CollapseAardvarks have large fleshy ears, a long tail, a prominent snout, and a long sticky tongue that can slip inside termite mounds to capture prey. These distinctive mammals have a gray body that is lightly covered in hair. They can reach up to four feet in length and weigh 120 pounds. Nocturnal, they forage for food at night and rest during the day. Solitary and territorial animals, they only come together to breed. Females give birth in their burrow and newborns remain underground for several weeks until they mature.
CollapseAbdim's storks are long-limbed birds with black feathers accented by white portions under their wings. They have a blue face with a bright red patch around each eye. Among the smallest storks, these birds still stand nearly three feet tall, although females are slightly smaller than males. In some regions, Abdim's storks are known as "grasshopper birds" due to their pechant for eating grasshoppers. They also eat locusts, caterpillars, small reptiles, amphibians, mice, crabs, and eggs.
CollapseAfrican penguins are a smaller penguin species, standing about 18 inches tall and weighing around seven pounds. They use strong, flipper-like wings to propel themselves through the water and webbed feet to steer. Dense bones help them conserve energy while swimming, and backward-facing spines across their tongue help them catch prey. While in water, their iconic black-and-white plumage camouflages them from prey and predators alike: from above, their black feathers fade into the ocean, and from below, their white feathers blend into the sky.
CollapseAfrican rock pythons, Africa's largest snakes, can measure up to 25 feet long (10 to 15 feet is more typical) and are covered in brown, olive, and yellow blotches. These snakes have a triangle-shaped head marked with a brown spear-head shape outlined in yellow. Although they spend most of their time on the ground, they can also climb trees and swim. They are fairly solitary, only seeking other pythons to breed. Females lay 20–50 eggs at a time in nests made inside abandoned animal burrows, termite mounds, and caves.
CollapseAfrican spoonbills have striking white plumage, a featherless red face, and long red legs. Their elongated, thin beak ends in a flat, extended bulge resembling a spoon that helps with capturing fish, crustaceans, and insects. They build nests made from sticks and leaves in trees above water. During breeding season, females lay three to five spotted eggs.
CollapseAllen's swamp monkeys are strong primates with a long tail and covered in grayish-green fur. Males are much larger than females. These tree-dwellers forage on the ground and browse for fish and insects in shallow water. Like most other guenon monkeys, they are quite intelligent and curious, and are often seen manipulating objects.
CollapseAmerican avocets are long-legged shorebirds with a long, thin bill that curves upward and distinctive black-and-white stripes on their back and sides. These birds got their colloquial name, "blue shank," from their bluish-gray legs and feet. During breeding season, their head and neck are a pinkish-tan color, and during the winter, they turn grayish-white. They are most active during dawn and dusk.
CollapseAmerican beavers are brown, semiaquatic rodents that can weigh up to 71 pounds and reach up to three feet in length, not including their tail. Beavers, as a whole, are one of the few animals that can actively change an ecosystem. Well-known for their ability to build dams, they block waterways with trees and mud, often creating new lakes, ponds, and floodplains. They also build homes, called lodges, out of branches and mud. These structures are often only accessible from underwater entrances.
CollapseAmerican black bears range from black to brown, grow six feet long, and weigh up to 600 pounds. Solitary animals, they roam huge territories that often overlap. They are classified as carnivores but often eat a more omnivorous diet featuring grasses, berries, insects, fish, mammals, and carrion. In winter, females birth two or three cubs and nurse them until spring. Cubs stay with the female for a couple years before venturing into the world on their own
CollapseAmerican toads often have brown or green skin covered in colorful warts, as well as a white or yellow underbelly. These nocturnal toads spend the day hiding under rocks, logs, and leaves. At night, they use their long, sticky tongues to snag insects. American toads are solitary and only come together to breed. Males establish territories near ponds and attract mates with long, frequent calls.
CollapseAruba Island rattlesnakes vary from gray to pink to brown based on the color of their habitat. Their head and neck are adorned with diamond-shaped markings, which can extend down their body. These rattlesnakes can grow two to three feet in length. They are nocturnal during the warmer months, but are most active in early morning and late afternoon during the rest of the year. Their diet includes small rodents, birds, and lizards.
CollapseAsian small-clawed otters are covered in gray and brown fur but have lighter coloration on their underside, neck, and face. Large tails complement their slender, almost serpentine build. They have stubby legs and a blunt face. As diurnal animals, these otters hunt prey, including shellfish and crabs, during the day. They form monogamous pairs, producing two litters with as many as six pups each year. Males help build the nest and deliver food to females after they give birth.
CollapseAxolotls are salamanders with feathery gills and finned tails that help with swimming. Some are covered with vivid colors and others are pure white, and adults can reach up to one foot in length. Females have a rounder body than males. These amphibians prefer a solitary lifestyle but are active throughout the day and night. They sit near the top of the food chain in their natural habitat, second only to an introduced invasive species, and will eat anything from fish to arthropods.
CollapseBactrian camels are imposing animals that can reach seven feet in height and weigh up to 1,500 pounds. Their thick brown coat changes with the seasons, and both males and females have two large humps on their back. These grazing mammals favor grasses, leaves, and shrubs, but they can also stomach thorns and dry vegetation that are indegestible to other herbivores. This enables them to survive in areas of sparse vegetation. In the wild, Bactrian camels form herds of up to 30 members led by a single breeding male. Males that are unable to find mates often gather in single-sex bachelor herds. Juveniles mature after about five years, with individuals living up to five decades.
CollapseBaer’s pochards are diving ducks with a dark-gray head, neck, and back and a brownish-red and white flank and belly. Both males and females can have a glossy, dark-green shimmer on their head. Females have a domed head and vary more in color from their head to their beast.This species eats insects, mollusks, shrimps, fish, and algae during breeding season, and aquatic plants and seeds during migration and winter.
CollapseBald eagles can stand three feet tall and have a wingspan measuring up to eight feet across. Their name references the white feathers covering the heads of mature birds. Immature bald eagles lack the familiar white head; their feathers are uniformly brown. Bald eagles prefer fish but will also prey on birds and small mammals, and are known to steal prey from other predatory animals.
CollapseBali mynas have striking white plumage, black wing tips, bright blue coloration around their eyes, a yellow-tipped beak, and grayish-blue feet. These Asian songbird often gathers in groups to better locate food and watch for predators. They reside in treetops and nest in tree cavities, where females lay and incubate two to three eggs.
CollapseBarrow’s goldeneye were named for their bright yellow eyes, which contrast against their dark face. They are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females differ in appearance. During breeding season, males have dark purple, iridescent heads and dark faces with white patches. Females have olive heads, dark wings, and a white underside. These medium-sized duck spends much of their time in the water, where they forage for aquatic invertebrates and plants.
