While there aren’t that many species of vertebrates, we know you can name dozens of them. There are about 57,000 known species and the subphylum includes fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. There may be a greater number of invertebrate species across the planet, but the vertebrates are the most intelligent and advanced.
What do all of the vertebrate species have in common? They all have a skull and backbone with small bones called vertebrae. While you might not think much of some of your classmates, vertebrates are the most intelligent creatures on Earth. The skull and backbone are designed to protect our advanced nervous systems. The bones could be made of cartilage or calcified bone. Many fish have cartilage for their skeletons while mammals and reptiles have harder bones. Birds have similar bone composition to mammals, but they are hollow and lighter. The lighter bones help them fly.
Most of the amphibians are slimy. They have a very good reason. Amphibians are the evolutionary step that happened when animals left the oceans and lakes and came on to land. Some fish (lungfish) can survive out of the water for a while, but amphibians were designed for it. One hitch: they need the water when they are kids. Amphibians also use their skin to absorb oxygen from the air. The absorption process is more efficient when the skin is moist all of the time.
FROGS AND TOADS
It’s hard for us to explain what a frog or a toad is. It has four legs. Most amphibians also have moist skin (toads do not) for absorbing oxygen. They have extensions that are like fingers and toes. Like all amphibians, they have a three-chambered heart. We do want to tell you that frogs (and amphibians in general) are dying off. Since they have moist skin that helps them breathe, they are very vulnerable to poisons.
Man’s pollution is one of the deadliest poisons of all. As we create more pollution, the delicate way that amphibians breathe is being upset. They are slowly dying off. Unfortunately, they live in areas man may not be, so we will never know.
Salamanders are like frogs, but their body shape is more like a lizard. They are longer and have shorter legs. Often their bodies lay flat on the ground because their limbs (legs) are attached on the side of their bodies, not underneath as in mammals. You will often find salamanders around ponds and other small bodies of fresh water.
Caecilians are wild. They look kind of like snakes but are actually amphibians that found an advantage in not having legs or feet. You might be thinking that doesn’t sound like an advantage. You need to remember that when amphibians were the first creatures on land, there were no snakes. There was an entire ecological niche to be filled. Some amphibians evolved to slither along the ground and eat insects and worms. When you have a body like a snake you can get into tight spaces and find tasty insects for your lunch. Those slithering amphibians filled a specialized ecological niche that snakes filled millions of years later.
There are over 6,400 species of amphibians found worldwide, except in Antarctica and Greenland. Amphibians are vertebrates and include animals such as frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and worm-like caecilians. They can be found on land, and in fresh water. They live in a variety of habitats from deserts to rain forests, permanent ponds or high mountain meadows. Most amphibians have four limbs, but some amphibians don’t have any limbs. Amphibians are cold-blooded meaning they use the environment to regulate their body temperature. Amphibians spend part of their life in water, and part of their life on land. Want to learn more about amphibians? Take a look at our amphibian video collection.
The African Clawed Frog is native to South Africa, the sub-Saharan in east and southern Africa, and Namibia and Angola in western Africa. Their habitat includes warm stagnant pools and quiet streams. Their name comes from the three short claws on each of its hind feet. It spends most of its time underwater, only coming to the surface to breathe. African clawed frogs don’t have tongues. The frog’s uses its front limbs and unwebbed fingers to push food into its mouth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLHQiuwnjtI
The American Toad is native to much of North America from northern Mexico through the United States to Canada. Their habitat is freshwater ponds or pools, near vegetation for cover and food. They are generally brown, but can also be red with light patches of olive or gray. Their bellies are a white or yellow color. Their skin has glands that produce a poisonous milky fluid providing protection against many of their predators. American toads make one of the most recognizable sounds for calling a mate. Also, when a toad calls its throat puffs out like a large balloon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAORovBr1U8
The black-spined toad is also known as the Common Indian Toad and the Common Asian Toad. It is native to southern Asia. It is named after its bony ridges on its back. This toad is general brown and yellow in color with black spots on the ridges on its back. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlX7gy4dMzM
The blue-spotted salamander is a species of salamander native to the North American Great Lakes region, northeastern United States, and parts of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec in Canada. Their range is known to extend to James Bay to the north, and southeastern Manitoba to the west. Their skin is bluish-black with blue and white spots on its back, and bluish-white spots its sides and tail. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHxpAj2MLgw
The bullfrog is a true frog native to most of North America. Its habitat includes water bodies such as swamps, ponds, lakes, where it is usually found along the water’s edge. Bullfrogs will eat almost any animal it can catch and stuff down its throat, even rodents, small turtles, snakes, frogs and birds. The bullfrog will lunge at its prey with an open mouth, and use its sticky tongue to pull the prey into its mouth. For large prey, it will use its front limbs to push the prey into its mouth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKcztOR6UYM
The caecilian is found in tropical regions of south-east Asia, Africa and South America. Although it is an amphibian, it looks like a large worm or a small snake. It has no arms or legs. It has shiny, ringed skin that comes in many colors including gray, brown, black, orange, or yellow. Most caecilians are burrowers, living in tunnels underground. Some caecilians live in water. The caecilian has sharp teeth used to grab worms, termites, beetle pupae, small snakes, frogs, lizards and other food which is swallowed whole. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7apJYqZPQFI
The cane toad, also known as the marine toad, is native to southern North America, Central America and South America. The cane toad has been introduced to regions of the Pacific, such as Australia, to control agricultural pests. This has caused problems for pets and other native animals. The cane toad has poison glands that can kill almost any animal that eats the toad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_onANXeIPA
The Chinese Giant Salamander is a species of salamander native to China. It is the largest salamander in the world. They can grow up to 6 feet in length. Their habitat is rocky mountain streams and lakes in China. The Chinese Giant Salamander feeds on insects, frogs and fish. They have poor eyesight and use special pressure sensors on their forehead to detect their prey in the water. They are considered an endangered species due to habitat loss, pollution and over-collecting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WB_eRmrdv7s
The chorus frog is a family of frogs native to North America. They are often found in or near shallow water. Male chorus frogs have a trilling call that they use to attract a mate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnjJ6mMIYrA
The Colorado River Toad, also known as the Sonoran Desert Toad, is native to southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Its habitat includes desert and semi-arid areas with springs, streams or watering holes. It is carnivorous, eating small rodents and reptiles, insects and even other toads. It is the largest toad native to the United States. Its color is olive to dark brown with a smooth, shiny skin. The Colorado River Toad has poison glands that protect it from predators. The poison is potent enough to kill a full grown dog. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQpw8x-dIhE
The common toad, also called bufo bufo, is native to Europe. Their habitat includes damp areas of deciduous woodland, scrub, gardens, parks and fields. They are mostly active at night, particularly in wet weather. The common toad is mostly dark brown, gray or olive in color. They have a long sticky tongue that they use to catch food. They mostly eat insects, larvae, spiders, slugs and worms. They have two glands behind their eyes which secrete a foul tasting, toxic liquid to deter predators. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YUrtkRLpZk
