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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.
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.
The 6 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.
Mammals: Key Characteristics
Mammals display a remarkable array of adaptations, some of which (hair, mammary glands, specialized ear bones) are shared by no other animal groups.
10 Facts About 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 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.
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.
What Is Descent with Modification?
Descent with modification refers to the passing on of traits from parent organisms to their offspring.
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.
Animals: Key Characteristics
Learn about the key characteristics of animals including multicellularity, eukaryotic cells, sexual reproduction, movement, and more.
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.
Reptiles: Key Characteristics
Explore the basic characteristics that are shared by all reptiles—from snakes and lizards to crocodiles and turtles.
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 Reptiles
Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates that diverged from ancestral amphibians about 340 million years ago.
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.
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 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 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.
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 Bears
Facts about bears, a group of carnivores known for their burly build, impressive agility and, in some species, their winter sleep habits.
The Largest Mammals
A list of the largest species in each group of mammals that inhabit our planet today.
10 Facts About Arthropods
Learn interesting facts about arthropods, a group of invertebrates that have an exoskeleton and a segmented body.
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.
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.
Molluscs: Fact Sheet
Molluscs are a group of invertebrates that includes squids, octopuses, cuttlefishes, nudibranchs, snails, slugs, limpets, mussels, and many more.
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.
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.
Facts About Great Horned Owls
Great horned owls are a large species of true owls that inhabits many parts of North and South America.
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.
Animal Profiles: By Common Name
An A to Z list of animal profiles available in The Animal Encyclopedia, sorted alphabetically by common name.
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.
10 Facts About Invertebrates
Learn interesting facts about invertebrates, a group of animals that accounts for 97 percent of all known species.
The 4 Basic Reptile Groups
An introduction to the four basic groups of reptiles including crocodilians, lizards, snakes and turtles.
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.
Mammal Profiles: By Common Name
The following is an A to Z list of mammal profiles available, sorted alphabetically by common name.
What Is Sexual Dimorphism?
Sexual dimorphism is the difference in form between male and female members of the same species.
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 Zebras
Facts about zebras, a group of equids with a distinct black and white striping pattern.
Arthropods: Centipedes, Millipedes, Spiders,...
Arthropods are a group of invertebrates that includes insects, spiders, crustaceans, scorpions, centipedes, 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.
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.
A Guide to 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.
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.
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.
What are Cnidarians?
Cnidarians are radially symmetrical. This means that their gastrovascular cavity, tentacles, and mouth are aligned such that if you were to draw an imaginary line through the center of their body, from the top of their tentacles through the base of their body, you could then turn the animal about that axis and it would look roughly the same at each angle in the turn.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The 3 Basic Fish Groups
An introduction to the basic fish groups including bony fishes and cartilaginous fishes.
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 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.
Organ Systems in Animals
Animals' bodies are made up of various organ systems, groups of organs that work together to perform a function.
Reptiles: Cold-Blooded Yet Charismatic
Reptiles are a group of vertebrates that colonized terrestrial habitats more extensively than their amphibian ancestors.
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.
10 Facts About Carnivores
Canids are long-legged carnivores that include wolves, coyotes, jackals, foxes, wild dogs and domestic dogs.
Mammals: The Furry Vertebrates
Mammals are a group of tetrapods that includes bats, carnivores, cetaceans, elephants, hoofed mammals, primates, monotremes, marsupials, and rodents.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Birds: Our Fine Feathered Friends
Birds are vertebrates that have four limbs, wings, feathers, hollow bones and other adaptations for an aerial lifestyle.
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.
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.
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.
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 Basics of Vertebrate Evolution
An overview of vertebrate evolution that explores the key developments in the evolution of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
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.
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.
Owl Pictures
Pictures of owls, including owl photos such as snowy owls, northern saw whet owls, great horned owls, barn owls and more.
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.
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.
Jellyfish: Fact Sheet
Jellyfish are a group of carnivorous cnidarians with a bell-shaped body and tentacles. Jellyfish are delicate, soft-bodied animals.
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.
Population Biology Basics
Populations are groups of individuals belonging to the same species that live in a shared region at the same time.
Arctic Wolf: Fact Sheet
The Arctic wolf is a subspecies of grey wolf that lives in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, and northern Greenland.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cnidarians: Fact Sheet
Cnidarians are a group of aquatic invertebrates that includes jellyfish, corals, sea anemones and hydras.
Amphibians: The First Vertebrates to Venture...