CollapseBlack-and-white colobus monkeys have a glossy black coat and a white-framed face. Males can weigh 30 pounds, but females are substantially smaller. Colobus monkeys have unique stomachs; their complex gut system allows them to digest large quantities of leafy plant material. They live in troops of up to 15 individuals. Infants are white at birth but begin to change color after about six weeks.
CollapseBlack-necked stilts have black-and-white markings and long pinkish-red legs. They use their long, thin bill to probe the muddy wetland surface for small insects and crustaceans. These stilts nest on the ground, where females lay three to five eggs. These shorebirds can swim immediately after hatching but remains dependent on their parents for approximately six weeks. Young black-necked stilts look similar to adults but have paler feathers and legs.
CollapseBlanding's turtles are medium-sized turtles with smooth, black or grey shells that can reach 11 inches in length. Some shells display white or yellow dots. These turtles have a rounded head and a yellow throat. Blanding’s turtles prey on crustaceans, insects, frogs, and fish. They use their long necks and jaws to capture prey. After breeding, females bury their eggs in drained soil away from the water.
CollapseNamed for their colorful blue stomach, blue-bellied rollers have cream-colored heads and chests; darker blue wings; and a vibrant, slightly forked tail. They can reach 12 inches in length and average five ounces in weight. These striking birds feed primarily on large insects. Breeding typically occur from April to July, with females laying two to three eggs.
CollapseBlue-crowned laughingthrushes have a dark-blue head, a vibrant-yellow throat, and black coloration around their reddish-brown eyes. They live in small flocks and lay their eggs in cup-shaped nests in small breeding ranges in southeast China. Pairs or small groups of these thrushes hunt for fruits, berries, and insects.
CollapseBlue-crowned motmots, also called Amazonian momtmots, were named after the bright band on the top of their large head. They have green wings; a black face; red eyes; and a curved, short beak that is serrated along the upper edge. These birds can stand up to 16 inches tall.
CollapseBlue-faced honeyeaters are brightly colored birds named for the vibrant blue markings that surround their eyes. Most of their face is black—the same color as their breast and neck—and they have a white stomach and mustard-colored markings on their wings and back. Contrary to their name, these birds primarily consume insects.
CollapseBlue-gray tanagers were named for their two-toned coloration—gray or light blue on their head and chest, deepening to a brighter blue coloration along their wings and tail. These medium-sized songbirds have black eyes and a short, thick, blueish-gray bill. They prefer semi-open areas and high spaces, often feeding at the tops of trees and perching on phone wires.
CollapseBolivian gray titi monkeys are small primates with thick, fluffy fur and a tail that can reach up to 19 inches in length. As their name implies, their fur is often gray, although their belly and chest are often and organish-brown. They feed primarily on fruit, leaves, and insects. The species is monogamous, living in family groups of two to seven individuals. Males contribute to the rearing of new offspring, often carrying them through the canopy. Females typically give birth to one offspring per year.
CollapseBourke’s parrots have a pink chest and blue wings. Males are larger than females and have a colored band over their face. These birds typically live in groups of four to six individuals, although they sometimes gather in flocks of up to 100. Breeding pairs are monogamous, with the male guarding the nesting area and feeding the female as she incubates their eggs. Nesting occurs in unlined tree holes.
CollapseBrush-tailed bettongs can reach up to two and a half feet long, with their tail accounting for nearly half that length, and weigh up to three pounds. Their fur is grayish-brown on top but lighter underneath, and the tips of their muzzle are naked and flesh-colored. Females have a well-developed pouch for caring young, earning them the nickname "rat kangaroos." These nocturnal, terrestrial mammals primarily eat fungus but supplement their diet with tubers, seeds, insects and resin. Bettong nests—built with grass, sticks, and bark—are usually located at the base of an overhanging bush.
CollapseCactus mice average three inches in length and live in burrows and rock crevices in their desert habitat. These nocturnal mammals range from gray to cinnamon and have large black eyes that help them see at night. They are quick, agile climbers and predominatly forage for seeds, insects, and vegetation. Their colonies usually breed from January–October. Litters range from one to four offspring, and females can have up to six per year.
CollapseChacoan peccaries are pig-like mammals with bristly, brown-gray fur; tough, leathery snouts; a strong jaw and tusks used for crushing seeds and slicing plant roots; and scent glands on their ridged back that give off a strong, musky odor. Weighing 65–95 pounds, they are the largest and least common of the three peccary species. Chacoan peccaries get much of their water from succulent plants and vital minerals from salt licks, and occasionally eat roots, seed pods, and flowers. They live in herds of up to 10 individuals.
CollapseWith tall, thin legs and a long, flexible neck, Chilean flamingos can reach up to 40 inches in height. They live in large flocks in the wild and require crowded conditions to stimulate breeding. During breeding season, males and females display a variety of behaviors to attract mates, including swiveling their heads from side to side and repeatedly spreading their wings. Upon birth, chicks have gray plumage; they don't gain adult coloration for up to three years.
CollapseChimpanzees range in color from black to gray, and each individual’s face features a unique blend of colors, hairlines, and facial hair. These omnivores feed primarily on fruits, insects, and small animals, including other primates. They live in large “fission-fusion” societies, frequently splintering into smaller groups and re-gathering. Males establish a hierarchy that influences breeding, but mating is fluid between a variety of partners. Offspring are dependent on their troop for up to six years. Female chimpanzees sometimes migrate into new groups at adolescence while males remain with their birth group.
CollapseChinese hwameis have rich brown and ochre plumage; a dusky yellow bill; and strong, yellowish legs. Males and females closely resemble each other, and adults can measure up to nine inches long. Females lay clutches of three to four eggs and are primarily responsible for incubation, a period of about 12 days. They make cup-like nests from leaves, grasses, and other vegetation in small trees and bushes.
CollapseCinereous vultures can stand up to three feet tall and have a wingspan measuring up to 10 feet across. They have dark brown feathers with a dull blue head, neck, and bill. As scavengers, cinereous vultures feed on carrion, ranging from large mammals to fish and reptiles. They build their nests in trees and on cliffs high above the ground, using sticks and twigs as building materials.
CollapseCollared finch-billed bulbuls have a blue head, white-streaked cheeks, and a white band around the front of their throat. These birds feature a thick ivory bill and an olive-green body, which help them blend into their treetop habitat. They are typically monogamous, and females build cup-shaped nests in trees.
CollapseCrested guineafowls are chicken-sized birds with dark gray to black plumage and whitish spots. Their most recognizable and namesake feature is the mop-like crest of black feathers on top of their head. Adults average 20 inches in length from head to tail and feed on seeds, fruits, roots, and insects. They live in flocks of about 20 birds for most of the year and form long-lasting monogamous pairs. Females lay eggs in densely covered ground nests, and both parents tend and guard their young until maturity.