The coquí is a small frog native to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Its habitat includes almost anywhere in Puerto Rico including forests, highlands, lowlands, dry and arid places, and even in caves. The coqui gets its name from the ko-kee sound it makes all night long. The coqui is green, brown and yellowish in color. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54-FzuE-w0U
The fire belly newt, also known as the Japanese Fire Belly Newt, is native to Japan. Its coloring is brown or black with red spots, and has an orange under belly from which it gets its name. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZCV_nfKuZQ
The fire salamander is a species of salamander native to central and southern Europe. Their habitat is deciduous forest with small creeks or brooks. They are generally found hidden beneath leaves, stones, wood or other objects. Fire Salamanders are active during the evening and the night. They primarily eat insects, spiders, earthworms and slugs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUWGVXF7zVA
The fowler’s toad is native to much of eastern United States, particularly the Atlantic Coastal Plain region. Its habitat includes flood plains, open woodlands, prairies, meadows and beaches. They will burrow into the sand to hide during the day, then come out at night to hunt for insects. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxJ8kk9nODA
The leopard frog is native to North America. They generally live near ponds and marshes, but can also be found in meadows. The name leopard frog comes from the dark spots on its back and legs, which are somewhat like the spots on a leopard. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDuvK0u8XyY
The mudpuppy is an aquatic salamander native to North America and Europe. They are also called waterdogs. Their habitat includes shallow lakes and streams that have slow moving water. They like to hide under rocks, logs and vegetation for protection and to catch prey. Unlike many salamanders, the mudpuppy doesn’t lose it gills during maturation. This allows mudpuppies to live underwater their entire life. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHdbOK3cHxA
The paddle tail newt is native to central and southern China. It is a member of the newt family. They get their name because of their long, paddle-like tail. Their habitat includes cool water, such as rivers and brooks, sheltered by trees. They spend most of their life in water. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhJc0iSR5qc
The palmate newt is a small brown newt native to western Europe. It is a member of the newt family. Its habitat includes ponds, lakes, marshes as well as forest areas, moorlands and bogs with shallow ponds or acidic soil. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEO5Xs2ibH4
The poison dart frog is a family of frogs native to Central and South America. Their habitat is humid, tropical areas such as tropical rainforests. They may live on the ground as well as in trees. Most poison dart frogs are brightly colored, which makes them easily recognizable and warns potential predators to stay away. Why do the predators stay away? As their name implies, this frog is highly poisonous. They secrete a toxin through their skin that is capable of killing a predator. Many species are critically endangered. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar57xFsHebc
The Spanish Ribbed Newt, also known as the Iberian Ribbed Newt, is native to the central and southern Iberian Peninsula. It is a member of the newt family. They are generally found on the bottom of ponds, lakes and slow-moving streams. As the name implies, this newt has sharply pointed ribs that often appear to be sticking out through the skin. This may be to protect the newt against predators. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83PZS2EMf24
The siren is a family of aquatic salamanders native to south-eastern United States and northern Mexico. Sirens look more like eels than salamanders. Adult sirens have fully developed gills and live their lives in water. Unlike other salamanders, sirens have very small fore limbs and no hind limbs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_KHJMAu4xU
The American Spadefoot Toads are native to southern Canada and USA south to southern Mexico. It is a member of the toad family. There are also European Spadefoot Toads native to Europe, the Mediterranean, northwestern Africa and western Asia. These are burrowing toads. As their name implies, these toads have feet well designed for digging backwards into the ground. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgAGvyWAkpo
The surinam toad is native to the Amazon region in South America, Peru, Guyana, Surinam, Brazil. They spend much of their life in water, preferring muddy or cloudy water. They live on the water bottom, mostly only surfacing for air. The surinam toad is a brown color and very flat, resembling a leaf. This toad is best known for their reproductive process. The female surinam toad carries the eggs on her back, embedded into pockets in her skin. The tadpoles develop within these pockets. Once they are fully developed, the babies emerge from the mother’s back as small, fully developed toads. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc6k8qIn4h4
The tiger salamander is a species of salamander native to most of the United States, southern Canada and eastern Mexico. They live in deep burrows near ponds, lakes or slow-moving streams. They are the largest land-dwelling salamander, growing up to 14 inches in length. Their body coloring is usually brown with yellow stripes like a tiger. Hence, the name tiger salamander. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH_5ht5Cgu4
There are several different types of tree frogs, such as the red-eyed tree frog, green tree frog and white’s tree frog. They are native to many parts of the world including the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia. The tree frog, as the name implies, spend most of their lives in trees. They are generally green or brown in color to blend in with the leaves and branches. The large finger and toe pads of a tree frog are well designed for climbing trees. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpozb-_5Liw
The wood frog is native to many parts of the United States and Canada. The habitat is primarily forested areas including freshwater wetlands and woodlands. Their coloring is usually brown, tan, or rust and have a dark eye mask. Wood frogs have an interesting characteristic in that they can freeze. During winter hibernation this frog will freeze solid as a rock. In the spring, they thaw and come back to life. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qc_r2sfQUc
Finally, analize the following facts:
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/tgifs/Toad_bw.GIF (external anatomy of a toad)
http://www.frog-life-cycle.com/graphics/frog_anatomy_labeled.jpg (internal anatomy of a frog)
http://borglumbio.com/uploads/FrogLifeCycle.jpg (frog life cycle)
Fish have had an evolution all their own. When you think of a fish today, you are actually thinking about an advanced organism. They started their development over 500 million years ago as fish-like organisms without jaws. Over many years they developed bones and skeletons. There are four main types of fish.
(1) Jawless fish: Like we just said, the first fish didn’t have jaws. It is tough to eat and even harder to survive in the long run. Even with a mouth and a series of teeth to cling to their food, it’s still hard to compete with fish that have jaws and mouths. Some species made it to the modern world. One good example is a Lamprey. These fish suck on the sides of other fish. Not a very exciting life.
(2) Fish with cartilage: In our opinion, though not as advanced as fish with real bones, fish with cartilage are the coolest fish out there. Cartilaginous fish include species of sharks, rays, and skates. Sharks are the ultimate hunters of the ocean. They are big, fast, and have very sharp teeth that rip their prey apart. Skates and rays are a lot more docile or non-aggressive. They are usually bottom feeders. The bodies of rays and skates have developed large wings that allow them to glide through the water using their tail as a rudder.
(3) Bony fish with lobe fins: And then the fish with real bones came along. No longer was cartilage the skeleton of choice. Bony fish were able to out-compete most of the fish that had cartilage for skeletons. Scientists classify them into two groups – the LOBE-finned and the RAY-finned. Lobe-finned bony fish include examples such as lungfish and coelacanthus. Until about 30 years ago, scientists thought the coelacanthus was long extinct. One day a fisherman found one in the net and voila!
(3) Bony fish with ray fins: You probably think of these fish when you think of a classic fish. The bony fish with ray shaped fins include goldfish, tuna, and trout, all tasty fish you can eat. Goldfish are for the college guys. They have complex skeletons and are built to move. Some move really fast and are very strong. Something like a tuna can move extremely quickly through the water.
