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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.
10 Facts About Owls
Facts about owls, a group of birds known for their distinct calls, nocturnal habits, and silent flight.
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.
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.
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.
Mammal Profiles Sorted by Common Name
The following is an A to Z list of mammal profiles available, sorted alphabetically.
What Makes an Animal an Animal?
Learn about the key characteristics of animals including multicellularity, eukaryotic cells, sexual reproduction, movement, and more.
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.
The Basic Invertebrate Groups
An introduction to six basic groups of invertebrates including arthropods, cnidarians, echinoderms, mollusks, segmented worms, and sponges.
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.
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.
The Largest Mammals
A list of the largest species in each group of mammals that inhabit our planet today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Arthropods: Centipedes, Millipedes, Spiders,...
Profile of arthropods, a group of invertebrates that includes insects, spiders, crustaceans, scorpions, centipedes, and many others.
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.
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.
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 You Should Know About Molluscs
Molluscs are a group of invertebrates that includes squids, octopuses, cuttlefishes, nudibranchs, snails, slugs, limpets, mussels, and many more.
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.
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.
Facts About Great Horned Owls
Great horned owls are a large species of true owls that inhabits many parts of North and South America.
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.
Fast Facts About Invertebrates
Learn interesting facts about invertebrates, a group of animals that accounts for 97 percent of all known species.
Mammals: The Furry Vertebrates
Mammals are a group of tetrapods that includes bats, carnivores, cetaceans, elephants, hoofed mammals, primates, monotremes, marsupials, and rodents.
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.
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.
What You Probably Don’t Know About Reptiles
Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates that diverged from ancestral amphibians about 340 million years ago.
Endangered Animals
Endangered animals are species or populations that are at risk of becoming extinct.
What Is Descent with Modification?
Descent with modification refers to the passing on of traits from parent organisms to their offspring.
10 Interesting Facts About Arthropods
Learn interesting facts about arthropods, a group of invertebrates that have an exoskeleton and a segmented body.
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.
How Communities and Ecosystems Interact
The natural world is characterized by many complex interactions. Individuals belong, in turn, to populations, species, communities, and ecosystems.
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.
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.
Reptile Characteristics: Scales, Scutes, and...
Explore the basic characteristics that are shared by all reptiles—from snakes and lizards to crocodiles and turtles.
Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Cheetahs and Other Cats
In this photographic guide, find out more about cats, their classification, adaptations, and natural history.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Learn Your Basic Amphibian Groups
An introduction to the three basic groups of amphibians including salamanders and newts, caecilians, and frogs and toads.
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.
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.
Why Males and Females Look Different
Sexual dimorphism is the difference in form between male and female members of the same species.
Animals: Arthropods, Chordates, Molluscs,...
Animals are multicellular organisms that are capable of locomotion and that rely on other organisms to obtain their nourishment.
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.
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.
Reptiles: Scaly and Cold-Blooded, Yet...
Reptiles are a group of vertebrates that colonized terrestrial habitats more extensively than their amphibian ancestors.
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.
Understanding Population Biology
Populations are groups of individuals belonging to the same species that live in a shared region at the same time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Incredible Insects
Profile of insects, a highly successful group of animals that accounts for more species of animals than any other class of animals.
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.
Things You Probably Don’t Know About Zebras
Facts about zebras, a group of equids with a distinct black and white striping pattern.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Organ Systems in Animals
Animals' bodies are made up of various organ systems, groups of organs that work together to perform a function.
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).
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.
Sponges: Glass Sponges, Demosponges, and...
Sponges are a group of simple aquatic invertebrates that include glass sponges, demisponges, and calcareous sponges.
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.
Mammal Pictures
Pictures of mammals, including mammal photos such as pronghorn, meerkats lions, koalas, hippopotamuses, dolphins and more.
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.
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.
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.
Learn the Basic Reptile Groups
An introduction to the four basic groups of reptiles including crocodilians, lizards, snakes and turtles.
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 Nature Conservancy
Profile of The Nature Conservancy, a conservation group that works with governments, communities, and others to solve conservation challenges.
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.
Owl Pictures
Pictures of owls, including owl photos such as snowy owls, northern saw whet owls, great horned owls, barn owls and more.
Cats of Africa - Caracal, Serval, Cheetah,...
The cats of Africa include the caracal, serval, cheetah, lion, and leopard. Page 8.
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.
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.
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.
