- There are 38 different species of Dolphins, these are divided into 3 categories being; the humpbacked, ocean, and river Dolphins.
- Dolphins are very smart mammals, they have a special way to navigate to find food when visibility is restricted. Dolphins send out high-frequency clicking sounds, the echoes of these sounds bounce back which enables Dolphins to create mental maps of different objects in their path.
- The Bottlenose Dolphin is the most well-known species with humans, as they are highly recognised for their intelligence and ability to communicate and interact with humans.
- Sea Otters are 1 of the smallest marine mammals on planet earth.
- Sea Otters can live their entire life without leaving the water.
- Sea Otters will adorably hold paws while they sleep, to keep them from drifting apart.
- The Leatherback Turtle is the largest of all living turtles and can grow to weigh as much as 900 kg.
- Sea Turtle can live for around 100 years.
- The oldest known Sea Turtle fossil is at least 120 million years old, which means that Sea Turtles are some of the oldest creatures on earth. This means they shared the planet with Dinosaurs, these have been extinct for around 65 million years.
- There are around 350 species of Shark, however, scientists believe there are still more to find, they just need to be discovered.
- The Whale Shark can live for over 150 years, making it one of the longest living animals on earth.
- The Great White Shark, Mako, and the Salmon Shark will all drown if they stop swimming.
- Both male and female cactus wrens mate for life, they are also similar in appearance.
- Cactus Wrens protect their established territory and they will aggressively defend their nests from predators.
- Cactus wrens primarily eat insects, including ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and wasps, they will also occasionally eat seeds and fruits.
- Cougars have up to 40 different names across the world, the most popular 2 alternative names for Cougars are, Mountain Lions or Pumas.
- Cougars can reach speeds up to 45 mph, however, they are best at short and powerful sprints as opposed to long-distance runs.
- Cougars have long hind legs, this allows them to jump as far forward as 40 feet (12 meters), and they can jump up to 18 feet (5.4 meters) vertically from a sitting position.
- Coyotes mate for life and are monogamous (only mate together), they are in it for a long-term commitment.
- Coyotes are closely related to Grey Wolves, they also both give birth to their pups in dens.
- Coyotes’ diet is 90% meat, however, they also eat fruits, berries, and grass.
- These were believed to be extinct over 30 years ago, however, they have since been discovered again in both desert biomes and the chaparral of California over the past 3 years.
- Kangaroo rats have a great ability to be able to jump high and perform incredible acrobatics to protect themselves from snakes. They leap up away from the biting snake, as they do so they will kick their powerful hind legs at the snake’s face, then using their long tail they twist themselves in mid-air away from the snake to safety.
- Kangaroo rats have pouches, however, these are not to carry their babies. Their pouches are located on the outside of their cheeks and they are used to carry seeds back to their burrows.
Addaxes (White Antelopes or Screwhorn Antelopes)
- Addaxes are classed as critically endangered for 2 reasons; firstly due to poaching, and secondly, due to habitat loss for farmland. It is estimated that there are only 30-90 addaxes left in the wild.
- Both Addax females and males have long, spiral horns that range from 30 to 43 inches (76 to 109 cm) in length.
- Addaxes’ have long flat hooves, these are like snowshoes, that help to keep them on top of the ever-shifting sand, ensuring they do not sink.
- Bactrian camels have special adaptations to survive in the harsh weather conditions they face from extreme highs in summer days and cold weather in winter. Firstly, they have a thick, shaggy coat that protects them in winter, during season changes they lose this. Secondly, Bactrians rarely sweat, helping them conserve fluids for long periods of time. Furthermore, Bactrians’ nostrils close stopping sand from entering, and their bushy eyebrows and two rows of long eyelashes protect their eyes. They also have big, flat footpads which help them navigate rough rocky terrain and shifting desert sands without sinking under their own weight.
- Bactrians can drink up to 1/4 of their body weight in water after a drought.
- Bactrian camels are classed as critically endangered, with fewer than 1000 left.
Fennec Foxes – the worlds smallest fox species
- Fennec foxes have thick fur to help insulate them from the cold desert nights. In addition to this, they also have thick fur on the soles of their feet, this insulates against the hot sand of the desert in the day.
- Fennec foxes’ have large ears that are around 6 inches long, and these have multiple purposes. Firstly, they help with their extraordinary hearing, which helps them to locate underground prey. Secondly, they help to dissipate excess body heat on hot desert days, thus helping to keep them cool.