The archer fish, or archerfish, is native to India, the Philippines, Australia and Polynesia. The archer fish has a unique way of preying on insects. The archer fish uses its mouth and jaw to squirt water at an insect, knocking the insect off a branch and thus falling in the water to be eaten. It can accurately shoot a stream of water up to 6 feet above the water’s surface. It can also adjust for the refraction of light at the water’s surface. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhBZ40jIo4Q
The barracuda is a salt water fish native to tropical and subtropical oceans of the world. Barracuda are long and cylindrical in shape. They have a long mouth, with the lower jaw sticking out below the upper jaw. Their mouth has many sharp teeth, that are quite visible since the fish often swims with its mouth open. They are generally a shiny silver or gray in color, with black spots or bars. Although the barracuda has a reputation of being dangerous to humans, they are usually quite timid and will shy away from humans. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEZQFDvlsjc
The barreleye fish, also know as the spookfish, is native to the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. These fish are named for their barrel-shaped, tubular eyes. They live only in very deep ocean water, 400 to 2,500 meters below the surface. The barreleye is very unusual in that it has a transparent head. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zoygy-8PTtU
The betta fish is also known as the Siamese Fighting Fish. They are a very popular freshwater aquarium fish. It is native to shallow, tropical waters. Bettas are a very colorful fish, and come in a variety of colors, such as red, blue, turquoise, orange, yellow, white and green. They also have long, flowing tails. They are called Siamese Fighting Fish because male bettas are extremely aggresive towards one another and will fight. They will even try to fight their own reflections on aquarium glass thinking it is another betta. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPzyruHQhBs
The blue marlin is native to tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are a large fish, growing up to 6 feet in length and weighing up to 250 pounds in weight. They are blue on top and silvery-white below, with a long, rigid dorsal fin and a long, spear-shaped upper jaw. They are very popular for sport fishing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afqjRgwORrk
The butterfly fish are a family of tropical fish native to the reefs of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. They are a small fish, looking somewhat like an angelfish. Most butterfly fish come in many colors, with patterns of black, white, blue, red, orange and yellow. Many have a dark band across they eyes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrjk7uOmgBs
The catfish is a diverse family of fish native to every continent, except Antarctica. They are called catfish because of their cat-like whiskers or barbels on each side of the mouth. Catfish vary in size from less than an inch to the Giant Mekong Catfish with a record size of 9 feet and weighing 650 pounds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUrozmRzDLY
The clownfish is native to warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including the Great Barrier Reef and the Red Sea. The clownfish is best known as “Nemo” the leading character in the animated movie “Finding Nemo” by Pixar. Clownfish are generally yellow, orange, red, or black in color with white bars or patches. Clownfish have developed a peaceful coexistence with the poisonous sea anemone. The clownfish finds protection from predators by hinding within the anemone’s tentacles. It is unaffected by the tentacle’s toxins. In exchange for this protection, the clownfish provides food to the anemone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyYW0mr-e7k
The cod fish is a family of fish including the Atlantic Cod, Pacific Cod and Greenland Cod. The cod is a cold water fish. It is native to the northern Pacific Ocean and the eastern and western Atlantic Ocean. The cod fish is a very popular food in many countries. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJzZo3B9mPQ
The coelacanth is the oldest living fish known to date. They have often been called the “living fossil.” Fossil records show that the coelacanth has existed on earth for millions of years. At one point they were believed to be extinct. The first live fish was discovered in 1938 off the east coast of South Africa. Since then, the coelacanth has also been caught off the coast of Tanzania. A second species of coelacanth was discovered off the coast of Indonesia in 1997. They are a deep water fish, and so are very rarely seen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzzxOlFJtzg
The discus fish is native to the Amazon River basin of South America including the countries of Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Their name comes from the round and flat body shape similar to a discus. They are usually yellow, orange or redish-brown in color, with a green, red, brown or blue pattern and black vertical bars. They are a popular aquarium fish.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvFW6T31O5k
The eel is a family of fish, such as the moray eel and electric eel. They have a long, snake-like body. They are native to many parts of the world. They like to live in small crevices in coral reefs, rocks or ship wrecks. Some eels will also burrow into a sandy water bottom. Moray eels have large teeth that are design to tear the flesh of their prey. They can inflict serious wounds to humans. The electric eel is capable of generating powerful electric shocks that could be deadly to a human. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFEiT0erZIo
There are about 50 species of flying fish. They are found in all major oceans of the world, particularly in the warm tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. As their name implies, these fish can fly. They can’t fly as well as a bird, but they can take short flights through the air. Most flying fish use their large pectoral fins as wings. The fish can take short gliding flights above the surface of the water in order to escape from predators. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WbYh0kejJo
The frogfish is native to all the tropical and subtropical oceans and seas of the world, except the Mediterranean Sea. Frogfish are a bottom-dwelling fish, living amongst coral where they lie in wait for prey. They are called a frogfish because they don’t swim like other fish. They walk or jump on their pectoral fins to move along the water bottom. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPw6cAlamuc
The goldfish is a very common aquarium fish. There are many types of goldfish, and they come in many sizes, shapes and colors. The origins of the goldfish go back to ancient China. The Asian carp was originally domesticated in ancient China for food. Generations later, a Chinese Empress ordered construction of a pond with red and gold varieties of these carp. This began the keeping of “goldfish” in ponds for their beauty, rather than for food. Goldfish are still commonly found in koi ponds with its relative the koi fish. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GazELdRN9mA
The great white shark is native to coastal waters of many of the world’s oceans. They are most common off the coasts of Australia, South Africa, California and Mexico. The great white is a large shark, often reach 20 feet in length and weighing up to 5,000 pounds. The great white is the world’s largest known predatory fish. It is a fierce predator, feeding on tuna, seals, sea lions, dolphins, whales and other sea life. Although rare, the great white shark has been known to attack humans. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2FInaOCqoo
The grouper is native to many of the world’s warmer oceans. They are found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs. They are a large fish, typically weighing up to 200 pounds. However, the goliath grouper off the Florida Keys, Bahamas, Caribbean, and Brazilian coast can weigh up to 800 pounds and measure up to 8 feet in length. The grouper has a particularly large mouth used to suck in and crush their prey. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Blb94QWZ6aw
Koi fish are ornamental domesticated varieties of the common carp fish. Koi is the Japanese word for carp. The carp is originally native to central Europe and Asia. Various carp species were domesticated and bred in ancient China for food. The carp was introduced to Japan about 400 to 600 years ago. Now, these Koi are mostly bred for their color. They are kept in outdoor ponds and water gardens for their beauty and enjoyment. They come in many different colors and patterns. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1q6-JydRts
The lionfish is a family of several venomous fish. They are primarily native to the tropical Indo-Pacific region, but species can be found in other areas of the world. The lionfish has recently been spotted in the warmer coral regions of the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. They are generally striped in appearance and can be seen in a variety of colors including red, green, navy green, brown, orange, yellow, black, maroon or white. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKiPj_wLRiA
The lungfish is native to freshwaters of Africa, South America and Australia. As their name implies, these fish have lungs. This gives the lungfish the unusual ability to breathe air. This means they are capable of surviving seasonal drying out of their habitats by burrowing into mud and hibernating, breathing air, until the wet seasons return their watery habitat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iT3UgDz_6nM
The mudskipper is native to tropical and subtropical regions, such as the Indo-Pacific coasts and the Atlantic coast of Africa. Its habitat is primarily tital mudflats. The mudskipper is different from most other fish in its ability to live in and out of water. It is completely amphibious. When the tide goes out, the mudskipper is still quite active out of the water. They have the ability to breathe through their skin and the lining of their mouth and throat. feeding and interacting with one another. They use their fins to move on land in a series of skips. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9S4TA9RfDb8