CollapseCrested wood-partridges are a dimorphic species, meaning males and females differ in appearance. Males have blueish-purple feathers, as well as a large, red crest on their head. Females have green feathers and lack a crest. These birds can live in groups of up to 15 individuals. Parents feed their chicks for the first week, after which chicks begin to forage for their own food.
CollapseCrown lemurs were named for the crown-shaped patch of orange fur on their head. They are agile climbers and their slender limbs and a long tail, measuring up to 28 inches, helps with balance when moving through the treetops. These diurnal primates forage during the day for fruits, leaves, and insects.
CollapseDeBrazza's monkeys are notable for their distinctive white facial hair, which resembles a beard. They have gray fur, a white belly, and an orange crest on their forehead. Males weigh as much as 25 pounds while females typically weigh much less. They primarily eat fruit, leaves, and insects. Although they spend most of their time in the thick forest canopy, they can also swim.
CollapseDiana monkeys are medium-sized primates that can reach up to two feet in height—not to mention their 30-inch tail. They have a white chest and brow, along with a black body and brown markings on their back and legs. Diana monkeys feed on fruits, flowers, and insects. They are vulnerable to a number of predators, including leopards, snakes, and birds of prey. Females give birth to one or two offspring at a time. They are dependent on their parents for six months and mature after about three years, at which point males leave the group.
CollapseDomestic cattle are large, heavy mammals that vary in size and appearance. Although there are many breeds of cattle, only Milking Shorthorn and Dutch Belted are represented at Lincoln Park Zoo. These heritage breeds are not as large as some other dairy cows. Milking Shorthorns, "established" in the 18th century in Northeastern England, are usually red, red with white markings, white, or roan. Dutch Belted have a white "belt" wrapping around their middle, framed on both sides by either black or red coloring. As a whole, cattle feed primarily on hay. Milking Shorthorn and Dutch Belted are heritage breeds that are not as large.
CollapseDomestic chickens vary in appearance from breed to breed, though they share some common traits, including a squat stature, a rounded body, dense feathers, and wattles of flesh around the face. Adult males, called roosters, have distinct combs of red flesh on their head and striking plumage—notably, a flowing tail and shiny, pointed feathers. Wild chickens are omnivores, primarily eating insects, seeds, lizards, and young mice, while domesticated birds are fed simple, balanced diets of feed. Chickens can live about a decade, though birds raised for food are often slaughtered much earlier.
CollapsePigs vary greatly across several hundred breeds, though most are short, fleshy, and sparsely covered in hair. All have hoofed paws at the end of short legs. Also known as hogs, these mammals are opportunistic omnivores, eating everything from grains to greens to table scraps. They use their snout to turn over soil in search for food. Lacking sweat glands, they coat themselves in mud to protect their sensitive skin from the sun.
CollapseDwarf mongooses are small burrowers that can reach up to 10 inches in length. They have brown fur, rounded ears, and a long tail. These mammals primarily eat insects, eggs, fruit, and small lizards. They are a highly social species, living in groups of up to 40 members. A dominant female is the highest-ranking member of each group, initiating movements between burrows and enjoying first access to food.
CollapseEastern black rhinoceroses stand up to five feet high at the shoulder, span 12 feet in length, weigh up to 3,000 pounds, and have two fibrous keratin horns. As a herbivorous browser, black rhinos primarily eat leafy plants, branches, shoots, thorny wood bushes, and fruit. Their skin harbors many external parasites, which are eaten by tickbirds and egrets that from a symbiotic relationship with the rhinos. Mating is non-seasonal and gestation lasts 15–16 months, after which a single calf is born. Newborns weigh about 75 pounds and are active soon after birth.
CollapseEastern box turtles grow up to five inches long and weigh up to two pounds. Females are larger than males and have yellow-brown eyes; males have red eyes. Their carapace, or top shell, is brown with yellow markings while their plastron, or bottom shell, is lighter with a hinge one-third of the way back. They are generally omnivorous, preferring green vegetation, mushrooms, snails, earthworms, and grasshoppers. During winter, they burrow beneath the frost line and hibernate. Females lay their eggs in late spring through early summer.
CollapseEastern massasauga rattlesnakes can reach up to 30 inches in length. Their cryptic coloration—irregularly dark saddles alternating against a lighter background—helps them blend into the leaves and branches of their wetland, and their tail ends in a namesake “rattle,” a collection of modified scales. They spend the winter hibernating in underwater burrows, where the cold temperature helps them enter a state of suspended animation until spring.
CollapseEastern newts, which can grow up to five inches in length, are usually brown or green with fine black dots all over their body. Their belly is yellow or orange and is lighter than the rest of their body. They possess gills as larva and do not leave their birth pond for at least three months, at which point they shed their gills and leave the water. This juvenile form is called the "eft stage." During this time, they sport a bright red coloration, which signals their toxicity to predators. After two or three years, terrestrial efts transition into their adult breeding life stage and return to a fully aquatic life. They primarily eat insects, small mollusks and crustaceans, young amphibians, worms, and frog eggs.
CollapseEastern screech owls are a mix of white, gray, and reddish-brown—coloration that helps them blend into the branches and trees. These predators can reach up to nine inches tall with a wingspan of nearly two feet. Females are slightly larger than males. They prey on a wide variety of insects and small animals, including mice, snakes, lizards, salamanders, and small birds. Females lay eggs in tree cavities, hollows, and even abandoned woodpecker holes, and breeding pairs often return to the same nest year after year.
CollapseEgyptian fruit bats have light-brown bodies, dark brown wings, a long muzzle, and a two-foot wingspan. True to their name, these nocturnal mammals feed almost exclusively on soft fruits, such as dates, apples, and apricots. Female give birth to only one offspring, on average, after a gestation period of 105–120 days. Young bats cling to the female for around three weeks, until they can hang from branches on their own, and begin flying after three months.
CollapseEmerald starlings were named for their vibrant colors—green, iridescent feathers on their crown, chest, and wings and purple markings on their belly and around their eyes. In the wild, these birds live in flocks of 15–20 members, although they occasionally gather to form larger groups. They build their nest in small holes in tree stumps and tree trunks.
CollapseLarge birds, European white storks can reach up to 40 inches in height and have a wingspan measuring up to eight feet across. Their white body feathers are offset by black wing feathers. Long, thin legs enable them to wade easily through shallow water, where they hunt insects, frogs, rodents, lizards, snakes, and small birds. They often live and nest near humans, favoring tall trees, chimneys, and rooftops as nesting sites.
CollapseFairy bluebirds are a dimorphic species, meaning that males and females differ in appearance. Males are bright blue and black, which helps them attract more muted females. They feed primarily on fruit, particularly figs, and insects. In the wild, they live in flocks of up to 30 individuals.