- Fennec foxes can live without freely available water. Their kidneys are specifically adapted to conserve water.
Great Basin Rattlesnakes
- Great Basin Rattlesnakes have forward-facing eyes, meaning their vision is more binocular compared to most snakes. This results in them having an excellent aim and the ability to precisely judge distances when striking.
- Rattlesnakes are also able to sense vibrations through the ground created by the movement of other animals even down to a tiny mouse.
- Rattlesnakes respond to threats in a sequence, firstly, they will try to move out of the way of the approaching threat. Secondly, if it cannot escape then it will try to scare the potential threat away by shaking its tail which creates a rattling sound. If this does not work, then a rattlesnake will coil so they are ready to strike, it will then lunge, opening its jaw wide, pulling the retracted fangs forward, biting and delivering a dose of venom.
- A cheetah is the only large cat that cannot actually roar, instead the sounds they make are like growls, hisses, or scowls.
- Cheetahs are the fastest land mammal on earth, over a short distance a Cheetah can reach speeds above 70 mph, and can increase speed (accelerate) from 0 to 62 mph in just 5 seconds.
- Cheetahs’ claws are unique in comparison to other cat species, they are non-retractile (they do not draw back into the paw), which enables Cheetahs to keep a strong grip on land while they are running.
- African and Asian elephants differ in several ways; the variation in ears is used to differentiate between the 2. It is said African elephants have ears that look like a map of Africa, and the Asian Elephant has smaller ears that look like a map of India.
- Elephants’ tusks are made of ivory, these are actually enormously enlarged teeth. However, not all elephants have tusks; generally, both male and female African Elephants have tusks that are of similar size. Only the male Asian Elephants have large tusks, the females’ tusks are much smaller if they have them.
- Elephants actually have the largest brains of all animals.
- Giraffes can travel very fast, they can run speeds of up to 37 mph.
- The large patches on Giraffes are like human fingerprints, each Giraffe coat is unique, meaning no 2 Giraffes are the same. In general, the darker the spots the older the Giraffe will be.
- On average Giraffes sleep for less than 2 hours a day.
- There are seven different species of Lions these are; the African Lion, Asiatic Lion, American Lion, Mountain Lion, Cave Lion, and the White Lion.
- Lions are the only species of cats that live in a group; a group of Lions is called pride. A pride can contain up to 25 Lions, both males, and females.
- Lions can run up to speeds of 49.7 mph.
Golden Lion Tamarin
- The Golden Lion Tamarin lives in social family groups of up to 8 members, they have 1 dominant male. Golden Lion Tamarin males will play a vital part in raising their infants, they will often carry their young on their backs in between feedings.
- These are the only Monkeys to have a couple of unique features. Firstly, the thumbs of Golden Lion Tamarins are not fully opposable, with this their big toes are positioned backward. Secondly, unlike other monkeys, they do not have prehensile tails which means they move without using their tales.
- They get their name from their hair which is longer and darker around their faces and cheeks, forming a mane like a Lion.
- Jaguars are the in fact the largest of South America’s big cats and the 3rd largest cat in the world after Tigers and Lions. However, they are classed as near threatened now.
- They often live near lakes, rivers, and wetlands, as they are confident swimmers who are known to cross large rivers. They also enjoy swimming.
- Jaguars roam, hunt, and live alone, they only come together to mate, to do so both males and females roar, this helps bring them together. With living in solace they leave a scent to mark their territory through waste and they will also claw at trees.
- The Mountain Gorilla has 16 different types of calls, when they are mildly alarmed or curious they will use short barks. However, when they want to intimidate rivals, male gorillas strut with stiff legs and they beat their chests, they will then use vocalisations like roars or hoots.
- Mountain Gorillas live in family groups of around 10-30 individuals, in these, there tends to be 1 dominant male and several females. Both the males and the females in family groups take care of their infants. When mountain Gorillas are older most of the males and around 60% of the females will leave their birth group to join another group.
- Gorillas share a 98% DNA match with humans, they are very intelligent and feel emotions as humans, crying when they are sad or hurt and laughing when they are tickled or happy.
- Sloths are built for life in the treetops as they have a powerful grip due to their long claws. They spend nearly all their time aloft, hanging in the branches, eating, mating, giving birth, and sleeping a lot (some sleep up to 15-20 hours every day) all in the trees.
- Three-toed sloths also have an advantage that few other mammals have; they have extra neck vertebrae, which allows them to be able to turn their heads tp to 270 degrees.