The oarfish is native to temperate and tropical oceans of the world. They live in deep water and are rarely seen. What we know about the oarfish comes from those washed up onto shore after a storm, or because they are sick and dying. The oarfish has a long, thin and tapering ribbon-like body. The largest oarfish ever found was 36 feet in length. The oarfish may have been responsible for many of the sea monster and sea serpent stories by ancient mariners. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcEBUkJrwQw
There are two different species of paddlefish: the Chinese paddlefish and the American paddlefish. The Chinese paddlefish lives in the Yangtze River in China. The American paddlefish lives in the Mississippi, Missouri, Des Moines, Yellowstone, Ohio and Oklahoma Rivers in the United States. The most recognizable feature of the paddlefish is its large mouth and long snout or bill. The spatula-like snout can be half the length of its body. This is why the paddlefish is sometimes called the spoonfish. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjjG9_gGakA
The parrot fish is native to the shallow reefs of the Red Sea and the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. The parrot fish are named for their their numerous, tightly-packed teeth forming a parrot-like beak. They use these beak-like teeth to rip algae from coral reefs. The are often brightly colored in shades of blue, green, red and yellow. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yq7dW6DRtA
The piranha is a family fish native to South American rivers. They are called caribes in Venezuela. For the amount of fear they instill in people, the piranha is a relatively small fish. They are generally only 6 to 10 inches in length, but can grow up to 18 inches in length. Piranha are best known for their sharp teeth and voracious appetite for meat. They will quickly devour aquatic and land animals they find in the water. Piranha can be many different colors such as yellow, steel-gray, blue, red and black. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuW4V5RD27k
The pufferfish, also commonly known as the blowfish, is native to coastal areas of tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. There are more than 120 species of pufferfish ranging in size from 1 inch to 2 feet in length. The pufferfish is best known for its ability to inflate like a balloon to protect against predators. When threatened, they can quickly swallow large amounts of water. The water expands their stomach and the pufferfish becomes round like a ball several times their normal size. They have a scaleless, spiny skin making them even more difficult to eat once inflated. However, if eaten, the pufferfish is very poisonous. A single pufferfish has enough toxin to kill 30 adult humans. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QKSXQjdHDY
The rainbow trout is a coldwater fish popular among sport fishermen. It is native to rivers and lakes of North America, particularly west of the Rocky Mountains. The rainbow trout have also been introduced to lakes and rivers in least 45 countries for food and sport fishing. It is a hard-fighting game fish making it popular for sport fishing. Their preferred habitat is cool and clear streams, rivers and lakes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZyDNKCxjg4
The ray is a family of fish whose habitat includes tropical and sub-tropical oceans and seas, typically near coral reefs. Some rays also live in freshwater. Rays have a flat, bat-like body. They appear to fly through the water using their large pectoral fins as wings. The manta ray is the biggest of the rays, growing up to 25 feet across and weighing up to 2,500 pounds. Manta rays are curious about humans, and will swim around with scuba divers. The stingray has a barbed stinger on its tail. Stingrays are not aggressive, but will sting to defend itself. A sting is painful to humans, but generally not lethal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBgCx4K42F4
The sailfish is native to warm waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Sailfish are blue to grey in color. They normally grow to be 6 to 8 feet in length, but can grow up to 10 feet in length. The name sailfish comes from its dorsal fin that stretches along its entire back. This dorsal fin can be raised and lowered like a sail. The dorsal fin may be raised when the sailfish feels threatened or excited, making the fish appear much larger than it actually is. Sailfish are very popular among sport fisherman. Overfishing has resulted in a noticeable decline in their population. Many people who fish for them now “catch and release,” letting them go after they are caught. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rItdHYaCwPM
The salmon is a family of fish native to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Great Lakes. Salmon have a very distinct life-cycle. They are born in fresh water rivers and streams, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce. Salmon will actually return to the spot where they were born to spawn. This is a great challenge for the salmon since it must swim upstream, often jumping up waterfalls, to return to their place of birth. Salmon are a very popular food. They are also popular for sport fishing. Salmon populations are declining due to overfishing, polution and environmental issues. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCHTVs7jkIY
The snapper is a family of fish native to tropical and subtropical oceans of the world. There are about 105 different species of snapper. Most snappers are similar in shape, with a long, thin body, a spiny dorsal fin and short, sharp teeth. The red snapper is the most common species of the snapper fish. As the name implies, it is red in color. It is a very commonly caught for food. Other common snappers include the yellow tail snapper and the mangrove snapper. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F1D5Wo4jaY
The sturgeon is a family of fish native to subtropical, temperate and sub-Arctic rivers, lakes and coastlines of Eurasia and North America. Sturgeons have very long bodies, growing 7 to 12 feet in length. Some species can grow up to 18 feet in length. Unlike most other fish that are covered with scales, the sturgeon is covered with bony plates called scutes. They are a toothless fish, and so mostly drag river bottoms with their mouth to catch food. In many countries, sturgeon is a very popular food, particularly their eggs for cavier. Sturgeon populations are under threat due to over-fishing and environmental issues. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daoPehLwed8
The ocean sunfish, or mola, is a family of fish native to all tropical and temperate oceans. The most common ocean sunfish is the roundtailed or mola mola. Although the average size is about 6 feet long, the mola mola are known to grow up to 11 feet long and almost 5,000 pounds in weight. They look very strange, appearing to be only “half-a-fish.” It looks like they were cut in half just behind the dorsal and anal fins. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB4yoXrxiAo
The swordfish is native to tropical, subtropical and temperate oceans of the world. Swordfish is named after its sharp beak resembling a sword. They are a large fish, the biggest growing up to 15 feet in length and weighing 1,500 pounds. They can swim very fast, capable of reaching speeds up to 50 mph. They are a popular sport fish, although they are quite difficult to catch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGaQ13ft_Fc
The tuna is a family of fish native to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The bluefin tuna is the largest of the tuna, growing up to 7 feet in length and 800 pounds in weight. The tuna is a very fast swimmer, capable of reaching speeds up to 45 miles per hour. Tuna is a very popular food. This has made tuna one of the most widely commercially harvested fish. The bluefin and bigeye tuna are in danger of being overfished, negatively affecting populations. Tuna is also popular for sport fishing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzZhSl_00pI
Finally, it could be important to take into consideration both the internal and external anatomy of fish. Each kind of fish has its specific anatomy, but we can consider, in general, the following schema:
http://www.hedley.ca/FishBodyParts.JPG (external anatomy)
Reptiles have been around for 300 million years, even during the dinosaur age. The most common reptiles include alligators, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, tortoises and turtles. Reptiles are air-breathing animals, although many live not only on land but in water. The most noticeable feature of reptiles are the scales that cover their body. The majority of reptiles lay eggs to give birth to their young.
Although reptiles breathe through lungs, some reptiles can also absorb oxygen in water through membranes in their mouth.
Reptiles are often called cold-blooded because they can’t regulate their own body temperature. Their body temperature depends on the external temperature. They will lay in the sun to heat their body, or hide in the ground, under a rock or in water to cool their body.
Crocodiles and alligators are large reptiles that spend much of their time on land and in water. They can walk on land using their webbed feet. They can also use their long tail to swim in water. Crocodiles feed on large animals they catch on land or in water. They have powerful jaws and teeth to tear apart their prey.
Lizards and snakes are the largest group of reptiles. Lizards are four legged animals with a long tail. Many lizards can shed their tail to escape from predators. They can then grow a new tail.
Some lizards, such as the chameleon, can change colors to blend into their environment. This camouflage helps to protect them from predators.
Snakes don’t have limbs. They move by slithering along the ground.
Some snakes are poisonous, or venomous, such as the rattle snake, cobra, and eastern green mamba. They have fangs which bite into their prey and inject poison into the victim.
Other snakes, such as the boa constrictor and the python kill their prey by crushing it.
Most snakes can dislocate their jaw, allowing them to swallow prey much larger than themselves.
-Watch these amazing videos about reptiles! You’ll love them!