CollapseFennec foxes are some of the smallest foxes in the world; on average, they weigh about three pounds. These sand-colored mammals have a small snout, large pointed ears, and a black-tipped tail. As nocturnal omnivores, fennec foxes hunt rodents, insects, and birds under the moonlight. Though "cute" in appearance, males become aggressive during mating season. Females nurse in an underground den until their young are strong enough to explore the desert.
CollapseAdult Francois' langurs have black fur with a white stripe stretching from ear to ear acros their jawline, as well as a black crest atop their head. Young langurs are orange at birth but gradually darken over time, which may encourage adult females to care for and keep track of them. These primates, which feed primarily on leaves, have a multi-chambered stomach that helps them get the most out of their low-nutrient diet. Special bacteria lining their stomach also aid the process.
CollapseStanding 19 feet tall, giraffes are the tallest ground-dwelling animals in the world. Females are slightly shorter than males, but both genders have tan and brown coats. Their front legs are longer than their back legs, giving their body a sloping appearance. Both males and females have horn-like structureds called ossicornes on the top of their head, although males develop additional bony growths along their skull as they age. Giraffes gather in fluid herds of up to 40 individuals.
CollapseGolden silk spiders are mostly yellow with an elongated abdomen and long, hairy legs that detect web vibrations. Females can grow six times larger than males. These weaver spiders rely on their webs to collect food and water, as well as breed. Females build and relocate their web repeatedly over their lifetime while males travel from web to web in search of a mate. After breeding, females lay silk-wrapped egg cases filled with hundreds of eggs. Spiderlings will feed immediately after hatching by first eating their own egg yolk, and then each other and small insects. Only a handful of spiderlings from each egg case live to maturity.
CollapseNamed for their striking coloration, golden-breasted starlings have metallic blue wings with purple undertones, a yellow breast and belly, a violet throat, and a vibrant green head. They are social animals, living in family groups of three to 12 individuals in the wild, that primarily eat insects.
CollapseGolden-headed lion tamarins are small primates named for the bright-gold mane around their head. These lion-like manes contrast sharply with their dark brown to black bodies. They spend almost all their time in the rainforest canopy, where they feed primarily on fruit and insects. Golden-headed lion tamarins live in groups consisting of a breeding pair and their young offspring. Individuals communicate with vocalizations as they forage for food.
CollapseGreat Plains ratsnakes grow up to five feet long, are either light gray or brownish-gray, and are covered in dark brown blotches bordered with black. A dark brown stripe starts at the bridge of their nose and travels down their neck, crossing overtop their eyelids like a mask. These snakes sport a spearhead-shaped marking on their head, and their belly is white with bold, squarish black markings.
CollapseGreen broadbills are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females differ in appearance. Males have vibrant, bright green plumage; a black dot behind each ear; and black bands across their wings. Females have duller green feathers and lack any black markings. These birds primarily eat tropical fruits and vegetables.
CollapseGreen tree frogs can measure up to two and a half inches inches long. They have smooth, green skin with small golden spots on their back and a white- to cream-colored underside with lateral stripes. Females are usually larger than males. These frogs predominantly eat flies, mosquitoes, and other small insects. They are a solitary species, but can be found in large groups during breeding season, between March and September.
CollapseGreen tree pythons are vivid green with a broken stripe of white or dull yellow running down their vertebrate. These snakes can reach up to seven feet long, but adults average at four feet. They spend their entire life in rainforest trees, often preying on rodents and birds while dangling from their roost, using their strong, prehensile tails as an anchor. Females typically lay six to 30 eggs per clutch.
CollapseGreen-naped pheasant pigeons have a blue chest, a green head, an iridescent green-blue ring around their neck, red rings around their pupils, a bright orange beak, and a copper body. They closely resemble pheasants, particularly with their laterally compressed tail and rounded wings. Parents feed regurgitated crop milk to their young, a common practice for most pigeons.
CollapseLike all zebras, Grevy's zebras are covered in alternating black and white stripes. They are the largest zebra species, with adults standing up to five feet tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 900 pounds. Their belly and hindquarters are white, and their manes stands erect from head to shoulders. Grasses make up most of their diet. Grevy's zebras don't live in permanent herds, but gather in temporary and fluid groups. Females breed year-round and give birth to single calves.
CollapseGray seals have short necks, widely set nostrils, and few spots compared to some other seals. They can measure up to 11 feet long and weigh nearly 900 pounds. Females are silver-gray with scattered dark spots while males are dark gray with silver-gray spots. Grey seals are opportunistic predators, feeding on fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. Females reach sexual maturity after about four years and give birth to a single pup with dense, woolly white fur after an 11-month gestation period. Pups grow quickly by nursing on fat-rich milk.
CollapseGuam kingfishers measure up to nine inches long. Both sexes have a long, stout, pointed bill; a black eye strip; and greenish-blue wings. Males have a cinnamon-colored head and chest, and females have a white chest and belly. Males and females work together to build their nest, an activity that helps with bonding. In the wild, their diet primarily consists of insects and lizards. In zoos, they also eat mice, anoles, crickets, and worms.
CollapseFlightless birds, Guam rails are mostly dark brown but have white stripes on their belly. Their compact body enables them to move rapidly through dense vegetation. In the wild, they hunts snails, insects, and lizards.They are territorial and will aggressively defend their area against other birds.
CollapseGuira cuckoos have dark brown, white-striped wings; a long white-tipped tail; and spiky crest feathers. They bear some resemblance to the iconic roadrunner, another member of the cuckoo family. Highl social, these bird are often seen in flocks of six to 20 individuals. They prey on frogs, eggs, insects, and even small mammals, including chicks of other bird species.
CollapseHadada ibises are large birds with brownish-gray plumage that display an iridescent green sheen in sunlight. These birds hunt by dragging their long, curved bill in murky streams and grabbing any insect or small lizard they touch. Males provide nesting material, such as sticks and twigs, to females, who build their nest at the top of a tall tree or, in urban areas, a telephone pole. Both sexes participate in incubating and feeding hatchlings.
CollapseHarbor seals can reach up to six feet in length, with males usually slightly larger than females. Specially adapted flippers help these aquatic mammals move quickly through the water while a thick coat of waterproof fur helps them stay warm. Harbor seals range from light gray to dark brown in color, and their fur is accented with colored spots and rings. They primarily feed on fish, mollusks, squid, and crustaceans. After breeding, females give birth to a pup on land. Newborns can swim and dive within hours.
CollapseHoffmann's two-toed sloths are solitary, largely nocturnal, arboreal animals. These sloths spend most of their time in trees, though they may travel across the ground to move to a new tree. Hoffman's two-toed sloths are some of the world's slowest mammals—so slow, in fact, that algae grows on their furry coat. The plant gives them a greenish tint that serves as camouflage in dense rainforests.
CollapseHooded mergansers are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females differ in appearance. Females have a brown body, a white underside, and a light brown crest that extends from the back of their head. Males look similar during non-breeding season, except for their yellow plumage, but during breeding season, they turn black with white stripes near their chest and tail.
