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Animals

Frogs and Toads

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ImageHow far can you jump? A frog can easily jump the length of its body or farther. The frog just gets its strong hind legs ready, pushes off, and away it goes! A frog’s hind legs are made for leaping.

Frogs and toads are very much alike. They are both amphibians. Amphibians are animals that spend part of their lives in water and part on land.

FROG OR TOAD?

There are some differences between frogs and toads. Many species (kinds) of frogs have smooth skin and live near water. Toads have rough, bumpy skin. They often live in drier areas.

Giraffes

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ImageImagine being tall enough to see over rooftops. Giraffes are that tall. They are the tallest animals in the world. What makes a giraffe so tall is its long neck. A big male giraffe stands almost 20 feet (6 meters) high. That is about as tall as a two-story building.

Giraffes live in Africa, on plains called savannas. They live in places where there are trees with leaves that they can eat.

WHAT DO GIRAFFES LOOK LIKE?

Giraffes have short bodies and long, skinny legs. Their front legs are a little longer than their back legs. Males are usually taller than females.

Horses

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Horses are speedy and graceful animals. You’ll know this if you’ve ever watched a horse race. When a horse runs, it can have all four of its feet in the air at the same time. A photographer demonstrated this surprising fact with photographs in 1887.

In the past, people rode horses when they wanted to get somewhere fast. Horses also helped people by pulling plows, loaded wagons, and other heavy farm equipment.

WHAT ARE HORSES LIKE?

Horses have long necks, hairy coats, and long tails and manes. A mane is hair that grows on an animal’s neck. Horses come in many colors, including black, brown, tan, and white.

Hippopotamus

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ImageIf a pig weighed as much as a pickup truck it might look something like a river hippopotamus. A hippopotamus, or hippo, is an animal that lives in Africa. Like a pig, it has a tubby body, big head, and short, thick neck. In fact, the hippopotamus is a distant relative of the pig.

LITTLE HIPPOS AND BIG HIPPOS

There are two kinds of hippos. The pygmy hippopotamus stands no more than waist-high to an adult human. It is about 6 feet (about 2 meters) long and weighs about 600 pounds (about 270 kilograms). This hippopotamus has greenish-black skin. It lives in the forest, on or near riverbanks.

Insects

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ImageWe live in an age of insects. About half of all known animals are insects. Scientists have found about 1 million species (kinds) of insects so far. There are more species of insects than of any other animal in the world. Bees, flies, ants, grasshoppers, beetles, and butterflies are some of the insects that might live near you.

Insects buzz in the air. They crawl over stones. They hop through grass. They dig tunnels underground.

Some insects are helpful. They do important jobs to help plants grow. They help get rid of wastes and dead plants and animals. Some insects are harmful. They bite or sting. They carry diseases or destroy crops.

WHAT MAKES AN INSECT AN INSECT?

Insects are invertebrates, or animals without backbones. They breathe air through holes in their bodies. The body of an insect has three main parts called the head, thorax, and abdomen.