MAMMALS

Mammals are animals that have warm-blood, fur or hair and usually have live babies. A few mammals lay eggs rather than giving birth to live babies, including the platypus and the spiny anteater. All mammals have some type of body hair or fur, though marine mammals, like dolphins and whales, are almost hairless. Over 5,500 species of mammals have been recorded to date, compared to more than 28,000 species of fish and over 1,000,000 species of insects.

SKUNK

Known for their highly effective and tremendously pungent defensive tactics, skunks are some of the most infamous animals around. Members of the family Mephitidae, the name of these distinctive little mammals likely originated from 1600’s Algonquian language. Although they can vary in appearance, almost all species of skunks are found in the Americas (ranging from Canada to central South America), with the exception of Asian stink badgers, which are generally found in Indonesia and the Philippines.

OPOSSUM

Often called endearingly ugly, opossums are the only family of marsupials to inhabit the Americas. Originating in South America, these unusual-looking little mammals gradually migrated to Central and North America around three million years ago when the volcanic bridge between the two continents arose from the sea floor, and opossums have migrated further and further north (into southern Ontario, for example) as climate change has allowed them to survive the winter season in many areas. Grouped under the family Didelphidae, their name itself is borrowed from the word in Powhatan language meaning ‘white dog’, and was first recorded in the 1600’s by colonists in Jamestown, Virginia.

MOLE

Mainly known for their pointy snouts and exceptional digging abilities, moles are small mammals that have adapted to living in self-dug tunnels underground. Belonging to the family Talpidae and native to many areas around the world including Europe, Asia, and North America, there are around 20 ‘true mole’ species of these small creatures. These persistent burrowers are found mainly in either grassland or woodland habitats, though some species are aquatic or semi-aquatic, choosing to construct burrows in the soft banks of ponds or streams instead.

WOODCHUCK

Woodchucks, groundhogs and whistlepigs – what do they all have in common? Although most people are familiar with the sight and sound of these rodents, few realize that the three names all refer to the same species. Belonging to the family Scuiridae, woodchucks are part of the group of larger ground squirrels referred to as marmots. Their habitat is broadly distributed across northeastern and central Canada and the USA, as far north as Alaska and as far south as Georgia.

RACCOON

Raccoons are medium-sized mammals native to North America. The raccoon is the largest of the procyonid family, having a body length of 16 to 28 inches and a body weight of 8 to 20 lb. Two of the raccoon's most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous front paws and its facial mask - the area of black fur around the eyes which contrasts sharply with the surrounding white face coloring. This is reminiscent of a "bandit's mask" and has thus enhanced the animal's reputation for mischief. Raccoons are noted for their intelligence.

OTTER

Otters – their irresistible appearances and humorous antics tend to endear them to animal lovers worldwide. These carnivorous little mammals belong to a branch of the weasel family Mustelidae, and they can be found in habitats on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. There are thirteen different species of otter, each species living in areas close to water, since they’re either semi-aquatic, aquatic, or marine living animals. Otters will hunt and swim in ocean waters, rivers, wetlands, marshes, streams and lakes, staying in shallower areas close to land in order to avoid predators in the water.

LYNX

Lynx is a member of the cat family. There are four species of lynx within the Lynx genus: Spanish, Canadian, Eurasian lynx and the bobcat. These medium-sized wild cats have short tails, tufts of black hair on the tips of their ears, large whiskers and a ruff under their necks with black bars resembling a bow tie. Their padded paws are large, allowing them to easily walk on snow. The bobcat and the Canada lynx are the smallest species; the Eurasian lynx is the largest species; while each species may vary considerably.

BELUGA

Although ‘melonhead’ and ‘sea canary’ may be some common nicknames for this unique ocean dweller, the beluga is most commonly referred to as the white whale. Belonging to the family Monodontidae, the beluga’s only other family member is the narwhal, and their appearance and physiology is a result of being adapted to life in the cold waters of the Arctic. Beluga populations are also found in the seas and coastal areas around Russia, Greenland and North America, though many do migrate from the Arctic ice cap to warmer estuaries and coastal waters during the summer.