CollapseHottentot teals are small, inconspicuous, sexually dimorphic ducks. While both sexes have a blue beak and green streaks through their wings, only females have spotted flanks. Hottentot teals travel in either single pairs or fluid groups. They build large, raised nests with grasses, leaves, and reed stems. Males and females pair during breeding season but usually separate after the female's incubation period. Chicks are born with a dark brown back, a tan belly, and a gray bill and legs.
CollapseInca terns have a dark gray body and a red beak and legs. Moustache-like tufts of white feathers on each side of their beak signal maturity in males and females. They feed primarily on small fish, such as anchovies, and catch their prey by diving into the water with their pointed beak. Inca terns nest on rocky cliffs, laying their eggs in natural holes and burrows.
CollapseJamaican iguanas are large, grayish lizards with a green or blue tint, olive-green colorations around their shoulders, and dark triangle-shaped blotches down their dorsal crest. Males can grow up to 17 inches long, while females reach only 15 inches. They are mildly dimorphic: males possess large femoral pores beneath their thighs that release pheromones, while females have smaller pores and lower dorsal crests. These iguanas nest in underground burrows filled with loose soil and lay up to 20 eggs in early summer.
CollapseBrightly colored birds, jambu fruit doves have a bright orange break and green markings on their back, wings, and tail. They are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females differ in appearance. Males have a crimson face, a white chest, and a pink patch near their throat while females have a light purple face and green chest. Jambu fruit doves are a small bird that can grow up to 10 inches in length.
CollapseJapanese macaques are medium-sized primates with a thick coat that insulates them during cold winters. Their compact body and stumpy tail help reduce heat loss and risk of frostbite. They are also referred to as "snow monkeys" due to their prevalance in colder locales. They have a distinctive red face that grows brighter during breeding season. In the wild, their diet changes seasonally and features fruit, flowers, seeds, leaves, roots, and buds. They live in troops of up to 100 individuals.
CollapseKagus are large flightless birds that can reach up to two feet in height. Males and females both have blueish-gray plumage, orange beaks and legs, and red eyes. During courtship displays and territorial disputes, males display a large crest of feathers above their head. They feed on insects and lizards on the forest floor.
CollapseKenya sand boas have alternating orange-and-brown speckled patterns running down the length of their back. They are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females differ in appearance. Females can grow up to 32 inches long while males max out at 15 inches. They spend much of their time hiding beneath the sand, under stones, and in burrows—they are excellent diggers and can quickly bury themselves. These snakes feed primarily on rodents, which they kill via constriction.
CollapseKlipspringers are dwarf antelopes measuring 20 inches in height and weighing an average of 24 pounds. Females are larger than males, but males have a small set of pointed horns that can reach four inches in length. These grazing mammals eat grasses, leaves, buds, and fruit found in their rocky habitat. They typically live in small family groups composed of a breeding pair and their young offspring. After breeding, females give birth in a rocky alcove, where offspring will remain protected from predators for two to three months.
CollapseLake Malawi cichlids are highly diverse in size, coloration, behavior, and ecology. Their shape ranges from tubular to perch-like to disk-like. Cichlids have a single nostril on each side of their head, incomplete scales on their head, a well-developed dorsal fin, and distinctive pelvic fins. Their mating system also varies from monogamous to polygynous to cooperative depending on species, habitat, and predator population. Most cichlids are mouth-brooders that carry fertilized eggs in their mouth until they hatch. Parents may also protect the young, called fry, by scooping them into their mouth when a predator approaches.
CollapseLaughing kookaburras have a white chest and head, dark brown wings, a brown back, brown stripes around their eyes, and a reddish-colored tail with black bars. They often kill their prey by grasping them with their beak and striking them against their perch. These birds live in territorial groups of three or more birds. Mature offspring feed and protect their siblings before moving on to nests of their own.
CollapseLeopard geckos are ground-dwelling lizards with dull yellow skin covered in black spots. Their skin is very durable, which provides protection from the rocky grassland terrain of their dry environment, and their dorsal side is covered with small bumps, which gives a rough texture and appearance. In the few days after shedding, their skin turns to a translucent whitish gray. Leopard geckoes are nocturnal, sheltering under rocks or in burrows during the day and hunting for insect prey at night
CollapseLuzon bleeding heart doves are white-breasted birds with a gray back and black wing bands, which provide a sharp contrast to their bright red chest plumage. Males attract mates by puffing out their chest to display bright red markings. These birds feed on the forest floor, where they gather seeds, berries, insects, and worms. They nest in low trees, shrubbery, and dense vegetation that provide cover from predators.
CollapseMadagascar hissing cockroaches are large, wingless insects with a dark brown exoskeleton and orange markings on their abdomen. Males have large bumps or horns behind their head, while females have smaller bumps. Like most cockroaches, they are nocturnal insects, hiding under debris or in tree bark during the day. Madagascar hissing cockroaches consume rotting plants, fallen fruit, and decaying animal matter on the forest floor. Females hatch 15–40 baby cockroaches, called nymphs, from eggs stored inside their body. The nymphs undergo approximately six molts before reaching maturity after about seven months..
CollapseMadagascar tree boas are medium-sized snakes measuring up to five feet in length. Females are usually larger than males, but both have green-brown scales that feature dark patches with a white or yellow center. They are nocturnal, hunting their prey at night. These solitary snakes only come together to breed. Females are viviparous, meaning they give birth to live young. Newborns, born in litters of up to16, are only about 25 centimeters long.
CollapseMandarin ducks are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females differ in appearance. Males are very colorful—they have a dark purple chest with black and white stripes, brown wings with a bue-green edge, and a long brown and white crown. Their coloration helps males attract less-colorful females, which have brownish-black plumage with white markings around their eyes and throat. Both males and females have thin and flat feet, which allows them to paddle through water.
CollapseMasked lapwings have a bright yellow bill and face, a black crown, a white throat and chest, and gray wings. These birds spend much of their time on the ground searching for worms and insects. They even build their nests on the ground, and defend them by swooping at nearby animals and people.
CollapseMeerkats, small members of the mongoose family, have long and slender profiles that allow them to easily dig and move through intricate underground tunnel networks They have a tan coat and gray face, plus dark ears and eye patches. These carnivorous mammals hunt insects, eggs, and very small animals. Nonbreeding members of each group often help rear young, monitoring dependent offspring as the breeding female forages for food.
CollapseThe largest chameleons in mainland Africa, Meller’s chameleons can reach up to two feet in length. Their default color is bright green and yellow, with brown and black spots along their body. Llike all chameleons, though, they can change color as a means of communication thanks to specialized cells called chromatophores. Meller's chameleons are masters of chamoflauge and blend into the treetops, where they hunt insects, small lizards, spiders, and worms. Females lay eggs in a leaf-covered hole in the ground.
