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The Addra gazelle, also known as the Dama gazelle, is the largest and tallest of all gazelles. “Gazelle” is a name shared by a number of small, swift antelopes.
Sahara desert, from Sudan to Mauritania
Herbivore - Herbs, shrubs, coarse desert grasses
Captive: 13 yrs
Wild: 10‑12 yrs
Single young per birth
55‑66 in (140‑168 cm)
88‑187 lbs (40‑85 kg)
How does an 8-pound ball of fluff survive the frigid harshness of an Arctic winter? It’s all in the fluff! Arctic foxes have the warmest fur in the world.
Circumpolar Arctic and subarctic regions
Carnivore - Human food, carrion, invertebrates, birds, fish, eggs
Captive: 14 yrs
Wild: 14 yrs
6-12 per litter
18‑27 in (45‑68 cm)
5‑9 lb (2.5‑4 kg)
The bald eagle is bold, fierce, and iconic, but it is not really bald. It has a conspicuous white head that is fully feathered!
United States, Canada, Northern Mexico
Carnivore - Fish, mammals, birds, crustaceans, reptiles, amphibians, carrion
Captive: Up to 36 yrs
Wild: Up to 28 yrs
1-3 eggs per clutch
28‑38 in (71‑96 cm)
Wingspan: 168‑244 cm
About twice the size of a domestic housecat, the bobcat is a fearsome predator capable of taking down prey ten times its size.
Carnivore - Rabbits, squirrels, and other small-to-medium prey
Male: 16.8 years
Female: 18.8 years
2-4 kittens/litter average
20‑30lbs on average
The cheetah is the fastest mammal on earth. Everything about it is built for speed. During a twenty-second chase, its feet barely touch the ground as it reaches a top speed of 70 mph.
Isolated populations in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly Eastern and Southern
Carnivore - Small to medium sized ungulates, birds, hares, small mammals
Captive: Up to 19 yrs
Wild: 10‑16 yrs
1-8 per litter
44‑59 in (112‑150 cm)
77‑158 lbs (35‑72 kg)
Dik-diks are tiny antelope with remarkable noses. There are four species and 21 subspecies of dik-dik, and they are distinguished from each other by coat color and nose shape.
Eastern and Southwestern Africa
Herbivore - Leaves, buds, shoots, fruits, grasses
Single offspring per birth
African elephants are the largest land animals in the world. They have the largest brains in the animal kingdom, they live about as long as humans, and the largest among them can top 15,000 pounds – more than four times the weight of the average car!
Central and East Africa, south of the Sahara Desert
Herbivore - Grasses, leaves, branches, roots, fruits, treebark
Captive: Up to 70 yrs
Wild: Up to 70 yrs
Single young per birth (twins possible)
Male: Up to 12 ft (3‑75 m)
Female: Up to 9 ft (3 m)
Male: Up to 14,000 lbs (6,350 kg)
Female: 9,000 lbs (4,082 kg)
Also known as the American flamingo, the tall, slender, scarlet Caribbean flamingo is the most brightly colored and among the largest of the world’s six flamingo species.
Islands and mainland coasts of the Caribbean Sea
Omnivore - Small shellfish, fish, worms, insects, algae, aquatic seeds and plants
Diurnal - Nocturnal
1-2 eggs per clutch
Body: 47‑57 in (120‑145 cm)
Wingspan: 55 in (140 cm)
4.8‑6.1 lbs (2.2‑2.8 kg)
The giraffe is the tallest animal on earth. A male giraffe towers up to nineteen feet above the ground.
Eastern, Central and Southern Africa
Herbivore - Leaves
Captive: Up to 25 yrs
Wild: 10‑16 yrs
Single young per birth (twins are extremely rare)
Male: 18 ft (5.5m) tall
Female: 14‑15 ft (4‑4.5 m) tall
Male: 2,425 lbs (1,100 kg)
Female: 1,540 lbs (700 kg)
A leopard’s next meal probably isn’t going to know it until it’s too late. This big cat is known for stealth.
