This is a collection of common-sense animals, more understandable to children than biologists. It's OK to include both general kinds of animals, such as bird, but also common varieties of birds such as finch and robin.
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Salamander is a common name of approximately 550 extant species of amphibians. They are typically characterized by a superficially lizard-like appearance, with slender bodies, short noses, and long tails. All known fossil salamanders and all extinct species fall under the order Caudata, while sometimes the extant species are grouped together as the Urodela. Most salamanders have four toes on their front legs and five on their rear legs. Their moist skin usually makes them reliant on habitats in or near water, or under some protection (e.g., moist ground), often in a wetland. Some salamander species are fully aquatic throughout life, some take to the water intermittently, and some are entirely terrestrial as adults. Unique among vertebrates, they are capable of regenerating lost limbs, as well as other body parts. Many of the members of the family Salamandridae are known as newts.
The earliest known salamander fossils have been found in geological deposits of China and Kazakhstan, which have been dated to the middle Jurassic period, up to 164 million (plus or minus 4 million) years ago.
Mature salamanders generally have a basal tetrapod body form with a cylindrical trunk, four limbs
The Xoloitzcuintli (/ʃoʊloʊ.iːtsˈkwiːntli/ SHOH-loh-eets-KWEENT-lee); is a hairless breed of dog, found in toy, miniature and standard sizes. It is also known as Mexican hairless dog in English speaking countries.
In Nahuatl, from which its name English originates, its name is xōlōitzcuintli [ʃoːloːit͡sˈkʷint͡ɬi] (singular) and xōlōitzcuintlin [ʃoːloːit͡sˈkʷint͡ɬin] (plural). The name xōlōitzcuintli comes from the god Xolotl and itzcuīntli [it͡skʷiːnt͡ɬi], meaning dog in Nahuatl.
The Xolo is native to Mexico. Archaeological evidence shows that the breed has existed in Mexico for more than 3,000 years. Most likely, early forerunners of the Xolo originated as spontaneous hairless mutations of indigenous American dogs. Hairlessness may have offered a survival advantage in tropical regions. Indigenous peoples of Central and South America had Xolo dogs as home and hunting companions, and today they are still very popular companion dogs; even as the national dog of Mexico. Their value in ancient native cultures is evidenced by their frequent appearance in art and artifacts, for example, those produced by the Colima, Aztec and Toltec civilizations in Mexico.
Xolos were considered sacred
Pheasants refer to some members of the Phasianinae (Horsfield, 1821) subfamily of Phasianidae in the order Galliformes.
Pheasants are characterised by strong sexual dimorphism, males being highly ornate with bright colours and adornments such as wattles and long tails. Males are usually larger than females and have longer tails. Males play no part in rearing the young. Pheasants typically eat seeds and some insects.
The best-known is the Common Pheasant, which is widespread throughout the world in introduced feral populations and in farm operations. Various other pheasant species are popular in aviaries, such as the Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus).
This list is ordered to show presumed relationships between species
Euplocamus and Gennceus are older names more or less corresponding to the current Lophura.
These old genera were used for:
A toad is any of a number of species of amphibians in the order Anura (frogs) characterized by dry, leathery skin, short legs, and snout-like parotoid glands. A distinction between frogs and toads is not made in taxonomy, but is common in popular culture, in which toads are associated with drier skin and more terrestrial habitats than frogs. In taxonomy, toads are spread across families Bufonidae, Bombinatoridae, Discoglossidae, Pelobatidae, Rhinophrynidae, Scaphiopodidae, and Microhylidae. A group of toads is called a knot.
The bumps on a toad's skin help the animal blend into its environment visually by breaking up its outline. Also, the parotoid gland is often mistaken for 'warts'. They are present on healthy specimens and are not a result of infection.
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Toad". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Vulture is the name given to two groups of convergently evolved scavenging birds, the New World Vultures including the well-known Californian and Andean Condors, and the Old World Vultures including the birds which are seen scavenging on carcasses of dead animals on African plains. New World Vultures are found in North and South America, Old World Vultures in Europe, Africa and Asia, meaning that between the two groups, Vultures are found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.
A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of normal feathers. This helps to keep the head clean when feeding. Research has shown that the bare skin may play an important role in thermoregulation.
A group of vultures is called a wake, committee, venue, kettle, or volt. The term kettle refers to vultures in flight, while committee, volt, and venue refer to vultures resting in trees. Wake is reserved for a group of vultures that are feeding. The word Geier (taken from the German language) does not have a precise meaning in ornithology, and it is occasionally used to refer to a vulture in English, as in some poetry.
Vultures are classified into two groups: Old World Vultures
True crabs are decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura, which typically have a very short projecting "tail" (Greek: βραχύς / brachys = short, οὐρά / οura = tail), or where the reduced abdomen is entirely hidden under the thorax. Many other animals with similar names – such as hermit crabs, king crabs, porcelain crabs, horseshoe crabs and crab lice – are not true crabs.
Crabs are generally covered with a thick exoskeleton, composed primarily of calcium carbonate, and armed with a single pair of chelae (claws). Crabs are found in all of the world's oceans, while many crabs live in fresh water and on land, particularly in tropical regions. Crabs vary in size from the pea crab, a few millimetres wide, to the Japanese spider crab, with a leg span of up to 4 metres (13 ft).
About 850 species of crab are freshwater, terrestrial or semi-terrestrial species; they are found throughout the world's tropical and semi-tropical regions. They were previously thought to be a monophyletic group, but are now believed to represent at least two distinct lineages, one in the Old World and one in the New World.
The earliest unambiguous crab fossils date from the Jurassic, although Carboniferous
Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae ( /fɔrˈmɪsɨdiː/) and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 out of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist.
Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies that may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. Larger colonies consist mostly of sterile wingless females forming castes of "workers", "soldiers", or other specialised groups. Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called "drones" and one or more fertile females called "queens". The colonies sometimes are described as superorganisms because the ants appear to operate as a unified entity, collectively working together to support the colony.
Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. The only places
A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae and the order Erinaceomorpha. There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genera, found through parts of Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand (by introduction). There are no hedgehogs native to Australia, and no living species native to the Americas. Hedgehogs share distant ancestry with shrews (order Soricidae), with gymnures possibly being the intermediate link, and have changed little over the last 15 million years. Like many of the first mammals they have adapted to a nocturnal, insectivorous way of life. Hedgehogs' spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated rodent porcupines and monotreme echidnas.
The name hedgehog came into use around the year 1450, derived from the Middle English heyghoge, from heyg, hegge ("hedge"), because it frequents hedgerows, and hoge, hogge ("hog"), from its piglike snout. Other names include urchin, hedgepig and furze-pig.
Hedgehogs are easily recognized by their spines, which are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin. Their spines are not poisonous or barbed and, unlike the quills of a porcupine, cannot easily be removed from the hedgehog. However, spines normally come out
The Keeshond ( /ˈkeɪz.hɒnd/ KAYZ-hond; plural: Keeshonden) is a medium-sized dog with a plush two-layer coat of silver and black fur with a 'ruff' and a curled tail. It originated in Holland, and its closest relatives are the German spitzes such as the Pomeranian. Originally called the German Spitz, more specifically the Wolfsspitz, the name was officially changed to Keeshond, in 1926 in England, where it had been known as the Dutch Barge Dog.
A member of the spitz group of dogs, the Keeshond in American Kennel Club (AKC) standard is 17 inches (43 cm) to 18 inches (46 cm) tall and 19.25 inches (48.9 cm) ± 2.4 inches (6.1 cm) in the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standard and weighs 35 pounds (16 kg) to 45 pounds (20 kg). Sturdily built, they have a typical spitz appearance, neither coarse nor refined. They have a wedge-shaped head, a medium-length muzzle with a definite stop, small pointed ears, and an expressive face. The tail is tightly curled and, in profile, should be carried such that it is indistinguishable from the compact body of the dog.
Like all spitz-type dogs, the Keeshonden have a dense double coat, with a thick ruff around the neck. Typically, the males
A newt is an aquatic amphibian of the family Salamandridae, although not all aquatic salamanders are considered newts. Newts are classified in the subfamily Pleurodelinae of the family Salamandridae, and are found in North America, Europe and Asia. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental life stages: aquatic larva, terrestrial juvenile (called an eft), and adult. Adult newts have lizard-like bodies and may be either fully aquatic, living permanently in the water, or semi-aquatic, living terrestrially but returning to the water each year to breed.
Newts share many of the characteristics of their salamander kin; Caudata, including semi-permeable glandular skin, four equal sized limbs and a distinct tail. The newt's skin, however, is not as smooth as that of other salamanders. Aquatic larvae have true teeth on both upper and lower jaws, and external gills. They have the ability to regenerate limbs, eyes, spinal cords, hearts, intestines, and upper and lower jaws. Recently it was discovered that the Japanese fire belly newt can regenerate its eye lens 18 times over a period of 16 years and retain its structural and functional properties. The cells at the site of the
Clawed lobsters comprise a family (Nephropidae, sometimes also Homaridae) of large marine crustaceans. They have long bodies with muscular tails, and live in crevices or burrows on the sea floor. Three of their five pairs of legs have claws, including the first pair, which are usually much larger than the others. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically important, and are often one of the most profitable commodities in coastal areas they populate. Commercially important species include two species of Homarus from the northern Atlantic Ocean, and scampi – the northern-hemisphere genus Nephrops and the southern-hemisphere genus Metanephrops. Although several other groups of crustaceans have the word "lobster" in their names, the unqualified term "lobster" generally refers to the clawed lobsters of the family Nephropidae. Clawed lobsters are not closely related to spiny lobsters or slipper lobsters, which have no claws (chelae), or to squat lobsters. The closest living relatives of clawed lobsters are the reef lobsters and the three families of freshwater crayfish.
Lobsters are invertebrates with a hard protective exoskeleton. Like most arthropods, lobsters must moult in
The raccoon (/ræˈkuːn/, Procyon lotor), sometimes spelled racoon, also known as the common raccoon, North American raccoon, northern raccoon and colloquially as coon, is a medium-sized mammal native to North America. The raccoon is the largest of the procyonid family, having a body length of 40 to 70 cm (16 to 28 in) and a body weight of 3.5 to 9 kg (8 to 20 lb). Its grayish coat mostly consists of dense underfur which insulates against cold weather. Two of the raccoon's most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous front paws and its facial mask, which are themes in the mythology of several Native American tribes. Raccoons are noted for their intelligence, with studies showing that they are able to remember the solution to tasks up to three years later. The diet of the omnivorous raccoon, which is usually nocturnal, consists of about 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods, and 27% vertebrates.
The original habitats of the raccoon are deciduous and mixed forests, but due to their adaptability they have extended their range to mountainous areas, coastal marshes, and urban areas, where some homeowners consider them to be pests. As a result of escapes and deliberate introductions
The Bloodhound is a large scent hound originally bred for hunting deer and wild boar, but also used from the Middle Ages onwards for tracking human beings, and now most often bred specifically for that purpose. Thought to be descended from hounds once kept at the Abbey of St Hubert in Belgium, it is known to French speakers as the Chien de Saint-Hubert. It is famed for its ability to discern human odors even days later, over great distances, even across water. Its extraordinarily keen sense of smell is combined with a strong and tenacious tracking instinct, producing the ideal scent hound, and it is used by police and law enforcement all over the world to track escaped prisoners, missing people, lost children and lost pets.
Bloodhounds weigh from 33 to 50 kg (80 to 110 lbs), though some individuals weigh as much as 72 kg (160 lb). They stand 58 to 69 cm (23 to 27 inches) high at the withers. Bloodhounds have a typical lifespan of about 9 to 11 years. According to the AKC standard of the breed, larger dogs are preferred by conformation judges. Acceptable colors for bloodhounds are black, liver, tan, or red. Bloodhounds possess an unusually large skeletal structure with most of their
Sea lions are pinnipeds characterized by external ear flaps, long foreflippers, the ability to walk on all fours, and short, thick hair. Together with the fur seals, they comprise the family Otariidae, or eared seals. There are six extant and one extinct species (the Japanese sea lion) in five genera. Their range extends from the subarctic to tropical waters of the global ocean in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with the notable exception of the northern Atlantic Ocean. They have an average life span of 20–30 years. A male California sea lion weighs on an average about 300 kg (660 lb) and is about 8 ft (2.4 m) long, while the female sea lion weighs 100 kg (220 lb) and is 6 ft (1.8 m) long. The largest sea lion is the Steller's sea lion which can weigh 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) and grow to a length of 10 ft (3.0 m). Sea lions consume large quantities of food at a time and are known to eat about 5–8% of their body weight (about 15–35 lb (6.8–16 kg)) at a single feeding.
Together with the fur seals, they constitute the Otariidae family, collectively known as eared seals. Until recently, sea lions were grouped under a single subfamily called Otariinae, whereas fur seals were
Wombats are short-legged, muscular quadrupedal marsupials, native to Australia, approximately 1 metre (40 in) in length with a short, stubby tail. They are adaptable in habitat tolerance, and are found in forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania, as well as an isolated patch of about 300 hectares (740 acres) in Epping Forest National Park in central Queensland.
Wombats dig extensive burrow systems with rodent-like front teeth and powerful claws. One distinctive adaptation of wombats is their backwards pouch. The advantage of a backwards-facing pouch is that when digging, the wombat does not gather dirt in its pouch over its young. Although mainly crepuscular and nocturnal, wombats also venture out to feed on cool or overcast days. They are not commonly seen, but leave ample evidence of their passage, treating fences as minor inconveniences to be gone through or under, and leaving distinctive cubic faeces.
Wombats are herbivores; their diet consists mostly of grasses, sedges, herbs, bark and roots. Their incisor teeth somewhat resemble those of the placental rodents (rats, mice, etc.), being adapted for gnawing tough vegetation. Like
The Great Dane (18th Cent. French: Grand Danois), also known as German Mastiff (German: Deutsche Dogge) or Danish Hound (German: Dänischer Hund), is a breed of domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) known for its giant size. The Great Dane is one of the world's tallest dog breeds; the current world record holder, measuring 112 cm (44 in) from paw to shoulder is Zeus. Great danes were originally bred to hunt deer and wild boar.
As described by the American Kennel Club, "The Great Dane combines, in its regal appearance, dignity, strength and elegance with great size and a powerful, well-formed, smoothly muscled body. It is one of the giant working breeds, but is unique in that its general conformation must be so well balanced that it never appears clumsy, and shall move with a long reach and powerful drive." The Great Dane is a short haired breed with a strong galloping figure. In the ratio between length and height, the Great Dane should be square. The male dog should not be less than 30 in (76 cm) at the shoulders, a female 28 in (71 cm). Danes under minimum height are disqualified.
From year to year, the tallest living dog is typically a Great Dane. Previous record holders include
The leopard ( /ˈlɛpərd/), Panthera pardus, is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four "big cats" in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion, and jaguar. The leopard was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its range of distribution has decreased radically because of hunting and loss of habitat. It is now chiefly found in sub-Saharan Africa; there are also fragmented populations in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. Because of its declining range and population, it is listed as a "Near Threatened" species on the IUCN Red List.
Compared to other members of the Felidae family, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more slightly built. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard's rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguars do. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers.
The species' success in the wild is in part due to its
Partridges are birds in the pheasant family, Phasianidae. They are a non-migratory Old World group.
These are medium-sized birds, intermediate between the larger pheasants and the smaller quails. Partridges are native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Partridges are ground-nesting seed-eaters.
According to Greek legend, the first partridge appeared when Daedalus threw his nephew, Perdix, off a roof in a fit of jealous rage.
Partridges famously appear as part of the first gift listed in the Christmas carol, "The 12 Days of Christmas". As such, "A partridge in a pear tree" is sung as the last line of each chorus.
An alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.
Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft) to 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level, throughout the year. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden, but were bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool. These items include blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, socks, coats and bedding in other parts of the world. The fiber comes in more than 52 natural colors as classified in Peru, 12 as classified in Australia and 16 as classified in the United States.
In the textile industry, "alpaca" primarily refers to the hair of Peruvian alpacas, but more broadly it refers to a style of fabric originally made from alpaca hair, but now often made from similar fibers, such as mohair, Icelandic sheep wool, or even high-quality English wool. In trade,
The term worm (pronounced /ˈwɜrm/) refers to an obsolete taxon (vermes) used by Carolus Linnaeus and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck for all non-arthropod invertebrate animals, and stems from the Old English word wyrm. Currently it is used to describe many different distantly-related animals that typically have a long cylindrical tube-like body and no legs. Most animals called "worms" are invertebrates, but the term is also used for the amphibian caecilians and the slow worm Anguis, a legless burrowing lizard. Invertebrate animals commonly called "worms" include annelids (earthworms), nematodes (roundworms), platyhelminthes (flatworms), marine polychaete worms (bristle worms), marine nemertean worms ("bootlace worms"), marine Chaetognatha (arrow worms), priapulid worms and insect larvae such as caterpillars, grubs, and maggots. Historical English-speaking cultures have used the (now deprecated) terms worm, Wurm, or wyrm to describe carnivorous reptiles ("serpents"), and the related mythical beasts dragons. The term worm can also be used as an insult or pejorative term used towards people to describe a cowardly or weak individual or individual seen as pitiable.
Worms vary in size from
The family Viverridae is made up of around 30 species of medium-sized mammals, the viverrids, including all of the genets, the binturong, most of the civets, and the two African linsangs.
Viverrids are native to most of the Old World tropics, nearly all of Africa (save for the area immediately south of the Mediterranean), and the Iberian Peninsula. Favoured habitats include woodland, savanna, mountains and, above all, tropical rainforest. Due to heavy deforestation, many are faced with severe loss of habitat; several species are considered vulnerable (such as the rare Hose's Civet, endemic to northern Borneo); the Otter Civet is classified as endangered.
Viverrids are amongst the most primitive families of the Carnivora, with skeletons very similar to those of fossils dating back to the Eocene, up to 50 million years ago. They are variable in form, but generally resemble long-nosed cats. Most have retractile or partially retractile claws, a baculum, and an anal scent gland.
Viverrids range in size from the African Linsang with a body length of 33 cm (13 in), and a weight of 650 g (1.4 lb), to the African Civet at 84 cm (33 in) and 18 kg (40 lb), although very large Binturongs, to
The common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), also known as the robust chimpanzee, is a species of great ape. Colloquially, the common chimpanzee is often called the chimpanzee (or "chimp"), though technically this term refers to both species in the genus Pan: the common chimpanzee and the closely related bonobo, formerly called the pygmy chimpanzee. Evidence from fossils and DNA sequencing show both species of chimpanzees are the sister group to the modern human lineage.
The common chimpanzee is covered in coarse black hair, but has a bare face, fingers, toes, palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It is considered more robust than the bonobo, weighing between 40 and 65 kg (88 and 140 lb) and measuring approximately 1.6 to 1.3 m (5 ft 3 in to 4 ft 3 in) from head to tail. Its gestation period is eight months. The infant is weaned at about three years old, but usually maintains a close relationship with its mother for several more years; it reaches puberty at the age of eight to 10, and its lifespan in captivity is about 50 years.
The common chimpanzee lives in groups which range in size from 15 to 150 members, although individuals travel and forage in much smaller groups during the
The Whippet is a breed of dog in the sighthound family. They are active and playful and are physically similar to a small Greyhound.
Whippets are a medium-size dog averaging in weight from 15 to 30 lb (6.8–14 kg), with height (under the FCI standard) of 18.5 - 20 inches (47 - 51 cm) for males and 17.5–18.5 inches (44–47 cm) for females. Whippets tend to be somewhat larger in the United States and Canada with their population in show, coursing and some race whippets required to be within the AKC standard of 18.5 to 22.5 inches (47 to 57 cm) for males, and 17.5 to 21.5 inches (44 to 55 cm) for females. Because colour is considered immaterial in judging Whippets, they come in a wide variety of colours and marking patterns, everything from solid black to solid white, with red, fawn, brindle, blue, or cream. All manner of spots and blazes and patches are seen, sometimes all in the same litter.
Whippets regularly compete in dog shows, lure coursing and racing. They are among the fastest of dogs running a course at 36 mph (58 km/h) and can run 200 yards in under 12 seconds.
Whippets are generally quiet and gentle dogs, and may be content to spend much of the day resting. They are loyal
The Samoyed dog (/ˈsæməjɛd/ SAM-ə-yed or /səˈmɔɪ.ɛd/ sə-MOY-ed; Russian: Самоедская собака) takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. These nomadic reindeer herders bred the fluffy white dogs to help with the herding, and to pull sleds when they moved. An alternate name for the breed, especially in Europe, is Bjelkier.
Males typically weigh between 23–30 kilograms (51–66 lb), while females typically weigh 17–25 kilograms (37–55 lb).
AKC Standard : 21–23.5 inches (53–60 cm) at the shoulder for males, 19–21 inches (48–53 cm) for females.
UK Kennel Club Standard : 51–56 centimetres (20–22 in) for males, 46–51 centimetres (18–20 in) for females.
Samoyed eyes are usually black or brown and are almond in shape. Blue or other color eyes can occur but are not allowed in the show ring.
Samoyed ears are thick and covered with fur, triangular in shape, and erect. They are almost always white but can often have a light to dark brown tint (known as "biscuit"), usually around the tips of ears.
The Samoyed tail is one of the breed's more distinguishing features. Like the Alaskan Malamute, their tail is carried curled over their back; however, unlike the Malamute, the Samoyed
A kangaroo (/ˌkæŋɡəˈruː/) is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae (macropods, meaning 'large foot'). In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, especially those of the genus Macropus, red kangaroo, antilopine kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo and western grey kangaroo. Kangaroos are endemic to the country of Australia. The smaller macropods are found in Australia and New Guinea.
Kangaroos have large, powerful hind legs, large feet adapted for leaping, a long muscular tail for balance, and a small head. Like most marsupials, female kangaroos have a pouch called a marsupium in which joeys complete postnatal development.
Larger kangaroos have adapted much better to changes brought to the Australian landscape by humans and though many of their smaller cousins are endangered, they are plentiful. They are not farmed to any extent, but wild kangaroos are shot for meat, leather hides, sport, and to protect grazing land for sheep and cattle. Although there is some controversy, harvesting kangaroo meat has many environmental and health benefits over traditional meats.
The kangaroo is a national symbol of Australia: its emblem is used on the Australian
The walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is a large flippered marine mammal with a discontinuous distribution about the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean and subarctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere. The walrus is the only living species in the Odobenidae family and Odobenus genus. This species is subdivided into three subspecies: the Atlantic walrus (O. r. rosmarus) which lives in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific walrus (O. r. divergens) which lives in the Pacific Ocean, and O. r. laptevi, which lives in the Laptev Sea of the Arctic Ocean.
Adult walruses are easily recognized by their prominent tusks, whiskers, and bulkiness. Adult males in the Pacific can weigh more than 1,700 kg (3,700 lb) and, among pinnipeds, are exceeded in size only by the two species of elephant seals. Walruses live mostly in shallow waters above the continental shelves, spending significant amounts of their lives on the sea ice looking for benthic bivalve mollusks to eat. Walruses are relatively long-lived, social animals, and they are considered to be a "keystone species" in the Arctic marine regions.
The walrus has played a prominent role in the cultures of many indigenous Arctic peoples, who have hunted the walrus
The quagga (Equus quagga quagga) is an extinct subspecies of the plains zebra, which was once found in great numbers in the Highveld of the Cape Province and the southern part of the Orange Free State in South Africa. It was distinguished from other zebras by having the usual vivid stripes on the front part of the body only. In the mid-section, the stripes faded and became wider, amalgamating into the plain brown of the rear parts. The legs completely lacked stripes and were lightly coloured. The name comes from a Khoikhoi word for zebra and is onomatopoeic, being said to resemble the quagga's call. The only quagga to have been photographed alive was a mare at the Zoological Society of London's Zoo in Regent's Park in 1870.
The quagga was originally classified as an individual species, Equus quagga, in 1778. Over the next 200 years or so, many other zebras were described by naturalists and explorers. Because of the great variation in coat patterns (no two zebras are alike), taxonomists were left with a great number of described "species", and no easy way to tell which of these were true species, which were subspecies, and which were simply natural variants.
Long before this
Caridea, commonly known as caridean shrimp, is an infraorder of shrimp within the order Decapoda. They are found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water.
Carideans are found in every kind of aquatic habitat, with the majority of species being marine. Around a quarter of the described species are found in fresh water, however, including almost all the members of the species-rich family Atyidae and the Palaemonidae subfamily Palaemoninae. They include several commercially important species, such as Macrobrachium rosenbergii, and are found on every continent except Antarctica. The marine species are found at depths of up to 5,000 metres (16,000 ft), and from the tropics to the polar regions.
As well as the great variety in habitat, carideans vary greatly in form, from species a few millimetres long when fully grown, to those that grow to over a foot long. Except where secondarily lost, shrimp have one pair of stalked eyes, although they are sometimes covered by the carapace, which protects the cephalothorax. The carapace also surrounds the gills, through which water is pumped by the action of the mouthparts.
Most carideans are omnivorous, but some are specialised for
A gazelle is any of many antelope species in the genus Gazella, or formerly considered to belong to it. Six species are included in two genera, Eudorcas and Nanger, which were formerly considered subgenera. The genus Procapra has also been considered a subgenus of Gazella, and its members are also referred to as gazelles; however they are not dealt with in this article.
Gazelles are known as swift animals – some are able to run at bursts as high as 60 miles per hour (97 km/h), or run at a sustained speed of 30 miles per hour (48 km/h). Gazelles are mostly found in the deserts, grasslands and savannas of Africa, but they are also found in southwest and central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. They tend to live in herds and will eat less coarse, easily digestible plants and leaves.
Gazelles are rather small antelopes, most standing 2–3.5 ft (61–110 cm) high at the shoulder, and are generally fawn-colored.
The gazelle genera are Gazella, Eudorcas and Nanger. The taxonomy of these genera is a confused one, and the classification of species and subspecies has been an unsettled issue. Currently, the genus Gazella is widely considered to contain about 13 species. Four further species
The Mallard ( /ˈmælɑrd/ or /ˈmælərd/) or Wild Duck (Anas platyrhynchos) is a dabbling duck which breeds throughout the temperate and subtropical Americas, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and has been introduced to New Zealand and Australia. This duck belongs to the subfamily Anatinae of the waterfowl family Anatidae.
The male birds (drakes) have a glossy green head and are grey on wings and belly, while the females have mainly brown-speckled plumage. Mallards live in wetlands, eat water plants and small animals, and are gregarious. This species is the ancestor of most breeds of domestic ducks.
The Mallard was one of the many bird species originally described by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th-century work, Systema Naturae, and still bears its original binomial name.
"Mallard" is derived from the Old French malart or mallart "wild drake", although its ultimate derivation is unclear. It may be related to an Old High German masculine proper name Madelhart, clues lying in the alternate English forms "maudelard" or "mawdelard".
Mallards frequently interbreed with their closest relatives in the genus Anas, such as the American Black Duck, and also with species more distantly related, for
Sighthounds, also called gazehounds, are hounds that primarily hunt by speed and sight, instead of by scent and endurance as scent hounds do.
These dogs specialize in pursuing prey, keeping it in sight, and overpowering it by their great speed and agility. They must be able to detect motion quickly, so they have keen vision. Sighthounds must be able to capture fast, agile prey such as deer and hare, so they have a very flexible back and long legs for a long stride, a deep chest to support an unusually (compared to other dogs) large heart, very efficient lungs for both anaerobic and aerobic sprints, and a lean, wiry body to keep their weight at a minimum. The typical sighthound type also has a light, lean head, which is referred to as being dolichocephalic in its proportions. This shape can create the illusion that their heads are longer than usual. Wolves and other wild dogs are dolichocephalic, but some domesticated dogs have become brachycephalic (short-headed) due to artificial selection by humans over the course of 12,000 years. Dolichocephalic breeds have a wider field of vision but smaller overlap between the eyes and therefore possibly poorer depth perception in some of
The Warthog or Common Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) is a wild member of the pig family that lives in grassland, savanna, and woodland in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the past it was commonly treated as a subspecies of P. aethiopicus, but today that scientific name is restricted to the Desert Warthog of northern Kenya, Somalia, and eastern Ethiopia.
The common name comes from the four large, wart-like protrusions found on the head of the warthog, which serve as a fat reserve and are used for defense when males fight. Afrikaans-speaking people call the animal "vlakvark", meaning "pig of the plains".