BEAVER

Beavers are castorimorph rodents, a suborder of rodents who live in North America and Europe. There are two species of beaver, the European or Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) and the North American beaver (Castor canadensis). Beavers are the second largest rodent in the world after the capybara. Beavers have webbed hind-feet, and broad, scaly tails. Beavers do not have good eyesight, but they posses good senses of smell, hearing, and touch. Their teeth grow continuously throughout their lives so as not to be worn down by chewing wood. Their powerful front teeth are used to cut trees and plants used by beavers for food and for constructing their homes.

ANTELOPE

When we think of antelopes, many of us picture four-legged, deer-like creatures bounding across a blazing savannah. What may be surprising, however, is that members of this sub-group within the family Bovidae live in a wide range of environments, including grassland, desert, rocky terrain, frigid steppes, forest, and swampland. The majority of the 91 antelope species are found in Africa and include gnus and gazelles, but some species also occur in India, Central Asia, Russia, and the Arabian Peninsula. No antelope species is native to the Americas or Australia, however populations exist on those continents because of importation for exotic game hunting.

ANTEATER

Anteater is a common name for the four mammal species of the suborder Vermilingua (meaning "worm tongue") that eat ants and termites. The individual species have other names in English and other languages. Together with the sloths, they are within the order Pilosa. The name "anteater" is also applied to the unrelated aardvark, numbat, echidnas, pangolins and some members of the Oecobiidae. Species include the giant anteater Myrmecophaga tridactyla; the silky anteater Cyclopes didactylus; the southern tamandua or collared anteater Tamandua tetradactyla; and the northern tamandua Tamandua Mexicana.

PORCUPINE

Porcupines are rodents with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that protect them against predators. The term covers two families of animals, the Old World porcupines and New World porcupines. Both families belong to the Hystricognathi branch of the vast order Rodentia, both display similar coats of quills, but they still are quite different and are not closely related. Porcupines occupy a short range of habitats in tropical and temperate parts of Asia, Southern Europe, Africa, and North and South America. Porcupines live in forests, deserts, rocky outcrops and hillsides.

COUGAR

The cougar (Puma concolor), also commonly known as the mountain lion, puma, or catamount, is a large felid of the subfamily Felinae native to the Americas. Its range, from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America, is the greatest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types. It is the second heaviest cat in the New World, after the jaguar. The cougar is more closely related to smaller felines, including the domestic cat, than to any subspecies of lion, of which only the jaguar is native to the Western Hemisphere.

WOLVERINE

The wolverine, 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, a solitary animal, has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the ability to kill prey many times larger than itself. The wolverine can be found primarily in remote reaches of the Northern boreal forests and subarctic and alpine tundra of the Northern Hemisphere.

BONOBO

The bonobo is an endangered great ape and one of the two species making up the genus Pan; the other is Pan troglodytes, or the common chimpanzee. Along with the common chimpanzee, the bonobo is the closest living relative to humans. The bonobo is found in an area of the Congo Basin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Africa, and inhabits forests. Adult female bonobos are somewhat smaller than adult males. Males range from 75 to 132 lb; females average 66 lb. The bonobo's head is relatively smaller than that of the common chimpanzee with less prominent brow ridges above the eyes.

TASMANIAN DEVIL

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, they became the largest carnivorous marsupials in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936. They are characterized by their stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odor, 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 one of the strongest bites of any land mammal predator, and it hunts prey and scavenges carrion as well as eating household products.

BADGER

Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the family Mustelidae which also includes the otters, polecats, weasels and wolverines. The 11 species of badger are grouped in three subfamilies: Melinae (9 Eurasian badgers), Mellivorinae (the honey badger or ratel) and Taxideinae (the American badger). Badgers have rather short, fat bodies, with short legs for digging. They have elongated weasel-like heads with small ears. Their tails vary in length depending on species; the stink badger has a very short tail, while the ferret badger's tail can be 18 to 20 inches long. They have black faces with distinctive white markings, gray bodies with a light-colored stripe from head to tail, and dark legs with light colored underbellies.