The alligator is native to the United States and China. Alligators are covered with scales, head to toe. The can grow up to fifteen feet long and weigh over one thousand pounds. Based on fossils, the alligator has been on earth for 200 million years. They have a very strong jaw, capable of crushing their prey. Alligators are cold-blooded. They lay eggs to produce their young. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XJhmC–CbQ
The anaconda is a large, non-venomous snake native to tropical South America and Northern Africa. They mostly live in swampy or watery areas. The green anaconda is the biggest snake in the world, with the largest measuring up to 37.5 feet in length. The anaconda is related to the boa constrictor snake. They kill their prey by constriction or squeezing. They wrap themselves around their prey and squeeze to prevent the prey from breathing. They then swallow the animal whole. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Unzg7C1KJo0
The boa or boa constrictor is native to Mexico, Central America and South America. Its habitat includes deserts, wet tropical forests, open savanna, and fields. It is a non-poisonous snake. Boas kill their prey by constriction or squeezing. They wrap themselves around their prey and squeeze to prevent the prey from breathing. They then swallow the animal whole. The boa contrictor is related to the anaconda. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODOxhvizlpc
The bushmaster is a member of the pitviper family and is native to Central and South America. It is one of the largest venomous snakes measuring up to 12 feet long. It is also one of the most dangerous snakes since it is capable of multiple bits and injecting a large amount of venom into its victim. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK2_BHcggts
The caiman is the smallest of the crocodilian family and is native to South America and Central America. The name caiman is spanish for “alligator” or any type of crocodilian. The caiman’s habitat is wetlands, floodplains and river areas. The caiman is a protected species throughout much of the world.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub7AEo2mn5I
The chameleon is a member of the lizard family native to Africa, Madagascar, southern Europe, and Asia. There are about 135 different species of chameleon. Their habitat includes rain forest, savanna, semi-desert, and steppe land. Chameleons are best known for their ability to change color. However, they don’t really change color to match their surroundings, but based on mood, such as fear or anger, and based on temperature and humidity. They are also known for their ability to move each eye separately, and for their long, sticky tongue. Their eye can rotate 360 degrees to view its prey, they its fast, sticky tongue can catch its prey. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDHCU7FZmns
The Chinese Water Dragon is a lizard native to China, India, and other areas of southeastern Asia. Their habitat is forests along the banks of freshwater lakes and streams. They are green in color, with diagonal stripes. They can grow up to 3 feet long. They mostly eat insects, but will occasional eat small fish, mammals or reptiles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvNZeMEeEk8
Chuckwallas are lizards native to southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The name chuckwalla comes from two Ancient Greek words meaning “lizard” and “flat.” The chuckwalla habitat is primarily desert areas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tH0o0obLvM
The cobra is a venomous snake native to Africa and Asia. There are about 30 different species of cobra, with the King Cobra being the world’s largest venomous snake. The cobra’s habitat ranges from tropical rain forests and swamps to savannas and deserts. The name cobra is Portuguese for “snake with hood.” Cobra’s are most famous for this hood, which is created by elongated ribs that extend the loose skin of the neck behind the snake’s head. Cobras will raise the front part of their bodies and display their hood when threatened or disturbed. They will also make a hissing sound. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKWElUrTLMY
The copperhead is a venomous snake native to North America. Its habitat is primarily forest and woodland areas. The copperhead is a member of the pitviper family of snakes. They are a venomous snake, although they are generally not aggressive and their bite is almost never fatal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBBsX9J_DR4
The coral snake is a venomous snake native to southern United States including Arizona and from Louisiana to North Carolina, including all of Florida. Coral snakes are small in size, averaging 3 feet in length. They are a very beautiful snake with their red, yellow/white, and black colored banding. They are the second most venomous snake in the United States, behind the rattlesnake. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK-IK2h0yoo
The crocodile is native to tropical areas in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. The crocodile is an ancient, prehistoric creature, believed to have inhabited earth for over 200 million years. The name crocodile comes from an Ancient Greek word meaning “lizard of the river.” Crocodiles prefer freshwater habitats like rivers, lakes and wetlands. Crocodiles are similar to alligators and caiman. They are very fast over short distances, even out of water. They catch their prey by waiting for fish or land animals to come close, then rushing out to attack. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nw2cEXqAaw
The garter snake is native to North America and Central America. They are sometimes known as garden snakes or gardner snakes. They are probably one of the most common reptiles in North America. They have a wide range of habitats including pond and stream edges, wetlands, forests, fields, rocky hillsides and residential areas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZA2I0jwa8k
The gecko is a member of the lizard family native to warm climates throughout the world. There are over 2,000 different species of gecko. Some geckos can break off their tails to escape, while the predator eats the tail. Some geckos have sticky toe pads allowing them to climb walls and even walk across ceilings. Geckos are very common pets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUzTgYsYmYA
The gila monster (pronounced HEE-la) is a lizard native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Their habitat includes scrub land, desert and woodland where they can shelter in burrows, thickets, and under rocks. They like locations with ready access to water. The gila monster is the largest lizard in the United States, and the only venomous lizard native to the United States. They mostly eat bird and reptile eggs, but will occasionally eat small birds, mammals, frogs, lizards and insects. It has a thick tail used to store fat that it can live off for months. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59LRezTYkeo
The iguana is a family of lizards native to tropical areas of Central and South America and the Caribbean. The green iguana, which is a popular pet, lives in tropical rainforest areas near water, such as rivers or streams. Other iguanas live in the dry, hot desert. Like other reptiles, the iguana is cold blooded meaning they do not produce their own body heat. If an iguana is cold, it will lie on warm rocks to soak up the sun’s heat. Green iguanas are omnivorous meaning they eat both plants and meat, but they mostly eat plants. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NL7pzPj2bI
The komodo dragon is a lizard native to islands in Indonesia. They are a member of the monitor lizard family. They are the largest of the lizards, growing up to 10 feet in length and weigh over 200 pounds. It is carnivorous, eating animals such as pig and deer. It is also cannibalistic, eating other komodo dragons. The komodo dragon has even been known to attack and kill humans. They are now an endangered species. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7CQInAXoqY
The black mamba is native to Africa. Their habitat is open grasslands, savannahs and woodlands. It is the largest venomous snake in Africa and the second largest venomous snake in the world. They are considered the deadliest snake in Africa. They are also considered fastest land snake in the world, able to reach speeds of 12 miles per hour. Although they are called the black mamba, they are generally gray, gray brown, or olive green in color. The name black mamba comes from the black color inside their mouth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryve9jwtWpI
The night adder is a venomous snake found in subsaharan Africa. Despite its name, the night adder is active during the day as well as at night. The night adder is relatively small, typically growing to about 3 feet in length. It has fangs and is venomous. The night adder has round pupils in its eyes, unlike other vipers that have oval pupils. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAr6JLs-GaE
The python snake is native to Africa, Asia and Australia. Burmese pythons were introduce to the Florida Everglades National Park in the 1990s. The python is one of the largest snakes in the world. The reticulated python may grow to over 30 feet long and weight over 300 pounds. The python generally feeds on small reptiles and mammals, but has been know to eat deer and other large animals. The python kills its prey by constriction. It wraps itself, or coils around its prey suffocating the animal by preventing it from breathing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWbMWX3tO8o