The Warthog is medium-sized as a wild suid species. The head-and-body length ranges in size from 0.9 to 1.5 m (3.0 to 4.9 ft) in length and shoulder height is from 63.5 to 85 cm (25.0 to 33 in). Females, at 45 to 75 kg (99 to 170 lb), are typically a bit smaller and lighter than males, at 60 to 150 kg (130 to 330 lb). A warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards. The lower pair, which is far shorter than the upper pair, becomes razor sharp by rubbing against the upper pair every time the mouth is opened and closed. The upper canine teeth
The wrens are mostly small, brownish passerine birds in the mainly New World family Troglodytidae. There are approximately 80 species of true wrens in approximately 20 genera. Only the Eurasian Wren occurs in the Old World, where in Anglophone regions it is commonly known simply as the "wren" as it is the originator of the name. The name wren has been applied to other unrelated birds, particularly the New Zealand wrens (Acanthisittidae) and the Australian wrens (Maluridae).
Most wrens are small and rather inconspicuous, except for their loud and often complex songs. Notable exceptions are the relatively large members of the genus Campylorhynchus, which can be quite bold in their behavior. Wrens have short wings that are barred in most species, and they often hold their tails upright. As far as known, wrens are primarily insectivorous, eating insects, spiders and other small arthropods, but many species also eat vegetable matter and some will take small frogs/lizards.
The English name wren derives from Middle English wrenne, Old English wraenna, attested (as werna) very early, in an 8th century gloss. It is cognate to Old High German wrendo, wrendilo and Icelandic rindill (the
Hyenas or Hyaenas (from Greek "ὕαινα" - hýaina) are the animals of the family Hyaenidae ( /hɪˈɛnɨdɛ/) of suborder feliforms of the Carnivora. It is the fourth smallest biological family in the Carnivora (consisting of four species), and one of the smallest in the mammalia. Despite their low diversity, hyenas are unique and vital components to most African and some Asian ecosystems.
Although phylogenetically close to felines and viverrids, hyenas are behaviourally and morphologically similar to canines in several aspects (see Convergent evolution); both hyenas and canines are non-arboreal, cursorial hunters that catch prey with their teeth rather than claws. Both eat food quickly and may store it, and their calloused feet with large, blunt, non-retractable nails are adapted for running and making sharp turns. However, the hyenas' grooming, scent marking, defecating habits, mating and parental behaviour are consistent with the behaviour of other feliforms. Although long reputed to be cowardly scavengers, hyenas, especially spotted hyenas, kill as much as 95% of the food they eat, and have been known to drive off leopards or lionesses from their kills. Hyenas are primarily nocturnal
Weasels ( /ˈwiːzəl/) are mammals forming the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family. They are small, active predators, long and slender with short legs.
Weasels vary in length from 173 to 217 mm (6.8 to 8.5 in), females being smaller than the males, and usually have red or brown upper coats and white bellies; some populations of some species moult to a wholly white coat in winter. They have long, slender bodies, which enable them to follow their prey into burrows. Their tails may be from 34 to 52 mm (1.3 to 2.0 in) long. Weasels have a reputation for cleverness, quickness and guile.
Weasels feed on small mammals, and have from time to time been considered vermin, since some species took poultry from farms, or rabbits from commercial warrens. They occur all across the world except for Antarctica, Australia, and neighbouring islands.
The English word "weasel" was originally applied to one species of the genus, the European form of the least weasel (Mustela nivalis). This usage is retained in British English, where the name is also extended to cover several other small species of the genus. However, in technical discourse and in American usage, the term "weasel" can refer to any
The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large-sized feline (family Felidae, subfamily Felinae) inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East. It is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx. The cheetah can run faster than any other land animal— as fast as 112 to 120 km/h (70 to 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft), and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to over 100 km/h (62 mph) in three seconds.
This cat is also notable for modifications in the species' paws. It is one of the few felids with semi-retractable claws.
The word "cheetah" is derived from the Sanskrit word citrakāyaḥ, meaning "variegated", via the Hindi 'चीता' (cītā).
The genus name, Acinonyx, means "no-move-claw" in Greek, while the species name, jubatus, means "maned" or "crested" in Latin, a reference to the dorsal crest found in cheetah cubs.
The cheetah has unusually low genetic variability. This is accompanied by a very low sperm count, motility, and deformed flagella. Skin grafts between unrelated cheetahs illustrate the former point in that there is no rejection of the donor skin. It is thought that the species went through a prolonged period of inbreeding following a
The Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas) is a bird species of the New World jays, which exhibits distinct regional variations within its large but discontinuous range. This stretches from southern Texas south into Mexico and Central America, with a break before the species reappears in a broad sweep across the highlands (primarily the Andes) of South America in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. It has been suggested that the North American taxa should be considered separate species, Cyanocorax luxuosus. If following this taxonomy, the northern species retains the common name Green Jay, while the South American population, which retains the scientific name C. yncas, is renamed the Inca Jay.
The Green Jays of the Northern population are smaller, at 25–29 cm (10-11.5 in), than the South American birds, at 29.5-34.3 cm (11.7-13.6 in). Weight ranges from 66 to 110 grams (2.3-3.9 oz). They have feathers of yellowish-white with blue tips on the top of the head, cheeks and nape, though some taxa have more blue than others. In South American populations, the crown can appear almost entirely white, with less extensive blue, and there's a prominent black crest behind the bill. A black
The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. The valves are highly calcified.
Some kinds of oyster are commonly consumed, cooked or raw, by humans as a delicacy. Other kinds such as pearl oysters, generally not eaten by humans, are harvested for the pearl produced within the mantle.
First attested in English 17th century, the word oyster comes from Old French oistre, in turn from Latin ostrea, the feminine form of ostreum, which is the latinisation of the Greek ὄστρεον (ostreon), "oyster". Compare ὀστέον (osteon), "bone".
True oysters are members of the family Ostreidae. This family includes the edible oysters, which mainly belong to the genera Ostrea, Crassostrea, Ostreola and Saccostrea. Examples include the Belon oyster, Eastern oyster, Olympia oyster, Pacific oyster, and the Sydney rock oyster,
Almost all shell-bearing mollusks can secrete pearls, yet most are not very valuable.
Pearl oysters are not closely related to true oysters, being members of a distinct family, the feathered oysters (Pteriidae). Both cultured pearls and natural pearls can be obtained from pearl oysters, though
The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to 3.3 metres (11 ft) and weighing up to 306 kg (670 lb). It is the third largest land carnivore (behind only the Polar bear and the Brown bear). Its most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts. It has exceptionally stout teeth, and the canines are the longest among living felids with a crown height of as much as 74.5 mm (2.93 in) or even 90 mm (3.5 in). In zoos, tigers have lived for 20 to 26 years, which also seems to be their longevity in the wild. They are territorial and generally solitary but social animals, often requiring large contiguous areas of habitat that support their prey requirements. This, coupled with the fact that they are indigenous to some of the more densely populated places on Earth, has caused significant conflicts with humans.
Tigers once ranged widely across Asia, from Turkey in the west to the eastern coast of Russia. Over the past 100 years, they have lost 93% of their historic range, and have been extirpated from southwest and central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, and from large areas of
The Greyhound is a breed of sighthound that has been primarily bred for coursing game and racing, which has also recently seen a resurgence in its popularity as a pedigree show dog and family pet.
It is a gentle and intelligent breed whose combination of long, powerful legs, deep chest, flexible spine, and slim build allows it to reach average race speeds in excess of 18 metres per second (59 feet per second, or 63 kilometres per hour (39 mph)). At maximum acceleration, a greyhound reaches a full speed of 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph) within 30 metres or six strides from the boxes, traveling at almost 20 metres per second for the first 250 metres of a race. The only other animal that can accelerate faster over a short distance is the cheetah, which can reach speeds of 109 kilometres per hour (68 mph) over 3-4 strides from a standing start.
Males are usually 71 to 76 centimetres (28 to 30 in) tall at the withers and weigh around 27 to 40 kilograms (60 to 88 lb). Females tend to be smaller with shoulder heights ranging from 68 to 71 centimetres (27 to 28 in) and weights from less than 27 to 34 kilograms (60 to 75 lb). Greyhounds have very short hair, which is easy to maintain.
The Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), also called the White Scavenger Vulture or Pharaoh's Chicken, is a small Old World vulture and the only member of the genus Neophron. It is widely distributed; the Egyptian Vulture is found from southwestern Europe and northern Africa to India. The contrasting underwing pattern and wedge-shaped tail make it distinctive in flight as it soars in thermals during the warmer parts of the day. Egyptian Vultures feed mainly on carrion but are opportunistic and will prey on small mammals, birds, and reptiles. They also feed on the eggs of other birds, breaking larger ones by tossing a large pebble onto them. The use of tools is rare in birds and apart from the use of a pebble as a hammer, Egyptian Vultures also use twigs to roll up wool for use in their nest. Egyptian Vultures that breed in the temperate regions migrate south in winter while tropical populations are relatively sedentary. Populations of this species have declined in the 20th century and some island populations are endangered by hunting, accidental poisoning, and collision with power lines.
The genus Neophron contains only a single species. A few prehistoric species from the
The Saluki, also known as the Royal Dog of Egypt and Persian Greyhound (Arabic: سلوقي, Persian: تازی) is one of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dog. From the period of the Middle Kingdom onwards, Saluki-like animals appear on the ancient Egyptian tombs of 2134 BC. They have connections both to the Bible and Imperial China. Modern breeding in the west began in 1895 when Florence Amherst imported a breeding pair of Salukis from Lower Egypt and began working to popularize the breed. Salukis were recognized by The Kennel Club in 1923, and by the American Kennel Club in 1929. The breed is also the mascot of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
The Saluki is a sighthound and historically travelled throughout the Middle East with nomadic desert tribes over an area stretching from the Sahara to the Caspian Sea. They have been used to hunt quarry such as gazelles in the Middle East. Shaped like a typical sighthound, they come in two varieties, smooth and feathered. The feathered variety is more common, and the breed is known for the fur on its ears, tail and the back of its legs. Though they are an independent breed that needs patient training, they are gentle and affectionate
Mussel is the common name used for members of several families of clams or bivalvia mollusca, from saltwater and freshwater habitats. These groups have in common a shell whose outline is elongated and asymmetrical compared with other edible clams, which are often more or less rounded or oval.
The word "mussel" is most frequently used to mean the edible bivalves of the marine family Mytilidae, most of which live on exposed shores in the intertidal zone, attached by means of their strong byssal threads ("beard") to a firm substrate. A few species (in the genus Bathymodiolus) have colonised hydrothermal vents associated with deep ocean ridges.
In most marine mussels the shell is longer than it is wide, being wedge-shaped or asymmetrical. The external colour of the shell is often dark blue, blackish, or brown, while the interior is silvery and somewhat nacreous.
The word "mussel" is also used for many freshwater bivalves, including the freshwater pearl mussels. Freshwater mussel species inhabit lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks, canals, grouped in a different subclass, despite some very superficial similarities in appearance.
Freshwater Zebra mussels and their relatives in the family
The Scottish Terrier (also known as the Aberdeen Terrier), popularly called the Scottie, is a breed of dog. Initially one of the highland breeds of Terrier that were grouped under the name of Skye Terrier, it is one of five breeds of terrier that originated in Scotland, the other four being the modern Skye, Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, and West Highland White Terrier. They are an independent and rugged breed with a wiry outer coat and a soft dense undercoat. The First Earl of Dumbarton nicknamed the breed "the diehard." The modern breed is said to be able to trace its lineage back to a single female, named Splinter II.
They are a small breed of Terrier with a distinctive shape and have had many roles in popular culture. They have been owned by a variety of celebrities, including the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose Scottie "Fala" is included with FDR in a statue in Washington, DC, as well as the 43rd President George W. Bush. They are also well known for being a playing piece in the board game Monopoly. Described as a territorial, feisty dog, they can make a good watchdog and tend to be very loyal to their family. Healthwise, Scottish Terriers can be
In Europe, "magpie" is often used by English speakers as a synonym for the European Magpie, as there are no other magpies in Europe outside of the Iberian Peninsula. That bird was referred to as a "pie" until the late 16th century when the feminine name "mag" was added to the beginning.
Magpies are believed to be among the most intelligent of animals: the European Magpie is one of the few animal species known to be able to recognize itself in a mirror test.
According to analysis, magpies do not form the monophyletic group they are traditionally believed to be—a long tail has certainly elongated (or shortened) independently in multiple lineages of corvid birds. Among the traditional magpies, there appear to be two distinct lineages: one consists of Holarctic species with black/white coloration and is probably closely related to crows and Eurasian jays. The other contains several species from South to East Asia with vivid coloration which is predominantly green or blue. The Azure-winged Magpie is a species with a most peculiar distribution and unclear relationships. It may be the single survivor of a long extinct group of corvid genera.
Other research has cast doubt on the taxonomy
Chimpanzee, sometimes colloquially chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitats of the two species:
Chimpanzees are members of the Hominidae family, along with gorillas, humans, and orangutans. Chimpanzees split from the human branch of the family about 4 to 6 million years ago. The two chimpanzee species are the closest living relatives to humans, all being members of the Hominini tribe (along with extinct species of Hominina subtribe). Chimpanzees are the only known members of the Panina subtribe. The two Pan species split only about one million years ago.
The genus Pan is considered to be part of the subfamily Homininae to which humans also belong. These two species are the closest living evolutionary relatives to humans, sharing a common ancestor with humans about four to six million years ago. Research by Mary-Claire King in 1973 found 99% identical DNA between human beings and chimpanzees, although research since has modified that finding to about 94% commonality, with some of the difference occurring in noncoding DNA. It has been proposed, for instance by J. Diamond in his book
The domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the family Bovidae and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over 300 distinct breeds of goat. Goats are one of the oldest domesticated species, and have been used for their milk, meat, hair, and skins over much of the world.
In the 20th century, they have gained popularity as pets. Female goats are referred to as "does" or "nannies", intact males as "bucks" or "billies", and their offspring are "kids". Castrated males are "wethers". Goat meat from younger animals is called "kid" or cabrito (Spanish), and from older animals is simply known as "goat" or sometimes called chevon (French), or in some areas "mutton" (which more often refers to adult sheep meat).
The Modern English word "goat" comes from the Old English gāt which meant "she-goat", and this in turn derived from Proto-Germanic *gaitaz (cf. Old Norse and Dutch geit "goat", German Geiß "she-goat", and Gothic gaits "goat"), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ǵhaidos meaning "young goat" (cf. Latin haedus
The wildebeest (plural wildebeest or wildebeests, wildebeesties (juv) ), also called the gnu ( /ˈnuː/ NOO or /ˈnjuː/ NEW) is an antelope of the genus Connochaetes. It is a hooved (ungulate) mammal. Wildebeest is Dutch for "wild beast" or "wild cattle" in Afrikaans (beest = cattle), while Connochaetes derives from the Greek words konnos (beard) and khaite (flowing hair). The name "gnu" originates from the Khoikhoi name for these animals, gnou.
Gnus belong to the family Bovidae, which includes antelopes, cattle, goats, and other even-toed horned ungulates. Connochaetes includes two species, both native to Africa: the black wildebeest, or white-tailed gnu (C. gnou), and the blue wildebeest, or brindled gnu (C. taurinus). Fossil records suggest these two species diverged about one million years ago, resulting in northern and southern species. The blue wildebeest changed very little from the ancestor species, while the black wildebeest took on more morphological changes to adapt to a habitat of open grassland in the south. Today, the blue wildebeest has five subspecies, while the black wildebeest has no named subspecies. In East Africa, the wildebeest is the most abundant big-game
The Airedale Terrier (often shortened to "Airedale") is a breed of the terrier type that originated in Airedale, a geographic area in Yorkshire, England. It is traditionally called the "King of Terriers" because it is the largest of the terrier breeds. Bred from a Black and Tan Terrier and an Otterhound, the breed has also been called the Waterside Terrier, because it was bred originally to hunt otters in and around the valleys of the River Aire which runs through Airedale. In the United Kingdom this breed has also been used as a police dog.
The Airedale is the largest of the British Terriers. They weigh 25–30 kilograms (55–66 lb) and have a height at the withers of 58–61 centimetres (23–24 in) for dogs, with females slightly smaller. The American Kennel Club standard specifies a smaller dog. Larger ADTs, up to 55 kilograms (120 lb) can be found in the North America. They are often called "Oorangs." This was the name of a kennel in Ohio in the early 1900s.
The Airedale has a medium-length black and tan coat with a harsh topcoat and a soft undercoat. They are an alert and energetic breed, "not aggressive but fearless." It has been claimed that the large "hunting" type or Oorang
Amphibians are members of the class Amphibia, whose living forms include frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians. They are cold-blooded, tetrapod vertebrates. Most have four limbs and live in fresh water or on land but the caecilians, though included in the group, live in burrows in damp soil and are limbless. Amphibians typically have a larval stage that lives in water but there are many different behavioural adaptations that have developed among species to bypass this necessity. The young undergo metamorphosis from a larval form with gills to an adult air-breathing form with lungs. Amphibians also use their skin for respiration and some small terrestrial salamanders rely entirely on this and have no lungs.
The earliest amphibians evolved in the Devonian Period from sarcopterygian fish with lungs and bony-limbed fins, features that were helpful in adapting to dry land. They diversified and became dominant during the Carboniferous and Permian periods, but were later displaced by reptiles and other vertebrates. Over time, amphibians shrank in size and decreased in diversity, leaving only the modern subclass Lissamphibia.
The three modern orders of amphibians are Anura (the
The Chihuahua (help·info) /t͡ʃɪˈwɑwɑ/ (Spanish: chihuahueño) is the smallest breed of dog and is named for the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. Chihuahuas come in a wide variety of sizes, head shapes, colors, and coat lengths.
The Chihuahua’s history is puzzling and there are many theories surrounding the origin of the breed. Both folklore and archeological finds show that the breed originated in Mexico. The most common and most likely theory is that Chihuahuas are descended from the Techichi, a companion dog favored by the Toltec civilization in Mexico. No records of the Techichi are available prior to the 9th century, although dog pots from Colima, Mexico, buried as part of the western Mexico shaft tomb tradition which date back to 300 B.C. are thought to depict Techichis. It is probable that earlier ancestors were present prior to the Mayans as dogs approximating the Chihuahua are found in materials from the Great Pyramid of Cholula, predating 1530 and in the ruins of Chichen Itza on the Yucatán Peninsula. In fact, wheeled dog toys representing both the "deer head" and "apple head" varieties of Chihuahua have been unearthed across Mesoamerica from Mexico to El Salvador. The
The bird family Phalacrocoracidae is represented by some 40 species of cormorants and shags. /ˈkɔrmərənt/ Several different classifications of the family have been proposed recently, and the number of genera is disputed.
There is no consistent distinction between cormorants and shags. The names "cormorant" and "shag" were originally the common names of the two species of the family found in Great Britain, Phalacrocorax carbo (now referred to by ornithologists as the Great Cormorant) and P. aristotelis (the European Shag). "Shag" refers to the bird's crest, which the British forms of the Great Cormorant lack. As other species were discovered by English-speaking sailors and explorers elsewhere in the world, some were called cormorants and some shags, depending on whether they had crests or not. Sometimes the same species is called a cormorant in one part of the world and a shag in another, e.g., the Great Cormorant is called the Black Shag in New Zealand (the birds found in Australasia have a crest that is absent in European members of the species). Van Tets (1976) proposed to divide the family into two genera and attach the name "Cormorant" to one and "Shag" to the other, but this
There are two living species referred to as "mink": the European Mink and the American Mink. The extinct Sea Mink is related to the American Mink, but was much larger. All three species are dark-colored, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the weasels and the otters and ferrets. The American Mink is larger and more adaptable than the European Mink. It is sometimes possible to distinguish between the European and American mink; a European Mink always has a large white patch on its upper lip, while the American species sometimes does not. Thus, any mink without such a patch can be identified with certainty as an American Mink, but an individual with a patch cannot be certainly identified without looking at the skeleton. Taxonomically, both American and European Mink used to be placed in the same genus Mustela ("Weasels"), but most recently the American Mink has been re-classified as belonging to its own genus Neovison.
The American Mink's fur has been highly prized for its use in clothing, with hunting giving way to farming. Its treatment has also been a focus of animal rights and animal welfare activism. American Mink have found their way
Dolphins are marine mammals closely related to whales and porpoises. There are almost forty species of dolphin in 17 genera. They vary in size from 1.2 m (4 ft) and 40 kg (90 lb) (Maui's dolphin), up to 9.5 m (30 ft) and 10 tonnes (9.8 long tons; 11 short tons) (the orca or killer whale). They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, eating mostly fish and squid. The family Delphinidae is the largest in the Cetacean order, and evolved relatively recently, about ten million years ago, during the Miocene. Dolphins are among the most intelligent animals, and their often friendly appearance, an artifact of the "smile" of their mouthline, and seemingly playful attitude have made them very popular in human culture.
The name is originally from Greek δελφίς (delphís), "dolphin", which was related to the Greek δελφύς (delphus), "womb". The animal's name can therefore be interpreted as meaning "a 'fish' with a womb". The name was transmitted via the Latin delphinus (the romanization of the later Greek δελφῖνος – delphinos), which in Medieval Latin became dolfinus and in Old French daulphin, which reintroduced the ph into the word. The
The Italian Greyhound is a small breed of dog of the sight hound type, sometimes called an "I.G.", .
The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sighthounds, typically weighing about 8 to 18 lb (3.6 to 8.2 kg) and standing about 13 to 15 inches (33 to 38 cm) tall at the withers. Though they are in the "toy" group based on their weight, they are larger than other dogs in the category due to their slender bodies, so owners must be careful when sizing clothing or accommodations.
The Italian Greyhound's chest is deep, with a tucked up abdomen, long slender legs and a long neck that tapers down to a small head. The face is long and pointed, like a full sized greyhound. Overall, they look like "miniature" Greyhounds, though many Italian Greyhound owners dispute the use of the term "miniature Greyhound", in reference to the breed itself. By definition of the American Kennel Club - they are true genetic greyhounds, with a bloodline extending back over 2000 years. Their current small stature is a function of selective breeding. Their gait is distinctive and should be high stepping and free, rather like that of a horse. They are able to run at top speed with a double suspension gallop, and
The macaques ( /məˈkɑːk/ or /məˈkæk/) constitute a genus (Macaca /məˈkɑːkə/) of Old World monkeys of the subfamily Cercopithecinae.
Aside from humans (genus Homo), the macaques are the most widespread primate genus, ranging from Japan to Afghanistan and, in the case of the barbary macaque, to North Africa. Twenty-two macaque species are currently recognised, include some of the monkeys best known to nonzoologists, such as the rhesus macaque, Macaca mulatta, and the barbary macaque, M. sylvanus, a colony of which lives on the Rock of Gibraltar. Although several species lack tails, and their common names therefore refer to them as apes, these are true monkeys, with no greater relationship to the true apes than any other Old World monkeys.
In some species, skin folds join the second through fifth toes, almost reaching the first metatarsal joint.
Macaques have a very intricate social structure and hierarchy. If a macaque of a lower level in the social chain has eaten berries and none are left for a higher-level macaque, then the one higher in status can, within this social organization, remove the berries from the other monkey's mouth.
Several species of macaques are used extensively
The Pharaoh Hound is a breed of dog and the national hound of the Mediterranean nation of Malta. Its native name is Kelb tal-Fenek (plural: Klieb tal-Fenek) in Maltese, which means "rabbit hound". The dog is traditionally used by some Maltese men for hunting. The breed has no conclusive links with Ancient Egypt and its name in English is a 20th century fabrication. It has variously been classified as a member of the sighthound group, yet its fieldwork description clearly determines it as a hound.
At first glance, the Pharaoh Hound should appear both graceful and elegant as well as powerful and athletic. Its build should be one of strength without bulkiness or excessive musculature. Its head is elegant without being fine or extreme. The skull should resemble a blunt wedge, and is long and chiselled with only a slight stop and a muzzle of good length. Its eyes are oval with a keen, noble, alert, and intelligent expression. It has a long, lean, and muscular neck that is slightly arched. Its body is slightly longer than its height at the withers. It has a deep chest that extends down to the elbows and a moderate tuck up. Its shoulders are long and well laid back. Its front legs are
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog or Catahoula Cur is an American dog breed. It is named after Catahoula Parish in the state of Louisiana in the United States. The Catahoula is believed to be the first dog breed developed in North America. The breed is sometimes referred to as the "Catahoula Hound" or "Catahoula Leopard Hound", although it is not a true hound, but a cur. It is also called the "Catahoula Hog Dog", reflecting its traditional use in hunting wild boar.
Very little is known about the actual origins of the Catahoula. One theory posits that the Catahoula is the result of Native Americans having bred their own dogs with molossers and greyhounds brought to Louisiana by Hernando de Soto in the 16th century. As for the aforementioned Native American dog breeds, for a time it was believed that they were bred with or from red wolves, but this idea is not supported by modern DNA analysis. Several recent studies have looked at the remains of prehistoric dogs from American archaeological sites and each has indicated that the genetics of prehistoric American dogs are similar to European and Asian domestic dogs rather than wild New World canids. In fact, these studies indicate
Hagfish, the clade Myxini (also known as Hyperotreti), are eel-shaped slime-producing marine animals (occasionally called slime eels). They are the only known living animals that have a skull but not a vertebral column. Along with lampreys, hagfish are jawless and are living fossils; hagfish are basal to vertebrates, and living hagfish remain similar to hagfish 300 million years ago.
The classification of hagfish has been controversial. The issue is whether the hagfish is itself a degenerate type of vertebrate-fish (most closely related to lampreys), or else may represent a stage which precedes the evolution of the vertebral column (as do lancelets). The original scheme groups hagfish and lampreys together as cyclostomes (or historically, Agnatha), as the oldest surviving clade of vertebrates alongside gnathostomes (the now-ubiquitous jawed-vertebrates). An alternative scheme proposed that jawed-vertebrates are more closely related to lampreys than to hagfish (i.e., that vertebrates include lampreys but exclude hagfish), and introduces the category craniata to group vertebrates near hagfish. Recent DNA evidence has supported the original scheme.
Hagfish average about half a metre
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila. There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families, though many are undescribed and the actual number is probably higher. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.
Bees are adapted for feeding on nectar and pollen, the former primarily as an energy source and the latter primarily for protein and other nutrients. Most pollen is used as food for larvae.
Bees have a long proboscis (a complex "tongue") that enables them to obtain the nectar from flowers. They have antennae almost universally made up of 13 segments in males and 12 in females, as is typical for the superfamily. Bees all have two pairs of wings, the hind pair being the smaller of the two; in a very few species, one sex or caste has relatively short wings that make flight difficult or impossible, but none are wingless.
The smallest bee is
The horse (Equus ferus caballus) is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans began to domesticate horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC. Horses in the subspecies caballus are domesticated, although some domesticated populations live in the wild as feral horses. These feral populations are not true wild horses, as this term is used to describe horses that have never been domesticated, such as the endangered Przewalski's horse, a separate subspecies, and the only remaining true wild horse. There is an extensive, specialized vocabulary used to describe equine-related concepts, covering everything from anatomy to life stages, size, colors, markings, breeds, locomotion, and behavior.
Horses' anatomy enables them to make use of speed to escape predators and they have a well-developed sense of balance and a strong fight-or-flight instinct. Related to this need to flee from predators in the wild
Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon (P. lotor), is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are considerably lesser-known. Genetic studies have shown that the closest relatives of the raccoon are the ring-tailed cats, coatis and cacomistles.
Raccoons are unusual, for their thumbs (though not opposable) enable them to open many closed containers (such as garbage cans and doors). They are omnivores with a reputation for being clever and mischievous; their intelligence and dexterity equip them to survive in a wide range of environments and are one of the few medium-to-large-sized animals that have enlarged their range since human encroachment began (another is the coyote). Raccoon hindfeet are plantigrade similar to those of humans and bears. Raccoons are sometimes considered vermin or a nuisance. They have readily adapted to urban environments (compare urban opossums, skunks and foxes), scavenging garbage bins and other food sources.
Although there is some variation depending on
Jays are several species of medium-sized, usually colorful and noisy, passerine birds in the crow family Corvidae. The names jay and magpie are somewhat interchangeable, and the evolutionary relationships are rather complex. For example, the Eurasian Magpie seems more closely related to the Eurasian Jay than to the Oriental Blue and Green Magpies, whereas the Blue Jay is not closely related to either.