PANDA

Pandas are famous for their black and white markings. The legs, shoulders, ears and oval patches around the eyes are black, and the rest of the coat is white. Good tree climbers, pandas can also swim to escape predators. Pandas use an enlarged wrist bone that looks like a thumb to grasp objects like bamboo. They weigh an average of 200 to 300 pounds and reach six feet in length. The shrinking range of the panda is limited to parts of Szechuan, Shensi and Kansu provinces in central and western China. Only around 1,000 pandas exist in the wild, and about 60 in zoos.

GRAY FOX

The gray fox is a species of fox ranging from southern Canada, throughout most of the lower United States and Central America, to Venezuela. This species, and the closely related island fox, are the only living members of the genus Urocyon, which is considered to be among the most primitive of the living canids. The gray fox has a gray back, tawny sides, neck and legs, a white belly, and a black stripe along the back and tail. Another black stripe crosses their face from the nose to the eye and continuing to the side of the head.

FENNEC FOX

The fennec fox is a small fox found in the Sahara Desert of North Africa (excluding the coast) which has distinctive oversized ears. The fennec is the smallest canid. The animals are often a sandy color and blend in with their desert surroundings. Their ears, which are the largest in the canid family, serve to help dissipate heat. Their coat can repel sunlight during the day and conserve heat at night. The soles of of a fennec's feet are protected from the hot sand by thick fur.

POLAR BEAR

The polar bear rivals the Kodiak bear as the largest four-footed carnivore on earth and can live up to 25 years. Although the polar bear’s coat appears white, each individual hair is actually a clear hollow tube that channels the sun’s energy directly to the bear’s skin and helps it stay warm. The polar bear’s entire body is furred, even the bottom of its paws. That helps prevent bears from slipping on the ice. The polar bear is classified as a marine mammal. Its feet are partially webbed for swimming, and its fur is water-repellent. A formidable predator, it has extremely sharp claws.

GIRAFFE

Giraffes are one of the world's tallest mammals. They are well known for their long necks, long legs, and spotted patterns. Giraffes have small "horns" or knobs on top of their heads that grow to be about five inches long. These knobs are used to protect the head in fights. Male giraffes are larger than females. Males weigh between 2,400 and 3,000 pounds and stand up to 19 feet tall. Female giraffes weigh between 1,600 and 2,600 pounds and grow to be 16 feet tall.

MANATEE

Manatees range in color from gray to brown. They use their two small front flippers to crawl along ocean or river bottoms. Their flat, horizontal tails are pumped up and down to move them along. Despite their small eyes and lack of outer ears, manatees are thought to see and hear quite well. One of the closest surviving relatives of the manatee is the elephant. Manatees have many anatomical parallels with elephants, including a long, flexible nose or trunk, whiskers, and toenails.

ORCA

Majestic sea dwellers, superb hunters and socially complex beings, orcas (also known as killer whales or blackfish) are the largest members of the oceanic family Delphinidae, which includes dolphins, pilot whales, melon-headed whales and false killer whales. They’re found in every ocean in the world and most seas as well, including the Arctic and Antarctic regions and the warmer seas of the Mediterranean and Arabian, but have been counted in highest densities in the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans, in the Gulf of Alaska and Southern Ocean. Although they can have an enormous range, they typically tend to prefer to stay closer to coastal areas versus swimming in deeper ocean waters.

LEOPARD

Leopards are medium-sized cats found in a range of colors from pale yellow to gray to chestnut. A leopard’s shoulders, upper arms, back and haunches are marked with dark spots in a rosette pattern, while the head, chest and throat are marked with small black spots. Large black spots cover the leopard’s white belly. Black, or melanistic, leopards are common, especially in dense forests. Leopards are 1.5 to 2.6 feet tall at the shoulder. They are three to six feet long, with a tail that is two to 3.5 feet long.