Rattlesnakes are venomous snakes native to North America and a few other parts of the Northern Hemisphere. They get their name from the rattle located at the tip of their tails that is used as a warning device when threatened. The rattle is a set of rings on the tip of their tail. When vibrated, the rattle creates a hissing sound that warns off predators. Rattlesnakes use their venomous bite to catch and kill prey such as mice, rats, small birds and other small animals. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M428cu9VTT8
Sea snakes are found in warm, tropical, coastal waters of the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. A few species are also found in Oceania. Sea snakes are venomous snakes, and have fangs. Sea snakes are highly adapted to living in the water. For example, they have a paddle-like tail for swimming. Althought these snakes spend most of their time in the water, they must come to the surface to breathe air. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm0G0wmtilc
Sea turtles are native to all the world’s ocean, except the Arctic Ocean. The largest sea turtles are seven feet in length and five feet in width, weighing up to 1300 pounds. Some sea turtles are believed to live to be 80 to 100 years old. Sea turtles spend much of their time under water, but must return to the surface to breathe air. All species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c1BFffJiO8
The skink is a family of reptile lizards found in most parts of the world. Skinks have smooth, shiny scales on their bodies. Most skinks are small, less than 8 inches in length. Skinks can break off their tails when confronted by an enemy. For example, the five-lined skink has a bright blue tail, and if attacked the tail breaks off and wriggles to distract the attacker as the skink escapes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BECmkxEulrw
The tortoise is a reptile, closely related to the turtle. The tortoise is often described as a land turtle. Turtles usually live in water and have large blade-shaped flippers for swimming. Therefore, turtles find it hard to walk on land. Whereas, the tortoise has legs rather than flippers and can walk quiet well on land. Like the turtle, the tortoise has a large protective shell. Tortoises can have longer life span that humans, sometimes living to be over 150 years old. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NIZbm-TyoE
The viper is a family of venomous snakes found all over the world, except in Australia and Madagascar. Vipers range in size from the small dwarf viper which is 10 inches in length, to the large bushmaster at 10 feet in length. Vipers have a pair of fangs that are used to inject venom from glands in the rear of the upper jaws. These fangs are hinged, and when not in use fold back against the roof of the mouth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1FaWz4qdbA
The water moccasin is a venomous snake native to eastern United States. The water moccasin is also known as the cottonmouth or the black snake. An adult snake is typically about three feet in length, but they can grow up to 6 feet in length. Their color is a brown, olive or blackish body with yellowish belly, and dark crossbands. The water moccasin is considered an aggressive snake whose bite can be painful and even fatal to a human. The snake is a strong swimmer and is usually found near water. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G_2B4yXAjo
Finally, take into account this information:
http://www.biologycorner.com/resources/anatomy_snake.jpg (internal anatomy of a snake)
http://universe-review.ca/I10-82-lizard.jpg (internal anatomy of a lizard)
http://www.turtlestuff.com/turtleanatomy1.jpg (internal anatomy of a turtle)
Birds have adapted their vertebrate skeleton for flight. Their bones and skull are very thin, making their bodies extremely light.
To support flight also required other changes to their skeleton. Obvious changes are the addition of wings.
Other changes are less obvious. The claws and muscles of a bird’s foot are designed to lock and hold onto a perch even while the bird is sleeping.
A bird’s respiratory system is also adapted to make it easier to breathe at high elevations, where air is thinner.
-You’ll love the following videos about birds!
The Albatross is a large sea bird found near the Southern Ocean and North Pacific. The albatross is among the largest flying birds, and has the largest wing span. Its large wings are excellent for flying, but can make taking off and landing quite difficult (and funny to watch). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKTfcs6LL6A
The Bald Eagle is the National Bird and a symbol of the United States of America. They are native to Canada, the United States and northern Mexico. They are a large bird with a brown body, a white head and tail, taloned feet, and a hooked beak. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze0hkcKj2Ns
The barn owl is one of the most common birds, and it is found in most parts of the world. It is found mostly in farmland and grassland. The barn owl has a peculair light face with black eyes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHkGE7ERraE
There are twenty one different species of cockatoo. Eleven of the twenty one species exist in the wild only in Australia. Seven of the species can be found in the islands of Indonesia, New Guinea, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands. They tend to be larger than parrots. Cockatoos are very popular as pets. They are pretty birds. They are an intelligent bird, with the ability to mimic human speech which demonstrates their engaging personality. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAtsr98JzoI
The double-crested cormorant is a seabird found mainly along inland waterways and coastal areas across North America, from Alaska down to Florida and Mexico. They are an all-black bird with a bare patch of orange-yellow facial skin. Their names comes from the fact that they gain a small double crest of black and white feathers during breeding season. With webbed feet they can swim in water, and dive under water up to 25 feet to catch its fish prey. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfuNfNAZFAM
Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds native to most continents of the world, except Antactica and South America. Cranes are well know for their elaborate and noisy courting displays or “dances”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJunB-WPqag
The American Crow is common to most of North America. It has a distinctive black color, and its loud caah-caah-caah call.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PmkreJHw4k
Ducks are a waterfowl found in most parts of the world, except for Antarctica. There are many species of duck. They typically live in or near wetlands, marshes, ponds, rivers, lakes and oceans. Ducks are best known for their quacking sound. Although, the most famous duck, Disney’s animated Donald Duck, can talk. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XAmoX1biXA
The European Starling can be found in southern and western Europe and southwestern Asia. It has also been introduced in Australia, New Zealand, North America, and South Africa. It is a very familiar bird in most temperate climates. Although the European Starling is mostly shiny black, it is glossed purple or green and has white spots. The starling is a noisy bird and will learn to imitate all types of sounds and speech. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VZYG00_qvE
The falcon is a species of raptor found on every continent, except Antarctica. They live in a wide variety of habitats from tropics, deserts, and maritime to the tundra. They have excellent vision allowing them to see prey from high in the sky. Once spotting its prey, the falcon dives down after it. Falcons have thin tapered wings enabling them to fly at high speed and to change direction rapidly. Peregrine Falcons can dive at speeds over 200 miles per hour (322 km/hr), making them the fastest-moving animal on Earth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3mTPEuFcWk
The flamingo can be found in many parts of the world including Africa, Asia, North America, Central America, South America, and Europe. They live near large, shallow lakes or lagoons. They are best know for their pink color. They also have distinctive long legs and neck, and a curved, pink bill colored black on the end. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYW2SD-rHuM
The Golden Eagle is a large bird of prey living in North American and other parts of the northern hemisphere. It is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. It is powerful and strong with a wingspan of over 7 feet. The golden eagle’s eyesight is about 8 times more powerful than a human, and can spot prey from a long distance. Their talons are well designed for killing and carrying their prey. They also have a powerful beak for tearing into its food. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slGLJQni89Y
Gulls are often informally called seagulls. The herring gull is the most common and best known of all gulls and is native to the shores of Asia, western Europe, and North America. Herring gulls are often found around garbage dumps, and some have even adapted to life in cities. Herring gulls have a very distinctive and recognizable call. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI4HvN7iUFU
Hornbills are a family of birds native to tropical and sub-tropical Africa and Asia. They can be found in open country as well as forested areas. The most distinctive feature of the hornbill is their heavy bill. It is long and down-curved, and often brightly-colored. Hornbills are omnivorous birds meaning they will eat fruit, insects and small animals. They cannot swallow food from the tip of the beak because their tongue is too short. They must toss it to the back of their throat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3WqLbF3PmM