See classification box for relevant genera links. Traditionally, the Crested Jay (Platylophus galericulatus) is placed here, but apparently this is not correct, as suggested by anatomical and molecular evidence. Its placement remains unresolved; it does not seem to be a corvid at all. According to Ericson et al. (2005), jays are not a monophyletic group. Rather, they can be divided into an American and an Old World lineage (the latter including the ground jays and the Piapiac), while the gray jays of the genus Perisoreus form a group of their own. The Black Magpie, formerly believed to be related to jays, is classified as a treepie.
The word "jay" has an archaic meaning in American slang meaning a person who chatters impertinently.
The term jaywalking was coined in 1915 to label
Eels (Anguilliformes; /æŋˌɡwɪlɨˈfɔrmiːz/) are an order of fish which consists of four suborders, 20 families, 111 genera and approximately 800 species. Most eels are predators. The term "eel" is also used for some other similarly shaped fish, such as electric eels and spiny eels, but these are not members of the Anguilliformes order.
Eels are elongated fish, ranging in length from 5 centimetres (2.0 in) in the one-jawed eel (Monognathus ahlstromi) to 4 metres (13 ft) in the slender giant moray. Adults range in weight from 30 grams to well over 25 kilograms. They possess no pelvic fins, and many species also lack pectoral fins. The dorsal and anal fins are fused with the caudal or tail fin, forming a single ribbon running along much of the length of the animal.
Most eels live in the shallow waters of the ocean and burrow into sand, mud, or amongst rocks. A majority of eel species are nocturnal, and thus are rarely seen. Sometimes, they are seen living together in holes, or "eel pits". Some species of eels also live in deeper water on the continental shelves and over the slopes deep as 4,000 metres (13,000 ft). Only members of the Anguillidae family regularly inhabit fresh water,
The English Setter is a breed of dog. It is part of the Setter family, which includes red Irish Setters, Irish Red and White Setters, and black-and-tan Gordon Setters. It is a gun dog, bred for a mix of endurance and athleticism.
The coat is flat with light feathering of long length or short length depending on the type. The bench or show type has a long, flowing coat that requires regular grooming. The field or hunting type has a shorter coat that requires less grooming.
The various speckled coat colours when occurring in English Setters are referred to as belton; valid combinations are white with black (blue belton), white with orange flecks (orange belton)), white with orange flecks and lighter nose (lemon belton), white with liver flecks (liver belton), or "Tricolor" which is blue or liver belton with tan markings on the face, chest, and legs.
This breed's standard temperament is best described as a "Gentleman by Nature". However, it can also be strong-willed and mischievous. English Setters are energetic, people-oriented dogs, that are well suited to families who can give them attention and activity, or to working with a hunter, where they have a job to do. They are active
The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. Its species name refers to its camel-like appearance and the patches of color on its fur. Its chief distinguishing characteristics are its extremely long neck and legs, its horn-like ossicones and its distinctive coat patterns. It stands 5–6 m (16–20 ft) tall and has an average weight of 1,600 kg (3,500 lb) for males and 830 kg (1,800 lb) for females. It is classified under the family Giraffidae, along with its closest extant relative, the okapi. There are nine subspecies, which are distinguished by their coat patterns.
The giraffe's scattered range extends from Chad in the north to South Africa in the south, and from Niger in the west to Somalia in the east. Giraffes usually inhabit savannas, grasslands, and open woodlands. Their primary food source is acacia leaves, which they can browse at heights that most other herbivores cannot reach. Giraffes are preyed on by lions, and calves are also targeted by leopards, spotted hyenas and wild dogs. Adult giraffes do not have strong social bonds, though they do gather in loose aggregations if they
Although the word jackal has been historically used to refer to many small- to medium-sized species of the wolf genus of mammals, Canis, today it most properly and commonly refers to three species: the black-backed jackal and the side-striped jackal of sub-Saharan Africa, and the golden jackal of northern Africa and south-central Eurasia. The black-backed and side-striped jackals are more closely related to each other than they are to the golden jackal, which is closer to wolves, dogs, and coyotes.
Jackals and coyotes (sometimes called the "American jackal")) are opportunistic omnivores, predators of small- to medium-sized animals and proficient scavengers. Their long legs and curved canine teeth are adapted for hunting small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and their large feet and fused leg bones give them a physique well-suited for long-distance running, capable of maintaining speeds of 16 km/h (9.9 mph) for extended periods of time. Jackals are crepuscular, most active at dawn and dusk.
Their most common social unit is that of a monogamous pair which defends its territory from other pairs by vigorously chasing intruding rivals and marking landmarks around the territory with their
The Kuvasz (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkuvɒs], pl. Kuvaszok, Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkuvɒsok]) is an ancient breed of a livestock dog of Hungarian origin. Mention of the breed can be found in old Hungarian texts. It has historically been used to guard livestock, but has been increasingly found in homes as a pet over the last seventy years.
The Kuvasz is a large dog with a dense double, odorless coat which is white in color and can range from wavy to straight in texture. Although the fur is white, the Kuvasz’s skin pigmentation should be dark and the nose should be black. The eyes should have an almond shape. Females usually weigh between 35–50 kg (75-90 pounds) while males weigh between 50–70 kg (100-150 pounds) with a medium bone structure. The head should be half as wide as it is long with the eyes set slightly below the plane of the muzzle. The stop (where the muzzle raises to the crown of the head) should be defined but not abrupt. The precise standard varies by country. (See the Breed Standards for a more precise description.) To a casual observer, the Kuvasz may appear similar to a Great Pyrenees, Akbash, a Maremma Sheepdog, Samoyed, a white Poodle and Labrador Retriever
Squid are cephalopods of the order Teuthida, which comprises around 300 species. Like all other cephalopods, squid have a distinct head, bilateral symmetry, a mantle, and arms. Squid, like cuttlefish, have eight arms arranged in pairs and two, usually longer, tentacles. Squid are strong swimmers and certain species can 'fly' for short distances out of the water.
Squid have differentiated from their ancestral molluscs such that the body plan has been condensed antero-posteriorly and extended dorso-ventrally. What before may have been the foot of the ancestor is modified into a complex set of tentacles and highly developed sense organs, including advanced eyes similar to those of vertebrates.
The ancestral shell has been lost, with only an internal gladius, or pen, remaining. The pen is a feather-shaped internal structure that supports the squid's mantle and serves as a site for muscle attachment. It is made of a chitin-like material.
The main body mass is enclosed in the mantle, which has a swimming fin along each side. These fins, unlike in other marine organisms, are not the main source of locomotion in most species.
The skin is covered in chromatophores, which enable the squid to
Zebus ( /ˈziːˌbjuːz/ or /ˈziːbuːz/; Bos primigenius indicus or Bos indicus), sometimes known as humped cattle or Brahmin cattle, are a type of domestic cattle originating in South Asia, particularly the Indian subcontinent. They are characterised by a fatty hump on their shoulders, drooping ears and a large dewlap. They are highly adapted to high temperatures, and are farmed throughout the tropical countries, both as pure zebu and as hybrids with taurine cattle, the other main type of domestic cattle. Zebu are used as draught oxen, as dairy cattle and as beef cattle, as well as for byproducts such as hides and dung for fuel and manure.
The scientific name of zebu (or zebus) cattle was originally Bos indicus, but they are now more commonly classified within the species Bos primigenius, together with taurine cattle (Bos primigenius taurus) and the ancestor of both of them, the extinct aurochs (Bos primigenius). European cattle are descended from the Eurasian subspecies, while zebu are descended from the Indian subspecies
Zebu cattle are thought to be derived from Asian aurochs, sometimes regarded as a subspecies, Bos primigenius namadicus Another wild cattle species, the gaur (Bos
The Akita Inu (秋田犬) is a Japanese breed of large dog. Named for Akita Prefecture, where it is thought to have originated, it is sometimes called the Akita-ken based on the Sino-Japanese reading of the same kanji. In most countries (with the exception of the Australian, American and Canadian Kennel Clubs), it is considered a separate breed from the American Akita and is also colloquially known as the "Japanese Akita". "Inu" means "dog."
Breed standards state that male Akita Inus height should range from 64-70cms (25 ¼-27 ½ ins), and females 58-64 cms (22 ¾-25 ¼ ins) at the withers.
The Akita Inu comes in only five colors: Red, Fawn, Sesame, Brindle, and Pure White. All except white must have whitish hair on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the neck, chest, body and tail, known as "Urajiro". Black masks, as seen in the American Akita, are not permitted in the Japanese Akita Inu. In contrast, all colors are accepted in the American Akita. The Pinto color is not accepted as an Akita Inu color, but is as an accepted American Akita color.
There are two coat types in the Akita, the standard coat length and the long coat, which is not eligible for showing. The long coat, also known
The budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) ( /ˈbʌdʒərɨɡɑr/), also known as common pet parakeet or shell parakeet and informally nicknamed the budgie, is a small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot. Budgerigars are the only species in the Australian genus Melopsittacus, and are found wild throughout the drier parts of Australia where the species has survived harsh inland conditions for the last five million years. Budgerigars are naturally green and yellow with black, scalloped markings on the nape, back, and wings, but have been bred in captivity with colouring in blues, whites, and yellows, greys, and even small crests. Budgerigars are popular pets around the world due to their small size, low cost, ability to mimic human speech, and playful nature. The origin of the budgerigar's name is unclear. The species was first recorded in 1805.
The budgerigar is closely related to the lories and the fig parrots. They are one of the parakeet species, a non-taxonomical term that refers to any of a number of small parrots with long, flat tails. In both captivity and the wild, budgerigars breed opportunistically and in pairs.
The budgerigar has been thought to be the link between the genera
A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. Butterflies comprise the true butterflies (superfamily Papilionoidea), the skippers (superfamily Hesperioidea) and the moth-butterflies (superfamily Hedyloidea). All the many other families within the Lepidoptera are referred to as moths. The earliest known butterfly fossils date to the mid Eocene epoch, between 40–50 million years ago.
Butterflies exhibit polymorphism, mimicry and aposematism. Some, like the Monarch, will migrate over long distances. Some butterflies have evolved symbiotic and parasitic relationships with social insects such as ants. Some species are pests because in their larval stages they can damage domestic crops or trees; however, some species are agents of pollination of some plants, and caterpillars of a few butterflies (e.g., Harvesters) eat harmful insects. Culturally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and
Chameleons (family Chamaeleonidae) are a distinctive and highly specialized clade of lizards. They are distinguished by their zygodactylous feet, their separately mobile and stereoscopic eyes, their very long, highly modified, and rapidly extrudable tongues, their swaying gait, the possession by many of a prehensile tail, crests or horns on their distinctively shaped heads, and the ability of some to change color. Colors include pink, blue, red, orange, turquoise, yellow, green, brown, and black. Uniquely adapted for climbing and visual hunting, the approximately 160 species of chameleon range from Africa, Madagascar, Spain and Portugal, across south Asia, to Sri Lanka, have been introduced to Hawaii, California, and Florida, and are found in warm habitats that vary from rain forest to desert conditions. Chameleons are often kept as household pets.
The English word chameleon (also chamaeleon) derives from Latin chamaeleō, a borrowing of the Ancient Greek χαμαιλέων (khamailéōn), a compound of χαμαί (khamaí) "on the ground" and λέων (léōn) "lion". The Greek word is a calque translating the Akkadian nēš qaqqari, literally 'lion ground' (adjectives follow nouns in Akkadian).
The coyote (US /kaɪˈoʊtiː/ or /ˈkaɪ.oʊt/, UK /kɔɪˈjoʊteɪ/ or /kɔɪˈjoʊt/; Canis latrans), also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada. It occurs as far north as Alaska and all but the northernmost portions of Canada.
Currently, 19 subspecies are recognized, with 16 in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and three in Central America. Unlike the related gray wolf, which is Eurasian in origin, evolutionary theory suggests the coyote evolved in North America during the Pleistocene epoch 1.81 million years ago (mya) alongside the dire wolf. Although not closely related, the coyote evolved separately to fill roughly the same ecological niche in the Americas that is filled in Eurasia and Africa by the similarly sized jackals. Unlike the wolf, the coyote's range has expanded in the wake of human civilization, and coyotes readily reproduce in metropolitan areas.
The name "coyote" is borrowed from Mexican Spanish coyote, ultimately derived from the Nahuatl word cóyotl. Its scientific name, Canis latrans, means "barking dog" in
The panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, lit. "black and white cat-foot"), also known as the giant panda to distinguish it from the unrelated red panda, is a bear native to central-western and south western China. It is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the panda's diet is 99% bamboo. Pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.
The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in the Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. As a result of farming, deforestation and other development, the panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived.
The panda is a conservation reliant endangered species. A 2007 report shows 239 pandas living in captivity inside China and another 27 outside the country. Wild population estimates vary; one estimate shows that there are about 1,590 individuals living in the wild,
Larks are passerine birds of the family Alaudidae. All species occur in the Old World, and in northern and eastern Australia. Only one, the Horned Lark, is native to North America. Habitats vary widely, but many species live in dry regions.
Larks are small- to medium-sized birds, 12 to 24 cm (5 to 8 inches) in length and 15 to 75 grams (0.5 to 2.6 ounces) in weight (Kikkawa 2003).
They have more elaborate calls than most birds, and often extravagant songs given in display flight (Kikkawa 2003). These melodious sounds (to human ears), combined with a willingness to expand into anthropogenic habitats — as long as these are not too intensively managed — have ensured larks a prominent place in literature and music, especially the Eurasian Skylark in northern Europe and the Crested Lark and Calandra Lark in southern Europe.
With these song flights, males defend their breeding territories and attract mates. Most species build nests on the ground, usually cups of dead grass, but in some species more complicated and partly domed. A few desert species nest very low in bushes, perhaps so circulating air can cool the nest. Larks' eggs are usually speckled, and clutch sizes range from 2
The okapi ( /oʊˈkɑːpiː/), Okapia johnstoni, is a giraffid artiodactyl mammal native to the Ituri Rainforest, located in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Central Africa. Although the okapi bears striped markings reminiscent of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe.
The animal was brought to prominent European attention by speculation on its existence found in popular press reports covering Henry Morton Stanley's journeys in 1887. Remains of a carcass were later sent to London by the English adventurer and colonial administrator Harry Johnston and became a media event in 1901. Today there are approximately 10,000–20,000 in the wild and as of 2011, 42 different institutions display them worldwide.
The generic name Okapia derives from the Lese Karo name o'api, while the specific name (johnstoni) is in recognition of the explorer Harry Johnston, who organized the expedition that first acquired an okapi specimen for science from the Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The name "okapi" is a portmanteau of two Lese words, oka a verb meaning to cut and kpi which is a noun referring to the design made on Efé arrows by wrapping the arrow
Peafowl are two Asiatic species of flying bird in the genus Pavo of the pheasant family, Phasianidae, best known for the male's extravagant eye-spotted tail, which it displays as part of courtship. The male is called a peacock, the female a peahen, and the offspring peachicks. The adult female peafowl is grey and/or brown. Peachicks can be between yellow and a tawny colour with darker brown patches. The term also embraces the Congo Peafowl, which is placed in a separate genus Afropavo.
The species are:
The male (peacock) Indian Peafowl has iridescent blue-green or green colored plumage. The peacock tail ("train") is not the tail quill feathers but the highly elongated upper tail covert feathers. The "eyes" are best seen when the peacock fans its tail. Like a cupped hand behind the ear, the erect tail-fan of the male helps direct sound to the ears. Both species have a crest atop the head. The female (peahen) Indian Peafowl has a mixture of dull green, brown, and grey in her plumage. She lacks the long upper tail coverts of the male but has a crest. The female can also display her plumage to ward off female competition or signal danger to her young.
The Green Peafowl appears
The Pomeranian (often known as a Pom or Pom Pom) is a breed of dog of the Spitz type, named for the Pomerania region in Central Europe (today part of northern Poland and eastern Germany). Classed as a toy dog breed because of its small size, the Pomeranian is descended from the larger Spitz type dogs, specifically the German Spitz. It has been determined by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale to be part of the German Spitz breed, and in many countries, they are known as the Zwergspitz (Dwarf Spitz).
The breed has been made popular by a number of royal owners since the 17th century. Queen Victoria owned a particularly small Pomeranian and consequently the smaller variety became universally popular. During Queen Victoria's lifetime alone, the size of the breed decreased by 50%. Overall, the Pomeranian is a sturdy, healthy dog. The most common health issue is Luxating patella. Tracheal collapse can also be an issue. More rarely, the breed can suffer from a skin condition colloquially known as "black skin disease", or alopecia ex. This is a genetic disease which causes the dog's skin to turn black and lose all or most of its hair. The breed is currently among the top 15 most
The swallows and martins are a group of passerine birds in the family Hirundinidae which are characterised by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Swallow is used colloquially in Europe as a synonym for the Barn Swallow.
This family comprises two subfamilies: Pseudochelidoninae (the river martins of the genus Pseudochelidon) and Hirundininae (all other swallows and martins). Within the Old World, the name "martin" tends to be used for the squarer-tailed species, and the name "swallow" for the more fork-tailed species; however, there is no scientific distinction between these two groups. Within the New World, "martin" is reserved for members of the genus Progne. (These two systems are responsible for the Sand Martin being called "Bank Swallow" in the New World.) The entire family contains around 83 species in 19 genera.
The swallows have a cosmopolitan distribution across the world and breed on all the continents except Antarctica. It is believed that this family originated in Africa as hole-nesters; Africa still has the greatest diversity of species. They also occur on a number of oceanic islands. A number of European and North American species are long-distance migrants; by
The Atlantic Canary (Serinus canaria) is known worldwide simply as wild Canary. It is also called the Island Canary, Canary or Common Canary, is a small passerine bird belonging to the genus Serinus in the finch family, Fringillidae. It is native to the Canary Islands, the Azores, and Madeira. Wild birds are mostly yellow-green, with brownish streaking on the back. The species is common in captivity and a number of colour varieties have been bred.
This bird is the natural symbol of the Canary Islands, together with the Canary Island Date Palm.
The wild Atlantic Canary can range from 10 to 14 cm (3.9 to 5.5 in) in length, with a wingspan of 20 to 23 cm (7.9 to 9.1 in) and a weight of 8.4 to 24.3 g (0.30 to 0.86 oz), with an average of around 15 g (0.53 oz). The male has a largely yellow-green head and underparts with a yellower forehead, face and supercilium. The lower belly and undertail-coverts are whitish and there are some dark streaks on the sides. The upperparts are grey-green with dark streaks and the rump is dull yellow. The female is similar to the male but duller with a greyer head and breast and less yellow underparts. Juvenile birds are largely brown with dark
The great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, also known as the great white, white pointer, white shark, or white death, is a species of large lamniform shark which can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans. The great white shark is mainly known for its size, with the largest individuals known to have approached or exceeded 6 m (20 ft) in length, and 2,268 kg (5,000 lb) in weight. This shark reaches its maturity around 15 years of age and can have a life span of over 30 years.
The great white shark is arguably the world's largest known extant macropredatory fish, and is one of the primary predators of marine mammals. It is also known to prey upon a variety of other marine animals, including fish and seabirds. It is the only known surviving species of its genus Carcharodon, and is ranked first in having the most attacks on humans. The IUCN list the great white shark as a vulnerable species, while it is included in Appendix II of CITES.
The best selling novel Jaws by Peter Benchley and the subsequent blockbuster film by Steven Spielberg depicted the great white shark as a "ferocious man eater". In reality, humans are not the preferred prey of the great white
Moles are small cylindrical mammals adapted to a subterranean lifestyle. They have velvety fur; tiny or invisible ears and eyes; relatively atrophied hindlimbs; and short, powerful forelimbs with large paws oriented for digging. The term is especially and most properly used for the true moles, those of the Talpidae family in the order Soricomorpha found in most parts of North America, Asia, and Europe. It also refers to other completely unrelated mammals of Australia and southern Africa which have also evolved the mole body plan; it is not commonly used for some talpids, such as desmans and shrew-moles, which do not fit the common definition of “mole”, as well.
By the era of Early Modern English, the mole was also known in English as mouldywarp, a word having cognates in other Germanic languages such as German (Maulwurf), and Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic (muldvarp, mullvad, moldvarpa), where the muld/mull/mold part of the word means soil and the varp/vad/varpa part means throw, hence "one who throws soil" or "dirt tosser".
Male moles are called "boars", females are called "sows". A group of moles is called a "labour".
Moles have been found to tolerate higher levels of
A pony is a small horse (Equus ferus caballus). Depending on context, a pony may be a horse that is under an approximate or exact height at the withers, or a small horse with a specific conformation and temperament. There are many different breeds. Compared to other horses, ponies often exhibit thicker manes, tails and overall coat, as well as proportionally shorter legs, wider barrels, heavier bone, thicker necks, and shorter heads with broader foreheads. The word "pony" derives from the old French poulenet, meaning foal, a young, immature horse, but this is not the modern meaning; unlike a horse foal, a pony remains small when fully grown. However, on occasion, people who are unfamiliar with horses may confuse an adult pony with a foal.
The ancestors of most modern ponies developed small stature due to living on the margins of livable horse habitat. These smaller animals were domesticated and bred for various purposes all over the northern hemisphere. Ponies were historically used for driving and freight transport, as children's mounts, for recreational riding, and later as competitors and performers in their own right. During the Industrial Revolution, particularly in Great
Antelope is a term referring to many even-toed ungulate species indigenous to various regions in Africa and Eurasia. Antelopes comprise a miscellaneous group within the family Bovidae, encompassing those old-world species that are neither cattle, sheep, buffalo, bison, nor goats. A group of antelope is called a herd.
The English word "antelope" first appears in 1417 and is derived from the Old French antelop, itself derived from Medieval Latin ant(h)alopus, which in turn comes from the Byzantine Greek word anthólops, first attested in Eustathius of Antioch (circa 336), according to whom it was a fabulous animal "haunting the banks of the Euphrates, very savage, hard to catch and having long, saw-like horns capable of cutting down trees". It perhaps derives from Greek anthos (flower) and ops (eye), perhaps meaning "beautiful eye" or alluding to the animals' long eyelashes; however, this may be a later folk etymology. The word talopus and calopus, from Latin, came to be used in heraldry. In 1607, it was first used for living, cervine animals.
There are 91 species, most of which are native to Africa, in about 30 genera. The classification of tribes or subfamilies within Bovidae is
Flamingos ( pronunciation (help·info)) are a type of wading bird in the genus Phoenicopterus (from Greek φοινικόπτερος meaning "purple wing"), the only genus in the family Phoenicopteridae. There are four flamingo species in the Americas and two species in the Old World.
Six flamingo species are recognized by most sources, and these are generally placed in one genus. Two species, the Andean and the James's Flamingo, are often placed in the genus Phoenicoparrus instead of Phoenicopterus.
A wide variety of birds have been proposed as their closest relatives, on a wide variety of evidence. As a result, flamingos are generally placed in their own order.
Traditionally, the long-legged Ciconiiformes, probably a paraphyletic assemblage, have been considered the flamingos' closest relatives and the family was included in the order. Usually the ibises and spoonbills of the Threskiornithidae were considered their closest relatives within this order. Earlier genetic studies, such as those of Charles Sibley and colleagues, also supported this relationship. Relationships to the waterfowl were considered as well, especially as flamingos are parasitized by feather lice of the genus Anaticola,
The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, with 64 recognised species (some are called "egrets" or "bitterns" instead of "heron"). Within Ardeidae, all members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as "bitterns", and — including the Zigzag Heron or Zigzag Bittern — are a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. However, egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white and/or have decorative plumes. Although egrets have the same build as the larger herons, they tend to be smaller.
The classification of the individual heron/egret species is fraught with difficulty, and there is still no clear consensus about the correct placement of many species into either of the two major genera, Ardea and Egretta. Similarly, the relationship of the genera in the family is not completely resolved. However, one species formerly considered to constitute a separate monotypic family Cochlearidae, the Boat-billed Heron, is now regarded as a member of the Ardeidae.
Although herons resemble birds in some other families, such as the storks, ibises, spoonbills and cranes, they
An otter is any of 13 living species of semiaquatic (or in the case of the sea otter, aquatic) mammals which feed on fish and shellfish, and also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals.
The otter subfamily Lutrinae forms part of the family Mustelidae, which also includes weasels, badgers, wolverines, and polecats.
The word otter derives from the Old English word otor or oter. This and cognate words in other Indo-European languages ultimately stem from the Proto-Indo-European language root *wódr̥ which also gave rise to the English word "water".
An otter's den is called a holt or couch. A male otter is a dog, a female a bitch, and a baby a whelp, kit, or pup. The collective nouns for otters are bevy, family, lodge or romp, being descriptive of their often playful nature, or when in water, raft.
The time of gestation in otters is about 60 to 86 days. The newborn pup is taken care of by the mother, the father, and all the other offspring. Female otters reach sexual maturity at approximately two years of age, while males can produce offspring at approximately three years of age. After one month, the young otter can come out of the cave, and after two months, it is
Baboons are African and Arabian Old World monkeys belonging to the genus Papio, part of the subfamily Cercopithecinae. The five species are some of the largest nonhominoid members of the primate order; only the mandrill and the drill are larger. Previously, the closely related gelada (genus Theropithecus) and the two species (mandrill and drill) of genus Mandrillus were grouped in the same genus, and these Old World monkeys are still often referred to as baboons in everyday speech. They range in size and weight depending on species. The Guinea baboon is 50 cm (20 in) and weighs only 14 kg (30 lb) while the largest chacma baboon can be 120 cm (47 in) and weigh 40 kg (90 lb).
Five species of Papio are commonly recognized, although there is some disagreement about whether they are really full species or subspecies. They are P. ursinus (chacma baboon, found in southern Africa), P. papio (western, red, or Guinea baboon, found in the far western Africa), P. hamadryas (hamadryas baboon, found in the Horn of Africa and southwestern Arabia), P. anubis (olive baboon, found in the north-central African savanna) and P. cynocephalus (yellow baboon, found in south-central and eastern Africa).
Chow Chow is a type of breed originally from China, where it is referred to as Songshi Quan (Pinyin: sōngshī quǎn 鬆獅犬), which means "puffy-lion dog".
The Chow Chow is a sturdily built dog, square in profile, with a broad skull and small, triangular, erect ears with rounded tips. The breed is known for a very dense double coat that is either smooth or rough. The fur is particularly thick in the neck area, giving it a distinctive ruff or mane appearance. The coat may be red, black, blue, cinnamon/fawn, or cream.
Chow Chows' eyes are typically deep set and almond shaped. The breed is distinguished by its unusual blue-black/purple tongue and very straight hind legs, resulting in a rather stilted gait. The bluish color extends to the Chow Chow's lips; this is the only dog breed with this distinctive bluish color in its lips and oral cavity (other dogs have black or a piebald pattern skin in their mouths). One other distinctive feature is the curly tail. It has thick hair and lies curled on its back. The nose should be black, but blue-coated Chow Chows can have a solid blue or slate-colored nose. According to the American Kennel Club breed standards, any other tone is not acceptable for
A crocodile is any species belonging to the family Crocodylidae (sometimes classified instead as the subfamily Crocodylinae). The term can also be used more loosely to include all extant members of the order Crocodilia: i.e. the true crocodiles, the alligators and caimans (family Alligatoridae) and the gharials (family Gavialidae), as well as the Crocodylomorpha, which include prehistoric crocodile relatives and ancestors.
Member species of the family Crocodylidae are large aquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Crocodiles tend to congregate in freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes, wetlands and sometimes in brackish water. They feed mostly on vertebrates - fish, reptiles, and mammals, and sometimes on invertebrates - molluscs and crustaceans, depending on species. They first appeared during the Eocene epoch, about 55 million years ago.
The word "crocodile" comes from the Ancient Greek κροκόδιλος (crocodilos), "lizard," used in the phrase ho krokódilos ho potamós, "the lizard of the (Nile) river".
There are several variant Greek forms of the word attested, including the later form κροκόδειλος (crocodeilos) found
The moose (North America) or Eurasian elk (Europe) (Alces alces) is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic ("twig-like") configuration. Moose typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. Moose used to have a much wider range but hunting and other human activities greatly reduced it over the years. Moose have been re-introduced to some of their former habitats. Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. The most common moose predators are wolves, bears, and humans. Unlike most other deer species, moose are solitary animals and do not form herds. Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, moose can become aggressive and move surprisingly fast if angered or startled. Their mating season in the autumn can lead to spectacular fights between males competing for the right to mate with a particular female.