BOBCAT

Elusive-seeming felines that often appear as characters in various American indigenous legends, bobcats are nevertheless well known members of the Felidae family, found exclusively in North America. The bobcat’s thirteen member subspecies have a wide range over the continent, found from the southern parts of Canada to Central Mexico. These smaller wild cats can adapt to life in many different types of habitats, from forested areas to wet swampland, and from arid semi-desert to the more populated edges of urban centers.

GRIZZLY BEAR

The brown bear (known as the grizzly in the Lower 48 states) is a large predator distinguished from black bears by a distinctive hump on the shoulders, a dished profile to the face, and long claws about the length of a human finger. Coloration is usually darkish brown but can vary from very light cream to black. The long guard hairs on their back and shoulders often have white tips and give the bears a "grizzled" appearance, hence the name "grizzly."

GORILLA

Of the three subspecies of gorilla, the mountain gorilla is the largest and rarest. Remarkably strong, the mountain gorilla has a short trunk and a broad chest and shoulders. Males develop a streak of silver hair on their backs when they mature and are called "silverbacks." Male mountain gorillas reach an average of 6 feet tall (when standing upright) and weigh 400 to 500 pounds, making them the largest of the great apes (chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas). Females are smaller, standing an average of 4 to 5 feet tall and weighing 150 to 200 pounds.

LION

Renowned for their majesty and nicknamed the King of the Jungle, lions possess both beauty and strength. Males are distinguishable by their manes which protect them while fighting. Lions vary in color but are typically a light, yellowish-brown. Males stand at a shoulder height of about 4 feet and reach about 5 ½ to 8 feet in length. Their tails average a length of 3 to 3 ½ feet, and they can weigh as much as 330 to 550 pounds. Females are smaller than males.

ORANGUTAN

Orangutans have thin, shaggy, reddish-brown hair. They have long, powerful arms and strong hands that they can use to manipulate tools. Orangutans have the ability to make 13 to 15 different types of vocalizations. Most orangutans are four to five feet long, some can reach a length of six feet. Adult males weigh between 100 and 260 pounds and adult females weigh between 65 and 100 pounds. Orangutans have an arm spread of about five feet.

ELEPHANT

The elephant is the largest land mammal on earth and perhaps one of the most intelligent. The trunk of the elephant has two finger-like structures at its tip that allow the animal to perform both delicate and powerful movements. Its remarkable tusks first appear when the animal is two years of age and continue to grow throughout life. Elephants use tusks for peeling bark off trees, digging for roots, herding young, “drilling” for water and sometimes as a weapon. Males reach a length of 18 to 21 feet and weigh up to 13,200 pounds. Females are about two feet shorter and weigh half as much.

DOLPHIN

Dolphins belong to the same zoological order as whales. They are part of the family of toothed whales that also includes killer and pilot whales. They are mammals and breathe through a blowhole on the top of their head. Most dolphins have acute eyesight, both in and out of the water, and their sense of hearing is superior to that of humans. Though they have a small ear opening on each side of their head, it is believed that hearing underwater is also, if not exclusively, done with the lower jaw which conducts the sound vibrations to the middle ear via a fat filled cavity in the lower jaw bone. Hearing is also used for echolocation, which is an ability all dolphins have.

CHIMPANZEE

Chimpanzee faces are pinkish to black, and the apes' bodies are covered with long black hair. Chimps lack a tail. Their opposable thumbs and toes help them grasp objects easily. Chimpanzees are quadrupedal, which means that they walk on all four limbs, although they can also walk upright (bipedal) for short distances. Standing approximately 4 feet high, males weigh between 90 and 120 pounds, while females weigh between 60 and 110 pounds. An estimated 100,000 to 200,000 chimpanzees remain in the wild.

CHEETAH

The fastest land animal in the world, the cheetah is a marvel of evolution. Capable of running up to 70 miles per hour, the cheetah’s slender, long-legged body is built for speed. Its spotted coat, small head and ears, and distinctive "tear stripes" from the corner of the eyes down the sides of the nose make the cheetah highly recognizable among the large cats of Africa. The cheetah is smaller than other big cats, measuring 44 to 53 inches long with a tail length of 26 to 33 inches. They live an average of 10 to 12 years. Once found throughout Africa and Asia, cheetahs are now confined to parts of eastern and southwestern Africa.

