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Rabbit Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the

world. There are seven different genera in the family classified as rabbits, including the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Cottontail rabbit (genus Sylvilagus; 13 species), and the Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi, endangered species on Amami shima, Japan). There are many other species of rabbit, and these, along with pikas and hares, make up the order Lagomorpha. Location and habitat Entrance to a rabbit burrow with rabbit droppings near entranceThe rabbit lives in many areas around the world. Rabbits live in groups, and the best known species, the European rabbit lives in underground burrows, or rabbit holes. A group of burrows is called a warren. [1] Meadows, woods, forests, thickets, and grasslands are areas in which rabbits live.[1] They also inhabit deserts and wetlands. More than half the world's rabbit population resides in North America.[1] They also live in Europe, India, Sumatra, Japan, and parts of Africa. The European rabbit has been introduced to many places around the world.[2] Characteristics and anatomy The rabbit's long ears, which can be more than 10 cm (4 in) long, are probably an adaptation for detecting predators. They have large, powerful hind legs. Each foot has five toes, with one greatly reduced in size. They are digitigrade animals; they move around on the tips of their toes. Wild rabbits do not differ much in their body proportions or stance, with full, egg-shaped bodies. Their size can range anywhere from 20 cm (8 in) in length and 0.4 kg in weight to 50 cm (20 in) and more than 2 kg. The fur is most commonly long and soft, with colors such as shades of brown, gray, and buff. The tail is a little plume of brownish fur (white on top for cottontails).[2] Snake Snakes are elongate legless carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales. Many species of snakes have skulls with many more joints than their lizard ancestors, enabling them to swallow prey much larger than their heads with their highly mobile jaws. In order to accommodate their narrow bodies, snakes' paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side, and most have only one functional lung. Some species retain a pelvic girdle with a pair of vestigial claws on either side of the cloaca. Living snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica and most islands. Fifteen families are currently recognized comprising 456 genera and over 2,900 species.[1][2] They range in size from the tiny, 10 cm long thread snake to pythons and anacondas of up to 7.6 metres (25 ft) in length. The recently discovered fossil Titanoboa was 13 metres (43 ft) long. Snakes are thought to

have evolved from either burrowing or aquatic lizards during the Cretaceous period (c 150 Ma). The diversity of modern snakes appeared during the Paleocene period (c 66 to 56 Ma). Most species are non-venomous and those that have venom use it primarily to kill and subdue prey rather than self-defense. Some possess venom potent enough to cause painful injury or death to humans. Those which are non-venomous either swallow prey alive or kill it via constriction. Lion The Lion (Panthera leo) is one of four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight,[4] it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. Wild lions currently exist in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia with a critically endangered remnant population in northwest India, having disappeared from North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia in historic times. Until the late Pleistocene, which was about 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal after humans. They were found in most of Africa, much of Eurasia from western Europe to India, and in the Americas from the Yukon to Peru. Lions live for around 1014 years in the wild, while in captivity they can live over 20 years. In the wild, males seldom live longer ten years, as injuries sustained from continuous fighting with rival males greatly reduces their longevity.[5] They typically inhabit savanna and grassland, although they may take to bush and forest. Lions are unusually social compared to other cats. A pride of lions consists of related females and offspring and a small number of adult males. Groups of female lions typically hunt together, preying mostly on large ungulates. Lions are apex and keystone predators, although they will scavenge if the opportunity arises. While lions do not typically hunt humans selectively, some have been known to become man-eaters and seek human prey. The lion is a vulnerable species, having seen a possibly irreversible population decline of 30 to 50 percent over the past two decades in its African range.[6] Lion populations are untenable outside of designated reserves and national parks. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern. Lions have been kept in menageries since Roman times and have been a key species sought for exhibition in zoos the world over since the late eighteenth century. Zoos are cooperating worldwide in breeding programs for the endangered Asiatic subspecies. Visually, the male lion is highly distinctive and is easily recognized by its mane. The lion, particularly the face of the male, is one of the most widely recognized animal symbols in human culture. Depictions have existed from the Upper Paleolithic period, with carvings and paintings from the Lascaux and Chauvet Caves, through virtually all ancient and medieval cultures where they historically occurred. It has been extensively depicted in literature, in sculptures, in paintings, on national flags, and in contemporary films and literature.