The animal bearing the scientific name Alces alces is known in Britain as the "elk", and in North America as the "moose".
The British English word "elk" has cognates in
The Rook (Corvus frugilegus) is a member of the Corvidae family in the passerine order of birds. Named by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, the species name frugilegus is Latin for "food-gathering".
This species is similar in size (45–47 cm in length) to or slightly smaller than the Carrion Crow with black feathers often showing a blue or bluish-purple sheen in bright sunlight. The feathers on the head, neck and shoulders are particularly dense and silky. The legs and feet are generally black and the bill grey-black.
Rooks are distinguished from similar members of the crow family by the bare grey-white skin around the base of the adult's bill in front of the eyes. The feathering around the legs also looks shaggier and laxer than the congeneric Carrion Crow. The juvenile is superficially more similar to the Crow because it lacks the bare patch at the base of the bill, but it has a thinner bill and loses the facial feathers after about six months. Collective nouns for rooks include building, parliament, clamour and storytelling. Their nesting patterns gave rise to the term rookery.
Though resident in Great Britain, Ireland and much of north and central Europe, vagrant to Iceland and northern
A Schipperke (/ˈskɪpərkiː/; Dutch: [ˈsxɪpərkə]) is a small Belgian breed of dog that originated in the early 16th century. There has been a long informal debate over whether this type of dog is a spitz or miniature sheepdog.
Their small, pointed ears are erect atop the head. Schipperkes are double coated with a soft, fluffy undercoat that is covered by a harsher-feeling and longer outer coat. One of the breed characteristics is a long ruff that surrounds the neck and then a strip trails down towards the rear of the dog. They also have longer fur on their hind legs called culottes.
Dogs of this breed usually weigh 3–9 kg (7–20 lbs). Puppies are born with tails in different lengths; and, in Canada and the United States, the tail is usually docked the day after birth. In countries that have bans on docking, Schipperkes display their natural tails, which vary in type.
Known for a stubborn, mischievous, and headstrong temperament, it also chases small animals. The Schipperke is sometimes referred to as the "little black fox", the "Tasmanian black devil", or the "little black devil". They are naturally curious and high-energy dogs and require ample exercise and supervision. Schipperkes
Skunks (in the United States, occasionally called polecats) are mammals best known for their ability to secrete a liquid with a strong, foul odor. General appearance varies from species to species, from black-and-white to brown or cream colored. Skunks, together with their closest living relatives, the stink badgers, belong to the "skunk family", the "Mephitidae" and to the order Carnivora. There are twelve species of Mephitids, which are divided into four genera: Mephitis (the hooded and striped skunks, two species); Spilogale (spotted skunks, four species); Mydaus (stink badgers, two species); and Conepatus (hog-nosed skunks, four species). The two stink badgers in the Mydaus genus inhabit Indonesia and the Philippines; while all other members of the family inhabit the Americas, ranging from Canada to central South America. All other known mephitids are extinct and known only through fossils, many in Eurasia.
Skunks had been classified as a subfamily within the Mustelidae, or "weasel family", which includes ferrets, weasels, otters, badgers, stoats, and wolverines. However, recent genetic evidence suggests that skunks are not as closely related to the mustelids as previously
Birds (class Aves) are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic (warm-blooded), egg-laying, vertebrate animals. With around 10,000 living species, they are the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. All present species belong to the subclass Neornithes, and inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from the 5 cm (2 in) Bee Hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) Ostrich. The fossil record indicates that birds emerged within theropod dinosaurs during the Jurassic period, around 160 million years (Ma) ago. Paleontologists regard birds as the only clade of dinosaurs to have survived the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 65.5 Ma (million years) ago.
Modern birds are characterised by feathers, a beak with no teeth, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a lightweight but strong skeleton. All living species of birds have wings—the now extinct flightless moa of New Zealand being the only exception. Wings are evolved forelimbs, and most bird species can fly. Flightless birds include ratites, penguins, and a number of diverse endemic island species. Birds also have unique digestive and
The dingo is a free-roaming wild dog unique to the continent of Australia, mainly found in the outback. Its original ancestors are thought to have arrived with one of the waves of human settlement thousands of years ago, when dogs were still relatively undomesticated and closer to their wild Asian grey wolf parent species, Canis lupus. Since then, living largely apart from people and other dogs, together with the demands of Australian ecology, has caused them to develop features and instincts that distinguish them from all other canines. Dingoes have maintained ancient characteristics that unite them, along with their closest relatives from Southeast Asia and the Pacific, into a taxon named after them, Canis lupus dingo, which separate them from dogs classified as Canis lupus familiaris. A dingo's natural habitat can range from deserts, to grasslands and on the verge of forests. They cannot live too far away from water and they normally settle their homes in dens, deserted rabbit holes, and hollow logs.
Dingoes play an important role in Australia's ecosystems; they are apex predators and the continent's largest terrestrial predator. Because of their attacks on livestock, dingoes
The Icelandic sheepdog is a breed of dog of spitz type originating from the dogs brought to Iceland by the Vikings. It is of similar type to the Norwegian Buhund and to the ancestor of the modern Shetland sheepdog and Welsh corgi. They are still commonly used to herd sheep in the Icelandic countryside.
These are the current breed standards:
Icelandic sheepdogs are tough and energetic. Hardy and agile, they are extremely useful for herding and driving livestock or finding lost sheep. However, the dogs are not known for hunting. Icelandic sheepdogs are very alert and will always give visitors an enthusiastic welcome, without being aggressive. Friendly and cheerful, the Icelandic sheepdog is inquisitive, playful and unafraid. They generally get along well with children, as well as other pets.
Icelandic Sheepdogs can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, Rally obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Icelandic Sheepdogs that exhibit basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.
The Icelandic sheepdog very much resembles dogs found in graves in Denmark and
Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus. Many members of other rodent genera and families are also referred to as rats, and share many characteristics with true rats.
Rats are typically distinguished from mice by their size; rats are generally large muroid rodents, while mice are generally small muroid rodents. The muroid family is very large and complex, and the common terms rat and mouse are not taxonomically specific. Generally, when someone discovers a large muroid, its common name includes the term rat, while if it is small, the name includes the term mouse. Scientifically, the terms are not confined to members of the Rattus and Mus genera, for example, the pack rat and cotton mouse.
The best-known rat species are the black rat (Rattus rattus) and the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). The group is generally known as the Old World rats or true rats, and originated in Asia. Rats are bigger than most Old World mice, which are their relatives, but seldom weigh over 500 grams (1.1 lb) in the
The Azawakh is a sighthound dog breed from Africa.
Morphology is very similar to that of the Middle Eastern and South Indian sight hounds, all swift, high-bred coursing hounds, although there are several obvious differences. For example, a short, flat back combined with long legs place the hips higher than the withers. The Azawakh is almond eyed and thin. It moves with a distinctly feline gait and can be found in a variety of colors as well as varying degrees of refinement, though format is basically constant.
The standards call for a hound from 33 to 55 pounds (15 to 25 kg); its height is 24 to 29 inches (61 to 74 cm). The coat is very short and almost absent on the belly. Its bone structure shows clearly through the skin and musculature. Its muscles are "dry", meaning that they lie quite flat, unlike the Greyhound and Whippet. In this respect it is similar in type to the Saluki.
In Africa, Azawakh are found in a variety of colors such as red, blue fawn (that is, with a lilac cast), grizzle, and, rarely, blue and black. The Azawakh in its native land also comes with various white markings including Irish marked (white collar) and particolour (mostly white). Because of this wide
A Bichon Frisé (/ˈbiʃɒn ˈfriz/ or /ˈbiʃɒn frɪˈzeɪ/; French, meaning curly white lap dog), is a small breed of dog of the Bichon type. They are popular pets, similar in appearance to but larger than the Maltese.
The Bichon Frise descended from the Barbet or Water Spaniel and the Standard Poodle. The word bichon comes from Middle French bichon ("small long-haired dog"), a diminutive of Old French biche ("bitch, female dog"), from Old English bicce ("bitch, female dog"), related to Old Norse bikkja ("female dog") and German Betze ("female dog"). Some speculate the origin of bichon to be the result of the apheresis, or shortening, of the word barbichon ("small poodle"), a derivative of barbiche ("shaggy dog"); however, this is unlikely, if not impossible, since the word bichon (attested 1588) is older than barbichon (attested 1694).
The Bichons were divided into four categories: the Bichon Maltese, the Bichon Bolognaise, the Bichon Havanese and the Bichon Tenerife. All originated in the Mediterranean area. Because of their merry disposition, they traveled much and were often used as barter by sailors as they moved from continent to continent. The dogs found early success in Spain and
The Jack Russell terrier is a small terrier that has its origins in fox hunting. It is principally white-bodied smooth, rough or broken-coated which is commonly confused with the Parson Russell terrier (the American Kennel Club (AKC) and affiliate variant) and the Russell terrier (a shorter legged, stockier variety, whose name within the Fédération Cynologique Internationale is "Jack Russell terrier"), with the term "Jack Russell" commonly misapplied to other small white terriers. The Jack Russell is a broad type, with a size range of 10–15 inches (25–38 cm), the Parson Russell is limited only to a middle range with a standard size of 12–14 inches (30–36 cm), while the Russell terrier is smaller at 8–12 inches (20–30 cm), however each breed has different physical proportions according to the standards of their breed clubs.
Originating in the early 19th century from dogs bred and used by Reverend John Russell, it has similar origins to the modern Fox terrier. The Jack Russell is an energetic breed which relies on a high level of exercise and stimulation, and is relatively free from serious health complaints. It has gone through several changes over the years, through different use
The beaver (genus Castor) is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American beaver (Castor canadensis) (native to North America) and Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) (Eurasia). Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges (homes). They are the second-largest rodent in the world (after the capybara). Their colonies create one or more dams to provide still, deep water to protect against predators, and to float food and building material. The North American beaver population was once more than 60 million, but as of 1988 was 6–12 million. This population decline is due to extensive hunting for fur, for glands used as medicine and perfume, and because their harvesting of trees and flooding of waterways may interfere with other land uses.
Beavers are known for their natural trait of building dams on rivers and streams, and building their homes (known as "lodges") in the resulting pond. Beavers also build canals to float build materials that are difficult to haul over land. They use powerful front teeth to cut trees and other plants that they use both for building and for food. In the absence of existing ponds, beavers must
In the United States, "clam" can be used in several different ways: one, as a general term covering all bivalve molluscs. The word can also be used in a more limited sense, to mean bivalves that burrow in sediment, as opposed to ones that attach themselves to the substrate (for example oysters and mussels), or ones that can swim and are migratory, like scallops. In addition "clam" can be used in an even more limited sense, to mean one or more species of commonly consumed marine bivalves, as in the phrase clam chowder, meaning shellfish soup usually made using the hard clam. Many edible bivalves have a roughly oval shape; however, the edible Pacific razor clam has an elongated, parallel-sided shell, whose shape suggests that of an old-fashioned straight razor.
In the United Kingdom, "clam" is one of the common names of various species of marine bivalve mollusc, but it is not used as a general term to cover edible clams that burrow, and it is not used as a general term for all bivalves.
Numerous edible marine bivalve species live buried in sand or mud, and respire by means of siphons, which reach to the surface. In the United States, these clams are collected by "digging for clams"
Cobra ( pronunciation (help·info)) is any of various species of venomous snakes usually belonging to the family Elapidae, most of which can expand their neck ribs to form a widened hood. Not all snakes commonly referred to as cobras are of the same genus, or even of the same family. The name is short for cobra capo or capa Snake, which is Portuguese for "snake with hood", or "hood-snake". When disturbed, most of these snakes can rear up and spread their necks (or hoods) in a characteristic threat display. A favorite of snake charmers, cobras are found from southern Africa, through southern Asia, to some of the islands of Southeast Asia.
Cobra may refer to:
Naja, also known as typical cobras (with the characteristic ability to raise the front quarters of their bodies off the ground and flatten their necks in a threatening gesture), a group of venomous elapids found in Africa and Asia
The king cobra is the world’s largest venomous snake, with an average length of 12 feet but known to grow up to 18.5 feet. While it preys chiefly on other snakes, the king cobra is highly aggressive, extremely fast and agile, and injects a larger amount of venom per bite (as much as 600 mg) than most
Cranes are a clade (Gruidae) of large, long-legged and long-necked birds in the group Gruiformes. There are fifteen species of crane in four genera. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Cranes live on all continents except Antarctica and South America.
Most species of cranes are at the least classified as threatened, if not critically endangered, within their range. The plight of the Whooping Cranes of North America inspired some of the first US legislation to protect endangered species.
They are opportunistic feeders that change their diet according to the season and their own nutrient requirements. They eat a range of items from suitably sized small rodents, fish, amphibians, and insects, to grain, berries, and plants.
Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances". While folklore often states that cranes mate for life, recent scientific research indicates that these birds do change mates over the course of their lifetimes (Wessling, 2003; Hayes 2005), which may last several decades. Cranes construct platform nests in shallow water, and typically lay two eggs at a time. Both parents help to rear the
The ferret is a domesticated mammal of the type Mustela putorius furo. Ferrets are sexually dimorphic predators with males being substantially larger than females. They typically have brown, black, white, or mixed fur. They have an average length of 20 inches (51 cm) including a 5 inch (13 cm) tail, weigh about 1.5–4 pounds (0.7–2 kg), and have a natural lifespan of 7 to 10 years.
Several other small, elongated carnivorous mammals belonging to the family Mustelidae also have the word ferret in their common names, including an endangered species, the Black-footed Ferret. The ferret is a very close relative of the polecat, but it is as yet unclear whether it is a domesticated form of the European Polecat, the Steppe Polecat, or some hybrid of the two.
The history of the ferret's domestication is uncertain, like that of most other domestic animals, but it is likely that ferrets have been domesticated for at least 2,500 years. They are still used for hunting rabbits in some parts of the world today, but increasingly they are kept simply as pets.
Being so closely related to polecats, ferrets are quite easily able to hybridize with them, and this has occasionally resulted in feral
Gulls or seagulls are birds in the family Laridae. They are most closely related to the terns (family Sternidae) and only distantly related to auks, skimmers, and more distantly to the waders. Until the twenty-first century most gulls were placed in the genus Larus, but this arrangement is now known to be polyphyletic, leading to the resurrection of several genera.
Gulls are typically medium to large birds, usually grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They typically have harsh wailing or squawking calls, stout, longish bills, and webbed feet. Most gulls, particularly Larus species, are ground-nesting carnivores, which will take live food or scavenge opportunistically. Live food often includes crabs and small fish. Gulls have prophylactic unhinging jaws which allow them to consume large prey. Apart from the kittiwakes, gulls are typically coastal or inland species, rarely venturing far out to sea The large species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, but two years is typical for small gulls. Large White-Headed Gulls are typically long-lived birds, with a maximum age of 49 years recorded for the Herring Gull.
Gulls nest in large, densely
Rodentia is the order of mammals known as rodents, characterised by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing.
Forty percent of mammal species are rodents, and they are found in vast numbers on all continents other than Antarctica. Common rodents include mice, rats, squirrels, porcupines, beavers, guinea pigs, and hamsters. Rodents use their sharp incisors to gnaw wood, break into food, and bite predators. Most rodents eat seeds or plants, though some have more varied diets. Some species have historically been pests, eating seeds stored by people and spreading disease.
In terms of number of species—although not necessarily in terms of number of organisms (population) or biomass—rodents make up the largest order of mammals. With about 2,277 species of rodents (Wilson and Reeder, 2005), over 40% of mammalian species belong to the order. Their success is probably due to their small size, short breeding cycle, and ability to gnaw and eat a wide variety of foods.
Members of nonrodent orders, such as Chiroptera (bats), Scandentia (treeshrews), Soricomorpha (shrews and moles), Lagomorpha (hares, rabbits and
A turkey is a large bird in the genus Meleagris. One species, Meleagris gallopavo, commonly known as the Wild Turkey, is native to the forests of North America. The domestic turkey is a descendant of this species. The other living species is Meleagris ocellata or the Ocellated Turkey, native to the forests of the Yucatán Peninsula.
Turkeys are classed in the taxonomic order of Galliformes. Within this order they are relatives of the grouse family or subfamily. Males of both species have a distinctive fleshy wattle or protuberance that hangs from the top of the beak—called a snood in the Wild Turkey and its domestic descendants. They are among the largest birds in their ranges. As in many galliform species, the male (tom or gobbler) is larger and much more colorful than the female (hen).
When Europeans first encountered turkeys in the Americas, they incorrectly identified the birds as a type of guineafowl (Numididae). Guineafowl were also known as turkey fowl (or turkey hen and turkey cock) because they were imported to Central Europe through Turkey. The name turkey fowl, shortened to just the name of the country, stuck as the name of the North American bird. In 1550, English
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than sixty species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just eleven species can be found - two species (the Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle) in the United States and Canada, nine species in Central America and South America, and three species in Australia.
Eagles are large, powerfully built birds of prey, with a heavy head and beak. Even the smallest eagles, like the Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata) (which is comparable in size to a Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) or Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis)), have relatively longer and more evenly broad wings, and more direct, faster flight. (Despite reduced size in aerodynamic feathers) Most eagles are larger than any other raptors apart from some vultures. The smallest species called eagle is the South Nicobar Serpent Eagle (Spilornis klossi), at 450 g (1 lb) and 40 cm (16 in). The largest species are discussed below. Like all birds of prey, eagles have very large hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong muscular legs, and powerful talons. The beak is typically heavier
The Kooikerhondje or Kooiker Hound, is a small spaniel-type breed of dog of Dutch ancestry that was originally used as a working dog, particularly in duck hunting and tolling. Kooikers were popular in the 17th and 18th century and appeared in the paintings of Rembrandt and Jan Steen. The breed is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States, Canada and Scandinavia, where it is still relatively unknown.
These dogs are around 35 to 40 cm (14 to 16 inches) high at the withers with a nearly square body that is slightly longer than their height at the shoulders. Depending on the gender and the size a Kooikerhondje is not supposed to weigh more than 9-11 kilograms (20 to 24 lbs). They have medium long, hanging ears with wispy tips, known as earrings , that are set close to the head and they have long, feathered tails with a white plume. The breed has a waterproof, medium long coat that doesn't hold much dirt and is easily cleaned by a simple brushing. They have shiny bicoloured coats that can take up to 2 years to mature, often predominantly white with orange-red plates. The fur is medium long and either slightly wavy or straight. For conformation showing, dogs with black ear tips and
The Shiba Inu (柴犬) is the smallest of the six original and distinct breeds of dog from Japan.
A small, agile dog that copes very well with mountainous terrain, the Shiba Inu was originally bred for hunting. It is similar in appearance to the Akita, though much smaller in stature. It is one of the few ancient dog breeds still in existence in the world today.
Inu is the Japanese word for dog, but the origin of the prefix "Shiba" is less clear. The word shiba means "brushwood" in Japanese, and refers to a type of tree or shrub whose leaves turn red in the fall. This leads some to believe that the Shiba was named with this in mind, either because the dogs were used to hunt in wild shrubs, or because the most common color of the Shiba Inu is a red color similar to that of the shrubs. However, in an old Nagano dialect, the word shiba also had the meaning of "small", thus this might be a reference to the dog's diminutive stature. Therefore, the Shiba Inu is sometimes translated as "Little Brushwood Dog".
The Shiba's frame is compact with well-developed muscles. Males are 14⁄2 inches to 16⁄2 inches (35–43 cm) at withers. Females are 13⁄2 inches to 15⁄2 inches (33–41 cm). The preferred size
A snipe is any of about 25 wading bird species in three genera in the family Scolopacidae. They are characterized by a very long, slender bill and crypsis plumage. The Gallinago snipes have a nearly worldwide distribution, the Lymnocryptes Jack Snipe is restricted to Asia and Europe and the Coenocorypha snipes are found only in the Outlying Islands of New Zealand. The three species of painted snipe are not closely related to the typical snipes, and are placed in their own family, the Rostratulidae.
The snipe is part of the wader family Scolopacidae. The 15 typical snipes in the genus Gallinago are the closest relatives of the woodcocks, whereas the small genera Coenocorypha and Lymnocryptes represent earlier divergences in the snipe/woodcock clade.
Snipe search for invertebrates in the mud with a "sewing-machine" action of their long bills. The sensitiveness of the bill, though to some extent noticeable in many sandpipers, is in snipes carried to an extreme by a number of filaments, belonging to the fifth pair of nerves, which run almost to the tip and open immediately under the soft cuticle in a series of cells. They give this portion of the surface of the premaxillaries, when
A gerbil is a small mammal of the order Rodentia. Once known simply as "desert rats", the gerbil subfamily includes about 110 species of African, Indian, and Asian rodents, including sand rats and jirds, all of which are adapted to arid habitats. Most are primarily diurnal (though some, including the common household pet, do exhibit crepuscular behavior), and almost all are omnivorous.
The word "gerbil" is a diminutive form of "jerboa", though the jerboas are an unrelated group of rodents occupying a similar ecological niche.
One Mongolian species, Meriones unguiculatus, also known as the clawed jird, is a gentle and hardy animal that has become a popular pet. It was first brought from China to Paris, France in the 19th century, and became a popular house pet. It was then brought to the United States in 1954 by Dr. Victor Schwentker for use in research.
Gerbils are typically between six and 12 inches (150 and 300 mm) long, including the tail, which makes up about one-half of their total length. One species, the great gerbil, or Rhombomys opimus, originally native to Turkmenistan, can grow to more than 16 inches (400 mm). The average adult gerbil weighs about 2.5 oz. (70
The octopus ( /ˈɒktəpʊs/; plural: octopuses, octopi, or octopodes; see below) is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. Octopuses have two eyes and four pairs of arms and, like other cephalopods, they are bilaterally symmetric. An octopus has a hard beak, with its mouth at the center point of the arms. Octopuses have no internal or external skeleton (although some species have a vestigial remnant of a shell inside their mantles), allowing them to squeeze through tight places. Octopuses are among the most intelligent and behaviorally flexible of all invertebrates.
The octopus inhabits many diverse regions of the ocean, including coral reefs, pelagic waters, and the ocean floor. They have numerous strategies for defending themselves against predators, including the expulsion of ink, the use of camouflage and deimatic displays, their ability to jet quickly through the water, and their ability to hide. An octopus trails its eight arms behind it as it swims. All octopuses are venomous, but only one group, the blue-ringed octopuses, is known to be deadly to humans.
Around 300 species are recognized, which is over one-third of the total number of known cephalopod species. The term
Pelicans are a genus of large water birds comprising the family Pelecanidae. They are characterised by a long beak and large throat pouch used in catching prey and draining water from the scooped up contents before swallowing. They have predominantly pale plumage, the exceptions being the Brown and Peruvian Pelicans. The bills, pouches and bare facial skin of all species become brightly coloured before the breeding season. The eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone, though they are absent from interior South America as well as from polar regions and the open ocean. Fossil evidence of pelicans dates back at least 30 million years, to the remains of a beak very similar to that of modern species recovered from Oligocene strata in France.
Long thought to be related to frigatebirds, cormorants, tropicbirds, gannets and boobies, pelicans are now known instead to be most closely related to the Shoebill and Hammerkop, and are placed in the order Pelecaniformes. Ibises, spoonbills and herons are more distant relatives, and have been classified in the same order. Pelicans frequent inland and coastal waters
Porpoises ( /ˈpɔrpəs/; also called mereswine) are small cetaceans of the family Phocoenidae; they are related to whales and dolphins. They are distinct from dolphins, although the word "porpoise" has been used to refer to any small dolphin, especially by sailors and fishermen. The most obvious visible difference between the two groups is that porpoises have shorter beaks and flattened, spade-shaped teeth distinct from the conical teeth of dolphins.
The name derives from French pourpois, originally from Medieval Latin porpaloose (porcus pig + piscus fish).
Porpoises, divided into six species, live in all oceans, and mostly near the shore. Freshwater populations of the finless porpoise also exist. Probably the best known species is the harbour porpoise, which can be found across the Northern Hemisphere. Like all toothed whales, porpoises are predators, using sounds (echolocation in sonar form) to locate prey and to coordinate with others. They hunt fish, squid, and crustaceans.
Porpoises, along with whales and dolphins, are descendants of land-living ungulates (hoofed animals) that first entered the oceans around 50 million years ago (Mya). During the Miocene (23 to 5 Mya), mammals
A Pudelpointer is a versatile hunting dog breed from Germany. They are a pointing breed that came from a cross between the German hunting poodle (pudel) and the English Pointer.
The breed weighs between 44 and 66 pounds (20 and 30 kg), stands 21 to 26 inches (53 to 66 cm) at the shoulder, and comes in liver, chestnut, and occasionally black coats. The ideal coat is harsh, wiry, and dense. They also shed very little.
In 1881, a German breeder, Baron von Zedlitz, worked on producing his ideal tracking, pointing, and retrieving gun dog, suitable for work on both land and water. From seven specific Poodles and nearly 100 different pointers, he developed the Pudelpointer. The original sire was Tell, an English Pointer belonging to Kaiser Frederick III and the original dam was a German hunting pudel named Molly who was owned by Hegewald, an author known for works on hunting dogs.
The goal was to produce a dog that was willing and easy to train, intelligent, and loved water and retrieving, like the poodle, and add to that a great desire to hunt, a strong pointing instinct, and an excellent nose, like in the English Pointer, as well as being an excellent companion in the home.
The reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one (or two, depending on taxonomy) has already gone extinct.
Reindeer vary considerably in color and size. Both sexes grow antlers, though they are typically larger in males. There are a few populations where females lack antlers completely.
Wild reindeer hunting and herding of semi-domesticated reindeer (for meat, hides, antlers, milk and transportation) are important to several Arctic and Subarctic peoples. Even far outside its range, the reindeer is well known due to the myth, probably originating in early 19th century America, in which Santa Claus's sleigh is pulled by flying reindeer, a popular element of Christmas. In Lapland, reindeer pull pulks.
The reindeer is a widespread and numerous species in the northern Holarctic, being present in both tundra and taiga (boreal forest). Originally, the reindeer was found in Scandinavia, eastern Europe, Russia, Mongolia, and northern China north of the 50th latitude. In North America, it was
The sparrows are a family of small passerine birds, Passeridae. They are also known as true sparrows, or Old World sparrows, names also used for a genus of the family, Passer. They are distinct from the American sparrows, which although similar in appearance are placed in the family Emberizidae, and from a few other birds sharing their name, such as the Java Sparrow. Many species nest on buildings, and the House and Eurasian Tree Sparrows in particular inhabit cities in large numbers, so sparrows may be the most familiar of all wild birds. They are primarily seed-eaters, though they also consume small insects. Some species scavenge for food around cities and, like gulls or Rock Doves, will happily eat virtually anything in small quantities.
Generally, sparrows are small, plump, brown-grey birds with short tails and stubby, powerful beaks. The differences between sparrow species can be subtle. Members of this family range in size from the Chestnut Sparrow (Passer eminibey), at 11.4 centimetres (4.5 in) and 13.4 grams (0.47 oz), to the Parrot-billed Sparrow (Passer gongonensis), at 18 centimetres (7.1 in) and 42 grams (1.5 oz). Sparrows are physically similar to other
The Beagle is a breed of small to medium-sized dog. A member of the Hound Group, it is similar in appearance to the Foxhound, but smaller, with shorter legs and longer, softer ears. Beagles are scent hounds, developed primarily for tracking hare, rabbit, and other game. They have a great sense of smell and tracking instinct that sees them employed as detection dogs for prohibited agricultural imports and foodstuffs in quarantine around the world. Beagles are intelligent, and are popular as pets because of their size, even temper, and lack of inherited health problems. These characteristics also make them the dog of choice for animal testing.
Although beagle-type dogs have existed for over 2,000 years, the modern breed was developed in Great Britain around the 1830s from several breeds, including the Talbot Hound, the North Country Beagle, the Southern Hound, and possibly the Harrier.
Beagles have been depicted in popular culture since Elizabethan times in literature and paintings, and more recently in film, television and comic books. Snoopy of the comic strip Peanuts has been promoted as "the world's most famous beagle".
Dogs of similar size and purpose to the modern Beagle can be
Bulldog is the name for a breed of dog commonly referred to as the English Bulldog. Other Bulldog breeds include the American Bulldog, Olde English Bulldogge, Australian Bulldog and the French Bulldog. The Bulldog is a muscular heavy dog with a wrinkled face and a distinctive pushed-in nose. The American Kennel Club (AKC), The Kennel Club (UK) and the United Kennel Club (UKC) oversee breeding standards.