KANGAROO

Kangaroos have powerful hind legs and short, thumbless forelimbs. Kangaroos can travel at speeds up to 30 miles per hour and can leap some 30 feet. Kangaroos use their long tails for balancing. Their bodies are covered in thick, coarse, wooly hair that can be shades of gray, brown or red. Kangaroos are marsupials, which means that females carry newborns, or "joeys," in a pouch on the front of their abdomens.

KOALA

Koalas have soft, wool-like fur that is gray above and white below. Their fur is mostly white on the underside below the neck, and their ears have long white hairs on the tips. The koala resembles a bear, but is actually a marsupial, a special kind of mammal which carries its young in a pouch. They are rather small, round animals, weigh about 30 pounds and on average grow to be 2 feet tall. Koalas can live as long as 17 years, although high mortality rates (due to car fatalities and dogs) for males lower their life expectancy to 2 to 10 years. The koala's historic range stretches across Australia. Today they can be found only in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. There are fewer than 100,000 koalas left in the wild.

JAGUAR

It’s no surprise that pre-Columbian South Americans once revered the jaguar as a potent symbol of power and strength – these enormous felines are some of the most impressive and beautiful members of all the large cat species, and the only Panthera species from the Felidae family that’s native to the Americas. These powerful predators are at the top of their food chain, and they have a current range that extends from the southwestern United States (though extremely rare in occurrence there) down to Mexico, Central America, and northern Argentina.

PANTHER

One of 30 cougar subspecies, the Florida panther is an endangered species. Panthers are tawny brown on the back and pale gray underneath, with white flecks on the head, neck and shoulder. Males weigh up to 130 pounds; females 70 pounds. Panthers live in cypress swamps and pine and hardwood hammock forests. The black panther is the common name for a black specimen (a genetic variant) of several species of cats. Zoologically, a panther is the same as a leopard, while the term Panthera describes the whole family of big cats. But, in North America, the term panther is also used for puma. In South America it could also mean a jaguar. Elsewhere in the world it refers to leopard.

BAT

Bats are often unappreciated but are actually beneficial by providing controls of insects that may spread diseases or are annoying and harmful to our outdoor activities. They are vitally important in agricultural settings as well by controlling potential insect crop pests and the spread of plant diseases. Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. The bat's wing anatomically resembles the human hand, with extremely elongated fingers and a wing membrane stretched between. Over 1,000 bat species can be found worldwide. In fact, bats make up a quarter of all mammal species on earth. Thirteen species of bat are listed as endangered.

BISON

A symbol of the wild west, the American bison is the heaviest land mammal in North America. Also called the American buffalo, the bison has a large head with relatively small, curving horns. It has a shaggy coat of brown hair on its shoulders and legs, while its body has shorter, finer hair. Bison are 5 to 6½ feet long and weigh 900 to 2,200 pounds. Males are larger than females on average. Historically, bison numbered an estimated 20 million to 30 million. Today, approximately 250,000 remain in the United States. Of those, only 16,000 roam in the wild. Yellowstone National Park has the only population of free-roaming bison.

LEMUR

There are nearly 100 species of lemurs. All are endangered. Hunting and habitat destruction threaten their future. Lemurs share many common primate traits, such as divergent digits on their hands and feet, and nails instead of claws (in most species). Their brain-to-body size ratio is smaller than that of anthropoid primates, and they have a "wet nose". They range in size from 1.1 oz to 20 lb and can reach 30 years old or more. Lemurs are found naturally only on the island of Madagascar and some smaller surrounding islands, including the Comoros (where it is likely they were introduced by humans). Fossil evidence indicates that they made their way across the ocean after Madagascar broke away from the continent of Africa. While their ancestors were displaced in the rest of the world by monkeys, apes, and other primates, the lemurs were safe from competition on Madagascar and differentiated into a number of species.