CollapseMidland painted turtles were named for the brightly colored markings on their face and limbs. Individual turtles range from three to 10 inches in length and have relatively flat, yellow-and-green shells.They feed primarily on plants and small water animals—such as fish, crustaceans, and insects—using powerful jaws to grip their food. They often spend winter burrowed in mud at the bottom of a pond, where they enter a state of lowered activity to survive the cold.
CollapseMoholi bushbabies are small primates with grayish-brown fur that is lighter on their limbs and trunk. They use their oversized ears and eyes to detect both predators and their insect prey. Their long tails help with balance as they jump from tree to tree, aided by long back legs ideal for vertical climbing and leaping. Nocturnal, they spend the day nesting in tree holes, often packed with multiple individualds, to protect themselves from predators, such as large birds, snakes, and mongooses. Moholi bushbabies have a polygynous mating system in which dominant males breed females within surrounding territories.
CollapseShaped like tubular mice with a gnarly set of choppers, naked mole rats actually have some fur. Whiskers on their face and tail help them navigate their dark, underground tunnels, while hairs between their toes help them sweep soil. Their pink skin is nearly translucent. Almost completely blind, they rely on hearing, smell, and touch to detect vibrations and air currents. One female leads each colony and produces all the offspring. Queens produce five litters each year, with as many as two dozen pups per litter.
CollapseNicobar pigeons have a metallic green back and wings, a white tail, and a gray chest and head. Long, elaborate feathers stream down their neck, giving them a distinctive look. They nest in trees, where they build nests from sticks, and they often sleep on offshore islands to avoid predators. Females lay one egg each breeding period, and both the male and female cooperate in rearing their young.
CollapseNorth American river otters have long, streamlined bodies that help them move easily through the water, propelled by their webbed feet. Their brown waterproof fur helps them retain heat. These otters feed on fish, crayfish, insects, turtles, frogs, and other water animals. They live alone or in family groups consisting of a female and her offspring. Females retreat to dens to give birth to their young, called kits, which take to the water after only two months.
CollapseNorth American ruddy ducks are sexually dimorphic species, meaning males and females differ in appearance. During breeding season, males display a bright blue beak and reddish-brown plumage. After breeding season, males shift to the grayish-white feathers displayed by the female, although they retain their white cheeks and dull blue bill. Like all ducks, ruddy ducks have long, then feet that make it easier to paddle through water. They dive underwater to feed on pond vegetation, insects, and small fish.
CollapseNorthern blue-tongued skinks are terrestrial lizards measuring up to 22 inches in length with a stout body, large head, and relatively short legs. These skinks range in color, but they usually have a banded pattern. They are omnivores with a diet primarily consisting of plants, insects, small mammals, reptiles, birds, and carrion. Their larger rear teeth are used to crush hard foods, such as snails, insects, and fruit.
CollapseNorthern pintails were named after their long, pointed tail feathers, which can reach up to four inches in length. They are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females differ in appearance. Males have a dark brown head and a white breast that darkens to gray and black along their back and wings. Females have a more uniform speckled-brown appearance. They feed on plants, aquatic insects, and crustaceans below the water's surface.
CollapseNorthern walkingsticks are wingless insects with a cylindrical, elongated body and a small, square-shaped head supporting long antennae. They can reach up to three and a half inches in lemgth. Males are brown, and females are green. Both sexes feed on tree and shrubbery foliage, with a preference for oak and hazelnut trees. Before winter, females drop their eggs, one at a time, onto the forest floor. Newborns hatch in the spring, and receive no parentlal care.
CollapseAs their name implies, oriental fire-bellied toads have a flame-colored belly that contrasts against their bumpy, green-and-brown speckled legs and back. Females are larger than males, though males grow larger forearms during breeding season. They detect prey through movement, lying in wait until an insects scamper by. During colder months, they hibernate inside rotten trees, stone piles, or leaf litter in groups of up six individuals. Females lay clutches of up to 45 eggs on submerged plants. Newborns hatch after about a week and lose ther tail and develop limbs 12 weeks later.
CollapseOriente knight anoles are among the largest of the nearly 400 anole species. Adults can grow up to seven and a half inches long and weigh about two ounces. Their body is covered with small green scales, including vertical dorsal scales, and they have pale blotches along their mouth. Like most anoles, males have a flap of loose skin, called a dewlap, that can extend and retract from their neck—theirs is orange or pink. Wild anoles typically eat spiders and insects, and breed once a year during the summer.
CollapseAs the largest living bird species, ostriches can reach up to nine feet tall and weigh up to 285 pounds. They have a black chest and wings; a white underside; and a long, bare neck and legs. Because of their large size, ostriches are unable to fly. They primarily feed on seeds and plants but also eat insects and meat abandoned by predators. Ostriches live in grazing groups of up to 50 birds. During breeding season, males compete for mates by establishing and defending territories. Females lay their eggs in holes scraped into the ground.
CollapseMales have metallic-blue wings and an extendable black crest on top of the head. The species has a colorful tail with robin's-egg colored spots resembling eyes approximating that of a peacock. Females, by contrast, have a more muted brown plumage, although they also have a crest and spotted tail feathers. This forest-dwelling bird eats seeds, insects, fruits, and slugs. Breeding pairs are typically monogamous, and both parents help rear the chicks.
CollapsePatagonian cavys are about the size of a small dog and have long rear legs akin to kangaroos. They are brown with a white underside and hindquarters marked with a white patch. While cavys mostly travel in pairs, large groups form when grasses and herbs are plentiful. These monogamous cavys breed a few times each year, producing litters of up to three individuals. Offspring are well-developed at birth and are reared out of a communal den.
CollapseAdult pied tamarins have a bald head with black skin and large ears, giving these primates an unusual and striking appearance. They eat fruit, flowers, and small animals. Pied tamarins live in social family groups with multiple adult males and females. Females usually have two offpsring at a time, and the entire groups helps care for infants, with the father doing most of the carrying.
CollapsePlains zebras have broader stripes than other zebra species, and their stripes become even broader and more horizontal toward their flank and rear. The stripes near their neck and forelimbs are more vertical and continue into their mane. Plains zebras primarily graze on grass, herbs, leaves, and twigs. Females in each harem, led by a stallion and alpha mare, can give birth to one foal each year.
CollapsePolar bears can grow up to eight feet long and weigh up to 1700 pounds. Their distinctive coat is composed of long, transparent hairs, which reflect light to display a white appearance. Their small ears and short tail help limit heat loss in their icy environment while large paws help them navigate thin ice by spreading out their weight. Polar bears are carnivorous, preying mostly on seals.