The Bulldog is a breed with characteristically wide head and shoulders along with a pronounced mandibular prognathism. There are generally thick folds of skin on a Bulldog's brow; round, black, wide-set eyes; a short muzzle with characteristic folds called "rope" above the nose; hanging skin under the neck; drooping lips and pointed teeth and occasionally, an underbite. The coat is short, flat and sleek, with colors of red, fawn, white, brindle (mixed colors, often in waves or irregular stripes), and piebald.
In the US, a typical mature male weighs approximately 45–55 pounds. Mature females weigh in at approximately 45 pounds. In the United Kingdom, the breed standards are 50 pounds for a male and 40 pounds for a female.
Bulldogs are one of the few breeds whose tail is naturally
The Bullmastiff is a large breed of domestic dog. It has a solid build and a short muzzle. The Bullmastiff shares the characteristics of Molosser dogs, and was originally developed by 19th-century gamekeepers in England to pull buses when they broke down. The breed's bloodlines are drawn from the English Mastiff and Old English Bulldog. It was recognized as a purebred dog by the English Kennel Club in 1924. They are a very quiet dog; they very rarely bark.
Males should be 25 to 27 inches (63 to 69 cm) tall (AKC Std.) at the withers and 110 to 130 pounds (50 to 59 kg). Females should be 24 to 26 inches (61 to 66 cm) at the withers, and 100 to 120 pounds (45 to 54 kg). Exceeding these dimensions is discouraged by breeders.
A bullmastiff's coat may appear in fawn, red, or brindle. These are the only acceptable colors in the AKC standard. The fawn can range from a very light brown to a reddish brown. Red can range from a light red-fawn to a dark rich red. Brindles are a striped overlay of the fawn or red. A Bullmastiff should have no white markings, except for on the chest where a little white is allowed. See breed standard under external links for additional details;}.
A UK survey
The German Shepherd Dog (German: Deutscher Schäferhund), also known as an Alsatian or just the German Shepherd, is a breed of large-sized dog that originated in Germany. The German Shepherd is a relatively new breed of dog, with its origin dating to 1899. As part of the Herding Group, the German Shepherd is a working dog developed originally for herding and guarding sheep. Because of its strength, intelligence and abilities in obedience training it is often employed in police and military roles around the world. German Shepherds currently account for 4.6% of all dogs registered with the American Kennel Club. Due to its loyal and protective nature, the German Shepherd is one of the most registered of breeds.
In Europe during the 1800s, attempts were being made to standardize breeds. The dogs were bred to preserve traits that assisted in their job of herding sheep and protecting flocks from predators. In Germany this was practiced within local communities, where shepherds selected and bred dogs that they believed had traits necessary for herding sheep, such as intelligence, speed, strength, and keen senses of smell. The results were dogs that were able to perform admirably in their
Geese are waterfowl belonging to the tribe Anserini of the family Anatidae. This tribe comprises the genera Anser (the grey geese), Branta (the black geese) and Chen (the white geese). A number of other birds, mostly related to the shelducks, have "goose" as part of their name. More distantly related members of the Anatidae family are swans, most of which are larger than true geese, and ducks, which are smaller.
The word goose is a direct descendant of Proto-Indo-European root, *ghans-. In Germanic languages, the root gave Old English gōs with the plural gēs and gandres (becoming Modern English goose, geese, and gander, respectively), New High German Gans, Gänse, and Ganter, and Old Norse gās. This term also gave Lithuanian žąsìs, Irish gé (goose, from Old Irish géiss), Latin anser, Greek chēn, Albanian gatë (heron), Sanskrit hamsī, Finnish hanhi, Avestan zāō, Polish gęś, Russian гусь, Czech husa, and Persian ghāz.
The term goose applies to the female in particular while gander applies to the male in particular. Young birds before fledging are called goslings. The collective noun for group of geese on the ground is a gaggle; when in flight, they are called a skein, a team or a
The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), also known as the silvertip bear, the grizzly, or the North American brown bear, is a subspecies of brown bear (Ursus arctos) that generally lives in the uplands of western North America. This subspecies is thought to descend from Ussuri brown bears which crossed to Alaska from eastern Russia 100,000 years ago, though they did not move south until 13,000 years ago.
Except for cubs and females, grizzlies are normally solitary, active animals, but in coastal areas, the grizzly congregates alongside streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds during the salmon spawn. Every other year, females (sows) produce one to four young (commonly two) which are small and weigh only about 500 grams (1 lb). A sow is protective of her offspring and will attack if she thinks she or her cubs are threatened.
The word "grizzly" in its name refers to "grizzled" or gray hairs in its fur, but when naturalist George Ord formally named the bear in 1815, he misunderstood the word as "grisly", to produce its biological Latin specific or subspecific name "horribilis".
Most adult female grizzlies weigh 130–200 kg (290–440 lb), while adult males weigh on average 180–360 kg
The Harrier is a small to medium sized dog breed of the hound class, used for hunting hares by trailing them. It resembles an English Foxhound but is smaller, though not as small as a Beagle.
The Harrier is similar to the English Foxhound, but smaller. Harriers stand between 21 and 24 inches at the shoulder, and adults weigh between 45 and 65 lbs. They do shed, have short hair and hanging ears, and come in a variety of color patterns. A humorous, yet fairly accurate short-hand description of a Harrier is that of "a Beagle on steroids." It is a muscular hunting hound with a small, hard coat. It has large bones for stamina and strength. The Harrier is slightly longer than tall, with a level topline. The tail is medium-length, carried high, but is not curled over the back. The skull is broad with a strong square muzzle. The rounded ears are pendant, and the eyes are either brown or hazel. The wide nose is black. The expression is mellow when the dog is relaxed and alert when he is excited. The teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite. The feet are tight and cat-like, and the front toes may turn inward.
The Harrier is cheerful, sweet-tempered, tolerant of people, and it is
A mouse (plural: mice) is a small mammal belonging to the order of rodents, characteristically having a pointed snout, small rounded ears, and a long naked or almost hairless tail. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse (Mus musculus). It is also a popular pet. In some places, certain kinds of field mice are also common. This rodent is eaten by large birds such as hawks and eagles. They are known to invade homes for food and occasionally shelter.
The American white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), as well as other common species of mouse-like rodents around the world, also sometimes live in houses. These, however, are in other genera.
Cats, wild dogs, foxes, birds of prey, snakes and even certain kinds of arthropods have been known to prey heavily upon mice. Nevertheless, because of its remarkable adaptability to almost any environment, the mouse is one of the most successful mammalian genera living on Earth today.
Mice can at times be vermin, damaging and eating crops, causing structural damage and spreading diseases through their parasites and feces. In North America, breathing dust that has come in contact with mouse
Sharks are a group of fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Modern sharks are classified within the clade Selachimorpha (or Selachii), and are the sister group to the rays. However, the term "shark" has also been used for extinct members of the subclass Elasmobranchii outside the Selachimorpha, such as Cladoselache and Xenacanthus. Under this broader definition, the earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago.
Since that time, sharks have diversified into over 400 species. They range in size from the small dwarf lanternshark (Etmopterus perryi), a deep sea species of only 17 centimetres (6.7 in) in length, to the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the largest fish in the world, which reaches approximately 12 metres (39 ft). Despite its size, the whale shark feeds only on plankton, squid, and small fish by filter feeding. Sharks are found in all seas and are common down to depths of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). They generally do not live in freshwater although there are a few known exceptions, such as the bull shark and the river shark that can survive in both
The Sloughi ( /ˈsluːɡi/) is a North African breed of dog, specifically a member of the sighthound family. It is found in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. Sloughis are likely closely related to the Azawakh, but not to the Saluki .
The Sloughi belongs to the Sighthound family. In appearance, it is a short-haired, middle-sized, strong sighthound with drooping ears. Its expression is often described to be melancholy. Its muscular system is "dry", that is, the Sloughi has flat and long muscles, which must not be as brawny as those of Greyhounds or Whippets, even when in excellent physical condition. Its back is nearly horizontal (the lumbar region must be slightly vaulted). It has a moderate angulation and a tucked up underline.
The Sloughi's eyes are ideally dark brown, though sometimes of amber colour. Its coat colour varies from light-sand, to red-sand, red- or mahogany with or without brindling, black mantle, black mask, black ears. According to the standard, a Sloughi may only have a small white patch on its chest. Extensive white markings and parti-colored coats are not allowed. The Sloughi's gait is feather-light, with a moderate and energy-efficient stride.
The Swedish vallhund also called "västgötaspets" is a breed of dog. It is believed that the Swedish vallhund distinguished itself during the age of Vikings, more than 1,000 years ago. Known as the "Viking dog", the vallhund was bred to herd cattle, catch vermin (such as rats), and guard the home. The vallhund was also referred to as "the little cattle dog of the Vikings".
The name vallhund is Swedish for herding/ pasturing dog.
Height for these little dogs at withers: Males 33 cm. Females 31 cm. A variation of 1.5 cm above or below these heights is permitted. Weight: Between 9 – 14 kg or 19.8 - 30.8 pounds." They should be strong for their size and have a muscular body. They are quite a substantial dog, with short legs.
The dog's coat is generally of short to medium length, and harsh. The topcoat is close and tight and undercoat is soft and dense. The hair is short on the head and on the foreparts of the legs, while a little bit longer on the neck, chest and back parts of the hind legs. Colour vary from grey, greyish brown, greyish yellow or reddish brown with darker hairs on back, neck and sides of the body. Lighter hair in the same shade of colour as mentioned above can be seen
The Irish Wolfhound (Irish: Cú Faoil, Irish pronunciation: [ˈkuː ˈfˠiːlʲ]) is a breed of domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris), specifically a sighthound. The name originates from its purpose (wolf hunting with dogs) rather than from its appearance. Irish Wolfhounds are the tallest of dog breeds.
The standard of The American Kennel Club describes the breed as "Of great size and commanding appearance, the Irish Wolfhound is remarkable in combining power and swiftness with keen sight. The largest and tallest of the galloping hounds, in general type he is a rough-coated, Greyhound-like breed; very muscular, strong though gracefully built; movements easy and active; head and neck carried high, the tail carried with an upward sweep with a slight curve towards the extremity". The colours allowed by the American Kennel Club are "grey, brindle, red, black, pure white, fawn, wheaten and steel grey". The American Kennel Club allows "any other color that appears in the Deerhound". The size as specified by the AKC is "Minimum height for mature males: 32 inches, females: 30 inches. Minimum weight: 120lbs for males, 105 lbs for females. Great size, including height of shoulder and proportionate
The orangutans are the two exclusively Asian species of extant great apes. Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, orangutans are currently found in only the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Classified in the genus Pongo, orangutans were considered to be one species. However, since 1996, they have been divided into two species: the Bornean orangutan (P. pygmaeus) and the Sumatran orangutan (P. abelii). In addition, the Bornean species is divided into three subspecies. The orangutans are also the only surviving species of the subfamily Ponginae, which also included several other species like Gigantopithecus, the largest known primate. Both species had their genomes sequenced and they appear to have diverged around 400,000 years ago. Orangutans diverged from the rest of the great apes 15.7 to 19.3 mya (million years ago).
Orangutans are the most arboreal great apes and spend most of their time in trees. Their hair is typically reddish-brown, instead of the brown or black hair typical of chimpanzees and gorillas. Males and females differ in size and appearance. Dominant adult males have distinctive cheek pads and produce long calls that attract females and intimidate rivals. Younger males
The Boerboel is a large, mastiff dog breed from South Africa, bred for the purpose of guarding the homestead. These dogs were often a first line of defense against predators and were valuable in tracking and holding down wounded game. Old farmers tell many tales of the strength, agility, and courage of their Boerboels.
The word "Boerboel" derives from "boer", the Afrikaans/Dutch word for "farmer". Boerboel, therefore, translates as either "farmer's dog" or "Boer's dog". The Boerboel is the only South African dog breed created to defend the homestead.
Despite the Boerboel's long breeding history, there is great uncertainty as to how many and which breeds were used to create it. It is generally believed that the breed was created from interbreeding native African canine species with breeds brought into South Africa from Dutch, French, and British settlers.
The most likely origins are claimed to date back to Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival to the Cape in 1652. Van Riebeeck brought a "Bullenbijter" with him. Those with him, and later European settlers, also had large, strong dogs, that almost certainly bred with the indigenous, domestic dog breeds of South Africa.
Later, in 1928, the
Bred in Germany, the Boxer is a breed of stocky, medium-sized, short-haired dog. The coat is smooth and tight-fitting; colors are fawn or brindled, with or without white markings, which may cover the entire body. Boxers are brachycephalic (they have broad, short skulls), and have a square muzzle, mandibular prognathism (an underbite), very strong jaws and a powerful bite ideal for hanging on to large prey. The Boxer was bred from the Old English Bulldog and the now extinct Bullenbeisser and is part of the Molosser group.
Boxers were first exhibited in a dog show for St. Bernards in Munich in 1895, the first Boxer club being founded the next year. Based on 2011 American Kennel Club statistics, Boxers are the seventh most popular breed of dog in the United States for the second year in a row, moving down from sixth where they were ranked for the previous three years.
The head is the most distinctive feature of the Boxer. The breed standard dictates that it must be in perfect proportion to the body and above all it must never be too light. The greatest value is to be placed on the muzzle being of correct form and in absolute proportion to the skull. The length of the muzzle to the
Owls are a group of birds that belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 extant bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions (e.g., the Northern Hawk Owl). Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found in all regions of the Earth except Antarctica, most of Greenland and some remote islands. Though owls are typically solitary, the literary collective noun for a group of owls is a parliament. Owls are characterized by their small beaks and wide faces, and are divided into two families: the typical owls, Strigidae; and the barn-owls, Tytonidae.
Owls have large forward-facing eyes and ear-holes; a hawk-like beak; a flat face; and usually a conspicuous circle of feathers, a facial disc, around each eye. The feathers making up this disc can be adjusted in order to sharply focus sounds that come from varying distances onto the owls' asymmetrically placed ear cavities. Most birds of prey sport eyes on the sides of their heads, but the stereoscopic nature of the owl's forward-facing eyes permits the greater sense of depth perception necessary for low-light hunting. Although
The springbok (Afrikaans and Dutch: spring = jump; bok = antelope or goat) (Antidorcas marsupialis) is a medium-sized brown and white gazelle of southwestern Africa. It stands about 70 to 90 cm (28 to 35 in) high. Springbok males weigh between 32 and 48 kg (71 and 110 lb) and the females between 25 and 35 kg (55 and 77 lb). They can reach running speeds extremely up to 100 km/h (62 mph) and can leap 4 m (13 feet) into the air and long jump up to 15 m (50 feet).
The specific epithet marsupialis (Latin: marsupium, "pocket") derives from a pocket-like skin flap which extends along the middle of the back from the tail onwards. When the male springbok is showing off his strength to attract a mate, or to ward off predators, he starts off in a stiff-legged trot, jumping up into the air with an arched back every few paces and lifting the flap along his back. Lifting the flap causes the long white hairs under the tail to stand up in a conspicuous fan shape, which in turn emits a strong scent of sweat. This ritual is known as pronking from the Afrikaans meaning to boast or show off.
Springbok adults are between 70 and 90 cm (28 and 35 in) tall at the shoulder, depending on weight and gender;
A black panther is typically a melanistic color variant of any of several species of larger cat. In Latin America, wild 'black panthers' may be black jaguars (Panthera onca); in Asia and Africa, black leopards (Panthera pardus); in Asia, possibly the very rare black tigers (Panthera tigris); and in North America they may be black jaguars or possibly black cougars (Puma concolor – although this has not been proven to have a black variant), or smaller cats.
Captive black panthers may be black jaguars, or more commonly black leopards.
Melanism in the jaguar (Panthera onca) is conferred by a dominant allele, and in the leopard (Panthera pardus) by a recessive allele. Close examination of the color of these black cats will show that the typical markings are still present, but are hidden by the excess black pigment melanin, giving an effect similar to that of printed silk. This is called "ghost striping". Melanistic and non-melanistic animals can be littermates. It is thought that melanism may confer a selective advantage under certain conditions since it is more common in regions of dense forest, where light levels are lower. Recent, preliminary studies also suggest that melanism might
Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents, slightly larger and more robust than ground squirrels, native to the Andes mountains in South America. They live in colonies at high altitudes (up to 15,000 ft/4,270 m). Historically, they lived in the Andes of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, but today colonies in the wild remain only in Chile. Along with their relatives, viscachas, they make up the family Chinchillidae.
The animal (whose name literally means "little chincha") is named after the Chincha people of the Andes, who once wore its dense, velvet-like fur. By the end of the 19th century, chinchillas had become quite rare due to hunting for their ultra-soft fur. Most chinchillas currently used by the fur industry for clothing and other accessories are farm-raised.
The two living species of chinchilla are Chinchilla chinchilla (formerly known as Chinchilla brevicaudata) and Chinchilla lanigera. There is little noticeable difference between the species, except C. chinchilla has a shorter tail, a thicker neck and shoulders, and shorter ears than C. lanigera. The former species is currently facing extinction; the latter, though rare, can be found in the wild. Domesticated chinchillas are thought
The Chinese crested dog is a hairless breed of dog. Like most hairless dog breeds, the Chinese crested comes in two varieties, both with and without fur, which are born in the same litter: the Hairless and the Powderpuff.
This breed is considered small; 10–13 lb (4.5–5.9 kg).
At first look, the Hairless and Powderpuff varieties of Chinese crested Dogs appear to be two different breeds, but hairlessness is an incomplete dominant trait within a single breed. The Hairless has soft, humanlike skin, as well as tufts of fur on its paws ("socks") and tail ("plume") and long, flowing hair on its head ("crest"). In addition to being an incomplete dominant gene, the "hairless" gene has a prenatal lethal effect when homozygous. Zygotes affected with double hairless genes (1 in 4) never develop into puppies, and are reabsorbed in the womb. All hairless Cresteds are therefore heterozygous.
The Hairless variety can vary in amount of body hair. Fur on the muzzle, known as a beard, is not uncommon. A true Hairless often does not have as much furnishings (hair on the head, tail, and paws). The difference between a very hairy Hairless and a Powderpuff is that the Hairless has a single coat with
Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the Anatidae family of birds, which also includes swans and geese. The ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the Anatidae family; they do not represent a monophyletic group (the group of all descendants of a single common ancestral species) but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered ducks. Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, mostly smaller than the swans and geese, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water.
Ducks are sometimes confused with several types of unrelated water birds with similar forms, such as loons or divers, grebes, gallinules, and coots.
The word duck comes from Old English *dūce "diver", a derivative of the verb *dūcan "to duck, bend down low as if to get under something, or dive", because of the way many species in the dabbling duck group feed by upending; compare with Dutch duiken and German tauchen "to dive".
This word replaced Old English ened/ænid "duck", possibly to avoid confusion with other Old English words, like ende "end" with similar forms. Other Germanic languages still have similar words for "duck", for example, Dutch eend "duck" and German Ente "duck". The word
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. A hare less than one year old is called a leveret. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and three species known as red rock hares (Pronolagus spp.).
Hares are very fast-moving animals; the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) is able to run at speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph). They live solitarily or in pairs, while a "drove" is the collective noun for a group of hares.
A common type of hare in Arctic North America is the snowshoe hare, replaced farther south by the black-tailed jackrabbit, white-tailed jackrabbit, and other species.
Normally a shy animal, the European brown hare changes its behavior in spring, when hares can be seen in broad daylight chasing one another around meadows; this appears to be competition between males to attain dominance (and hence more access to breeding females). During this spring frenzy, hares can be seen "boxing"; one hare striking another with its paws (probably the origin of the term "mad as a March hare"). For a long time, this had been thought to be intermale competition, but closer observation has
The jerboa (from Arabic جربوع jarbūʕ) form the bulk of the membership of the family Dipodidae. Jerboas are hopping desert rodents found throughout Northern Africa and Asia east to northern China and Manchuria. They tend to be found in hot deserts.
They look like kangaroos due to having many similarities such as long hind legs, very short forelegs, and long tails. Jerboas move around their environment the same way a kangaroo does, which is by hopping. The tail of a jerboa can be longer than its head and body and it is common to see a white cluster of hair at the end of the tail. The tail of a jerboa is used to balance the creature when it is hopping and "as a prop when the jerboa is sitting upright". The fur of a jerboa is fine and is usually the color of sand, this color in most cases matches the environment the jerboa lives in (an example of cryptic coloration). Some species of the jerboa family have long ears like a rabbit and others have ears that are short like those of a mouse. Most jerboas are known to eat plants. Some species will eat beetles and other insects they come across, but they can not eat hard seeds. Unlike gerbils, jerboas are not known to store food. When chased,
The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. Wild lions currently exist in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia, with an endangered remnant population in Gir Forest National Park in India, having disappeared from North Africa and Southwest Asia in historic times. Until the late Pleistocene, about 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal after humans. They were found in most of Africa, across Eurasia from western Europe to India, and in the Americas from the Yukon to Peru. The lion is a vulnerable species, having seen a major population decline of 30–50% over the past two decades in its African range. Lion populations are untenable outside designated reserves and national parks. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern. Within Africa, the West African lion population is particularly endangered.
Lions live for 10–14 years in the wild, while in captivity they can live longer than 20 years. In
The mosquitoes are a family of small, midge-like flies: the Culicidae. Although a few species are harmless or even useful to humanity, most are a nuisance because they consume blood from living vertebrates, including humans. The females of many species of mosquitoes are blood eating pests. In feeding on blood, some of them transmit extremely harmful human and livestock diseases, such as malaria. Some authorities argue accordingly that mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals on Earth.
Mosquitoes are members of a family of nematocerid flies: the Culicidae (from the Latin culex, genitive culicis meaning "midge" or "gnat"). The word mosquito (formed by mosca and diminutive ito) is from the Spanish for "little fly". Superficially, mosquitoes resemble crane flies (family Tipulidae) and chironomid flies (family Chironomidae); as a result, casual observers seldom realise the important differences between the members of the respective families. In particular, the females of many species of mosquitoes are blood eating pests and dangerous vectors of diseases, whereas members of the similar-looking Chironomidae and Tipulidae are not. Many species of mosquitoes are not blood eaters, and many
Traditionally, reptiles are members of the class Reptilia comprising the amniotes that are neither birds nor mammals. (The amniotes are the vertebrates with eggs featuring an amnion, a double membrane that permits the embryo to breathe effectively on land.) Living reptiles can be distinguished from other tetrapods in that they are cold-blooded and bear scutes or scales.
Reptiles originated around 320-310 million years ago during the Carboniferous period, having evolved from advanced reptile-like amphibians that became increasingly adapted to life on dry land. There are many extinct groups, including dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and aquatic groups such as the ichthyosaurs. Modern reptiles inhabit every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Several living sub-groups are recognized:
Although they have scutes on their feet and lay eggs, birds have historically been excluded from the reptiles, in part because they are warm-blooded. They therefore do not appear on the list above. However, as some reptiles are more closely related to birds than they are to other reptiles—crocodiles are more closely related to birds than they are to lizards—cladistic writers who prefer a more unified
A Coonhound is a type of scent hound and a member of the hound group.
Coonhounds are an American style of hunting dog developed for the quarry and working conditions found in the United States. Coondogs are highly valued.
In the colonial period, foxhounds were imported for the popular sport of foxhunting. Various breeds of foxhounds and other hunting hounds were imported from England, Ireland, and France, making up the initial composition of the dogs that were later known as “Virginia Hounds”.
Foxhounds were found to be inadequate for hunting animals that did not hide near the ground, but instead took to the treetops to escape, such as raccoons, opossums, bobcats and even larger prey like cougars and bears. The dogs were often confused or unable to hold the scent when this occurred, and would mill about.
The name is derived from their original use in hunting raccoons.
Treeing dogs were developed, chosen for a keen sense of smell, the ability to track, chase and corner any manner of animal independent of human commands, and, most importantly, to follow an animal both on the ground and when it takes to the trees. A good coonhound will bark and keep its prey treed until the hunters
The cougar (Puma concolor), also known as the puma, mountain lion, or catamount, is a mammal of the family Felidae, native to the Americas. This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in every major American habitat type. It is the second heaviest cat in the Western Hemisphere, after the jaguar. Although large, the cougar is most closely related to smaller felines and is closer genetically to the domestic cat than to true lions. Like the smaller felines, the cougar is nocturnal.
A capable stalk-and-ambush predator, the cougar pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources include ungulates such as deer, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep, as well as domestic cattle, horses and sheep, particularly in the northern part of its range. It will also hunt species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but it can also live in open areas. The cougar is territorial and survives at low population densities. Individual territory
A falcon ( /ˈfɔːlkən/ or /ˈfælkən/) is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.
Adult falcons have thin tapered wings, which enable them to fly at high speed and to change direction rapidly. Fledgling falcons, in their first year of flying, have longer flight feathers which makes their configuration more like that of a general-purpose bird such as a broadwing. This makes it easier to fly while learning the exceptional skills required to be effective hunters as adults.
Peregrine Falcons have been recorded diving at speeds of 200 miles per hour (320 km/h), making them the fastest-moving creatures on Earth. Other falcons include the Gyrfalcon, Lanner Falcon, and the Merlin. Some small falcons with long narrow wings are called hobbies, and some which hover while hunting are called kestrels. The falcons are part of the family Falconidae, which also includes the caracaras, Laughing Falcon, forest falcons, and falconets.
The traditional term for a male falcon is tercel (British spelling) or tiercel (American spelling), from Latin tertius = third because of the belief that only one in three eggs
Gorillas comprise the eponymous genus Gorilla, the largest extant genus of primates. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. The genus is divided into two species and either four or five subspecies. The DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of a human, from 95–99% depending on what is counted, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the bonobo and common chimpanzee.
Gorillas' natural habitats cover tropical or subtropical forests in Africa. Although their range covers a small percentage of Africa, gorillas cover a wide range of elevations. The mountain gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 2,200–4,300 metres (7,200–14,100 ft). Lowland gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level, with western lowland gorillas living in Central West African countries and eastern lowland gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its border with Rwanda.
The American physician and missionary Thomas Staughton Savage and naturalist Jeffries Wyman first described the western gorilla (they
Hawks are birds of prey, widely distributed and varying greatly in size. They have sharp beaks and strong claws for catching and eating prey.
Owls are members of the order Strigiformes and are not hawks.
The common names of certain non-hawks include the term "hawk", reflecting traditional usage rather than taxonomy, such as referring to an Osprey as a "fish hawk" or the Buteo species B. jamaicensis as a Red-tailed Hawk.
In February 2005, the Canadian ornithologist Louis Lefebvre announced a method of measuring avian "IQ" in terms of their innovation in feeding habits. Hawks were named among the most intelligent birds based on his scale.
Hawks are widely reputed to have visual acuity several times that of a normal human being. This is due to the many photoreceptors in the retina (up to 1,000,000 per square mm for Buteo, against 200,000 for humans), an exceptional number of nerves connecting these receptors to the brain, and an indented fovea, which magnifies the central portion of the visual field.
Hummingbirds are birds that comprise the family Trochilidae. They are among the smallest of birds, most species measuring in the 7.5–13 cm (3–5 in) range. Indeed, the smallest extant bird species is a hummingbird, the 5-cm Bee Hummingbird. They can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–80 times per second (depending on the species). They are known as hummingbirds because of the humming sound created by their beating wings, which sometimes sound like bees or other insects. To conserve energy while they sleep or when food is scarce, they have the ability to go into a hibernation-like state (torpor) where their metabolic rate is slowed to 1/15th of its normal rate.They are also the only group of birds with the ability to fly backwards. They can fly at speeds exceeding 15 m/s (54 km/h; 34 mph).
Hummingbirds drink nectar, a sweet liquid inside certain flowers. Like bees, they are able to assess the amount of sugar in the nectar they eat; they reject flower types that produce nectar that is less than 10% sugar and prefer those whose sugar content is stronger. Nectar is a poor source of nutrients, so hummingbirds meet their needs for protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals,
The Komondor (Hungarian plural komondorok) is a large, white-colored Hungarian breed of livestock guardian dog with a long, corded coat.
Sometimes referred to as 'mop dogs,' the Komondor is a long-established powerful dog breed that has a natural guardian instinct to guard livestock and other property. The Komondor was brought to Europe by the Cumans and it was mentioned for the first time in 1544 in a Hungarian codex. The Komondor breed has been declared one of Hungary’s national treasures, to be preserved and protected from modification.