Africa and Asia
Carnivore - Large and small mammals, birds, reptiles, arthropods
Captive: 21‑23 yrs
Wild: 7‑9 yrs
1-3 cubs per litter
3.5 - 6.5 ft (1.0‑1.9 m)
66‑155 lbs (30‑70 kg)
The King (and Queen) of Beasts are justly named. Lions are dominant predators lording over the food chain wherever they roam. What they have over every other big cat, and over every other African predator, is strength in numbers. They know that when it comes to catching dinner, it pays to cooperate.
sub-Saharan Africa, mostly Eastern and Southern
Captive: Up to 30 yrs
Wild: 15‑16 yrs
1-6 young per litter
Male: 5.5‑8 ft (1.5‑2.5 m)
Female: 4.5‑6 ft (1.4‑2m )
Male: 330‑550 lb (150‑250 kg)
Female: 264‑400 lb (120‑181 kg)
At first glance, you would think that okapi are related to zebra. The reddish-brown and cream stripes on the okapi’s hindquarters seem like a sure giveaway. In reality, the okapi’s closest relative is the giraffe!
Congolese Rainforest in Central Africa
Herbivore - Leaves, fruits, and seeds
Captive: 33 yrs
5‑5.6 ft (150‑170 cm)
462‑550 lbs (210‑250 kg)
Contrary to popular belief, an ostrich never buries its head in the sand. It doesn’t need to. It is the largest living species of bird on the planet and the fastest animal on two legs. It can’t fly, but it can sprint up to 40 mph and land a very powerful kick!
Africa, North and South of equatorial forest belt
Least Concern - Common
Herbivore - Green grass, browse on shrubs, succulents, seeds, few insects
Captive: Up to 40 yrs
Wild: 20‑30 yrs
Clutch averages 13
Multiple females lay in the same nest for incubation
Male: 6.5‑8 ft (2‑2.5 m)
Female: 5‑6.5 ft (1.5‑2 m)
Male: 242‑330 lbs (110‑150 kg)
Female: 198‑242 lbs (90‑110 kg)
Beautiful, mysterious, and rare, Panamanian golden frogs have been revered as good-luck tokens in their native country of Panama since pre-Columbian times.
Cordilleran mountains of Western-Central Panama
Critically Endangered - Quite possibly extinct in the wild
Carnivore - Insects and other small invertebrates
Captivity: Up to 9 yrs
200-600 eggs per clutch
1‑2 in (2.5 - 5.1 cm)
Under 1 lb
Prairie dogs take their common name from where they live and what they sound like when alarmed. They go by many other nicknames as well, including wishtonwish, mound yapper, yaprat, yek-yek, tousa, pispiza, ping-sping-sa, and sod poodle.
Narrow bands of short-grass prairie from Central Texas north to the U.S.-Canada border
Herbivore - Wheatgrass, grama, buffalo grass, scarlet globemallow, rabbitbrush, prickly pear cactus, thistle
Captive: 5‑8 years
3-4 per litter
14‑17 in (350‑425 mm)
The common raven is the largest species of songbird and the largest all-black bird in the world.
Throughout Northern Hemisphere
Carnivore - Animal carcasses, rodents, grains, seeds
Captive: 24 yrs
4-6 eggs per clutch
22‑27 in (56‑59 cm)
24‑58 oz (689‑1,625 g)
River otters are the only truly amphibious members of the weasel family.
Throughout North America
Carnivore - Fish, frogs, crayfish, crabs, rodents, rabbits, insects
Diurnal - Diurnal and nocturnal
Captive: 21 yrs
Wild: 8‑9 yrs
1-6 per litter
18‑32 in (460‑830 mm)
6‑31 lbs (3‑14 kg)
When warthogs run, their tails stick straight up in the air!
Herbivore - Grass, roots, berries, bark of young trees, occasionally carrion
Captive: Up to 18 yrs
Wild: 12‑15 yrs
35‑59 in (900‑1500 mm)
110‑331 lbs (50‑150 kg)
The white rhino is the third largest land mammal in the world, dwarfed only by the Asian elephant and the African elephant. White rhinos weigh between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds and stand 5 to 6 feet tall at the shoulder. Their heads alone can weigh up to 2,000 pounds.