CollapsePuerto Rican parrots are medium-sized Amazon birds with mostly green plumage. Their primary feathers, mainly visible when they are resting or flying, are a vivid blue. A small red crown and white eye-rings distinguish them from the similar-looking Hispaniolan parrot and red-crowned parrot. In the wild, they feast on seeds, nuts, bark, and nectar found in the forest canopy. Puerto Rican parrots mate for life, breeding from January to July during the dry season. Chicks are born without feathers in clutches of two to four birds.
CollapsePygmy hippopotamuses were named for their relatively diminuitive stature compared to theirr much larger cousin, but these semi-aquatic mammals can still reach six feet in length and 600 pounds in weight. Their gray skin is smooth except for bristles on their lips and tail. Pygmy hippos spend much of their time in the water, as their skin dries out without frequent moisture. At night, they venture into the forest in search of plants and fruit.
CollapseLess than a foot long, pygmy slow lorises are most easily identified by their huge brown eyes, which help them spot prey in the dark. Their short brown-and-gray coat varies from individual to individual. They have opposable thumbs and strong hands and feet that help them climb trees—albeit very slowly. These primates are nocturnal and arboreal, foraging and hunting in the trees at night. They eat insects, tree gum, small fauna, fruit, and flower nectar.
CollapseRed devil cichlids have bright orange to reddish-orange scales. Males, averaging 23 centimeters long, are larger than females and have longer fins and a distinct hump on their head. These social fish live together in large groups. They are typically active, feeding throughout the day on snails, small fish, insect larvae, worms, and aquatic vegetation. Both males and females work together to guard their eggs.
CollapseAs the world's largest marsupial, red kangaroos can reach more than five feet tall and weigh up to 190 pounds. They move by hopping on their large lower legs and using their thick tail for balance. Red kangaroos have long and narrow heads with large ears. Their small arms are used for grasping food, like grasses and plants, and grooming. They live in large groups called mobs. Female give birth to relatively undeveloped offspring, called joeys, that weigh less than an ounce at birth and remain exclusively in the mother's pouch for several months.
CollapseAs Africa’s smallest and most colorful swine species, red river hogs have reddish bodies with a white stripe running down their back. Both sexes have tusks, but only males have warts in front of their eyes. Adults can reach up to five feet in length and weigh up to 285 pounds. These hogs feast on a diverse diet that ranges from grasses and fruit to small animals. They live in groups of up to 15 individuals led by a dominant male.
CollapseNamed for their red-tinged fur, red wolves are smaller than gray wolves, their better-known cousins. Males are typically larger than females and can weigh up to 90 pounds. They prey on a range of species, including raccoons, deer, rodents, and small mammals. Packs typically consist of a breeding pair and their offspring from the previous year, although they sometimes form larger groups. Females rear their young in well-hidden dens near stream banks, downed logs, sand knolls, or even drain pipes and culverts.
CollapseRed-billed hornbills were named for their long, curved, red bill. They have a white head and chest, along with spotted wings and a long brown tail. These birds are some of the smaller hornbills, even though adults can reach up to 16 inches in length. Unlike many hornbills, they lack a casque on top of their bill. These omnivorous birds eat fruit, seeds, and insects. Females wall themselves into a tree hole nest to rear three to five chicks, which stay in the nest until they fledge after six to seven weeks.
CollapseNamed for their striking red beak, red-billed leiothrixes have a dull olive-green body, an orangish-yellow throat, a yellow ring around their eyes, and a forked tail. Males can be distinguished from females by their brighter coloration and the red markings on their wings.These birds lives in small flocks in the forest underbrush, feeding on fruits and insects found within this niche. Breeding pairs build cup-shaped nests from leaves and moss.
CollapseRed-capped cardinals were named for their crimson-colored head and chin, which sit atop a white body with lustrous black wings and a black throat. These songbirds have a conical, mostly black beak that allows them to feed on insects, rice, seeds, and fruit. Breeding pairs build a cup-shaped nest out of roots, twigs, grasses, and leaves.
CollapseRed-footed tortoises were named for the red-and-orange markings scattered across their limbs and face. They have bumpy, concave, greenish-brown shells and display upraised points on their central plates. These tortoises can reach up to 14 inches in length. As omnivores, they feed primarily on fruit, greens, plants, vegetables, and dead animals. After breeding, females bury their eggs in nests along the forest floor.
CollapseRio Fuerte beaded lizards can reach up to 30 inches from head to tail. They have a broad, flat head and venom glands in their lower jaw. Their bodies are long and heavy and covered with bead-like scales that form yellow and black stripes. These long-clawed lizards are carnivorous, eating insects, small rodents, lizards, snakes, birds, and eggs. They become sexually mature after three or four year.
CollapseScarlet ibises were named for their distinctive bright red plumage, which often has orange and pink hues. Males and females differ in size; males are larger and have a longer, curvier bill. These birds use their large beak to locate prey—mostly crayfish, crabs, insects, frogs, and fish—in the water. They have long, thin toes that help them step through water and catch their prey.
CollapseSichuan takins are large goat-antelopes that can reach up to four feet in height and weigh an average of 600 pounds. Both males and females have thick, curled horns that extend back over their head. These herbivorous mammals graze on shrubs, grasses, and herbs in herds that range from 200–300 individuals. They migrate to higher elevations during summer and return to lower elevations in winter.
CollapseSnowy egrets were named for their all-white plumage, although their black legs and yellow feet are also distinguishable. These herons have orangish-yellow eyes connected by a similarly colored band of feathers that stretches overtop their black beak. Upon maturity, adult birds develop long, fine plumes of feathers along their chest, back, and neck. Snowy egrets prey on a wide variety of creatures both in and out of the water. Females build nests from sticks and twigs, and both parents contribute to the incubation and rearing of young.
CollapseSnowy owls have white plumage with occasional dark spots. These flying predators feed predominantly on lemmings and mice, but they also eat rabbits, birds, and fish. These diurnal birds are most active during the night but primarily hunt at night. They can locate prey visually or through their sharp sense of hearing. Females lay their eggs in simple bowls scraped into the ground, and both males and females protect their young by dive-bombing nearby predators.
CollapseSnowy-headed robin chats have a dark head and wings and a reddish-orange body and tail. These small perching birds also sport a single stroke of white from their forehead to the nape of their neck.They mainly forage on the ground and at low levels of vegetation, where they hunt for invertebrates and small fruit.
CollapseTrue to their name, Solomon Islands leaf frogs resemble leaves in both color and shape. These small terrestrial frogs have a triangular head and coloration that varies from brown to gold to green. Their appearance helps them blend into their habitat. Nocturnal animals, Solomon Islands leaf frogs hunt for insects at night. Females lay eggs in shallow nests dug into the ground.
CollapseSouthern black howler monkeys are some of the only primates that vary in color from male to female—a trait called sexual dimorphism, which is a broad term that includes differences in size, behavior, and other characteristics between males and females of the same species. Males are black while females are blonde. These primates use their specialized molars to process leafy diets.