The name Komondor derives from Koman-dor, meaning "Cuman dog". The breed descends from Tibetan dogs and came from Asia with the Cumans, whose homeland was near the Yellow River. In the late 900s, Mongols began to expand their territories at the expense of the Cumans, forcing them to move westwards. Fleeing from the Mongols, they reached the borders of Hungary in the 1100s. Cumans were granted asylum and settled in Hungary in 1239 under Köten Khan. Komondor remains have been found in Cuman gravesites.
The Komondor is a large dog (many are over 30 inches tall), making this one of the largest common breeds of dog, or a molosser. The body is covered
Porcupines are rodents with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that defend and camouflage them from predators. They are indigenous to the Americas, southern Asia, and Africa. Porcupines are the third largest of the rodents, behind the capybara and the beaver. Most porcupines are about 25–36 in (63–91 cm) long, with an 8–10 in (20–25 cm) long tail. Weighing between 12–35 lb (5.4–16 kg), they are rounded, large and slow. Porcupines come in various shades of brown, grey, and the unusual white. Porcupines' spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated erinaceomorph hedgehogs and monotreme echidnas.
The common porcupine is a herbivore. It eats leaves, herbs, twigs and green plants like skunk cabbage and clover and in the winter it may eat bark. The North American porcupine often climbs trees to find food. The African porcupine is not a climber and forages on the ground. It is mostly nocturnal, but will sometimes forage for food in the day. Porcupines have become a pest in Kenya and are eaten as a delicacy.
The name porcupine comes from Middle French porc espin (spined pig). A regional American name for the animal is quill pig.
A porcupine is any of 29 species of rodent belonging to
Raven is the common name given to several larger-bodied members of the genus Corvus—but in Europe and North America the Common Raven is normally implied. They have black plumage and large beaks.
Smaller-bodied species in the genus Corvus include the crows, jackdaws, and the rook.
Most ravens eat some sort of fruit, such as dates, or berries. Most are omnivorous. The ravens look similar to another common bird, the crow, being related.
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales. Many species of snakes have skulls with many more joints than their lizard ancestors, enabling them to swallow prey much larger than their heads with their highly mobile jaws. To accommodate their narrow bodies, snakes' paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side, and most have only one functional lung. Some species retain a pelvic girdle with a pair of vestigial claws on either side of the cloaca.
Living snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica, in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and on most smaller land masses — exceptions include some large islands, such as Ireland and New Zealand, and many small islands of the Atlantic and central Pacific. More than 20 families are currently recognized, comprising about 500 genera and about 3,400 species. They range in size from the tiny, 10 cm-long thread snake to the Reticulated python of up to 8.7 meters (29 ft) in length. The
Swans, genus Cygnus, are birds of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and ducks. Swans are grouped with the closely related geese in the subfamily Anserinae where they form the tribe Cygnini. Sometimes, they are considered a distinct subfamily, Cygninae. There are six or seven species of swan in the genus Cygnus; in addition there is another species known as the Coscoroba Swan, although this species is no longer considered one of the true swans. Swans usually mate for life, though 'divorce' does sometimes occur, particularly following nesting failure. The number of eggs in each clutch ranges from three to eight.
The word swan is derived from Old English swan, akin to the German Schwan and Dutch zwaan and Swedish svan, in turn derived from Indo-European root *swen (to sound, to sing). Young swans are known as swanlings or as cygnets, from Greek κύκνος, kýknos and from the Latin word cygnus ("swan") and the Old French suffix -et ("little"). An adult male is a cob, from Middle English cobbe (leader of a group); an adult female is a pen.
The swans are the largest members of the waterfowl family Anatidae, and are among the largest flying birds. The largest species, including
Wild boar (Sus scrofa), also known as wild pig, is a species of the pig genus Sus, part of the biological family Suidae. The species includes many subspecies. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig, an animal with which it freely hybridises. Wild boar are native across much of Northern and Central Europe, the Mediterranean Region (including North Africa's Atlas Mountains) and much of Asia as far south as Indonesia. Populations have also been artificially introduced in some parts of the world, most notably the Americas and Australasia, principally for hunting. Elsewhere, populations have also become established after escapes of wild boar from captivity.
The term boar is used to denote an adult male of certain species – including, confusingly, domestic pigs. However, for wild boar, it applies to the whole species, including, for example, "wild boar sow" or "wild boar piglet".
Wild boar are also known by various names, including wild hogs or simply boars. In North America they are more commonly referred to as razorbacks or European boars.
The body of the wild boar is compact; the head is large, the legs relatively short. The fur consists of stiff bristles and usually finer fur.
The Neanderthals (English pronunciation /niˈændərˌθɔls/, /niˈændərˌtɔls/, /niˈændərˌtɑls/ or /neɪˈɑndərˌtɑls/) are a now-extinct species or subspecies within the genus Homo and closely related to modern humans. They are known from fossil specimens dating to the Pleistocene period and found in Europe and parts of western and central Asia. The term "Neanderthal", a shortening of "Neanderthal man", is sometimes spelled Neandertal, the modern spelling of the Neander Valley in Germany where the species was first discovered.
Neanderthals are classified alternatively as a subspecies of Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) or as a separate human species (Homo neanderthalensis). The first proto-Neanderthal traits appeared in Europe as early as 600,000–350,000 years ago. Proto-Neanderthal traits are occasionally grouped with another phenetic 'species', Homo heidelbergensis, or a migrant form, Homo rhodesiensis.
The youngest Neanderthal finds include Hyena Den (UK), considered older than 30,000 years ago, while the Vindija (Croatia) Neanderthals have been re-dated to between 33,000 and 32,000 years ago. No definite specimens younger than 30,000 years ago have been found; however,
The Ostrich, or Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus), is one or two species of large flightless birds native to Africa, the only living member(s) of the genus Struthio that is in the ratite family. Some analyses indicate that the Somali Ostrich may be better considered a full species apart from the Common Ostrich, but most taxonomists consider it to be a subspecies.
Ostriches share the order Struthioniformes with the kiwis, emus, rheas, and cassowaries. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at maximum speeds of about 70 km/h (43 mph), the fastest land speed of any bird. The Ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest egg of any living bird (extinct elephant birds of Madagascar and the giant moa of New Zealand did lay larger eggs).
The diet of Ostriches mainly consists of plant matter, though it also eats invertebrates. It lives in nomadic groups which contain between five and fifty birds. When threatened, the Ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or will run away. If cornered, it can attack with a kick from its powerful legs. Mating patterns differ by geographical region, but territorial
Squirrels belong to a large family of small or medium-sized rodents called the Sciuridae. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots (including woodchucks), flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, and have been introduced to Australia. The earliest known squirrels date from the Eocene and are most closely related to the mountain beaver and to the dormouse among living species.
The word "squirrel", first specified in 1327, comes from Anglo-Norman esquirel from the Old French escurel, the reflex of a Latin word sciurus. This Latin word was borrowed from the Ancient Greek word σκίουρος, skiouros, which means shadow-tailed, referring to the bushy appendage possessed by many of its members.
The native Old English word, ācweorna, survived only into Middle English (as aquerne) before being replaced. The Old English word is of Common Germanic origin, with cognates such as German Eichhorn, Norwegian ekorn, Dutch eekhoorn, Swedish ekorre and Danish egern.
Squirrels are generally small animals, ranging in size from the African pygmy squirrel at 7–10 cm (2.8–3.9 in) in length and just 10 g (0.35 oz) in
The wolverine, pronounced /ˈwʊlvəriːn/, Gulo gulo (Gulo is Latin for "glutton"), also referred to as glutton, carcajou, skunk bear, or quickhatch, is the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae (weasels). It is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids. The wolverine has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill prey many times its size.
The wolverine can be found primarily in remote reaches of the Northern boreal forests and subarctic and alpine tundra of the Northern Hemisphere, with the greatest numbers in northern Canada, the U.S. state of Alaska, the Nordic countries of Europe, and throughout western Russia and Siberia. Their populations have experienced a steady decline since the 19th century in the face of trapping, range reduction and habitat fragmentation, such that they are essentially absent in the southern end of their European range. Large populations are thought to remain in North America and northern Asia. Wolverines are solitary animals.
Genetic evidence suggests that the wolverine is most closely related to the tayra and martens
The chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird. Humans keep chickens primarily as a source of food, consuming both their meat and their eggs. The chicken's "cultural and culinary dominance" could be considered amazing to some in view of its believed domestic origin and purpose and it has "inspired contributions to culture, art, cuisine, science and religion" from antiquity to the present.
The traditional poultry farming view of the domestication of the chicken is stated in Encyclopædia Britannica (2007): "Humans first domesticated chickens of Indian origin for the purpose of cockfighting in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Very little formal attention was given to egg or meat production... " Recent genetic studies have pointed to multiple maternal origins in Southeast, East, and South Asia, but with the clade found in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa originating in the Indian subcontinent. From India the domesticated fowl made its way to the
Apes are Old World anthropoid mammals, more specifically a clade of tailless catarrhine primates, belonging to the biological superfamily Hominoidea. The apes are native to Africa and South-east Asia. Apes are the largest primates and the orangutan, an ape, is the largest living arboreal animal. Hominoids are traditionally forest dwellers, although chimpanzees may range into savanna, and the extinct australopithecines were likely also savanna inhabitants, inferred from their morphology. Humans inhabit almost every terrestrial habitat.
Hominoidea contains two families of living (extant) species:
Members of the superfamily are called hominoids (not to be confused with "hominids" or "hominins").
Some or all hominoids are also called "apes". However, the term "ape" is used in several different senses. It has been used as a synonym for "monkey" or for any tailless primate with a humanlike appearance. Thus the Barbary macaque, a kind of monkey, is popularly called the "Barbary ape" to indicate its lack of a tail. Biologists have used the term "ape" to mean a member of the superfamily Hominoidea other than humans, or more recently to mean all members of the superfamily Hominoidea, so that
The guinea pig (Cavia porcellus), also called the cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not in the pig family, nor are they from Guinea. They originated in the Andes, and earlier studies based on biochemistry and hybridization suggested they are domesticated descendants of a closely related species of cavy such as Cavia aperea, C. fulgida, or C. tschudii and, therefore, do not exist naturally in the wild. Recent studies applying molecular markers, in addition to studying the skull and skeletal morphology of current and mummified animals, revealed that the ancestor is most likely Cavia tschudii.
The guinea pig plays an important role in the folk culture of many Indigenous South American groups, especially as a food source, but also in folk medicine and in community religious ceremonies. Since the 1960s, efforts have been made to increase consumption of the animal outside South America.
In Western societies, the guinea pig has enjoyed widespread popularity as a household pet since its introduction by European traders in the 16th century. Their docile nature, their responsiveness to handling and
The llama (Lama glama) is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times.
The height of a full-grown, full-size llama is 1.7 to 1.8 m (5.5 to 6.0 ft) tall at the top of the head, and can weigh between 130 to 200 kilograms (280 to 450 lb). At birth, a baby llama (called a cria) can weigh between 9 and 14 kilograms (20 and 30 lb). Llamas can live for a period of about 20–30 years depending on how well they are taken care of. Llamas are very social animals and live with other llamas as a herd. The wool produced by a llama is very soft and lanolin-free. Llamas are intelligent and can learn simple tasks after a few repetitions. When using a pack, llamas can carry about 25% to 30% of their body weight for 5-8 miles.
The name llama (in the past also spelled 'lama' or 'glama') was adopted by European settlers from native Peruvians.
Llamas appear to have originated from the central plains of North America about 40 million years ago. They migrated to South America about 3 million years ago. By the end of the last ice age (10,000–12,000 years ago), camelids were extinct in North America. As of 2007, there were over 7
Snail is a common name that is applied most often to land snails, terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusks. However, the common name "snail" is also applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have a coiled shell that is large enough for the animal to retract completely into. When the word "snail" is used in this most general sense, it includes not just land snails but also thousands of species of sea snails and freshwater snails. Occasionally a few other mollusks that are not actually gastropods, such as the Monoplacophora, which superficially resemble small limpets, may also informally be referred to as "snails".
Snail-like animals that naturally lack a shell, or have only an internal shell, are usually called slugs, and land snails that have only a very small shell (that they cannot retract into) are often called semislugs.
Snails that respire using a lung belong to the group Pulmonata, while those with gills form a polyphyletic group; in other words, snails with gills form a number of taxonomic groups that are not necessarily more closely related to each other than they are related to some other groups. Both snails that have lungs and snails that have
The American Eskimo Dog is a breed of companion dog originating in Germany. The American Eskimo is a member of the Spitz family. Despite its name and appearance, the American Eskimo dog is not from Alaska; the dog's heritage is traced back to Northern Europe. The breed's progenitors were German Spitz, but due to anti-German prejudice during the First World War, it was renamed "American Eskimo Dog". Although modern American Eskimos have been exported as German Spitz Gross (or Mittel, depending on the dog's height), the breed standards are actually significantly different. In addition to serving as a watchdog and companion, the American Eskimo dog also achieved a high degree of popularity in the 1930s and 1940s United States as a circus performer.
There are three size varieties of the American Eskimo breed, the toy, miniature and the standard. They share a common resemblance with Japanese Spitz and Samoyed dog.
The American Eskimo Dog was originally bred to guard people and property and, therefore, is territorial by nature and a valiant watchdog. They are not considered an aggressive breed. But, due to the breed's watchdog history, American Eskimos are generally quite vocal, barking
Anteater is a common name for the four mammal species of the suborder Vermilingua (meaning "worm tongue") commonly known for eating ants and termites. Another common name is ant bears, and the individual species have other names in English and other languages. Together with the sloths, they compose the order Pilosa. The name "anteater" is also colloquially applied to the unrelated aardvark, numbat, echidnas, pangolins and some members of the Oecobiidae.
Extant species include the giant anteater Myrmecophaga tridactyla, about 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) long including the tail; the silky anteater Cyclopes didactylus, about 35 cm (14 in) long; the southern tamandua or collared anteater Tamandua tetradactyla, about 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) long; and the northern tamandua Tamandua mexicana of similar dimensions.
The anteaters are more closely related to the sloths than they are to any other group of mammals. Their next closest relations are armadillos. Three genera are still living: the giant and the silky anteaters, and the northern and southern tamanduas, and several genera are extinct.
All anteaters have elongated snouts equipped with a thin tongue that can be extended to a length
Armadillos are New World placental mammals with a leathery armor shell. The Dasypodidae are the only surviving family in the order Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra, along with the anteaters and sloths. The word armadillo in Spanish means "little armored one". The Aztecs called them āyōtōchtli [aːjoː'toːt͡ʃt͡ɬi], Nahuatl for “turtle-rabbit”: āyōtl ['aːjoːt͡ɬ] (turtle) and tōchtli ['toːt͡ʃt͡ɬi] (rabbit).
About 10 extant genera and 20 extant species of armadillo have been described, some of which are distinguished by the number of bands on their armor. Their average length is about 75 cm (30 in), including tail; the giant armadillo grows up to 150 cm (59 in) and weighs up to 59 kg (130 lb), while the pink fairy armadillos are diminutive species with an overall length of 12 to 15 cm (5 to 6 in). All species are native to the Americas, where they inhabit a variety of environments. Armadillos species are primarily found in South and Central America, particularly in Paraguay and surrounding areas. Many species are endangered. Some species groups, such as the long-nosed armadillos, are widely distributed over the Americas, whereas others, such as the fairy armadillos, are
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a breed of dog belonging to the Retriever, Gundog, and Sporting breed groups. Members of the breed may also be referred to as a Chessie, CBR, or Chesapeake. The breed was developed in the United States Chesapeake Bay area during the 19th century. Historically used by area market hunters to retrieve waterfowl, it is primarily a family pet and hunting companion. They are often known for their love of water and their ability to hunt. It is a medium to large sized dog similar in appearance to the Labrador Retriever. The Chesapeake have a curly coat, rather than the Labrador's smooth coat. They are described as having a bright and happy disposition, courage, willingness to work, alertness, intelligence, and love of water as some of their characteristics.
Distinctive features include eyes that are very clear, of yellowish or amber hue, hindquarters as high or a trifle higher than the shoulders, and a double-coat that tends to wave on shoulders, neck, back, and loins. The waterproof coat feels slightly oily and is often associated with a slight musky odor. Three basic colors are generally seen in the breed: brown, which includes all shades from a light to a
The donkey or ass, Equus africanus asinus, is a domesticated member of the Equidae or horse family. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African wild ass, E. africanus. The donkey has been used as a working animal for at least 5000 years. There are more than 40 million donkeys in the world, mostly in underdeveloped countries, where they are used principally as draught or pack animals. Working donkeys are often associated with those living at or below subsistence levels. Small numbers of donkeys are kept for breeding or as pets in developed countries.
A male donkey or ass is called a jack, a female a jenny or jennet; a young donkey is a foal. Jack donkeys are often used to produce mules.
Asses were first domesticated around 3000 BC, or 4000 BC, probably in Egypt or Mesopotamia, and have spread around the world. They continue to fill important roles in many places today. While domesticated species are increasing in numbers, the African wild ass and another relative, the Onager, are endangered. As beasts of burden and companions, asses and donkeys have worked together with humans for millennia.
Traditionally, the scientific name for the donkey is Equus asinus asinus based on the
The Galgo Español (Spanish galgo) or Spanish greyhound is an ancient breed of dog, specifically a member of the sighthound family. The English greyhound is possibly a descendant of the Spanish greyhound and, for several years in the 20th century, some breeders did cross-breed Galgos and Greyhounds in order to produce faster and more powerful Galgos, specifically for track racing purposes.
Galgos are similar in appearance to Greyhounds, but are distinctly different in their conformation. Galgos are higher in the rear than in the front, and have flatter muscling than a Greyhound, which is characteristic of endurance runners. They also tend to be smaller, lighter in build, have longer tails and have a very long, streamlined head that gives the impression of larger ears. Their chests are not as deep as a Greyhound's and should not reach the point of the elbow
Unlike Greyhounds, Galgos come in two coat types: smooth and rough. The rough coat can provide extra protection from skin injuries while running in the field. They come in a variety of colors and coat patterns. Main colors are "barcino" or "atigrado" (brindle), "negro" (black), "barquillo"(golden), "tostado"(toasted), "canela"
The hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" (ἱπποπόταμος), is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae (the other is the pygmy hippopotamus). After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl. Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, their closest living relatives are cetaceans (whales, porpoises, etc.) from which they diverged about 55 million years ago. The common ancestor of whales and hippos split from other even-toed ungulates around 60 million years ago. The earliest known hippopotamus fossils, belonging to the genus Kenyapotamus in Africa, date to around 16 million years ago.
The hippopotamus is semi-aquatic, inhabiting rivers, lakes and mangrove swamps, where territorial bulls preside over a stretch of river and groups of 5 to 30 females and young. During the day they remain cool by staying in the water or mud; reproduction and childbirth both occur in water. They emerge at dusk to graze on grass. While hippopotamuses rest near
The Labrador Retriever (also Labrador, or Lab for short) is one of several kinds of retriever, a type of gun dog. A breed characteristic is webbed paws for swimming, useful for the breed's original purpose of retrieving fishing nets. The Labrador is the most popular breed of dog by registered ownership in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States (since 1991). It is also one of the most popular assistance dog breeds in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States and many other countries, as well as being widely used by police and other official bodies for their detection and working abilities. Typically, Labradors are athletic and love to swim, play catch and retrieve games, are good with young children, elderly, and for protection. They are also used as guide dogs to help blind people.
The modern Labrador's ancestors originated on the island of Newfoundland, now part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The founding breed of the Labrador was the St. John's Water Dog, a breed that emerged through ad-hoc breedings by early settlers of the island in the 16th century. The forebears of the St. John's Dog are not known, but were likely a
The pug is a toy dog with a wrinkly, short-muzzled face, and curled tail. The breed has a fine, glossy coat that comes in a variety of colors, and a compact square body with well-developed muscle. They have been described as multum in parvo ("much in little"), referring to the pug's personality and small size. Known in ancient China as lo-sze, they may have been responsible for the English Bulldog, the modern Pekingese and King Charles spaniel. They have Chinese origins, but were popularized in Western Europe by the House of Orange of the Netherlands and the House of Stuart of England, Ireland and Scotland.
They can suffer from a variety of health issues, including overheating, obesity, pharyngeal reflex and two fatal conditions which are necrotizing meningoencephalitis and hemivertebrae. In addition, care must be taken by their owner to clean their ears, and the folds of skin on their face.
The breed is often summarized as multum in parvo ("much in little"), describing the pug's remarkable personality despite its small size. While the pugs appearing in eighteenth century prints tended to be long and lean, modern breed preferences are for a square, cobby body, a compact form, a
The remoras ( /ˈrɛmərəs/, scientific name Echeneidae), sometimes called suckerfishes, are a family of ray-finned fishes in the order Perciformes. They grow to 30–90 cm long (1–3 ft), and their distinctive first dorsal fins take the form of a modified oval sucker-like organ with slat-like structures that open and close to create suction and take a firm hold against the skin of larger marine animals. By sliding backward, the remora can increase the suction, or it can release itself by swimming forward. Remoras sometimes attach to small boats. They swim well on their own, with a sinuous, or curved, motion.
Remoras are primarily tropical open-ocean dwellers, occasionally found in temperate or coastal waters if they have attached to large fish that have wandered into these areas. In the mid-Atlantic, spawning usually takes place in June and July; in the Mediterranean, it occurs in August and September. The sucking disc begins to show when the young fish are about 1 cm long. When the remora reaches about 3 cm, the disc is fully formed and the remora is then able to hitch a ride. The remora's lower jaw projects beyond the upper, and the animal lacks a swim bladder.
Some remoras associate
The Siberian Husky (Russian: сибирский хаски, "Siberian husky") is a medium-size, dense-coat working dog breed that originated in north-eastern Siberia. The breed belongs to the Spitz genetic family. It is recognisable by its thickly furred double coat, sickle tail, erect triangular ears, and distinctive markings.
Huskies are an active, energetic, and resilient breed whose ancestors came from the extremely cold and harsh environment of the Siberian Arctic. Siberian Huskies were bred by the Chukchi of Northeastern Asia to pull heavy loads long distances through difficult conditions. The dogs were imported into Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush and later spread into the United States and Canada. They were initially sent to Alaska and Canada as sled dogs but rapidly acquired the status of family pets and show dogs. Because of its efficiency as a working breed, most huskies are bred to be able to withstand long work days on little amounts of food. They can travel 40 miles per day.
The Siberian Husky, Samoyed, and Alaskan Malamute are all breeds directly descended from the original "sled dog." Recent DNA analysis confirms that this is one of the oldest breeds of dog. The term "husky" is
The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae, now found in the wild only on the Australian island state of Tasmania. The size of a small dog, it became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936. It is characterised by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odour, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell, and ferocity when feeding. The Tasmanian devil's large head and neck allow it to generate amongst the strongest bite per unit body mass of any extant mammal land predator, and it hunts prey and scavenges carrion as well as eating household products if humans are living nearby. Although it usually is solitary, it sometimes eats with other devils and defecates in a communal location. Unlike most other dasyurids, the devil thermoregulates effectively and is active during the middle of the day without overheating. Despite its rotund appearance, the devil is capable of surprising speed and endurance, and can climb trees and swim across rivers.
It is believed that ancient marsupials migrated from what is now South America to Australia tens of millions of
Whale (origin Old English hwæl) is the common name for various marine mammals of the order Cetacea. The term whale sometimes refers to all cetaceans, but more often it excludes dolphins and porpoises, which belong to the suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales). This suborder also includes the sperm whale, killer whale, pilot whale, and beluga whale. The other Cetacean suborder, Mysticeti (baleen whales), comprises filter feeders that eat small organisms caught by straining seawater through a comblike structure found in the mouth called baleen. This suborder includes the blue whale, the humpback whale, the bowhead whale and the minke whale. All Cetacea have forelimbs modified as fins, a tail with horizontal flukes, and nasal openings (blowholes) on top of the head.
Whales range in size from the blue whale, the largest animal known to have ever existed at 30 m (98 ft) and 180 tonnes (180 long tons; 200 short tons), to various pygmy species, such as the pygmy sperm whale at 3.5 m (11 ft).
Whales collectively inhabit all the world's oceans and number in the millions, with annual population growth rate estimates for various species ranging from 3% to 13%. For centuries, whales have been
The yak (Bos grunniens for the domesticated, Bos mutus for the wild animal – but see below) is a long-haired bovine found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. In addition to a large domestic population, there is a small, vulnerable wild yak population. In the 1990s, a concerted effort was undertaken to help save the wild yak population.
The English word "yak" derives from the Tibetan (Tibetan: གཡག་, Wylie: g.yag), or gyag – in Tibetan this refers only to the male of the species, the female being called a dri or nak. In English, as in most other languages which have borrowed the word, "yak" is usually used for both sexes.
Yaks belong to the genus Bos, and are therefore related to cattle (Bos primigenius taurus, Bos primigenius indicus). Mitochondrial DNA analyses to determine the evolutionary history of yaks have been somewhat ambiguous.
The yak may have diverged from cattle at any point between one and five million years ago, and there is some suggestion that it may be more closely related to bison than to the other members of its designated genus. Apparent close fossil relatives of the yak, such as Bos
Sheep (Ovis aries) are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries. Numbering a little over one billion, domestic sheep are also the most numerous species of sheep.
Sheep are most likely descended from the wild mouflon of Europe and Asia. One of the earliest animals to be domesticated for agricultural purposes, sheep are raised for fleece, meat (lamb, hogget or mutton) and milk. A sheep's wool is the most widely used animal fiber, and is usually harvested by shearing. Ovine meat is called lamb when from younger animals and mutton when from older ones. Sheep continue to be important for wool and meat today, and are also occasionally raised for pelts, as dairy animals, or as model organisms for science.
Sheep husbandry is practised throughout the majority of the inhabited world, and has been fundamental to many civilizations. In the modern era, Australia, New Zealand, the southern and central South American nations, and the British Isles are most closely
The vizsla is a dog breed originating in Hungary. The Hungarian or Magyar Vizsla are sporting dogs and loyal companions, in addition to being the smallest of the all-round pointer-retriever breeds. The Vizsla's medium size is one of the breed's most appealing characteristics as a hunter of fowl and upland game, and through the centuries the Vizsla has held a rare position among sporting dogs – that of household companion and family dog.
The Vizsla is a natural hunter endowed with an excellent nose and an outstanding trainability. Although they are lively, gentle mannered, demonstrably affectionate and sensitive, they are also fearless and possessed of a well-developed protective instinct.
The Vizsla is a medium-sized short-coated hunting dog of distinguished appearance and bearing. Robust but rather lightly built, they are lean dogs, have defined muscles, and are observed to share similar physical characteristics with the Weimaraner.
Various breeds are often mistaken for Vizslas, and Vizslas are often mistaken for other breeds. Redbone Coonhounds, Weimaraners and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are some of the most commonly confused breeds. The body structure of a Vizsla is very similar in
The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia, and the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae.
The koala is found in coastal regions of eastern and southern Australia, from Adelaide to the southern part of Cape York Peninsula. Populations also extend for considerable distances inland in regions with enough moisture to support suitable woodlands. The koalas of South Australia were largely exterminated during the early part of the 20th century, but the state has since been repopulated with Victorian stock. The koala is not found in Tasmania, the Northern Territory or Western Australia. As of 2012 there have been increasing concerns about the animal's sustainable future in the environment.
The word koala comes from the Dharuk gula. Although the vowel /u/ was originally written in the English orthography as "oo" (in spellings such as coola or koolah), it was changed to "oa" possibly due to an error. The word is erroneously said to mean "doesn't drink".
The scientific name of the koala's genus, Phascolarctos, is derived from Greek phaskolos "pouch" and arktos "bear". Its species name, cinereus, is Latin and means
Koi (鯉, English /ˈkɔɪ/, Japanese: [koꜜi]) or more specifically nishikigoi (錦鯉, [niɕi̥kiꜜɡo.i], literally "brocaded carp"), are ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens.
Koi varieties are distinguished by coloration, patterning, and scalation. Some of the major colors are white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream. The most popular category of koi is the Gosanke, which is made up of the Kohaku, Taisho Sanshoku, and Showa Sanshoku varieties.
The word koi comes from Japanese, simply meaning "carp". It includes both the dull grey fish and the brightly colored varieties. What are known as koi in English are referred to more specifically as nishikigoi in Japan (literally meaning "brocaded carp"). In Japanese, koi is a homophone for another word that means "affection" or "love"; koi are therefore symbols of love and friendship in Japan. The koi is also an often recurring symbol in Irezumi, the Japanese art of traditional tattooing.