Cat The cat (Felis catus), also known as the domestic cat or housecat[5] to distinguish it from other felines and felids, is a small carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and its ability to hunt vermin and household pests. It has been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years[6] and is currently the most popular pet in the world.[7] A skilled predator, the cat is known to hunt over 1,000 species for food. It can be trained to obey simple commands. Individual cats have also been known to learn on their own to manipulate simple mechanisms, such as doorknobs and toilet handles.[8] Cats use a variety of vocalizations and types of body language for communication, including meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling, squeaking, chirping, clicking, and grunting.[9] They are also bred and shown as registered pedigree pets. This hobby is known as cat fancy. Until recently the cat was commonly believed to have been domesticated in ancient Egypt, where it was a cult animal.[10] However, in 2001, a domesticated cat that was buried 9,500 years ago was discovered in Cyprus[11], and a study in 2007 found that the lines of descent of all house cats probably run through as few as five self-domesticating African Wildcats (Felis silvestris lybica) circa 8000 BC, in the Near East.[4] Dog The dog (recently reclassified from Canis familiaris to Canis lupus familiaris, see below for details *2+ pronounced /ke.ns lups fmlirs/) is a domesticated form of the Gray Wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The domestic dog has been one of the most widely kept working and companion animals in human history. Amongst canine enthusiasts, the word "dog" may also mean the male of a canine species, as opposed to the word "bitch" (the female of the species). The dog quickly became ubiquitous across culture in all parts of the world, and was extremely valuable to early human settlements. For instance, it is believed that the successful emigration across the Bering Strait might not have been possible without sled dogs.[3] Dogs perform many roles for people, such as hunting, herding, protection, companionship, and, more recently, assisting handicapped individuals. Currently, there are estimated to be 400 million dogs in the world.[4] Over the 15,000 year span that the dog had been domesticated, it diverged into only a handful of landraces, groups of similar animals whose morphology and behavior have been shaped by environmental factors and functional roles. As the modern understanding of genetics developed, humans began to intentionally breed dogs for a wide range of specific traits. Through this process, the dog has developed into hundreds of varied breeds, and shows more behavioral and morphological variation than any other land mammal.[5] For example, height measured to the withers ranges from a few inches in the Chihuahua to a few feet in the Irish Wolfhound; color varies from white through grays (usually called "blue'") to black, and browns from light (tan) to

dark ("red" or "chocolate") in a wide variation of patterns; coats can be short or long, coarsehaired to wool-like, straight, curly, or smooth.[6] It is common for most breeds to shed this coat, but non-shedding breeds are also popular. Giraffe The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant. It is covered in large, irregular patches of yellow to black fur separated by white, off-white, or dark yellowish brown background. The average mass for an adult male giraffe is 1,191 kilograms (2,630 lb) while the average mass for an adult female is 828 kilograms (1,830 lb).[3][4] It is approximately 4.3 metres (14 ft) to 5.2 metres (17 ft) tall, although the tallest male recorded stood almost 6 metres (20 ft).[3][4] The giraffe is related to deer and cattle, but is placed in a separate family, the Giraffidae, consisting of only the giraffe and its closest relative, the okapi. Its range extends from Chad in Central Africa to South Africa. Giraffes usually inhabit savannas, grasslands, or open woodlands. However, when food is scarce they will venture into areas with denser vegetation. They prefer areas with plenty of acacia growth. They will drink large quantities of water when available, which enables them to live for extended periods in dry, arid areas. Crocodile A crocodile is any species belonging to the family Crocodylidae (sometimes classified instead as the subfamily Crocodylinae). The term can also be used more loosely to include all members of the order Crocodilia: i.e. the true crocodiles, the alligators and caimans (family Alligatoridae) and the gharials (family Gavialidae), or even the Crocodylomorpha which includes prehistoric crocodile relatives and ancestors. Crocodiles are large aquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Crocodiles tend to congregate in freshwater habitats like rivers, lakes, wetlands and sometimes in brackish water. They feed mostly on vertebrates like fish, reptiles, and mammals, sometimes on invertebrates like mollusks and crustaceans, depending on species. They are an ancient lineage, and are believed to have changed little since the time of the dinosaurs. They are believed to be 200 million years old whereas dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago; crocodiles survived great extinction events.[1] Squirrel Several species of squirrels have melanistic phases. In large parts of USA and Canada the most common variety seen in urban areas is the melanistic form of the Eastern Grey SquirrelA squirrel is one of many small or medium-sized rodents in the family Sciuridae. In the English-speaking world, squirrel commonly refers to members of this family's genera Sciurus and Tamiasciurus, which are tree squirrels with large bushy tails, indigenous to Asia, the Americas and Europe. Similar genera are found in Africa. The Sciuridae family also includes flying squirrels, as well as ground squirrels such as the chipmunks, prairie dogs, and woodchucks. Members of the family Anomaluridae are