- Sloths are the world’s slowest mammal, the sloth travels at a top speed of 0.15 mph. In fact, they are so sedentary that algae will grow on their furry coats.
Temperate deciduous forest animals
- Amur Leopards are solitary and nocturnal animals, they can also climb trees and are well camouflaged when in the trees, they sometimes can only be seen by the twitching of their tail.
- Amur Leopards have unique spot patterns like humans have unique fingerprints. Leopards’ spots help to identify them individually. Sadly, due to their coats, they are a target with poachers, which is the biggest threat to Amur Leopards. They are the rarest of all the big cats, they are critically endangered with only 60+ left, making them the 2nd most endangered animal in the world.
- Amur Leopard cubs are born blind, making them very vulnerable when they are 1st born, the mother keeps her cubs hidden for around 6-8 weeks to protect them.
- Hedgehogs have the ability to roll themselves into a ball of spines when they feel threatened, this is their way to protect themselves. The spines are actually modified hairs and the average hedgehog has about 7000 of them, they can be raised using powerful muscles along their back.
- The hedgehog is nocturnal, meaning they come out at night and spend the day sleeping in a nest under bushes or thick shrubs.
- Hedgehog babies are suckled by their mother until they can hunt for themselves. When the young reach 4 weeks their mother will take them out on their 1st foraging trip, then after another 10 days, the family will separate.
- Minks have special adaptations that allow for them to live on the water, they have webbed feet and their fur is covered with an oily substance which helps to prevent its skin from being soaked.
- Like Skunks, Minks can protect themselves by spraying a bad-smelling liquid. Minks can aim their spray, unlike a Skunk.
- The European Mink tends to live a solitary life, except during the mating season.
- Giant Panda’s distinct black and white marking has 2 key functions being to camouflage in the snow, (white) and to help them hide (black).
- Giant Pandas roughly spend around 10-16 hours a day feeding, they mainly eat bamboo. While their diet is dominantly bamboo, for 1% of their diet they also eat eggs, small animals, carrion, and forage in farmland from pumpkins, kidney beans, wheat, and domestic pig food.
- Giant Pandas have an extended wrist bone, they use this as a thumb to help them grip their food.
- Arctic foxes have beautiful white, sometimes blue-grey coats, their fur helps them to effectively camouflage in the winter. When the seasons change, so do Arctic Foxes’ coats. They adopt a brown or grey appearance that helps them to blend in with summer tundra rocks and plants.
- Arctic foxes’ thick tails not only aid in their balance, but they also are especially useful as a warm cover in cold weather.
- Arctic foxes have adapted to survive harsh cold environments. They have furry soles, short ears, short muzzles, and thick fur to minimise heat loss. These are all important adaptations for a chilly climate.
- Penguins are short-legged flightless birds that are native to cold southern regions especially the Antarctic. While they may not be able to fly they are exceptional at swimming, they have webbed feet and wings that are adapted to work similar to flippers and their tail is short and wedge-shaped.
- Penguins are kept warm by their dense, waterproof feathers, and a thick layer of fat beneath their skin, this helps to insulate them against the harsh cold weather.
- There are around 17/18 species of different Penguins from; Adelie, African, Blue, Chinstrap, Emperor, Galapagos, Humboldt, King, Macaroni, Rockhopper, Yellow-eyed, Banded and Crested Penguins. The largest of all the species is the Emperor Penguins, and the smallest of the species is the Little Blue Penguin, this can also be known as the Fairy Penguin.
- Peregrine Falcons can top 200 mph while they are diving for prey, making them the fastest diving birds on earth.
- When Peregrine Falcon chicks start to hatch out of their egg, it can take up to 36 hours for them to peck their way out of their egg.
- Peregrine Falcons have long, bluntly pointed wings, a relatively short tail, dark blue wings, and head, their pale breast is spotted, and the undersides of their wings are barred with dark stripes. Additionally, the crown of their heads are dark, and they have a black ‘mustache’ which gives them a hooded expression.
- Polar Bears are in fact the world’s biggest bears, males can grow up to 11 feet long and weigh over 1500 lbs, females are about half the size of males.
- While it may look like a Polar Bear’s coat is white, interestingly it is not, the hairs are hollow which means they reflect light, which makes their coat look white. This helps them to camouflage in their environment. Polar Bears’ skin is in fact black.
- Polar Bears have a thick layer of body fat, which keeps them warm while they go swimming, and a double-layered coat that insulates them from the cold Arctic air.