CollapseSouthern three-banded armadillo were named for the three distinct hinges across their mid-section that allow them to curl into a ball when threatened. These small mammals weigh about three pounds and can reach up to 12 inches in length. They typically feed on ants, beetle larvae, and termites. A long, sticky tongue helps them gather their food from hard-to-reach places, such as termite mounds. They are solitary and only come together to breed.
CollapseSpectacled caimans were named for the bony ridge above their eyes, which resembles a pair of glasses. Adults are dull green and can grow to more than six feet in length. They primarily eat fish, insects, frogs, birds, and even mammals. After breeding, females lay eggs in nests built with mud and leaves.
CollapseSpotted dikkops, which can stand up to 18 inches tall, have long legs, a brown-and-white speckled coat, a round head, bright yellow eyes, and a short beak. They hunt on the ground, feeding on insects, small mammals, and lizards. These wading birds build their nest in a scrape in the ground, which they line with grasses, feathers, pebbles, and twigs.
CollapseSpotted turtles have smooth, dark shells peppered with yellow spots. While their head is mostly dark, their face has lighter coloration and a few spots. Males and females differ in appearance. Males are more elongated, with larger tails, while females have rounder carapaces and are slightly larger than males overall. They eat a range of food, from aquatic seeds and greenery to worms, eggs, and carrion.
CollapseIntricately patterned birds, sunbitterns have a dark blueish-black head with white strips above and below their eyes. Their back features alternating black, white, blue, and brown stripes, which help them blend into their forest habitat. A brightly colored pattern on their wings help to attract mates and drive away rivals.
CollapseTaveta golden weavers were named, in part, for the males' bright yellow feathers, which are paired with a green-tinted tail and wings and auburn patches on their nape and chest. Females have duller yellow-green plumage. These small songbirds primarily eat seeds, grasses, and insects. They often nest in large colonies, sometimes mixed with other weaver species.
CollapseTawny frogmouths have gray plumage with occasional black streaks, which allow them to blend into the branches and avoid detection by predators. Nocturnal birds, they use their large, bright yellow eyes and excellent hearing to hunt. Breeding pairs typically return and add to the same nest each year.
CollapseThe largest North American waterfowl, trumpeter swans have white plumage and a black bill. They feed primarily on seeds, grains, and wetland plants, as well as snails, insects, and small fish. These aquatic birds form breeding pairs at the age of 3 or 4, and pairs often mate for life. Female build a large grass nest near a body of water, where they lay four to six eggs. Upon hatching, offspring remain with their parents for three to four months before venturing off on their own.
CollapseWest African dwarf crocodiles are uniformly dark in color and have brown eyes. These slow moving, timid creatures have heavily armored bodies covered in bony, plated scales from head to tail. They can grow to a length of five and a half feet and weigh 70 pounds. Aquatic and nocturnal, they feed on crabs, frogs, fish, and, occasionally, small mammals that wander into the water. Dwarf crocodiles lay approximately 20 eggs at a time in nest mounds made of vegetation.
CollapseWest African gaboon vipers have a triangular head and distrinct horn-like scales above their nostrils. The color of their ridged scales vary from brown to purple, and they have an intricate symmetrical design pattern along their body that resembles a line of yellow hourglasses. They primarily eat small mammals, rodents, ground-dwelling birds, frogs, and toads.
CollapseWestern lowland gorillas, one of the largest living primates, can grow up to six feet tall and over 400 pounds. All gorillas have a black coat but adult males also have a silvery-white "saddle" on their back. Gorillas are herbivorous, primarily feeding on leaves, stems, and fruit. Troops are made up of a dominant silverback, multiple females, and their young. Mating is non-seasonal and offspring are born after nine months. After maturing, males leave to form their own troop or join a bachelor group while females leave to join another established group.
CollapseWhite-blotched river stingrays are black with white spots across the top of their body and tail. Their enlarged pectoral fins make them look like floating discs. At maturity, they average about 16 inches across, but individuals can reach up to 30 inches in length. Their mouth and gills are located on their underside, allowing them to skim the river bottom for food. They primarily feed on small invertebrates, fish, snails, and crabs.
CollapseWhite-cheeked gibbons were named after the white patch of fur surrounding their mouth and chin. Like other gibbons, they are known as small apes due to their relatively diminuitive body size compared to great apes, such as western lowland gorillas or even humans. They can reach up to 25 inches in height and weigh approximately 12 pounds. They have extremely long arms and legs that are adapted to moving through trees but, like all apes, white-cheeked gibbons do not have tails.
CollapseWhite-faced sakis are small, sexually dimorphic monkeys that weigh about three to five pounds. Males have black fur surrounding their light brown-furred faces. Females are lighter, with bright strips of hair from their eyes to chin. Both sexes have flat, wide noses. While they are primarily frugivores, sakis also eat seeds and occasionally small mammals and birds. These social primates live in small families of parents and offspring. For the first few weeks after birth, mothers are the primary caregiver, but fathers and siblings eventually help raise the young monkeys.
CollapseMedium-sized songbirds, white-lined tanagers are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females differ in appearance. They are paler in comparasion to other tanagers—males have black plumage and white markings beneath their wings while females have rich auburn plumage. These birds feed on fruit, seeds, and insects.
CollapseWhite-rumped shamas have a long black tail, a chestnut belly, a white patch on their lower back and rump, a black bill, and pink feet. Females are typically shorter than males and have a grayish-brown color. They primarily eat insects, such as ants, grasshoppers, and caterpillars.
CollapseWood turtles have brown shells with distinct, ornately marked segments called scutes. Their underside and legs are flecked with yellow, red, or orange markings. They are sexually dimorphic; males have longer tails and claws than females. Both sexes can reach up to nine inches in length. Omnivorous amphibians, wood turtles eat plants, animals, insects, and carrion. After breeding, these turtles deposit as many as 18 soft eggs on exposed and sandy riverbanks. After six weeks, offspring hatch and dive in to the water.
CollapseYellow-spotted Amazon River turtles are some of the largest turtles in South America, with females reaching up to twice the size of males. They have a dark upper shell and yellow spots across their head. Both sexes eat a variety of food, ranging from fruit and plant material to fish and small invertebrates. Females lay two clutches each year, with as many as three dozen eggs per clutch. After hatching from nests dug into sandy riverbanks, newborns take to the river.
CollapseZebra tilapias were named for their black and white stripes—which resemble the pattern more commonly associated with zebras. They can grow up to 16 inches long and travel in large groups to fend off larger predators. Zebra tilapias are omnivorous, eating a variety of animals and plants. Females brood their fertilized eggs in their mouth—and keep newborns trapped inside for an additional three months after hatching. Newborns are independent one week after being released, but return to their mother's mouth at night and when sensing danger.