Recent Fossil Discoveries
Each fossil that is discovered gives us invaluable information about the animals and wildlife of the past. A fossil represents the remains of an individual organism--a finite point in a vast ocean of past lifeforms and habitats. Each fossil discovery can help us to better understand both wildife of the past as well as present-day animals and how they relate to one another.
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 the Basics About Birds
Birds are vertebrates that have four limbs, wings, feathers, hollow bones and other adaptations for an aerial lifestyle.
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.
Invertebrate Pictures
Pictures of invertebrates including horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, ladybugs, snails, spiders, octopus, chambered nautiluses, mantises, and more.
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.
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.
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.
Amphibian Pictures
Pictures of amphibians including red-eyed tree frogs, axolotl, green tree frogs, California newts, leopard frogs, and more.
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.
Animal Environments
A first step to understanding individual animals and populations of animals is to understand the relationship they have with their environment.
How Do Species Interact?
Wildlife species interact with each other in numerous, complex ways. Fortunately, we can make some general statements about these interactions.
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.
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.
Vertebrates: Famous for Their Backbones
Vertebrates are a group of chordates that includes lampreys, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fishes.
Amphibians: The First Vertebrates to Venture...
Amphibians are a group of tetrapods that include modern-day frogs and toads, caecilians, and newts and salamanders.
Learn About the Arctic Wolf
The Arctic wolf is a subspecies of grey wolf that lives in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, and northern Greenland.
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.
Mammalian Temperature Regulation
To maintain correct body temperature, mammals must conserve body heat in cold conditions and dissipate extra body heat in warmer conditions.
Cartilaginous Fish - Chondrichthyes - The...
Profile of cartilaginous fishes, a group of fishes that includes the largest and most formidable marine predators alive today -- sharks.
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 (WCS) supports zoos and aquariums while promoting environmental education and conservation of wild populations and their habitats.
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.
Gross Primary Production
The total energy (or nutrients) assimilated by an ecological unit (such as an organism, a population, or an entire community).
Arachnids: The Eight-Legged Arthropods
Arachnids are a diverse group of arthropods that include true spiders, scorpions, harvestmen, ticks and mites.
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.
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.
Reptile Pictures
Pictures of reptiles, including reptile photos such as anoles, chamelons, geckos, alligators, turtles, snakes and more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Learn Your Fish Groups
An introduction to the basic fish groups including bony fishes and cartilaginous fishes.
Prokaryote
Prokaryotes are organisms made up of cells that lack a cell nucleus or any membrane-encased organelles.
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.
Turtles: From Side-Necked Turtles to Hidden-Nec...
Profile of turtles, a group of reptiles best known for the hard shell which is a modification of their ribcage and vertebral column.
Bats
Bats are the worlds only group of mammals that have wings. This profile explores basic facts about bats including how they are classified, what they eat, where they live and the characteristics that make them different from other mammal groups.
Quiz - 6 Basic Animal Groups
Put your animal identification skills to the test in this quiz.
Bivalves: Clams, Scallops, Cockles and More
Bivalves are a group of molluscs that include clams, scallops, oysters, mussels, borers, trough shells and many others.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Temperate Forests
Temperate forests evolved 65 million years ago when global temperatures dropped and, in areas further from the equator, cooler climates emerged.
Arthropod Pictures
Pictures of arthropods including spiders, scorpions, horseshoe crabs, katydids, beetles, millipedes, and more.
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.
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.
What Is Desertification?
Desertification is the development of desert-like conditions in regions that have experienced human disturbance such as deforestation, overgrazing, or poorly managed agriculture.
About Cheetahs, Lynxes, Caracal and Other Small...
The Subfamily Felinae, or the small cats, are a diverse group of carnivores. Page 4.
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.
Animal Profiles from A to Z
The following is an A to Z list of animal profiles available, sorted by animal group.
About Elephants' Trunks
Elephants' trunks are muscular, flexible extensions of their upper lip and nose. To drink, elephants suck water up into their trunk
Why Are Amphibian Animal Populations Declining?
In recent years, scientists and conservationists have been working to raise public awareness of a global decline in amphibian populations.
Can You Define Evolution?
The term evolution is defined as simply change over time. But when applied to lifeforms, the term evolution--or more precisely biological evolution--takes on an added dimension of meaning. Biological evolution is defined as descent with modification.
Prosimians - Galagos, Pottos, Lemurs,...
Prosimians are an informal group of primates that include lemurs, galagos, pottos, tarsiers and lorises. Prosimians include all primates except apes and monkeys.
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.
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.
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'.
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