Carp are a large group of fish originally found in Central Europe and Asia. Various carp species were originally domesticated in East Asia, where they were
Mongooses are 33 living species of small carnivorans from southern Eurasia and mainland Africa of the family Herpestidae. Four additional species from Madagascar in the subfamily Galidiinae, which were previously classified in this family, are also referred to as "mongooses" or "mongoose-like". Genetic evidence indicates that the Galidiinae are more closely related to other Madagascar carnivorans in the family Eupleridae, which is the closest living group to the true mongooses.
The word mongoose is derived from the Marathi name mangus (मंगूस) (pronounced as [məŋɡuːs]), perhaps ultimately from Dravidian (cf. Telugu mungeesa (ముంగిస), Kannada mungisi (ಮುಂಗಿಸಿ). The form of the English name (since 1698) was altered to its -goose ending by folk-etymology. It has no etymological connection with the word goose. The plural form is mongooses, or, rarely, mongeese. It has also been spelled mungoose.
Mongooses live in southern Asia, Africa, and southern Europe, as well in Puerto Rico and some Caribbean and Hawaiian islands, where they are an introduced species.
There are 33 species, ranging from 1–4 feet (0.30–1.2 m) in length. Mongoose range in weight from the common dwarf mongoose, at
The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth. It is the sole living representative of its family (Ornithorhynchidae) and genus (Ornithorhynchus), though a number of related species have been found in the fossil record.
The unusual appearance of this egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, with some considering it an elaborate fraud. It is one of the few venomous mammals, the male platypus having a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans. The unique features of the platypus make it an important subject in the study of evolutionary biology and a recognisable and iconic symbol of Australia; it has appeared as a mascot at national events and is featured on the reverse of the Australian 20 cent coin. The platypus is the animal emblem of the state of New South Wales.
Until the early 20th century, it was hunted for its fur, but it is now
Pigeons and doves constitute the bird clade Columbidae that include some 310 species of near passerines. In general the terms "dove" and "pigeon" are used somewhat interchangeably. In ornithological practice, there is a tendency for "dove" to be used for smaller species and "pigeon" for larger ones, but this is in no way consistently applied, and historically the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation between the terms "dove" and "pigeon." This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones. Young doves and pigeons are called "squabs."
Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and have short slender bills with a fleshy cere. The species commonly referred to just as "pigeon" is the Feral Rock Pigeon, common in many cities.
Doves and pigeons build relatively flimsy nests from sticks and other debris, which may be placed in trees, on ledges or on the ground, depending on species. They lay one or two eggs, and both parents care for the young, which leave the nest after 7 to 28 days. Doves feed on seeds, fruit and plants. Unlike most birds, both sexes of doves and pigeons produce "crop milk" to
The Kelpie is an Australian sheep dog successful at mustering and droving with little or no command guidance. They are medium-sized dogs and come in a variety of colours. Kelpies have been exported throughout the world and are used to muster livestock, primarily sheep, cattle and goats.
The breed has been separated into two distinct varieties: the show or bench Kelpie and the working Kelpie. The show Kelpie is seen at conformation dog shows in some countries and is selected for appearance rather than working instinct. Working Kelpies are bred for working ability rather than appearance.
The Kelpie is a smooth-coated, medium sized dog generally with prick ears and an athletic appearance. Working Kelpies are bred for work and endurance, rather than physical appearance. Coat colors include: black, black and tan, red, red and tan, blue, blue and tan, fawn, fawn and tan, and cream (yellow).
Robert Kaleski published the first standard for the Kelpie in 1904. The standard was accepted by leading breeders of the time and adopted by the Kennel Club of New South Wales. Contemporary breed standards vary depending on whether the registry is for working or show Kelpies. It is possible for a dog
The capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is the largest extant rodent in the world. Its closest relatives are agouti, chinchillas, coyphillas, and guinea pigs. Native to South America, the capybara inhabits savannas and dense forests and lives near bodies of water. It is a highly social species and can be found in groups as large as 100 individuals, but usually lives in groups of 10–20 individuals. The capybara is not a threatened species, though it is hunted for its meat and skin.
Its common name is derived from Tupi ka'apiûara, a complex agglutination of kaá (leaf) + píi (slender) + ú (eat) + ara (a suffix for agent nouns), meaning "one who eats slender leafs", or "grass-eater". The scientific name, both hydrochoerus and hydrochaeris, comes from Greek ὕδωρ (hydor = water) + χοίρος (choiros = pig, hog).
The capybara and the lesser capybara belong to the subfamily Hydrochoerinae along with the rock cavies. The living capybaras and their extinct relatives were previously classified in their own family Hydrochoeridae. Since 2002, molecular phylogenetic studies have recognized a close relationship between Hydrochoerus and Kerodon supporting placement of both genera in a subfamily of
A Gordon Setter is a large breed of dog, a member of the setter family that also includes both the better-known Irish Setter and the English Setter. Setter breeds are classified as members of either the Sporting or Gundog Group depending on the national kennel club or council. The original purpose of the breed was to hunt gamebirds. Their quarry in the United Kingdom, may be partridge or grouse, pheasant, ptarmigan, blackgame, snipe or woodcock: whilst overseas bird dogs are worked on quail, willow grouse, sand grouse, guinea fowl, sagehen, francolin and any other bird that will sit to a dog - that is to say, will attempt to avoid a potential predator by concealment rather than by taking to the wing at the first sign of danger. It is this combination of a bird that will sit fast in front of a dog that will remain on point that makes bird dog work possible.
Gordon setters, also known as "black and tans," have a coal-black coat with distinctive markings of a rich chestnut or mahogany colour on their paws and lower legs, vents, throat, and muzzles; one spot above each eye; and two spots on their chest. A small amount of white is allowed on the chest. Although uncommon, red Gordons are
The gray wolf or grey wolf (Canis lupus) is a species of canid native to the wilderness and remote areas of North America, Eurasia, and North Africa. It is the largest member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb), and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb). It is similar in general appearance and proportions to a German shepherd, or sled dog, but has a larger head, narrower chest, longer legs, straighter tail and bigger paws. Its winter fur is long and bushy, and is usually mottled gray in color, though it can range from nearly pure white, red, or brown to black.
Within the genus Canis, the gray wolf represents a more specialised and progressive form than its smaller cousins (the coyote and golden jackal), as demonstrated by its morphological adaptations to hunting large prey, its more gregarious nature and its highly advanced expressive behavior. It is a social animal, travelling in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair, accompanied by the pair's adult offspring. The gray wolf is typically an apex predator throughout its range, with only humans and tigers posing a serious threat to it. It feeds primarily on large ungulates, though it will also eat smaller animals,
Lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with more than 5600 species , ranging across all continents except Antarctica, as well as most oceanic island chains. The group, traditionally recognized as the suborder Lacertilia, is defined as all extant members of the Lepidosauria (reptiles with overlapping scales), which are neither sphenodonts (i.e., tuatara) nor snakes – they form an evolutionary grade. While the snakes are recognized as falling phylogenetically within the Toxicofera clade from which they evolved, the sphenodonts are the sister group to the squamates, the larger monophyletic group, which includes both the lizards and the snakes.
Lizards typically have feet and external ears, while snakes lack both of these characteristics. However, because they are defined negatively as excluding snakes, lizards have no unique distinguishing characteristic as a group. Lizards and snakes share a movable quadrate bone, distinguishing them from the sphenodonts, which have more primitive and solid diapsid skulls. Many lizards can detach their tails to escape from predators, an act called autotomy, but this ability is not shared by all lizards. Vision, including color vision,
Manatees (family Trichechidae, genus Trichechus) are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows. There are three accepted living species of Trichechidae, representing three of the four living species in the order Sirenia: the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis), the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), and the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis). They measure up to 13 feet (4.0 m) long, weigh as much as 1,300 pounds (590 kg), and have paddle-like flippers. The name manatí comes from the Taíno, a pre-Columbian people of the Caribbean, meaning "breast".
Manatees comprise three of the four living species in the order Sirenia. The fourth is the Eastern Hemisphere's dugong. The Sirenia are thought to have evolved from four-legged land mammals over 60 million years ago, with the closest living relatives being the Proboscidea (elephants) and Hyracoidea (hyraxes).
The Amazonian's hair color is brownish gray and they have thick, wrinkled skin, often with coarse hair, or "whiskers". Photos are rare; although very little is known about this species, scientists think they are similar to West Indian manatees.
Manatees have a mass of
The New Caledonian Crow (Corvus moneduloides) is a tool-using species of crow endemic to New Caledonia. These crows are some of the only non-primate animals known to invent new tools by modifying existing ones, and then passing these innovations on to other individuals in the cultural group. They have also been seen making tools that they use in the wild out of completely different material.
The New Caledonian Crow (Corvus moneduloides) is a moderately sized crow (40 cm in length) similar in size to the House Crow but less slender-looking. The bird has an all-black appearance with a rich gloss to its feathers of purple, dark blue and some green in good light. The beak, feet and legs are all black. The beak is of moderate size but is unusual in that the tip of the lower is angled up making it somewhat chisel-like in profile.
The ability to fashion tools has always been held as unique to primates. But humans and apes are not alone in having tool-making skills. Crows amazed the science community when footage recorded using tiny "crow-cams" on the tails of New Caledonian crows showed the birds creating advanced implements. One crow was observed whittling twigs and leaves with its beak
Parrots, also known as psittacines ( /ˈsɪtəsaɪnz/), are birds of the roughly 372 species in 86 genera that make up the order Psittaciformes, found in most tropical and subtropical regions. The order is subdivided into three superfamilies: the Psittacoidea ('true' parrots), the Cacatuoidea (cockatoos) and the Strigopoidea (New Zealand parrots). Parrots have a generally pantropical distribution with several species inhabiting temperate regions in the Southern Hemisphere as well. The greatest diversity of parrots is found in South America and Australasia.
Characteristic features of parrots include a strong, curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed zygodactyl feet. Many parrots are vividly coloured, and some are multi-coloured. The plumage of cockatoos ranges from mostly white to mostly black, with a mobile crest of feathers on the tops of their heads. Most parrots exhibit little or no sexual dimorphism. They form the most variably sized bird order in terms of length.
The most important components of most parrots' diets are seeds, nuts, fruit, buds and other plant material. A few species sometimes eat animals and carrion, while the lories and lorikeets are specialised
Penguins (order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae) are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have evolved into flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their lives on land and half in the oceans.
Although all penguin species are native to the southern hemisphere, they are not found only in cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact, only a few species of penguin live so far south. Several species are found in the temperate zone, and one species, the Galápagos Penguin, lives near the equator.
The largest living species is the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri): on average adults are about 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 35 kg (75 lb) or more. The smallest penguin species is the Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor), also known as the Fairy Penguin, which stands around 40 cm tall (16 in) and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lb). Among extant penguins, larger penguins inhabit colder regions, while smaller penguins
The Pyrenean Mountain Dog, known as the Great Pyrenees in North America, is a large breed of dog used as a livestock guardian dog. It should not be confused with the Pyrenean Mastiff.
The Great Pyrenees is a very old breed that has been used for hundreds of years by shepherds, including those of the Basque people, who inhabit parts of the region in and around the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France and northern Spain. One of the first descriptions of the breed dates from 1407, and from 1675 the breed was a favourite of The Grand Dauphin and other members of the French aristocracy. By the early nineteenth century there was a thriving market for the dogs in mountain towns, from where they would be taken to other parts of France. It was developed to guard sheep on steep mountainous slopes with agility.
As late as 1874 the breed was not completely standardised in appearance, with two major sub-types recorded, the Western and the Eastern. They are related to several other large white European livestock guardian dogs (LGD), including the Italian Maremma Sheepdog, Kuvasz (Hungary), Akbash Dog (Turkey) and Polish Tatra or Polski Owczarek Podhalański, and somewhat less closely to the
A tapir ( /ˈteɪpər/ TAY-pər or /təˈpɪər/ tə-PEER) is a large browsing mammal, similar in shape to a pig, with a short, prehensile snout. Tapirs inhabit jungle and forest regions of South America, Central America, and Southeast Asia. The four species of tapirs are: the Brazilian tapir, the Malayan tapir, Baird's tapir and the mountain tapir. All four are classified as endangered or vulnerable. Their closest relatives are the other odd-toed ungulates, including horses and rhinoceroses.
Four extant species are widely recognized, though some authors describe more, and a number are extinct:
Hybrids of the Baird's and the Brazilian tapirs were bred at the San Francisco Zoo around 1969 and produced a second generation around 1970.
Size varies between types, but most tapirs are about 2 m (7 ft) long, stand about 1 m (3 ft) high at the shoulder, and weigh between 150 and 300 kg (330 to 700 lb). Coats are short and range in color from reddish-brown to grey to nearly black, with the notable exceptions of the Malayan tapir, which has a white, saddle-shaped marking on its back, and the mountain tapir, which has longer, woolly fur. All tapirs have oval, white-tipped ears, rounded, protruding
The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), commonly known as the North American opossum or tlacuache in Mexico, is the only marsupial found in North America north of Mexico. A solitary and nocturnal animal about the size of a domestic cat, and thus the largest opossum, it is a successful opportunist. It is familiar to many North Americans as it is often seen near towns, rummaging through garbage cans, or lying by the road, a victim of traffic.
The Virginia opossum is the original animal named "opossum". The word comes from Algonquian 'wapathemwa' meaning "white animal", not from Greek or Latin, so the plural is opossums. Colloquially, the Virginia opossum is frequently called simply possum. The name is applied more generally to any of the other marsupials of the Didelphimorphia and Paucituberculata orders, which includes a number of opossum species in South America.
The possums of Australia, whose name is derived from a similarity to the Virginia opossum, are also marsupials, but of the order Diprotodontia.
The Virginia opossum is found throughout Central America and North America east of the Rockies from Costa Rica to southern Ontario; it seems to be still expanding its range
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (called the Korthals Griffon in the UK, and the Griffon d'arrêt à poil dur Korthals in France and Quebec) is a breed of dog used in hunting as a gundog. It is sometimes considered to be Dutch in ancestry, due to the nationality of the breed founder, Eduard Karel Korthals. Others consider the Griffon to be a German breed because Korthals' kennel, Ipenwoud, was located in Biebesheim am Rhein, Germany. It was there for over twenty years that Korthals dedicated his life to the development and perfection of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.
The breed is still relatively rare in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom despite long recognition by their respective kennel clubs, as well as the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale). The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is particularly adapted for hunting in thick undergrowth and around water, where its harsh coat is excellent protection.
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a medium-sized dog with a harsh, wiry coat. According to its AKC standard, the coat is preferably steel gray with brown markings. Other acceptable colors: chestnut brown, white and brown, roan, and white and orange. All brown, all
The Common Nightingale or simply Nightingale(Luscinia megarhynchos), also known as Rufous Nightingale, is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae. It belongs to a group of more terrestrial species, often called chats.
It is a migratory insectivorous species breeding in forest and scrub in Europe and south-west Asia, but is not found naturally in the Americas. The distribution is more southerly than the very closely related Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia. It nests on the ground within or next to dense bushes. It winters in southern Africa. At least in the Rhineland (Germany), the breeding habitat of nightingales agrees with a number of geographical parameters.
The Common Nightingale is slightly larger than the European Robin, at 15–16.5 cm (5.9–6.5 in) length. It is plain brown above except for the reddish tail. It is buff to white below. Sexes are similar. The eastern subspecies L. m. hafizi and L. m. africana have paler upperparts and a stronger face-pattern, including a pale supercilium.
Common Nightingales are named so because they frequently
Quail is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds generally considered in the order Galliformes. Old World quail are found in the family Phasianidae, and New World quail are found in the family Odontophoridae. The buttonquail are not quail at all, are named more for their superficial resemblance to quail, and are members of the Turnicidae family, more closely related to the Charadriiformes. The King Quail, an of the Old World quail, is often sold in the pet trade and is commonly referred to there as a "button quail". Many of the common larger species are farm-raised for table food or egg consumption, and are hunted on game farms or in the wild, where they are sometimes artificially stocked to supplement the wild population, or extend into areas they are normally not found naturally.
The collective noun for a group of quail is a covey or bevy.
New World quail may refer to the following species of Odontophoridae:
Old World quail may refer to the following species of Phasianidae:
The Basset Hound is a short-legged breed of dog of the hound family. One of six recognized Basset Breeds in France, they are scent hounds, originally bred for the purpose of hunting rabbits and hare. Their sense of smell for tracking is second only to that of the Bloodhound. The name Basset is derived from the French word bas, meaning "low", with the attenuating suffix -et, together meaning "rather low". Basset Hounds are usually Bicolors or Tricolors of standard hound coloration.
Bassets are large, short, solid and long, with curved sabre tails held high over their long backs. Everett Millais, founder of the modern Basset Hound, is quoted as saying "Oh, he's about 4 feet long and 12 inches high." in reference to his French basset. An adult dog weighs between 20 and 35 kilograms (44 and 77 lb).
This breed, like its ancestor the Bloodhound, is known for its hanging skin structure, which causes the face to occasionally look sad; this, for many people, adds to the breed's charm. The dewlap, seen as the loose, elastic skin around the neck, and the trailing ears which along with the Bloodhound are the longest of any breed, help trap the scent of what they are tracking. Its neck is
Medusa Jellyfish are the major non-polyp form of individuals of the phylum Cnidaria. They are typified as free-swimming marine animals consisting of a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles. The bell can pulsate for locomotion, while stinging tentacles can be used to capture prey.
Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea. A few jellyfish inhabit freshwater. Large, often colorful, jellyfish are common in coastal zones worldwide. Jellyfish have roamed the seas for at least 500 million years, and possibly 700 million years or more, making them the oldest multi-organ animal.
The term medusa was coined by Linnaeus in 1752, alluding to the tentacled head of Medusa in Greek mythology. This term refers exclusively to the non-polyp life-stage which occurs in many cnidarians, which is typified by a large pulsating gelatinous bell with long trailing tentacles. All medusa-producing species belong to the sub-phylum medusozoa.
The English popular name jellyfish has been in use since 1796. It has traditionally also been applied to other animals sharing a superficial resemblance, for example ctenophores (members from another phylum of common, gelatinous
The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size. A boar (adult male) weighs around 350–680 kg (770–1,500 lb), while a sow (adult female) is about half that size. Although it is closely related to the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice, and open water, and for hunting the seals which make up most of its diet. Although most polar bears are born on land, they spend most of their time at sea. Their scientific name means "maritime bear", and derives from this fact. Polar bears can hunt their preferred food of seals from the edge of sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present.
The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with eight of the nineteen polar bear subpopulations in decline. For decades, large scale hunting raised international concern for the future of the species but
The Ibizan Hound (originally named Podenco Ibicenco), pronounced "I-bee-zan" or "I-beeth-an", is a lean, agile dog of the hound family. There are two hair types of the breed: smooth and wire. The more commonly seen type is the smooth. Some consider there to be a third type, long, but the longhair is most likely a variation of the wire.
The Ibizan Hound is an elegant and agile breed, with an athletic and attractive outline and a ground-covering springy trot. Though graceful in appearance, it has good bone girth and is a rugged/hardy breed. Its large upright ears - a hallmark of the breed - are broad at the base and frame a long and elegant headpiece. The neck is long and lean. It has a unique front assembly with well laid-back shoulders and relatively straight upper arm. It comes in both smooth and wire-coated varieties. It is a combination of red and white. Its nose is flesh colored, as are its ears, eye rims, and pads of feet. Its eyes are a striking amber color and have an alert and intelligent expression. The Ibizan may range in height, depending on which Standard you follow, from 22 to 29 inches (56 to 74 cm) and weigh from 45 to 65 pounds (20 to 29 kg), males being larger than
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. Bears are found in the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.
Common characteristics of modern bears include a large body with stocky legs, a long snout, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and a short tail. While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous and the giant panda feeds almost entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous, with varied diets.
With the exceptions of courting individuals and mothers with their young, bears are typically solitary animals. They are generally diurnal, but may be active during the night (nocturnal) or twilight (crepuscular), particularly around humans. Bears are aided by an excellent sense of smell, and despite their heavy build and awkward gait, they can run quickly and are adept climbers and swimmers. In autumn, some bear species forage large
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. The two surviving species of camel are the dromedary, or one-humped camels, which are native to the Middle East and the Horn of Africa; and Bactrian, or two-humped camels, which inhabit Central Asia. Both species have been domesticated; they provide milk, meat, hair for textiles or goods such as felted pouches, and are working animals.
The term "camel" is derived via Latin and Greek from Hebrew or Phoenician gāmāl, possibly from a verb root meaning to bear or carry (related to Arabic jamala).
Camel is also used more broadly to describe any of the six camel-like mammals in the family Camelidae: the two true camels, and the four South American camelids: the llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuña.
The average life expectancy of a camel is 40 to 50 years. A fully grown adult camel stands 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) at the shoulder and 2.15 m (7 ft 1 in) at the hump. The hump rises about 75 cm (30 in) out of its body. Camels can run at up to 65 km/h (40 mph) in short bursts and sustain speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph).
The male dromedary camel has in its neck an unusual organ
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids (slightly smaller than a medium-sized domestic dog), characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail (or brush).
Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to the Vulpes genus of "true foxes". By far the most common and widespread species of fox is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), although various species are found on almost every continent. The presence of fox-like carnivores all over the globe, together with their widespread reputation for cunning, has contributed to their appearance in popular culture and folklore in many societies around the world (see also Foxes in culture). The hunting of foxes with packs of hounds, long an established pursuit in Europe, especially the British Isles, was exported by European settlers to various parts of the New World.
The Modern English word "fox" is Old English, and comes from the Proto-Germanic word fukh – compare German Fuchs, Gothic fauho, Old Norse foa and Dutch vos. It corresponds to the Proto-Indo-European word puk- meaning "tail of it"
Frogs are a diverse and largely carnivorous group of short-bodied, tailless amphibians composing the order Anura (Ancient Greek an-, without + oura, tail). The oldest fossil "proto-frog" appeared in the early Triassic of Madagascar, but molecular clock dating suggests their origins may extend further back to the Permian, 265 million years ago. Frogs are widely distributed, ranging from the tropics to subarctic regions, but the greatest concentration of species diversity is found in tropical rainforests. There are approximately 4,800 recorded species, making them among the most diverse vertebrate groups.
The body plan of an adult frog is generally characterized by a stout body, protruding eyes, cleft tongue, limbs folded underneath and the absence of a tail. Besides living in fresh water and on dry land, the adults of some species are adapted for living underground or in trees. The skin of the frog is glandular, with secretions ranging from distasteful to toxic. Warty species of frog tend to be called toads. Frog warts are elevations in the skin where glandular toxins tend to concentrate. The distinction between frogs and toads is based on informal naming conventions concentrating
A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Horses and donkeys are different species, with different numbers of chromosomes. Of the two F1 hybrids between these two species, a mule is easier to obtain than a hinny (the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey). While there is no known instance of a male mule siring offspring, female mules have on very rare occasion given birth to viable offspring. The size of a mule and work to which it is put depends largely on the breeding of the mule's dam. Mules can be lightweight, medium weight, or even, when produced from draught horse mares, of moderately heavy weight.
It has been claimed that mules are "more patient, sure-footed, hardy and long-lived than horses, and they are considered less obstinate, faster, and more intelligent than donkeys."
A female mule that has estrus cycles and thus, in theory, could carry a fetus, is called a "molly" or "Molly mule," though the term is sometimes used to refer to female mules in general. Pregnancy is rare, but can occasionally occur naturally as well as through embryo transfer. One of several terms for a gelded mule is a "John mule."
The median weight range for a mule is
A shrew or Shrew mouse (family Soricidae) is a small mole-like mammal classified in the order Soricomorpha. True shrews are also not to be confused with West Indies shrews, treeshrews, otter shrews, or elephant shrews, which belong to different families or orders.
Although its external appearance is generally that of a long-nosed mouse, a shrew is not a rodent, as mice are, and is in fact more closely related to moles. Shrews have sharp, spike-like teeth, not the familiar gnawing front incisor teeth of rodents.
Shrews are distributed almost worldwide: of the major tropical and temperate land masses, only New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand do not have native shrews at all; in South America, shrews are relatively recent immigrants and are present only in the northern Andes. In terms of species diversity, the shrew family is the fourth most successful of the mammal families, being rivalled only by the muroid rodent families Muridae and Cricetidae and the bat family Vespertilionidae.
All shrews are comparatively small, most no larger than a mouse. The largest species is the Asian house shrew (Suncus murinus) of tropical Asia, which is about 15 cm long and weighs around 100 grams;
The American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a large passerine bird species of the family Corvidae. It is a common bird found throughout much of North America. In the interior of the continent south of the Arctic, it is referred to as simply "the crow."
It is one of several species of corvid that are entirely black, though it can be distinguished from the other two such birds in its range—from the Common Raven (C. corax) by size and behavior and from the Fish Crow (C. ossifragus) by call (but see below). It is also distinguished from the Raven by its smaller, more curved bill than the parallel bill of the raven, and its squared tail.
American Crows are common, widespread and adaptable, but they are highly susceptible to the West Nile Virus. They are monitored as a bioindicator. Direct transmission of the virus from American Crows to humans is not recorded to date, and in any case not considered likely.
Although the American crow and the Hooded crow are very similar in size, structure and behavior, their calls are different. The American crow nevertheless occupies the same role the hooded crow does in Eurasia.
The American Crow was described by Christian Ludwig Brehm in 1822. Its
Hamsters are rodents belonging to the subfamily Cricetinae. The subfamily contains about 25 species, classified in six or seven genera.
Hamsters are crepuscular animals which burrow underground in the daylight to avoid being caught by predators. Their diets include a variety of foods, including dried food, berries, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables. In the wild, they feed primarily on seeds, fruits and greens, and will occasionally eat burrowing insects. They have an elongated pouch on each side of their heads that extends to their shoulders, which they stuff full of food to be stored, brought back to the colony or to be eaten later.
Hamster behavior varies depending on their environment, genetics, and interaction with people. Because they are easy to breed in captivity, hamsters are often used as laboratory animals in more economically developed countries. Hamsters have also become established as popular small house pets, and are sometimes accepted even in areas where other rodents are disliked, and their typically solitary nature can reduce the risk of excessive litters developing in households.
Although the Syrian hamster or golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) was first
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world. There are eight different genera in the family classified as rabbits, including the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), cottontail rabbits (genus Sylvilagus; 13 species), and the Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi, an endangered species on Amami Ōshima, Japan). There are many other species of rabbit, and these, along with pikas and hares, make up the order Lagomorpha. The male is called a buck and the female is a doe; a young rabbit is a kitten or kit.
Rabbit habitats include meadows, woods, forests, grasslands, deserts and wetlands. Rabbits live in groups, and the best known species, the European rabbit, lives in underground burrows, or rabbit holes. A group of burrows is called a warren.
More than half the world's rabbit population resides in North America. They are also native to southwestern Europe, Southeast Asia, Sumatra, some islands of Japan, and in parts of Africa and South America. They are not naturally found in most of Eurasia, where a number of species of hares are present. Rabbits first entered South America relatively recently, as part of the Great
The serpent (a snake or snake-like entity) is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. The word is derived from Latin serpens, a crawling animal or snake. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind and represent dual expression of good and evil.
In religion, mythology, and literature, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The ouroboros is a symbol of eternity and continual renewal of life.
In the Abrahamic religions, the serpent represents sexual desire. According to the Rabbinical tradition, in the Garden of Eden, the serpent represents sexual passion. In Hinduism, Kundalini is a coiled serpent, the residual power of pure desire.
Serpents are represented as potent guardians of temples and other sacred spaces. This connection may be grounded in the observation that when threatened, some snakes (such as rattlesnakes or cobras) frequently hold and defend their ground, first resorting to threatening display and then fighting, rather than retreat. Thus, they are natural guardians of
A peccary (plural peccaries; also javelina and skunk pig; Portuguese javali and Spanish jabalí, sajino or pecarí) is a medium-sized mammal of the family Tayassuidae, or New World pigs. Peccaries are members of the artiodactyl suborder Suina, as are the pig family (Suidae) and possibly the hippopotamus family (Hippopotamidae). They are found in the southwestern area of North America and throughout Central and South America. Peccaries usually measure between 90 and 130 centimetres (3.0 and 4.3 ft) in length, and a full-grown adult usually weighs between about 20 to 40 kilograms (44 to 88 lb). The word “peccary” is derived from the Carib word pakira or paquira.