sometimes misleadingly referred to as "scaly-tailed flying squirrels" although they are not closely related to the true squirrels. In United States and Canada, common squirrels include the Fox Squirrel (S. niger); the Western Gray Squirrel (S. griseus); the Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii); the American Red Squirrel T. hudsonicus; and the Eastern Grey Squirrel (S. carolinensis), of which the "Black Squirrel" is a variant. In Europe the Red Squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is the most common native species, although the Eastern Grey Squirrel (S. carolinensis) has been introduced in some countries and has displaced the red in many areas, including most of Britain. Kangaroo A male Red Kangaroo seen at Taronga Western Plains ZooA kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae (macropods, meaning 'large foot'). In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, especially those of the genus Macropus, Red Kangaroo, Antilopine Kangaroo, Eastern Grey Kangaroo and Western Grey Kangaroo.[1] Kangaroos are endemic to the continent of Australia. The smaller macropods are found in Australia and New Guinea. Larger kangaroos have adapted much better to changes wrought to the Australian landscape by humans and though many of their smaller cousins are endangered, they are plentiful. They are not farmed to any extent, but wild kangaroos are shot for meat, sport, and to protect grazing land for sheep and cattle.[2] Although there is some controversy, harvesting kangaroo meat has many environmental and health benefits over sheep or cows grazed for meat.[3] The kangaroo is a national symbol of Australia: its emblem is used on the Australian coat of arms,[4] on some of its currency,[5] as well as by some of Australia's best known organisations, including Qantas.[6] The kangaroo is important to both Australian culture and the national image and consequently there are numerous popular culture references. Elephant Comparative view of the human and elephant frames, c1860.Elephants are large land mammals in two genera of the family Elephantidae: Elephas and Loxodonta. Three species of elephant are living today: the African Bush Elephant, the African Forest Elephant and the Asian Elephant (also known as the Indian Elephant). All other species and genera of Elephantidae are extinct, some since the last ice age: dwarf forms of mammoths may have survived as late as 2,000 BC.[1] Elephants and other Elephantidae were once classified with other thick-skinned animals in a now invalid order, Pachydermata. Elephants are the largest land animals now living.[2] The elephant's gestation period is 22 months, the longest of any land animal. At birth it is common for an elephant calf to weigh 120 kilograms (260 lb). They typically live for 50 to 70 years, but the oldest recorded elephant lived for 82 years.[3] The largest elephant ever recorded was shot in Angola in 1956. This male weighed about 12,000 kilograms (26,000 lb),[4] with a shoulder height of 4.2 metres (14 ft), a metre (yard) taller

than the average male African elephant.[5] The smallest elephants, about the size of a calf or a large pig, were a prehistoric species that lived on the island of Crete during the Pleistocene epoch.[6] The elephant has appeared in cultures across the world. They are a symbol of wisdom in Asian cultures and are famed for their memory and intelligence, where they are thought to be on par with cetaceans[7] and hominids.[8] Aristotle once said the elephant was "the beast which passeth all others in wit and mind"[9]. The word "elephant" has its origins in the Greek , meaning "ivory" or "elephant".[10] Healthy adult elephants have no natural predators[11], although lions may take calves or weak individuals.[12][13] They are, however, increasingly threatened by human intrusion and poaching. Once numbering in the millions, the African elephant population has dwindled to between 470,000 and 690,000 individuals according to a March 2007 estimate.[14] While the elephant is a protected species worldwide, with restrictions in place on capture, domestic use, and trade in products such as ivory, CITES reopening of "one time" ivory stock sales, has resulted in increased poaching. Certain African nations report a decrease of their elephant populations by as much as two-thirds, and populations in certain protected areas are in danger of being eliminated[15] Since recent poaching has increased by as much as 45%, the current population is unknown (2008).[16] Hippopotamus The hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) or hippo (Greek: , hippopotamos, from , hippos, "horse", and , potamos, "river") is a large, mostly plant-eating mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae (the other is the Pygmy Hippopotamus). The hippopotamus is the heaviest extant artiodactyl, despite being considerably shorter than the giraffe. This compound word is the wrong way round for Greek and correctly would mean "horse-river". The more common Ancient Greek term was "horse of river", The hippopotamus is semi-aquatic, inhabiting rivers and lakes where territorial bulls preside over a stretch of river and groups of 5 to 30 females and young. During the day they remain cool by staying in the water or mud; reproduction and childbirth both occur in water. They emerge at dusk to graze on grass. While hippopotamuses rest near each other in the water, grazing is a solitary activity and hippos are not territorial on land. Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, their closest living relatives are cetaceans (whales, porpoises, etc.) from which they diverged about 55 million years ago.[3] The common ancestor of whales and hippos split from other even-toed ungulates around 60 million years ago.[4] The earliest known hippopotamus fossils, belonging to the genus Kenyapotamus in Africa, date to around 16 million years ago. The hippopotamus is recognizable by its barrel-shaped torso, enormous mouth and teeth, nearlyhairless body, stubby legs and tremendous size. It is the third-largest land mammal by weight