Herbivore - grasses
Captive: 40 yrs
Wild: 35 yrs
118‑150 in (300‑380 cm)
Male: up to 6,000 lb (2,721 kg)
Female: up to 4,500 lb (2,041 kg)
To think of a zebra as a striped horse is not quite right, but not quite wrong either. Zebras are members of the horse family Equidae. Zebras are also unmistakably striped! Each zebra has a distinct pattern of stripes, as unique as a person’s fingerprints.
Eastern and Southeastern Africa
Herbivore - Grasses
Captive: 35‑40 yrs
Wild: 15‑20 yrs
Up to 59 in (1.5 m) at shoulders
500‑800 lbs (227‑363 kg)
Skinks are a type of lizard found on every continent except Antarctica. There are four skink species native to Maryland, and the broad-headed skink is the largest.
Central and southeastern U.S. in open and often moist wooded areas
Carnivore - Mainly insects, spiders, other invertebrates; occasionally mollusks, small reptiles and mammals
Unknown, but likely about 4 years
The three-toed box turtle gets its name from its back feet, which have only (you guessed it) three toes.
South-central U.S. in marshes, grasses, and wetlands near shallow water
Omnivore - Insects, plant matter, carrion, various small animals
30‑50 years on average
4.5 to 6 inches on average
California kingsnakes are highly variable in color and appearance, but the most common “morph” is black-and-white banded.
California and neighboring states, from southern Oregon to northern Mexico
Carnivore - Small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and eggs
10‑15 years on average
2.5‑3.5 ft on average
Up to 3.3 pounds
The bearded dragon’s “beard” is actually an inflatable throat pouch with spikey scales.
Eastern and Central Australia in desert, dry forest, scrubland
Omnivore - Plants, insects, occasional small rodent or lizard
Up to 2 dozen eggs/clutch
13‑24 inches, including tail
10 to 18 ounces
As the name suggests, this tortoise is a digger.
Southeastern U.S. - longleaf pine forest; variety of other forest types; coastal dunes
Herbivore - Grasses and other low-growing plants
40‑60 years in the wild; 90+ in captivity
9‑11 inches on average
12 pounds on average
Measuring more than half a foot, the Emperor Scorpion is one of the largest scorpions in the world, but its sting is no worse than that of a bee.
West Africa, Tropical forests
Carnivore - Termites, other invertebrates, small mammals and reptiles
5‑8 years on average
10-12 live young on average
Up to 1 oz
Tarantulas may appear scary at first glance, but never fear! The venom from these large arachnids won’t harm people.
Central Pacific coast of Mexico - Arid habitats such as desert, scrubland, and dry forests
Carnivore - Insects, frogs, small lizards, and mice
Males: 5‑10 yrs; Females: 25‑30 yrs
Marine toads are usually referred to as “cane toads.”
Central and South America - wide variety of tropical and sub-tropical habitats
Carnivore - Insects and other invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, small mammals, carrion, garbage
8,000-30,000 eggs/clutch on average
4‑6 in on average
Up to 3 lbs
To attract females, male red-footed tortoises make a clucking sound that sounds remarkably like a hen.
Central and South America; several Caribbean islands
Omnivore - Primarily fruit; grasses, fungi, carrion, invertebrates
Up to 11 lbs
Geckos possess more complex vocal structures than other lizards, allowing them to chirp and click as well as hiss, bark, and growl.
Iran, Iraq, northern Syria, southeastern Turkey
Carnivore - Insects, spiders, other arthropods, possibly eggs and small reptiles
Egyptian tortoises are no bigger than baked potatoes.
Libya, desert and semi-desert
Herbivore - Leaves and flowers of desert plants
Wild: unknown; captivity: 20+ yrs
Up to 5 in (12.7 cm)
5.5‑12.5 oz (156‑354 g)
This large, beautiful parrot has no military affiliation but its look – olive green with a bright red bar above the beak – is suggestive of military uniform.
