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Animals

Leopard

in Animals

Leopard, large, agile member of the cat family known for its spotted fur, climbing skills, and secretive habits. A superbly designed predator with a long, well-muscled body, powerful limbs, and broad paws, the leopard combines the power and strength of the big cats with the grace and versatility of the smaller cats.

Leopards are highly adaptable and are found over much of Africa and southern Asia, sometimes living undetected close to human settlements. The name leopard comes from the Greek words for lion (leo) and panther (pardos). “Panther” and “leopard” are names for the same kind of animal, but “panther” is most often used for a leopard born with black fur (black panther).

Kangaroo

in Animals

ImageKangaroo, common name for a group of mammals found in Australia and neighboring islands. Kangaroos are marsupials, a type of mammal that gives birth to undeveloped young. In kangaroos and many other marsupials, the young are carried and nurtured in a special pouch on the mother's body.

More than 50 different kinds of animals are grouped together in two kangaroo families. The large kangaroos include red kangaroos and gray kangaroos, wallabies, pademelons, and quokka; they belong in the family Macropodidae. The other family, Potoroidae, is made up of assorted smaller species, such as various rat-kangaroos, bettongs, and potoroos.

Alligators and Crocodiles

in Animals

Image

What is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? That’s kind of a trick question. “Crocodile” is a common name for an order, or large group, of animals called crocodilians. Alligators, caimans, and gavials are all crocodilians—but so are crocodiles.

HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?

One way to tell the difference between alligators and crocodiles is by looking at their snouts. Alligators and their close relative, the caiman, have broad, rounded snouts. Crocodiles have longer, sharper snouts that are shaped like triangles.

Hibernation

in Animals

Every living animal on Earth is burning energy all the time. Physical activities like walking and breathing burn energy. Pumping blood and digesting food burns energy. Even thinking burns energy. For warm-blooded animals, a lot of energy is burned just keeping our body temperature where we need it. Even when we're sleeping, we're burning energy.

That's the whole reason animals eat -- to gain enough energy to fuel all those processes. The system works fine when there's plenty of fruit on the trees or rabbits to catch and eat (or pizzas in the freezer). But what happens when winter comes and it becomes very difficult to find food? How do animals survive with few energy sources available?

Amphibians

in Animals

Image Say you are thirsty. Can you put your hand in a glass of water and drink it through your skin? Of course you can’t! But some animals can absorb water this way. These animals are called amphibians.

Amphibians are very interesting creatures. They live a kind of double life. They spend the first part of their life in water and the second part on land. In fact, the word amphibian comes from two Greek words that mean “both” and “lives.”

KINDS OF AMPHIBIANS

An amphibian is an animal that has moist, hairless skin. Amphibians are cold-blooded, which means they cannot make their own body heat.