WOLF

The wolf is the largest wild member of the canine family. On average, wolves stand 26 to 32 inches at the shoulder and weigh 55 to 115 pounds. Females are usually slightly smaller than males. They range in color from grizzled gray or black to all white. Wolves are built for stamina, possessing features tailored for long distance travel. Narrow chests and powerful backs and legs contribute to the wolf's proficiency for efficient locomotion.

RHINOCEROS

Lumbering members of the family Rhinoerotidae, rhinoceroses (or rhinos) are some of the largest land animals on earth today, aside from elephants. These gigantic herbivores are spread over a mere five species and are native to only a few places in the world. Two species originate in Africa (the black and white rhinos), and three in Southern Asia (the Sumatran, Indian, and Javan rhinos). Although they all fall under the same family classification, the divergence that emerged in each rhino species actually occurred between 5-14 million years ago, shown by their very genetic makeup. In fact, the black rhino is the only one to have 84 chromosomes, while all other species have 82.

WHALE

Whales range in size from the blue whale, the largest animal known to have ever existed, to pygmy species such as the pygmy sperm whale. Whales inhabit all the world's oceans and number in the millions. They are long-lived; humpback whales living for up to 95 years, while bowhead whales may live for more than a century. Human hunting of whales from the seventeenth century until 1986 radically reduced the populations of some whale species.

ZEBRA

Zebras have black and white stripes all over their bodies except their stomachs, which are white. They have four one-toed hoofs. Their slender, pointed ears reach up to eight inches in length. Zebras have manes of short hair that stick straight up from their necks. The stripes on their bodies continue to the mane. They also have a tuft of hair at the end of their tails. The Grevy's Zebra differs from all other zebras in its primitive characteristics and different behavior. Zebras reach six to eight-and-a-half feet in length. 

SEAL

Seals are carnivorous aquatic mammals with front and hind feet modified as flippers, or fin-feet. The name seal is sometimes applied broadly to any of the fin-footed mammals, or pinnipeds, including the walrus, the eared seals (sea lion and fur seal), and the true seals, also called earless seals, hair seals, or phocid seals. More narrowly the term is applied only to true seals.

WALRUS

Walrus, a marine mammal, Odobenus rosmarus, is found in Arctic seas. It is the largest of the fin-footed mammals, or pinnipeds. The walrus is also distinguished by its long tusks and by cheek pads bearing quill-like bristles. Adult males are 10 feet long or more, and weigh up to 3,000 lb; females weigh about two thirds as much as males. The tusks, which are elongated upper canine teeth, may reach a length of 3 feet in large males and weigh over 10 lb. The hide is very thick and wrinkled, and is light brown and nearly hairless. Beneath the hide is a layer of fat several inches thick.

MONKEY

Monkeys are a large and varied group of mammals of the primate order. They live in trees, grasslands, forests, mountains and plains. They are seriously threatened by habitat loss. The term monkey includes all primates that do not belong to the categories human, ape, or prosimian; however, monkeys do have certain common features. All are excellent climbers, and most are primarily arboreal. Nearly all live in tropical or sub-tropical climates. Unlike most of the prosimians, or lower primates, they are almost all day-active animals. Their faces are usually flat and rather human in appearance, their eyes point forward, and they have stereoscopic color vision. Their hands and feet are highly developed for grasping.

DEER

Deer, ruminant mammal of the family Cervidae, are found in most parts of the world except Australia. Antlers, solid bony outgrowths of the skull, develop in the males of most species and are shed and renewed annually. They are at first covered by "velvet," a soft, hairy skin permeated by blood vessels. The stem of the antler is called the beam, and the branches are the tines. Antlers are used as weapons during breeding season combats between bucks. In deer that lack antlers (the musk deer and Chinese river deer), long upper canines serve as weapons. Deer are polygamous. They eat a variety of herbaceous plants, lichens, mosses, and tree leaves and bark.