Fragmented range from Mexico to Argentina
Herbivore - Seeds, nuts, fruits, berries
Wild: Unknown. Captivity: 50‑60 years
2-3 eggs per clutch
The magnificent peacock, known far and wide, is actually a male Indian peafowl. The female is a peahen.
Native to India and neighboring countries
Omnivore - Seeds, fruit, insects, occasional reptile or small rodent
The Chinese name for this alligator is yowlung, which means “dragon.”
Lower Yangtze River basin, China
Carnivore - Fish, snails, clams, occasional duck or rodent
Up to 5 ft.
Up to 90 lbs
Tawny frogmouths are odd birds whose looks are owl-like and whose mouths are frog-like (hence the name).
Australia and Tasmania
Carnivore - Primarily insects; also invertebrates, small mammals, reptiles, frogs, and birds
15‑20 years on average
13‑20 inches; Wingspan: 25‑38 inches
Up to 1.5 pounds
Kunekune means “fat and round” in Maori, a language spoken by indigenous New Zealanders.
Domesticated - Rare but rebounding
Herbivore - Grass, hay, grain
6-12 piglets per litter
Up to 4 ft.
American badgers are super-fast diggers that can burrow underground and out of sight in a matter of seconds.
Central and western North America, from southern Canada to Mexico
Carnivore - Rodents, birds, bird eggs, reptiles, amphibians, insects
1-5 cubs per litter
Spur-winged lapwings are known as “foot tremblers” – they stomp their feet to flush prey from hiding.
Central, sub-Saharan Africa; eastern Mediterranean
Carnivore - Primarily insects, insect larvae, and small invertebrates
Diurnal - Variably diurnal or nocturnal
17 yrs on average
2-4 eggs per clutch
Wingspan: 27‑32 in
What’s a skink, you ask? Generally speaking, a skink is a large, short-limbed, practically no-necked lizard. The prehensile-tailed skink is the largest of all skinks.
Solomon Islands, tropical rain forest
Herbivore - Leaves and fruit
Up to 15 years
Approximately 2 lbs
Ruddy ducks are small-winged ducks that have to get a running start across water in order to take flight.
Summer: Mid-Western U.S. and Canada, and much of Central America; Winter: along Atlantic, Pacific
Carnivore - Aquatic insects and invertebrates; pondweed, algae, wild celery, seeds of other aquatic plants
8 eggs/clutch on average
The face of a prehensile-tailed porcupine is irresistible – two dark round eyes and a curiously large, bulbous, whiskered nose set in a soft ball of speckled spines. Resist the urge to cuddle, though.
North/Northwest South America
Least Concern - Stable
Herbivore - Bark, leaves, fruit, buds, root vegetables
About 15 yrs
Usually single offspring
30 to 40 in, including tail
Save your loathing because Madagascar hissing cockroaches are not pests. Like the vast majority of all cockroach species, they will not take up residence in your house.
20-60 per brood
The marbled teal, also known as the marbled duck, is an elegant, medium-sized duck with a speckled brown body and dusky eye patch.
Scattered across Northwest Africa, the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East, and Central Asia
Omnivore - Mall seeds, aquatic invertebrates
4-12 eggs per clutch
15‑19 in (38‑48 cm)
8.5‑21.5 oz (240‑600 g)
The milksnake got its name from the widespread and persistent – yet utterly ridiculous – belief that it milks cows. (Who knows how that rumor got started?) This snake may frequent barns in search of rodents, but will never be caught milking a cow.
Northeastern U.S., west to Minnesota and south to Northern Alabama
Carnivore - Mainly mice, snakes, and lizards
Up to 20 yrs
6-20 eggs per clutch
24‑36 in on average (61‑90 cm)
Wood turtles are skilled earthworm hunters. They stamp the ground alternately with their front feet to bring earthworms to the surface, and then grab them quickly.
Southeastern Canada, Northeastern U.S., Great Lakes region
Omnivore - Insect larvae, fish, invertebrates, crayfish, plant matter