People often confuse peccaries, which are found in the Americas, with the pig family that originated in Afro-Eurasia, especially since some domestic pigs brought by European settlers have escaped over the years and now run wild as "razorback" hogs in many parts of the United States.
In many countries they are raised on farms and are a source of food for local communities, especially in the developing world. Their skin, being both rigid and strong, as well as soft and supple, is recognized as being ideal for the production of
Members of the genus Bison are large, even-toed ungulates within the subfamily Bovinae. Two extant and four extinct species are recognized. The surviving species are the American bison, also known as the American buffalo (although it is only distantly related to the true buffalo), Bison bison, found in North America, and the European bison, or wisent (Bison bonasus), found in Europe and the Caucasus. The North American species is composed of two subspecies, the plains bison, Bison bison bison, and the wood bison, Bison bison athabascae. While all bison species are usually grouped into their own genus, they are sometimes included in the closely related genus Bos, together with cattle, gaur, kouprey and yaks, with which bison have a limited ability to interbreed.
The American bison and the European wisent are the largest terrestrial animals in North America and Europe. Bison are good swimmers and can cross rivers over half a mile (1 km) wide. Bison are nomadic grazers and travel in herds. The bulls leave the herds of females at 2 or 3 years of age, and join a male herd which is generally smaller than the female herds. Mature bulls rarely travel alone. Both sexes get together for the
A lynx ( /ˈlɪŋks/; plural lynx or lynxes) is any of the four species within the Lynx genus of medium-sized wildcats. The name "lynx" originated in Middle English via Latin from Greek word "λύγξ", derived from the Indo-European root "*leuk-", meaning "light, brightness", in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes. There is considerable confusion about the best way to classify felids at present, and some authorities classify them as part of the genus Felis.
Neither the caracal, sometimes called the Persian lynx or African lynx, nor the jungle cat, called the swamp lynx, is a member of the Lynx genus.
Lynx have short tails and the characteristic tufts of black hair on the tips of their ears. They have a ruff under the neck, which has black bars, is not very visible, and resembles a bow tie. They have large, padded paws for walking on snow, and long whiskers on the face.
Their body colour varies from medium brown, to goldish, to beige-white, and is occasionally marked with dark brown spots, especially on the limbs. All species of lynx also have white fur on their chests, bellies and on the insides of their legs, which are extensions of the chest and belly fur. Also, the
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog breed developed in Southern Africa. Its European forebears can be traced to the early pioneers of the Cape Colony of southern Africa, who crossed their dogs with the semi-domesticated, ridged hunting dogs of the Khoikhoi.
In the earlier parts of its history, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has also been known as Van Rooyen's Lion Dog, the African Lion Hound or African Lion Dog—Simba Inja in Ndebele, Shumba Imbwa in Shona—because of its ability to distract a lion while awaiting its master to make the kill.
The original breed standard was drafted by F.R. Barnes, in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), in 1922. Based on that of the Dalmatian, the standard was approved by the South African Kennel Union in 1926.
The Khoikhoi people occupied the Cape Peninsula during the mid 17th century when the Dutch began trading with the area and set up a trading station. These people had a dog which was used for hunting; described as ugly, but noted for its ferocity when acting as a guard dog. This dog measured 18 inches (46 cm) at the withers, with a lean but muscular frame. The ears have been described both as erect and hanging, but the most distinctive feature was
The Scottish Deerhound, or simply the Deerhound, is a breed of hound (a sighthound), once bred to hunt the Red Deer by coursing.
The Scottish Deerhound's antecedents will have existed back to a time before recorded history. They would have been kept by the Scots and Picts, and used to help in providing part of their diet, namely hoofed game (archaeological evidence likely supports this in the form of Roman pottery from around 1st Century AD found in Argyll which depicts the deerhunt using large rough hounds (these can be viewed at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh). Other similar evidence can be found on standing stones from around the 7th century AD reflecting a hunt using hounds, such as the Hilton of Cadboll Stone). In outward appearance, the Scottish Deerhound is similar to the Greyhound, but larger and more heavily boned. However, Deerhounds have a number of characteristics that set them apart. While not as fast as a Greyhound on a smooth, firm surface, once the going gets rough or heavy they can outrun a Greyhound. The environment in which they worked, the cool, often wet, and hilly Scottish Highland glens, contributed to the larger, rough-coated appearance of the
The Shetland Sheepdog, often known as the Sheltie, is a breed of herding dog. They are small to medium dogs, and come in a variety of colors, such as sable/white, tri-color, and blue merle. They are vocal, excitable, energetic dogs who are always willing to please and work hard. They are partly derived from dogs used in the Shetland Isles for herding and protecting sheep. The breed was formally recognized by the Kennel Club in 1909.
The Shetland Sheepdog's early history is not well known. Although of obscure origin, the sheltie is probably a descendant of small specimens of the Scottish collie and the King Charles spaniel. It was developed to tend the diminutive sheep of the Shetland Islands, whose rugged, stormy shores have produced other small-statured animals such as the Shetland pony. Today it is raised as a farm dog and family pet. They were originally a small mixed-breed dog, often 10–13 inches (250–330 mm) in height and it is thought that the original Shetland herding dogs were of Spitz type, and were crossed with collie-type sheepdogs from mainland Britain. In the early 20th century, James Loggie added a small Rough Collie to the breeding stock, and helped establish what
Turtles are reptiles of the order Chelonii or Testudines characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield. "Turtle" may either refer to the order as a whole, or to particular Turtle which make up a form taxon that is not monophyletic.
The order Chelonii or Testudines includes both extant (living) and extinct species. The earliest known turtles date from 215 million years ago, making turtles one of the oldest reptile groups and a more ancient group than lizards, snakes and crocodiles. Of the many species alive today, some are highly endangered.
Like other reptiles, turtles are ectotherms—their internal temperature varies according to the ambient environment, commonly called cold-blooded. However, leatherback sea turtles have noticeably higher body temperature than surrounding water because of their high metabolic rate.
Like other amniotes (reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, and mammals), they breathe air and do not lay eggs underwater, although many species live in or around water. The largest turtles are aquatic.
The largest living chelonian is the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), which reaches a shell length of 200
The jaguar ( /ˈdʒæɡwɑr/ or UK /ˈdʒæɡjuː.ər/; Panthera onca) is a big cat, a feline in the Panthera genus, and is the only Panthera species found in the Americas. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. The jaguar's present range extends from Southern United States and Mexico across much of Central America and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. Apart from a known and possibly breeding population in Arizona (southeast of Tucson), the cat has largely been extirpated from the United States since the early 20th century.
This spotted cat most closely resembles the leopard physically, although it is usually larger and of sturdier build and its behavioural and habitat characteristics are closer to those of the tiger. While dense rainforest is its preferred habitat, the jaguar will range across a variety of forested and open terrains. It is strongly associated with the presence of water and is notable, along with the tiger, as a feline that enjoys swimming. The jaguar is largely a solitary, opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush predator at the top of the food chain (an apex predator). It is a keystone species, playing
The Afghan Hound is one of the oldest sighthound dog breeds. Distinguished by its thick, fine, silky coat and its tail with a ring curl at the end, the breed acquired its unique features in the cold mountains of Afghanistan,and east of Iran where it was originally used to hunt hares and gazelles by coursing them. Its local name is Sag-e Tāzī (Dari Persian: سگ تازی) or Tāžī Spay (Pashto: تاژي سپی). Other alternate names for this breed are Kuchi Hound, Tāzī, Balkh Hound, Baluchi Hound, Barutzy Hound, Shalgar Hound, Kabul Hound, Galanday Hound, or sometimes incorrectly African Hound.
Sighthounds are among the oldest recognisable types of dogs, and genetic testing has placed the Afghan Hound breed among those with the least genetic divergence from the wolf on some markers; this is taken to mean that such dogs are descended from the oldest dog types, not that the breeds tested had in antiquity their exact modern form. Today's modern purebred breed of Afghan Hound descends from dogs brought in the 1920s to Great Britain, and are a blending of types and varieties of long haired sighthounds from across Afghanistan and the surrounding areas. Some had been kept as hunting dogs, others as
The Basenji is a breed of hunting dog that was bred from stock originating in central Africa. Most of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world place the breed in the Hound Group; more specifically, it may be classified as belonging to the sighthound type. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale places the breed in Group 5, Spitz and Primitive types, and the United Kennel Club (US) places the breed in the Sighthound & Pariah Group.
The Basenji produces an unusual yodel-like sound commonly called a "barroo", due to its unusually shaped larynx. This trait also gives the Basenji the nickname "Barkless Dog".
Basenjis share many unique traits with Pariah dog types. Basenjis, like dingoes and some other breeds of dog, come into estrus only once annually, as compared to other dog breeds which may have two or more breeding seasons every year. Both dingoes and basenji lack a distinctive odor, and are prone to howls, yodels, and other undulated vocalizations over the characteristic bark of modern dog breeds. One theory holds that the latter trait is the result of the selective killing of 'barkier' dogs in the traditional Central African context because barking could lead enemies
The dachshund (UK /ˈdæksənd/ or US /ˈdɑːkshʊnt/ DAHKS-huunt or US /ˈdɑːksənt/; German: [ˈdaksˌhʊnt]) is a short-legged, long-bodied dog breed belonging to the hound family. The standard size dachshund was bred to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature dachshund was developed to hunt smaller prey such as rabbits. In the American West they have also been used to hunt prairie dogs. According to the AKC, the dachshund continues to remain one of the top 10 dog breeds in the United States.
The name "dachshund" is of German origin and literally means "badger dog", from Dachs ("badger") and Hund ("dog"). The pronunciation varies widely in English: variations of the first and second syllables include /ˈdɑːks-/, /ˈdæks-/, /ˈdæʃ-/ and /-hʊnt/, /-hʊnd/, /-ənd/. In German it is pronounced [ˈdakshʊnt]. Because of their long, narrow build, they are often nicknamed doodle dog, wiener dog or sausage dog. Although "dachshund" is a German word, in modern German they are more commonly known by the name Dackel or, among hunters, Teckel.
While classified in the hound group or scent hound group in the United States and Great Britain, there are some who
The Eurasian Magpie, European Magpie, or Common Magpie, (Pica pica), is a resident breeding bird throughout Europe, much of Asia and northwest Africa. It is one of several birds in the crow family named as magpies, and belongs to the Holarctic radiation of "monochrome" magpies. In Europe, "Magpie" is used by English speakers as a synonym for the European Magpie; it is the only magpie in Europe outside the Iberian Peninsula.
The Eurasian Magpie is one of the most intelligent birds, and it is believed to be one of the most intelligent of all animals. The expansion of its nidopallium is approximately the same in its relative size as is found in chimpanzees, orangutans and humans.
The Eurasian Magpie is 44–46 centimetres (17–18 in) in length - in the adult over 50% of this is tail - and a wingspan of 52–62 centimetres (20–24 in). Its head, neck and breast are glossy black with a metallic green and violet sheen; the belly and scapulars (shoulder feathers) are pure white; the wings are black glossed with green or purple, and the primaries have white inner webs, conspicuous when the wing is open. The graduated tail is black, shot with bronze-green and other iridescent colours. The legs
Louse (plural: lice) is the common name for members of over 3,000 species of wingless insects of the order Phthiraptera; three of which are classified as human disease agents. They are obligate ectoparasites of every avian and mammalian order except for monotremes (the platypus and echidnas), bats, whales, dolphins, porpoises and pangolins.
Most lice are scavengers, feeding on skin and other debris found on the host's body, but some species feed on sebaceous secretions and blood. Most are found only on specific types of animals, and, in some cases, only to a particular part of the body; some animals are known to host up to fifteen different species, although one to three is typical for mammals, and two to six for birds. For example, in humans, different species of louse inhabit the scalp and pubic hair. Lice generally cannot survive for long if removed from their host.
A louse's color varies from pale beige to dark gray; however, if feeding on blood, it may become considerably darker. Female lice are usually more common than the males, and some species are even known to be parthenogenetic. A louse's egg is commonly called a nit. Many lice attach their eggs to their host's hair with
Prairie dogs (genus Cynomys) are burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America. The five different species of prairie dogs are: black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison's, Utah and Mexican prairie dogs. They are a type of ground squirrel, found in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In Mexico, prairie dogs are found primarily in the northern states, which lie at the southern end of the Great Plains: northeastern Sonora, north and northeastern Chihuahua, northern Coahuila, northern Nuevo León, and northern Tamaulipas. In the U.S., they range primarily to the west of the Mississippi River, though they have also been introduced in a few eastern locales. They are herbivorous.
Prairie dogs are named for their habitat and warning call, which sounds similar to a dog's bark. The name was in use at least as early as 1774. The 1804 journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition note that in September 1804, they "discovered a Village of an animal the French Call the Prairie Dog." Its genus, Cynomys, derives from the Greek for "dog mouse".
In companies that use large numbers of cubicles in a common space, employees sometimes use the term prairie dogging to refer to the action of
Sea urchins or urchins are small, spiny, globular animals which, with their close kin, such as sand dollars, constitute the class Echinoidea of the echinoderm phylum. There are c. 950 species of echinoids inhabiting all oceans from the intertidal to 5000 meters deep. Their shell, or "test", is round and spiny, typically from 3 to 10 cm (1.2 to 3.9 in) across. Common colors include black and dull shades of green, olive, brown, purple, and red. They move slowly, feeding mostly on algae. Sea otters, wolf eels, triggerfish, and other predators feed on them. Their "roe" (actually the gonads) is a delicacy in many cuisines.
The name "urchin" is an old name for the round spiny hedgehogs that sea urchins resemble.
Sea urchins are members of the phylum Echinodermata, which also includes sea stars, sea cucumbers, brittle stars, and crinoids. Like other echinoderms, they have fivefold symmetry (called pentamerism) and move by means of hundreds of tiny, transparent, adhesive "tube feet". The symmetry is not obvious in the living animal, but is easily visible in the dried test. Echinodermate means "spiny skin" in Greek.
Specifically, the term "sea urchin" refers to the "regular echinoids",
The aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata, although other prehistoric species and genera of Tubulidentata are known.
It is sometimes colloquially called "antbear", "anteater", or the "Cape anteater" after the Cape of Good Hope. The name comes from earlier Afrikaans and means "earth pig" or "ground pig" (aarde earth/ground, varken pig), because of its burrowing habits (similar origin to the name groundhog). The aardvark is not closely related to the pig; rather, it is the sole recent representative of the obscure mammalian order Tubulidentata, in which it is usually considered to form one variable species of the genus Orycteropus, the sole surviving genus in the family Orycteropodidae. The aardvark is not closely related to the South American anteater, despite sharing some characteristics and a superficial resemblance. The closest living relatives of the aardvark are the elephant shrews, along with the sirenians, hyraxes, tenrecs, and elephants. With their extinct relatives, these animals form the superorder Afrotheria. The scientific name of the aardvark comes from Greek
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera ( /kaɪˈrɒptərə/; from the Greek χείρ - cheir, "hand" and πτερόν - pteron, "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly, and can only glide for short distances. Bats do not flap their entire forelimbs, as birds do, but instead flap their spread-out digits, which are very long and covered with a thin membrane or patagium.
Bats represent about 20% of all classified mammal species worldwide, with about 1,240 bat species divided into two suborders: the less specialized and largely fruit-eating 'megachiroptera', or flying foxes, and the more highly specialized and echolocating 'microchiroptera'. About 70% of bats are insectivores. Most of the rest are frugivores, or fruit eaters. A few species, such as the fish-eating bat, feed from animals other than insects, with the vampire bats being the only parasitic mammalian species. Bats are present throughout most of the world, performing vital ecological roles of pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds.
Coleoptera ( /koʊliːˈɒptərə/) is an order of insects commonly called beetles. The word "coleoptera" is from the Greek κολεός, koleos, meaning "sheath"; and πτερόν, pteron, meaning "wing", thus "sheathed wing". The reason for the name is that most beetles have two pairs of wings, the front pair, the "elytra", being hardened and thickened into a sheath-like, or shell-like, protection for the rear pair, and for the rear part of the beetle's body. The superficial consistency of most beetles' morphology, in particular their possession of elytra, has long suggested that the Coleoptera are monophyletic, but there is growing evidence that this is unjustified, there being arguments for example, in favour of allocating the current suborder Adephaga their own order, or very likely even more than one.
The order Coleoptera includes more species than any other order, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms. About 40% of all described insect species are beetles (about 400,000 species), and new species are discovered frequently. Some estimates put the total number of species, described and undescribed, at as high as 100 million, but a figure of 1 million is more widely accepted. The
The Black and Tan Coonhound is a breed of dog used principally for trailing and treeing raccoon. It's a cross between the Bloodhound, and the Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound. The Black and Tan Coonhound runs its game entirely by scent. The courage of the Coonhound also make it proficient on the hunt for deer, bear, cougar and other big game, although many US states are restricting the hunting of antlered animals with dogs. The general impression is that of power, agility and alertness, with the ability to cover ground swiftly with powerful rhythmic strides. Each hound has its own distinctive voice which is often recognizable to its owners from great distance.
The breed standard for Black and Tan Coonhounds is as follows:
Generally healthy, but there is some risk of hip dysplasia, ear cancer and other ear infections, and eye problems.
Not the prototypical house dog, the Black and Tan Coonhound, nonetheless, makes an exemplary pet. It is mellow, amiable, calm, and obtrusive indoors. Outdoors, its strong hunting instincts take over, and it can be difficult to turn from a track after it starts trailing. As befitting a dog with its heritage, it is strong, independent, and stubborn. The
The Border Collie is a herding dog breed developed in the Anglo-Scottish border region for herding livestock, especially sheep.
Typically extremely energetic, acrobatic, and athletic, they frequently compete with great success in dog sports, in addition to their success in sheepdog trials, and are often cited as the most intelligent of all dogs. In January 2011, a Border Collie was reported to have learned 1,022 words, and acts consequently to human citation of those words.
The Border Collie is descended from landrace collies, a type found widely in the British Isles. The name for the breed came from its probable place of origin along the Scottish English borders. Mention of the "Collie" or "Colley" type first appeared toward the end of the 19th century, although the word "collie" is older than this and has its origin in Lowland Scots dialects. Many of the best Border Collies today can be traced back to a dog known as Old Hemp.
In 1915, James Reid, Secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) in the United Kingdom first used the term "Border Collie" to distinguish those dogs registered by the ISDS from the Kennel Club's Collie (or Scotch Collie, including the Rough
The borzoi ( /ˈbɔrzɔɪ/; literally "fast") is a breed of domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) also called the Russian wolfhound and descended from dogs brought to Russia from central Asian countries. It is similar in shape to a greyhound, and is also a member of the sighthound family.
The system by which Russians over the ages named their sighthounds was a series of descriptive terms, not actual names. "Borzói" is the masculine singular form of an archaic Russian adjective that means "fast" - see Russian wiktionary борзый. "Borzáya sobáka" ("fast dog") is the basic term used by Russians, though "sobáka" is usually dropped. The name "Psovaya" derived from the word Psovina, which means "wavy, silky coat", just as "Hortaya" (as in Hortaya Borzaya) means shorthaired. In Russia today the breed we know as the borzoi is officially known as "Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya". Other Russian sighthound breeds are "Stepnaya Borzaya" (from the steppe), called "Stepnoi"; and "Krimskaya Borzaya" (from the Crimea), called "Krimskoi".
The plural "borzois" may be found in dictionaries; however, the Borzoi Club of America maintains that "borzoi" is the preferred form for both singular and plural forms (in
The domestic cat (Felis catus or Felis silvestris catus) is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal. It is often called the housecat when kept as an indoor pet, or simply the cat when there is no need to distinguish it from other felids and felines. Cats are valued by humans for companionship and ability to hunt vermin and household pests.
Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felids, with strong, flexible bodies, quick reflexes, sharp retractable claws, and teeth adapted to killing small prey. Cat senses fit a crepuscular and predatory ecological niche. Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small game. They can see in near darkness. Like most mammals, cats have poorer color vision and a better sense of smell than humans.
Despite being solitary hunters, cats are a social species, and cat communication includes the use of a variety of vocalizations (meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling and grunting) as well as pheromones and types of cat-specific body language.
Cats have a rapid breeding rate. Under controlled breeding, they can be bred and shown as registered pedigree pets, a hobby
Chipmunks are small, striped squirrels. All species of chipmunks are found in North America, with the exception of the Siberian chipmunk, which is found in Asia.
Chipmunks may be classified either as a single genus, Tamias, or as three genera: Tamias, which includes the eastern chipmunk; Eutamias, which includes the Siberian chipmunk; and Neotamias, which includes the 23 remaining, mostly western, species. These classifications are arbitrary, and most taxonomies over the twentieth century have placed the chipmunks in a single genus. However, studies of mitochondrial DNA show that the divergence between each of the three chipmunk groups is comparable to the genetic dissimilarity between Marmota and Spermophilus.
Tamias is Greek for "storer," a reference to the animals' habit of collecting and storing food for winter use.
The common name originally may have been spelled "chitmunk," from the native Odawa (Ottawa) word jidmoonh, meaning "red squirrel" (cf. Ojibwe, ajidamoo). The earliest form cited in the Oxford English Dictionary (from 1842) is "chipmonk," but "chipmunk" appears in several books from the 1820s and 1830s. Other early forms include "chipmuck" and "chipminck," and in the
Deer (singular and plural) are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, mule deer such as black-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer (caribou), fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species (except the Chinese water deer) and also female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned animals such as antelope; these are in the same order as deer and may bear a superficial resemblance. The musk deer of Asia and water chevrotain (or mouse deer) of tropical African and Asian forests are not usually regarded as true deer and form their own families, Moschidae and Tragulidae, respectively.
The word "deer" was originally broad in meaning, but became more specific over time. In Middle English der (Old English dēor) meant a wild animal of any kind. This was as opposed to cattle, which then meant any sort of domestic livestock that was easy to collect and remove from the land, from the idea of personal-property ownership (rather than real estate property) and related to modern chattel (property) and capital. Cognates of Old English dēor in other dead Germanic
The true finches are passerine birds in the family Fringillidae. They are predominantly seed-eating songbirds. Most are native to the Northern Hemisphere, but one subfamily is endemic to the Neotropics, one to the Hawaiian Islands, and one subfamily – monotypic at genus level – is found only in the Palaearctic. The scientific name Fringillidae comes from the Latin word fringilla for the Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) – a member of that last subfamily – which is common in Europe.
Many birds in other families are also commonly called "finches", including some species in the very similar-looking waxbills or estrildid finches (family Passeridae, subfamily Estrildinae) of the Old World tropics and Australia; several groups of the bunting and American sparrow family (Emberizidae); and Darwin's finches of the Galapagos islands, which provided evidence of natural selection and are now recognized to be peculiar tanagers (Thraupidae).
The smallest "classical" true finches are the Andean Siskin (Carduelis spinescens) at as little as 9.5 cm (3.8 in) and the Lesser Goldfinch (C. psaltria) at as little as 8 g (0.28 oz). The largest species is probably the Collared Grosbeak (Mycerobas
Hornets are the largest eusocial wasps; some species can reach up to 5.5 cm (2.2 in) in length. The true hornets make up the genus Vespa and are distinguished from other vespines by the width of the vertex (part of the head behind the eyes), which is proportionally larger in Vespa and by the anteriorly rounded gasters (the section of the abdomen behind the wasp waist). The best known species is the European hornet (Vespa crabro), about 2-3 cm in length, widely distributed throughout Europe, Russia, and Northeast Asia.
In Vespa crabro, the nest is founded in spring by a fertilized female known as the queen. She generally selects sheltered places like dark hollow tree trunks. She first builds a series of cells (up to 50) out of chewed tree bark. The cells are arranged in horizontal layers named combs, each cell being vertical and closed at the top. An egg is then laid in each cell. After 5–8 days, the egg hatches, and in the next two weeks, the larva undergoes its five stages. During this time, the queen feeds it a protein-rich diet of insects. Then, the larva spins a silk cap over the cell's opening and, during the next two weeks, transforms into an adult, a process called
A kitten is a juvenile domesticated cat. A feline litter usually consists of two to five kittens. To survive, kittens need the care of their mother for the first several weeks of their life. Kittens are highly social animals and spend most of their waking hours playing and interacting with available companions.
The word "kitten" derives from Middle English kitoun (ketoun, kyton etc.), which itself came from Old French chitoun, cheton: "kitten".
The young of big cats are called cubs rather than kittens. Either term may be used for the young of smaller wild felids such as ocelots, caracals, and lynx, but "kitten" is usually more common for these species.
A feline litter usually consists of two to five kittens. The kits are born after a gestation that lasts between 64 and 67 days, with an average length of 66 days. Kittens emerge in a sac called the amnion which is bitten off and eaten by the mother cat.
For the first several weeks, kittens are unable to urinate or defecate without being stimulated by their mother. They are also unable to regulate their body temperature for the first three weeks, so kittens born in temperatures less than 27°C (80 °F) can die from exposure if they are
A Lovebird is one of nine species of the genus Agapornis (Greek: αγάπη agape 'love'; όρνις ornis 'bird'). They are a social and affectionate small parrot. Eight species are native to the African continent, while the Grey-headed Lovebird is native to Madagascar. Their name stems from the parrots' strong, monogamous pair bonding and the long periods which paired birds spend sitting together. Lovebirds live in small flocks and eat fruit, vegetables, grasses and seed. Black-winged Lovebirds also eat insects and figs, and the Black-collared Lovebirds have a special dietary requirement for native figs, making them problematic to keep in captivity.
Some species are kept as pets, and several color mutations were selectively bred in aviculture. Their average lifespan is 10 to 15 years.
Lovebirds are 13 to 45 centimeters in length and 40 to 60 grams in weight. They are among the smallest parrots, characterized by a stocky build, a short blunt tail, and a relatively large, sharp beak. Wildtype lovebirds are mostly green with a variety of colors on their upper body, depending on the species. The Fischer's Lovebird, Black-cheeked Lovebird, and the Masked Lovebird have a prominent white ring
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives. Pigs are omnivores and are highly social and intelligent animals.
A typical pig has a large head with a long snout which is strengthened by a special prenasal bone and by a disk of cartilage at the tip. The snout is used to dig into the soil to find food and is a very acute sense organ. There are four hoofed toes on each trotter (foot), with the two larger central toes bearing most of the weight, but the outer two also being used in soft ground.
The dental formula of adult pigs is , giving a total of 44 teeth. The rear teeth are adapted for crushing. In the male the canine teeth form tusks, which grow continuously and are sharpened by constantly being ground against each other.
With around 1 billion individuals alive at any time, the domesticated pig is one of the most numerous large mammals on the planet.
The ancestor of the domesticated pig is the wild boar, which is one of the most numerous and widespread large mammals. Its many subspecies are native to all but the harshest climes of
Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exception of air and sea colonization. As of 2008, approximately 40,000 spider species, and 109 families have been recorded by taxonomists; however, there has been confusion within the scientific community as to how all these families should be classified, as evidenced by the over 20 different classifications that have been proposed since 1900.
Anatomically, spiders differ from other arthropods in that the usual body segments are fused into two tagmata, the cephalothorax and abdomen, and joined by a small, cylindrical pedicel. Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae. In all except the most primitive group, the Mesothelae, spiders have the most centralized nervous systems of all arthropods, as all their ganglia are fused into one mass in the cephalothorax. Unlike most arthropods, spiders have no extensor muscles
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier (informally: Staffie, Stafford, Staffy or Staff) is a medium-sized, short-coated breed of dog. It is an English dog, the fifth most popular breed, and related to the bull terrier. Descended from dog-fighting ancestors, it is muscular and loyal. It is the subject of breed specific legislation in some jurisdictions.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, stocky, and very muscular dog, with a similar appearance to the American Staffordshire terrier and American pit bull terrier. It has a broad head (male considerably more so than female), defined occipital muscles, a relatively short foreface, dark round eyes and a wide mouth with a clean scissor-like bite (the top incisors slightly overlap the bottom incisors). The ears are small. The cheek muscles are very pronounced. The lips show no looseness. From above, the head loosely resembles a triangle. The head tapers down to a strong well-muscled neck and shoulders placed on squarely spaced forelimbs. They are tucked up in their loins and the last 1-2 ribs of the ribcage are usually visible. The tail resembles an old fashioned pump handle. The hind quarters are well-muscled and are what give the