MOOSE

Moose, the largest member of the deer family, are found in the northern parts of Eurasia and North America. The Eurasian species, A. alces, is known in Europe as the elk, a name which in North America is applied to another large deer, the wapiti. The Eurasian and the American moose are quite similar, but the American moose is somewhat larger and is considered by some to be a separate species, A. americana. It inhabits the coniferous forests of Canada and the northern United States. The Eurasian moose is found from Scandinavia to E Siberia. Moose have a heavy brown body with humped shoulders, and long, lighter-colored legs; the front pair longer than the hind legs.

HIPPOPOTAMUS

Hippopotamus is an herbivorous, river-living mammal of tropical Africa. The large hippopotamus, hippopotamus amphibius, has a short-legged, broad body with a tough gray or brown hide. Males stand about 5 feet high at the shoulder and weigh about 5 tons; females are slightly smaller. Their mouths are wide, and the incisors and lower canines are large ivory tusks that grow throughout life. Their eyes are near the top of their heads, so they can see when nearly submerged. Recent DNA studies indicate that whales are most closely related to hippopotamuses.

TIGER

Tigers (Panthera tigris) are mammals of the Felidae family and one of four "big cats" in the panthera genus. They are predatory carnivores and the largest and most powerful of all living cat species. The Indian subcontinent is home to more than 80% of the wild tigers in the world. Tigers breed well in captivity, and the captive population in the United States may rival the wild population of the world. Most tigers live in forests or grasslands, for which their camouflage is ideally suited.

CAMEL

A camel is either of the two species of large even-toed ungulate in the genus Camelus. The Dromedary is a single hump camel, and the Bactrian Camel is a double hump camel. Both are native to the dry and desert areas of Asia and northern Africa. The average life expectancy of a camel is 30 to 50 years. Humans first domesticated camels approximately 5,000 years ago. Although there are almost 13 million Dromedaries alive today, the species is extinct in the wild.

MEERKAT

The meerkat, or suricate, is a small mammal and a member of the mongoose family. Meerkats live in southern parts of Africa which is dominated by the Kalahari desert. The Kalahari desert has little rainfall and an arid climate with open plains. It spreads across the Southern part of Africa covering over one million square miles and is 10 times the size of Great Britain. The land is covered by a porous or soft sand that in many places is bright orange color.

BLACK-FOOTED FERRET

The black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) is a small carnivorous North American mammal closely related to the steppe polecat of Russia, and a member of the diverse family Mustelidae which also includes weasels, mink, polecats, martens, otters, and badgers. It should not be confused with the domesticated ferret. The black-footed ferret is the most endangered mammal in North America. They became extinct in the wild in Canada in 1937, and were classified as endangered in the U.S. in 1967. The last known wild population was taken into captivity in the mid-1980s, a few years after its accidental discovery in Wyoming.

SQUIRREL MONKEY

Squirrel monkeys are New World monkeys of the genus Saimiri. They are the only genus in the subfamily Saimirinae. Squirrel monkeys live in the tropical forests of Central and South America. Their range extends from Costa Rica through central Brazil and Bolivia. Squirrel monkey fur is short and close, colored olive at the back and yellowish orange on their bellies and extremities. Their throats and ears are white and their mouths are black. The upper part of their heads are hairy. This black and white face gives them their German name, "death's head monkeys".

SLOTH

Sloths are medium-sized South American mammals belonging to the families Megalonychidae and Bradypodidae, part of the order Pilosa. Most scientists call these two families the Folivora suborder, while some call it Phyllophaga. Sloths are herbivores, eating very little other than leaves. Sloths have made extraordinary adaptations to an arboreal browsing lifestyle. Leaves, their main food source, provide very little energy or nutrition and do not digest easily. Sloths have very large, specialized, slow-acting stomachs with multiple compartments in which symbiotic bacteria break down the tough leaves. Sloths may also eat insects and small lizards and carrion.

BLACK BEAR

The American black bear (Ursus americanus), also known as the cinnamon bear, is the most common bear species native to North America. The black bear occurs throughout much of the continent, from northern Canada and Alaska south into Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This includes 39 of the 50 U.S. states and all Canadian provinces. Populations in east-central and the southern United States remain in the protected mountains and woodlands of parks and preserves, though bears will occasionally wander outside the parks' boundaries and have setup new territories in recent years in this manner. While there were probably once as many as two million black bears in North America, the population declined to a low of 200,000 before rebounding in recent decades, partly due to conservation measures.