(between 1 and 3 tons), behind the white rhinoceros (1 to 4 tons) and elephants (3 to 7 tons). Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it can easily outrun a human. Hippos have been clocked at 18 mph (29 km/h) over short distances. The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive creatures in the world and is often regarded as the most ferocious animal in Africa. There are an estimated 125,000 to 150,000 hippos throughout Sub-Saharan Africa; Zambia (40,000) and Tanzania (20,000 30,000) possess the largest populations.[1] They are still threatened by habitat loss and poaching for their meat and ivory canine teeth. Chimpanzee Chimpanzee, sometimes colloquially chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitat of the two species:[2] Common Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes: the better known chimpanzee lives primarily in West and Central Africa. Bonobo, Pan paniscus: also known as the "Pygmy Chimpanzee or Bonzi Chimpanzee", this species is found in the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Chimpanzees are members of the Hominidae family, along with gorillas, humans, and orangutans. Chimpanzees split from human evolution about 6 million years ago and thus the two chimpanzee species are the closest living relatives to humans, all being members of the Hominini tribe (along with extinct species of Hominina subtribe). Chimpanzees are the only known members of the Panina subtribe. The two Pan species split only about one million years ago. Chicken The chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a domesticated fowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003,[1] there are more chickens in the world than any other bird. Humans keep chickens primarily as a source of food, consuming both their meat and their eggs. Conventional wisdom has held that the chicken was domesticated in India,[2] but recent evidence suggests that domestication of the chicken was already under way in Vietnam over 10,000 years ago.[2] From India the domesticated fowl made its way to the Persianized kingdom of Lydia in western Asia Minor, domestic fowl were imported to Greece by the fifth century BCE.[3] Fowl had been known in Egypt since the 18th Dynasty, with the "bird that lays every day" having come to Egypt from the land between Syria and Shinar, Babylonia, according to the annals of Tutmose III.[4] The chicken is believed to have descended from both the Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) and the Grey Junglefowl (G. sonneratii), though hybrids of both wild types usually tend to be sterile.[clarification needed][citation needed] Recent genetic work has revealed that the genotype for yellow skin present in the domestic fowl is not present in what is otherwise its closest kin, the

Red Junglefowl. It is most likely that the yellow skin trait in domestic birds originated in the Grey Junglefowl.[5] Duck Duck is the common name for a number of species in the Anatidae family of birds. The ducks are divided between several subfamilies listed in full in the Anatidae article; they do not represent a monophyletic group but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered ducks. Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, mostly smaller than the swans and geese, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water. Ducks are sometimes confused with several types of unrelated water birds with similar forms, such as loons or divers, grebes, gallinules, and coots. Rat Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus. Many members of other rodent genera and families are also called rats and share many characteristics with true rats. Rats are typically distinguished from mice by their size; rats are generally large muroid rodents, while mice are generally small muroid rodents. The muroid family is very large and complex, and the common terms rat and mouse are not taxonomically specific. Generally, when someone discovers a large muroid, its common name includes the term rat, while if it is small, the name includes the term mouse - scientifically, the terms are not confined to members of the Rattus and Mus genera. Compare the taxonomic classification of the Pack rat and Cotton mouse. Hawk In strict usage in Europe and Asia, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks, sparrowhawks, the Sharp-shinned Hawk and others. These are mainly woodland birds with long tails and high visual acuity, hunting by sudden dashes from a concealed perch. See Eagle. More generally (especially in North America) to mean falcons or small to medium-sized members of the Accipitridae the family which includes the "true hawks" (Accipiters) as well as eagles, kites, harriers and buzzards. Loosely, to mean almost any bird of prey outside of the order Strigiformes (owls). Immature Northern Goshawk with fresh killThe common names of birds in various parts of the world often use hawk in the second sense. For example, the Osprey or "fish hawk"; or, in North America, the various Buteo species (e.g., the Red-tailed Hawk, B. jamaicensis).