The house sparrow is native to Europe and Asia. It has also been introduced to most of the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, New Zealand, Australia and urban areas in other parts of the world. It is now one of the most common birds in the world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umyHo31BLbQ
The kiwi is a flightless birds native to New Zealand. It is an endangered species. They are an interesting looking bird with a plump body and a long bill. Kiwi are shy and usually nocturnal. The kiwi is a national symbol of New Zealand. They are so well known to the world, and representative of New Zealand, that all New Zealanders are called “Kiwis”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBPwuSzyocc
The macaw is a colorful parrot native to Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Most macaws prefer forest habitats, especially rainforests. However, some macaws prefer woodland or savanna-like habitats. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLh6u587I8E
The mallard duck is probably the best know of the duck species. They are easily recognized as the male mallard duck is very distinctive with its green head, black rear end and a yellowish orange bill tipped with black. They are native to North America, Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHevNn-AVQg
Nightjars are nocturnal birds, which means they are active during the night and sleep during the day. They are found in many parts of the world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqUtgO-jGUc
The osprey can be found on all continents, except Antarctica. It lives in a wide variety of habitats, nesting near any water providing an adequate food supply. The Osprey’s diet consists mostly of fish. It flies up to 130 ft above the water looking for fish. After it spots a fish, it hovers momentarily then plunges feet first into the water. Once it catches the fish in its talons, it has to work hard to take off carrying the fish. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLjd49APUao
The ostrich is a large flightless bird native to Africa. It is easily recognized by its long neck and legs. The ostrich is a fast runner, capable of reaching speeds up to 45 miles per hour. A large male ostrich can weight up to 350 pounds. Matching its size, ostrich eggs are the largest of all eggs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhpVgUCHDIE
The name parakeet is used to describe a wide variety of small parrots. They come from many diverse habitats throughout Asia, Australia, tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa, Central America and South America. The parakeet is a common and popular pet throughout the world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL43fmVv0cw
Peacocks are large colorful pheasants. Although most people know this bird by the name peacock, this name specifically refers to the male bird. The female is called a peahen. Collectively they are referred to as peafowl. There are three species of peafowl. The blue peacock lives in India and Sri Lanka, the green peacock lives in Java and Myanmar, and the Congo peacock lives in African rain forests. The peacock is best known for its known and valued for its brilliant tail feathers. This iridescent blue-green or green colored tail plumage, also called the train, has bright spots on it called “eyes”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaH0Q42lbGw
Penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds mostly living in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly the Antarctica. However, the Galápagos Penguin prefers a more temperate climate living near the equator. Penguins are easily recognizable by their black and white coloring, and their unusually upright, waddling gait. The penguin looks like it is formally dressed in a man’s tuxedo. These birds have adapted for life in the water. Their wings have become flippers allowing them to swim fast in the water. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dfWzp7rYR4
Pigeon is the name for a wide variety of birds throughout the world. Most people are familiar with the Rock Pigeon, found in many cities. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JtTZqX2kLc
Plovers are a group of shore birds found in most parts of the world. They are a familiar sight at the beach, where you can see them running back and forth with the waves. They do this to catch their food, mostly insects, crustaceans, and marine worms. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZspoSrCQ0mY
The puffbird is a family of tropical birds native to South America and Mexico. They are mainly brown or grey, with a large head, and a bill with a hooked tip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR4OlNnOTZo
The roadrunner is native to North and Central America. They are tall and slender, with long legs, strong feet, and an oversized dark bill. Roadrunners can run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. They prefer running, but will fly to escape predators such as coyotes. The roadrunner is the New Mexico State Bird. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPdklH6t7dI
Sandpipers are a large family of shore birds found in many parts of the world including North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. They have long bodies and legs, and narrow wings that are well suited for wading in water. Many sandpipers have a long, narrow bill allowing them to probe the mud and sand for food. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pbVKdvod80
The snipe is a family of wading birds that are found in most parts of the world. Their preferred habitat is marshes and wet fields. They have a dark, rusty brown upper body with a white under body. They have a very long slender bill designed for digging up food buried in mud or sand. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KmqmByaTAA
The stork is a family of wading birds native to many parts of the world including the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. They are large, with ong legs and large bills. Most storks live in wetlands or near water where they can eat fish, amphibians, small reptiles, shellfish and insects. Their long legs allow them to take long strides and wade into deep water or tall grasses and reeds in search of food. Their long neck allows them to stretch out to capture their prey. When flying, storks are often seen soaring on wind currents with their legs dangling behind them. Most storks build nests in trees, although some are built on cliffs. Their nests are often very large measuring up to six feet in diameter and ten feet deep. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zoFI_YaqD8
Swans are a family of birds native to many parts of the world including the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Swans are the largest of the waterfowl compared to ducks and geese. The largest swan in the world is the trumpeter swan of North America whose wingspan can reach 10 feet. The habitat of the swan is ponds, lakes, coastal bays and rivers. They are easily recognized by their very long necks which are often held in a graceful curve. Their long necks allow them to feed underwater without diving. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZWOHUuwprU
The toucan is a family of birds native to Southern Mexico, Central America, South American, and the Caribbean. Their habitat is forested areas, particularly rain forests, where the tree canopy provides shelter from predators. They are easily recognized by their bright markings and large, colorful bills. Its bill has made the toucan one of the world’s most popular birds. In some species the bill can be over half this size of the bird. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ExbebXMw1M
There are two species of turkey in North America. The wild turkey is native to the forests of North America. The domesticated turkey is a descendant of the wild turkey. Large domesticated turkeys are usually raised on farms as food. They are unable to fly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiOMrg4PdKY
Vultures are native to the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are scavenging birds feeding mostly on carrion, that is carcasses of dead animals. Vultures have a good sense of smell, and can smell a dead animal from great heights. One recognizable characteristic of many vultures is their bald head with no feathers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPXnFeB6ihA
The downy woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker native to North America. They live in forested areas across most of North America to Central America. They have an black upper body, wings and tail, with a white back, throat and belly, and white spots on the wings. There is also a white strip above and below the eye. As its name implies, this bird uses its beak to peck at trees and wood to find food and build its nest. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLQMstppr1s
Don’t forget to pay attention to this! http://universe-review.ca/I10-82-bird.jpg (anatomy of a bird)
Mammals have several unique characteristics that differentiate them from other animals. Most mammals have hair, or fur, covering their body. They are also capable of regulating their body temperature. The mammals metabolism controls heat production, and the sweat glands help cool the body. These allow the mammal to maintain a constant body temperature, regardless of the environmental temperature. One other difference is that mammals give birth to fully formed babies, and the female mammals produce milk to feed their young.
Most mammals walk on 4 legs, with only the humans walking upright on 2 legs. Aquatic mammals have flippers, or fins, for swimming rather than legs. Common mammals include: primates, such humans and monkeys; marsupials; rodents; whales; dolphins; and, seals.
Watch now fantastic videos about mammals!