BABOON

The baboons are some of the largest non-hominid members of the primate order; only the Mandrill and the Drill are larger. Baboons have long dog-like muzzles, close-set eyes, heavy powerful jaws, thick fur except on their muzzle, a short tail and rough spots on their rear-ends called ischial callosities. These calluses are nerveless, hairless pads of skin which provide for the sitting comfort of the baboon (and other Old World monkeys). Males of the Hamadryas Baboon species also have a large white mane. There is considerable variation in size and weight depending on species. The Chacma Baboon can be 47 inches and weigh 90 lb, while the biggest Guinea Baboon is 20 inches and weighs only 30 lb.

FOX

A fox is a member of any of 27 species of small omnivorous canids. The animal most commonly called a fox in the Western world is the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), although different species of foxes can be found on almost every continent. With most species roughly the size of a domestic cat, foxes are smaller than other members of the family Canidae, such as wolves, jackals, and domestic dogs. Recognizable characteristics also include pointed muzzles and bushy tails. Other physical characteristics vary according to their habitat. For example, the Desert Fox has large ears and short fur, whereas the Arctic Fox has small ears and thick, insulating fur.

OCELOT

The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis, previously Felis pardalis, from Latin pardalis, "leopard-like") is a wild cat distributed over South and Central America and Mexico. Its northernmost occurrence is Texas. It also occurs on the island of Trinidad in the West Indies. It is up to 100 cm (3'2") in length, plus 45 cm (1'6") tail length, and weighs 10-15 kg (about 20-33 pounds). While similar in appearance to the oncilla and the margay, who inhabit the same region, the ocelot is larger. The ocelot is mostly nocturnal and very territorial. They will fight fiercely, sometimes to the death, in territorial disputes. Like most felines, they are solitary, usually meeting only to mate.

CAPUCHIN

The capuchins are the group of New World monkeys classified as genus Cebus. Their name comes from their coloration, which resembles the cowls worn by the Capuchin order of Roman Catholic friars. Cebus is the only genus in subfamily Cebinae. The range of the capuchin monkeys includes Central America (Honduras) and middle South America (middle Brazil, eastern Peru, Paraguay). Capuchins generally resemble the friars of their namesake. Their body, arms, legs and tail are all darkly (black or brown) colored, while the face, throat and chest are white colored, and their head has a black cap. This general pattern varies from species to species, as well as among individuals within a species.

SPIDER MONKEY

Spider monkeys are New World monkeys of the family Atelidae, subfamily Atelinae. Found in tropical forests from southern Mexico to Brazil, spider monkeys belong to the genus Ateles; the closely related woolly spider monkeys are in the genus Brachyteles. As they require large tracts of undisturbed forest and specialize on ripe fruits, spider monkeys may be considered an indicator species. The monkeys are threatened by habitat destruction through continued growth in South American agriculture. Disproportionately long, spindly limbs inspired the spider monkey's common name. Their deftly prehensile tails have highly flexible hairless tips.

COYOTE

The coyote, 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. There are currently 19 recognized subspecies, with 16 in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and 3 in Central America. Unlike its cousin the 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 alongside the Dire Wolf. Unlike the wolf, the coyote's range has expanded in the wake of human civilization, and coyotes readily reproduce in metropolitan areas.

REINDEER

The reindeer, 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 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. 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 secular element of Christmas.

ELK

The elk, or wapiti, is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest land mammals in North America and Eastern Asia. In the deer family, only the larger moose, which is called an "elk" in Europe, and the sambar rival the elk in size. Elk are similar to the red deer found in Europe. Elk range in forest and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves and bark. Although native to North America and Eastern Asia, they have adapted well to countries where they have been introduced, including Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. Male elk have large antlers which are shed each year. Males also engage in ritualized mating behaviors, including posturing, antler wrestling (sparring), and bugling.