In February 2005, the Canadian ornithologist Louis Lefebvre announced a method of measuring avian "IQ" in terms of their innovation in feeding habits.[1] Hawks were named among the most intelligent birds based on his scale. Hawks are widely reputed to have visual acuity several times that of a normal human being. This is due to the many photoreceptors in the retina (up to 1,000,000 per square mm for Buteo, against 200,000 for humans), an exceptional number of nerves connecting these receptors to the brain, and an indented fovea, which magnifies the central portion of the visual field. Eagle Eagles are differentiated from other birds of prey mainly by their larger size, more powerful build, and heavier head and beak. Even the smallest eagles, like the Booted Eagle (which is comparable in size to a Common Buzzard or Red-tailed Hawk), have relatively longer and more evenly broad wings, and more direct, faster flight. Most eagles are larger than any other raptors apart from the vultures. Species named as eagles can range in size from the South Nicobar Serpent-eagle, at 500 grams (1.1 pounds) and 40 cm (16 in), to the 6.7-kg Steller's Sea Eagle and the 100 cm (39 in) Philippine Eagle. Like all birds of prey, eagles have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong muscular legs, and powerful talons. They also have extremely keen eyesight which enables them to spot potential prey from a very long distance.[2] This keen eyesight is primarily contributed by their extremely large pupils which ensure minimal diffraction (scattering) of the incoming light. Eagles build their nests, called eyries, in tall trees or on high cliffs. Many species lay two eggs, but the older, larger chick frequently kills its younger sibling once it has hatched. The dominant chick tends to be the female, as they are bigger than the male. The parents take no action to stop the killing. Shark Sharks (superorder Selachimorpha) are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. The earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago, before the time of the dinosaurs.[1] Since that time, sharks have diversified into 440 species, ranging in size from the small dwarf lanternshark, Etmopterus perryi, a deep sea species of only 17 centimetres (7 in) in length, to the whale shark, Rhincodon typus, the largest fish, which reaches approximately 12 metres (39 ft) and which feeds only on plankton, squid, and small fish through filter feeding. Sharks are found in all seas and are common down to depths of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), and some live even deeper but they are almost entirely absent below 3,000 metres (9,800 ft). They generally do not live in freshwater, with a few exceptions such as the bull shark and the river shark which can live both in seawater and freshwater.[2] They respire with the use of five to seven gill slits. Sharks have a

covering of dermal denticles that protect their skin from damage and parasites and improve fluid dynamics so the shark can move faster. They have several sets of replaceable teeth.[3] Well-known species such as the great white and the hammerhead are apex predators at the top of the underwater food chain. Their extraordinary skills as predators fascinate and frighten us, even as their survival is under serious threat from fishing and other human activities. Penguin Penguins (order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae) are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have become flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their life on land and half in the oceans. Although all penguin species are native to the southern hemisphere, they are not found only in cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact, only a few species of penguin live so far south. Several species are found in the temperate zone, and one species, the Galpagos Penguin, lives near the equator. The largest living species is the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri): adults average about 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 35 kg (75 lb) or more. The smallest penguin species is the Little Blue Penguin (also known as the Fairy Penguin), which stands around 40 cm tall (16 in) and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lb). Among extant penguins, larger penguins inhabit colder regions, while smaller penguins are generally found in temperate or even tropical climates (see also Bergmann's Rule). Some prehistoric species attained enormous sizes, becoming as tall or as heavy as an adult human (see below for more). These were not restricted to Antarctic regions; on the contrary, subantarctic regions harboured high diversity, and at least one giant penguin occurred in a region not quite 2,000 km south of the equator 35 mya, in a climate decidedly warmer than today.