The anteater lives in many parts of Southern Mexico, Central American and South America. They are found in grasslands and forests. The large Giant Anteater can eat many thousands of ants and termites each day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wT88QTVykU
The name Armadillo is spanish for “little armored one.” This is because they have a tough leathery armor shell. In Texas, the armadillo is jokingly called the “Texas Speed Bump” because so many of them are run over on the highways. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIUC5eGMsFY
The Baboon is the largest member of the monkey family. Baboons live in large groups called troops. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxxG4DGDwqc
There are over 1,100 different kinds of bats. Bats are mammals, even though they can fly. Bats are also nocturnal, meaning the are awake and active at night. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBtmcsJ0XUI
The Black Bear is the most common type of bear native to North America. It lives throughout most of North America from Alaska to Mexico. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88QaA0LZfVY
There are two types of camels. The dromedary or Arabian camel has one hump and the bactrian camel which has two humps. They live in the dry desert areas of Asia. The are often called “Ships of the Desert” because they are so well adapted to living in the desert and are a common form of transportation for native peoples. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UKAriVBzTI
Cats are one of the most popular pets in the world. The cat has been a friend of humans for 10,000 years. There are many examples of art and sculture showing domestic cats in Ancient Egypt. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5-D0f6nHSQ
The Cheetah is the fastest land animal, capable of reaching speeds up to 75 mph. However, the cheetah is a sprinter. It cannot run fast for very long. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz1rGmY2c_s
The Chimpanzee is a close relative to humans. They live in tropical forests and savannas of west and central Africa. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cohlgH8g6Dk
The cougar is also known as the mountain lion, panther or puma. The cougar is native to the Americas from northern Canada to South America. The cougar lives in a variety of areas from tropical rainforests to mountains, forests and deserts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HADjWBd_TUY
Cows are raised on farms for their meat and milk. Cow hides are also used for leather products such as shoes, jackets and belts. In some areas, cows are still used to pull carts or plows for farming. are raised on farms for their meat and milk. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_EsxukdNXM
The coyote is very commonly found throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central America. The coyote is also known as the prairie wolf. The name coyote comes from the Mexican Spanish word coyotl, meaning barking dog. They have a very recognizable sound, and are often heard howling, yelping or yipping. Coyotes typically travel and hunt in packs. They are one of the few animals that have adapted well to human encroachment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x7ZxtIO8Jg
Deer can be found in many parts of the Americas, Europe and Africa. There are many species of deer such as the white-tail deer, red deer and reindeer. Most deer live in forested areas, although some deer live in prairie and savanna areas. Male deer have antlers that are shed and regrown every year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKY825zkWtI
The dog is one of the most popular pets. The dog is commonly used as a companion, but they are also used for work such as helping the blind. The dog was originally domesticated from the gray wolf. There are now hundreds of different breeds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCYaw5tGYAs
Although dolphins live in the water, they are a mammal. They are related to the whale and porpoise. They breathe air through a blow hole on the top of their head. They must routinely return to the surface for air. Dolphins are very friendly to humans, and are considered to be very intelligent. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J2N5ttFBN8
Elephants are the largest land animals. There are two types of elephants, African Elephants and Asian Elephants. As the name implies, African Elephants live in Africa and Asian Elephants live in Asia. They can live up to 70 years and weight 12,000 lbs when fully grown. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZKdHVOS9kc
The Giant Panda is a member of the bear family native to the mountain ranges of China. It is easily reconcognized by its black and white coloring. Its large, round white head has black patches around the eyes and over the ears. Its black an white body appears like it is wearing white shorts from its chest to upper legs. This makes the Giant Panda appear cute and cuddly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsGCYPTQ2Bg
The giraffe lives in the savannas, grasslands and woodlands of Africa. They are the tallest of all land living mammals. The giraffe can grow up to 20 feet tall, although they typically grow to 16 or 18 feet tall. They have a very long neck which is great for eating leaves and twigs from tall trees. They are also very heavy, weighing up to 4,000 lbs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8Wrdmk3dA0
Gorillas are the largest of the primates. They live in central and equatorial Africa. Mountain Gorillas live in the mountainous forests while Lowland Gorillas live in the dense forests and lowland swamps closer to sea level. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDxA8-01cp4
The hippopotamus lives in and near rivers and lakes of the sub-Saharan Africa. The hippopotamus is one of the biggest mammals in the world. A grown male can weigh up to 4,500 pounds. Although the hippopotamus lives on land, they are considered semi-aquatic because they spend a lot of time in water. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VXx9qiNcvM
Although most horses today are domesticated animals some wild horses still live in parts of the United States, Europe and Asia. Humans use horses in a variety of ways for pleasure, work and sport. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvFYUmDSOvU
Most hyenas live in the arid African savannas and deserts. However, the Striped Hyena can be found in the jungles of India. Hyenas are hunters and scavengers with extremely strong jaws capable of eating and digesting their entire prey, including skin, teeth, horns and bones. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xh2YpA1JzE
The jaguar lives in watery habitats such as the swampland and flooded forests of Mexico, Central America and northern South America. The jaguar is the third largest feline after the tiger and lion. Although most jaguars are spotted, some jaguars are black and informally knowns as black panthers. The jaguar is very muscular, and very good at climbing, crawling and swimming. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD9pXqljcX8
Lemurs are primates native to Madagascar and surrounding islands. Lemurs mostly live in trees, running and jumping from branch to branch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxQz4lC3Dn4
Lions live in sub-saharan Africa and in Asia. They are the second largest of the big cats. They are smaller than the tiger. Lions live in social groups called prides. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJr8kYLaQdk
The lynx is native to areas of North America, Europe and Asia. They live in high altitude areas with dense forest and shrubs. The lynx has a short tail and tufts of black hair on the tips of the ears. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrJOz4To3yA
The manatee is a marine mammal also known as the sea cow. The manatee lives in tropical and sub-tropical waters such as the shallow coastal waters and rivers of Caribbian Sea, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and Amazon Basin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7txP9MOCqs
The Mountain Goat lives in the Rocky Mountain and Cascade Mountain Ranges of North America. They live at high elevations, often resting on cliffs for protection against predators. The mountain goat is very sure-footed and can easily climb rocky cliffs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sPO-pseN9Q
The Orca, also known as the Killer Whale, is the largest of the dolphin family. It can be found in most of the world’s oceans. Orca’s have very distinction coloring with a black back, white chest and sides, and a white patch above and behind the eye. The orca is considered very intelligent and trainable. The orca’s playfulness and sheer size make them a popular exhibit at aquariums and aquatic theme parks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWsN63PRCW8
The porcupine is a large rodent found in the Americas, Africa and Asia. The porcupine is easily recognized by its coat of sharp spines, or quills, which it uses to protect against predators. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y4cQEEyuTw
The prairie dog is a small rodent native to the grasslands of the United States, Canada and Mexico. The are a type of ground squirrel that lives in large colonies. These prairie dog “towns” can span hundreds of acres of burrows and tunnels dug in the ground. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrdlT3AygBo
The rhinoceros lives in the savannas of Africa and the grasslands of Asia. The rhinoceros is very large and heavy, some weighing over 2,000 pounds. The large white rhino can easily exceed 6,000 pounds in weight. It is the second largest land animal after the elephant. The most recognizable feature of the rhino is the two horns on its snout. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH962aIkbIk
Seals are a semi-aquatic, marine mammal. Their bodies are well adapted to the water where they spend most of their time. Seals come in many different shapes and sizes. The smallest, the Galapagos Fur Seal, is only 65 pounds full grown. The largest, the Elephant Seal, can weigh over 5,000 pounds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzGt-g7vEd4
The walrus is a marine mammal native to the Arctic Ocean and the sub-arctic areas of the Pacific Ocean. The walrus is most recognizable by its long tusks, whiskers, big flippers and great bulk. An adult male walrus can weigh up to 4,500 pounds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxMc-INN-GA
The whale is a marine mammal found many ocean areas from arctic and sub-arctic to warmer waters. Whales are best known for their size, which can be up to 110 feet long. The Blue Whale is the largest known mammal to ever live, up to 110 feet long and weighing 150 tons. The whale breathes air into its lungs through a blowhole on the top if its head. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YtC-VagE4Y
The zebra lives in the grasslands, savannas, woodlands, mountains and coastal hills of Africa. The zebra is easily recognized since it looks like a black horse with white stripes. Zebras tend to travel in large herds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_txL575S_OA