Amphibians are a group of tetrapods that include modern-day frogs and toads, caecilians, and newts and salamanders.
Cartilaginous Fish: Fact Sheet
Cartilaginous fishes are a group of fishes that includes the largest and most formidable marine predators alive today: the sharks.
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.
Cats of Africa - Caracal, Serval, Cheetah,...
The cats of Africa include the caracal, serval, cheetah, lion, and leopard. Page 8.
Polar Bear
Polar bears are the second largest species of bears, smaller than only the brown bear. Their size helps them conserve heat.
African Elephant: Fact Sheet
The African elephant is the largest living land mammal and one three species of elephants alive today.
Birds: Key Characteristics
Bird characteristics include numerous adaptations for flight such as feathers, a furcula and hollow bones.
Elephants: Fact Sheet
Elephants are a group of mammals that are noted for their large size, massive skull, and long muscular trunk.
The Biomes of the World
Biomes are large regions of the earth that share similar characteristics such as climate, soils, precipitation, plants, and animals.
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.
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.
White Lion Pride
Like black jaguars and black leopards, white lions are a color morph of lions, not a different species. White lions possess a recessive gene that causes their coat to be a very light color. It should be noted that white lions are not albinos. Instead their coloration is due to a condition known as leucism in which all types of pigment are reduce, not just melanin as in albinos. Page 12.
Crocodilians: Good Reptilian Parents
Crocodilians are a group of large reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and the gharial.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Monotremes: The Egg-Laying Mammals
Monotremes are a group of mammals that include echidnas and the platypus.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How Do Species Interact?
Wildlife species interact with each other in numerous, complex ways. Fortunately, we can make some general statements about these interactions.
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.
Cat Pictures
Pictures of cats including lions, mountain lions, caracals, tigers, jaguars, cheetahs and more.
Amphibian Pictures
Pictures of amphibians including red-eyed tree frogs, axolotl, green tree frogs, California newts, leopard frogs, and more.
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.
Owls
Owls are a group of birds that have strong talons, a downward-curved bill, acute hearing, and keen eyesight.
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.
Mammal Pictures
Pictures of mammals, including mammal photos such as pronghorn, meerkats lions, koalas, hippopotamuses, dolphins and more.
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.
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.
Mammalian Temperature Regulation
To maintain correct body temperature, mammals must conserve body heat in cold conditions and dissipate extra body heat in warmer conditions.
Barred Owl
The barred owl is a large owl that inhabits eastern North America and parts of western Canada. It is
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.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a conservation group that works with governments, communities, and others to solve conservation challenges.
Armadillos, Sloths and Anteaters: Fact Sheet
Armadillos, sloths, and anteaters are notable for the unique joints in their backbone.
Ray-Finned Fishes: The Most Diverse Vertebrate...
Ray-finned fishes are a highly diverse group of fishes that includes about 25,000 species. They are named for their fins, which contain bony rays or spines.
Hares, Rabbits, and Pikas: Fact Sheet
Hares, pikas and rabbits are small terrestrial mammals that include cottontails, jackrabbits, pikas, hares and rabbits.
Amur Leopard: Fact Sheet
The Amur leopard, a subspecies of leopard, ranks among the world's most endangered cats.
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.
Conservation Organizations That Protect Animals
If you are interested in getting involved in wildlife conservation, be sure to consider this list of organizations.
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.
Snow Leopard Cubs
Snow leopards, like most cats with the exception of lions, are solitary hunters. Mothers do spend time with cubs though, rearing them without assistance from the father. When snow leopard cubs are born they are blind but protected by a thick coat of fur. Page 5.
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.
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.
Snow Leopard: Fact Sheet
The snow leopard is a large species of cat that roams the mountain ranges of central and southern Asia.
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.
Giraffes: The Tallest Land Animals
Giraffes are hoofed mammals with long legs and a long neck. Their skin is a patchwork of dark chestnut spots separated by thin cream colored lines.
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.
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.
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.
Primates: Fact Sheet
Primates form complex social units and many species possess adaptations suited for life in the trees, including dextrous hands and a prehensile tail.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sponges: Glass Sponges, Demosponges, and...
Sponges are a group of simple aquatic invertebrates that include glass sponges, demisponges, and calcareous sponges.
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.
Creating a Wildlife Journal
Read how you can start keeping a journal to record your observations of animals and wildlife.
Wildlife Conservation Society
The Wildlife Conservation Society supports zoos and aquariums while promoting environmental education and conservation of wildlife and habitats.

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