks
Elephants' trunks are muscular, flexible extensions of their upper lip and nose. To drink, elephants suck water up into their trunk
Burrowing Owl
The burrowing owl is a small owl native to the grasslands, scrublands and desserts of western North America, Florida, Central America and parts of South America. It has long legs, white eyebrows and yellow eyes. Page 11.
African Elephant: Fact Sheet
The African elephant is the largest living land mammal and one three species of elephants alive today.
Turtles: Fact Sheet
Turtles are a group of reptiles best known for the hard shell which is a modification of their ribcage and vertebral column.
White Tiger
In addition to melanistic individuals, some cat species also exhibit white color varieties. White tigers and white lions are two such examples. Neither white tigers nor white lions are albinos, but instead are white due to the presence of a recessive gene which causes their coat background color to be almost white instead of yellow. Page 11.
Bivalves: Clams, Scallops, Cockles and More
Bivalves are a group of molluscs that include clams, scallops, oysters, mussels, borers, trough shells and many others.
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.
Dolphins
Dolphins are a group of marine mammals that includes dolphins and their relatives. The delphinidae, or Family Delphinidae, belong to the Order Cetacea—the most diverse of all groups of cetaceans. The Family Delphinidae includes a wide variety of dolphins (bottlenose dolphins, humpbacked dolphins, Irrawaddy dolphin, black dolphin, and others) as well as numerous other species such as pilot whales, orcas, and melon-headed whales. Page 10.
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.
About Cheetahs, Lynxes, Caracal and Other Small...
The Subfamily Felinae, or the small cats, are a diverse group of carnivores. Page 4.
Northern Cardinal
The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a bright red-plumed bird with a distinct crest of feathers atop its head. Females are not as brightly colored as males. Northern cardinals inhabit eastern North America. Page 10.
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.
Snow Leopard Pictures
Snow leopards are mountain-dwelling cats that live throughout the ranges of South and Central Asia at altitudes between 9,800 and 16,500 feet. Snow leopards are classified as endangered and their population is declining due to habitat destruction and a dwindling prey base.
Lion and Tiger Subspecies
There are numerous lion subspecies and there is disagreement among experts as to which subspecies are recognized. Page 6.
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.
The Temperate Forests
Temperate forests evolved 65 million years ago when global temperatures dropped and, in areas further from the equator, cooler climates emerged.
Asian Elephant: Fact Sheet
The Asian elephant is a species of elephant that has small ears, a long trunk and thick, gray skin.
North and South American Cats
Pumas, also known as mountain lions, catamonts, panthers or cougars, are a large cat whose former range extended from coast to coast across North America. By 1960, they were declared extinct in most midwestern and eastern ranges. Page 7.
Cheetah: The Fastest Land Animal
Cheetahs are the world's fastest land animal, they can achieve speeds of up to 110km/h but they can only maintain these bursts for short periods of time.
Polar Bear Pictures
Pictures of polar bears, the second largest species of bear alive today, smaller than only the brown bear.
Black Jaguar
In some cat species, a melanistic or black color morph appears on occasion in a wild population. Although these melanistic individuals may look quite different from their kin, they are color variations, not separate species. Examples of such melanistic individuals include black leopards and black jaguars. This picture shows a black jaguar. Page 10.
Crocodilians: Fact Sheet
Crocodilians are a group of large reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and the gharial.
Brown Hare
The brown hare, also known as the European hare, is the largest of all lagomorphs. The brown hare inhabits northern, central and western Europe. Its range also extends into western Asia. Page 11.
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