Search this website:

This web page location:

home page  >   Brief Facts  >   Animals

Brief Facts


Aruba Island rattlesnake, European mink, brush wolf, fly species, American mink

Deeper web pages:

>  Alligator

>  Bear

>  Blue Whale

>  Brown Bear

>  Camel

>  Caribou

>  Cheetah

>  Chimpanzee

>  Cobra

>  Crocodile

>  Dolphin

>  Elephant

>  Flying Fox

>  Gila Monster

>  Giraffe

>  Gorilla

>  Hipopotamus

>  Honey Bee

>  Kangaroo

>  Lion

>  Polar Bear

>  Raccoon

>  Reindeer

>  Rhinoceros

>  Sea Otter

>  Sperm Whale

>  Walrus

>  Zebra


Class Insecta

Order Hymenoptera

Family Formicidae

Conservation Concerns 45 species are at risk due to habitat destruction.

Range Almost all parts of the world; most abundant in the tropics.

Habitat Almost all parts of the world; most abundant in the tropics.

Feeding Habits Most ants are omnivores; they eat plant juices, seeds, fruits, other insects, and honeydew, a sugary liquid secreted by aphids.

Offspring Only queen ants lay eggs. Ants pass through egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages.

Life Span Less than six months on average; some worker and queen ants live for several years.

Did You Know

Leaf cutter ants grow fungus for food. They collect plant material to fertilize the fungus in their nests.

Male ants die soon after breeding with the queen ant.

Most queen ants have wings that they tear off after mating.

Ants use scent trails to find their way back to their nest.

Army ants travel in long, narrow columns in search of prey.


Class Amphibia

Order Caudata

Family Ambystomatidae

Genus Ambystoma

Species mexicanum

Conservation Concerns At risk due to habitat encroachment

Range In and around Lake Xochimilco in Mexico

Habitat Areas of thin ice and water

Size Length: 25 to 30cm (10 to 12 in) long

Weight: 100 to 300g (3.5 to 11 oz)

Feeding Habits Axolotls are carnivores; they eat worms, tadpoles, small fish, and insect larvae.

Offspring Female axolotls lay about 400 eggs, which hatch after about 2.5 weeks. Newborn young remain attached to plants for another two weeks.

Life Span Up to 50 years.

Did You Know

Axolotl is a Nahuatl word meaning 'water doll.'

Axolotls are frequently born as albinos.

Most axolotls remain in the larval stage, retaining their gills for their entire lives.

Axolotls can develop lungs if they are restricted to a dry environment for a period of time.

Black Widow Spider

Class Arachnida

Order Araneae

Family Theridiidae

Genus Latrodectus

Range Common in the tropics and parts of North and South America.

Habitat Dark, protected crevices.

Size Females grow to 1.2 cm (0.5 in); males are smaller, with longer legs in proportion to their body.

Feeding Habits Black widow spiders are carnivores; they feed on insects they catch in their webs.

Offspring The female spider deposits up to 750 eggs in an egg sac. The eggs hatch after two to four weeks.

Life Span About one to two years.

Did You Know

Black widows prefer to stay away from people—they only bite in defense.

The black widow is the most poisonous spider in the United States.

Only female black widows are dangerous to people.

Contrary to popular belief, the female black widow spider usually does not kill her partner after mating.


Class Insecta

Order Dictyoptera

Sub Order Blattodea

Range Worldwide; most species found in tropics and subtropics.

Size Ranging from about 4 mm (.16 in) to 10 cm (4 in) long.

Feeding Habits Cockroaches are omnivores; they eat a wide range of substances, including plant material, dead insects, human food, paper, and soap. They feed primarily at night.

Offspring The female cockroach seals her eggs in a hard case called an ootheca. Eggs develop into nymphs inside the case. Cockroaches reach maturity after molting their exoskeleton several times.

Did You Know

Cockroaches breathe through pores in the sides of their bodies.

Wood cockroaches produce a special bacteria to help them digest wood.

Species of cockroaches existed 300 million years ago and remain practically unchanged today.

Cockroaches can detect tiny quantities of food with their antennae and other sensory bristles.


Class Mammalia

Order Carnivora

Family Canidae

Genus Canis

Species latrans

Range North America and parts of Central America.

Habitat Forests, grasslands, and brush.

Size Length: 104 to 132 cm (41 to 52 in)

Weight: 7 to 20 kg (15 to 44 lb).

Feeding Habits Coyotes are carnivores; their diet includes small mammals, birds, and carrion. Coyotes typically hunt at night, sometimes in packs.

Offspring Female coyotes give birth to a litter of about six pups after a two-month gestation period. The pups are weaned after five to six weeks.

Life Span About 15 years in captivity; about seven years in the wild.

Did You Know

At night, coyotes often let out a distinctive, mournful howl.

Coyotes have expanded their range from western North America across much of the continent.

Coyotes have adopted the wolf's behavior of hunting in packs, particularly in regions once inhabited by wolves.

The coyote is sometimes called the brush wolf, prairie wolf, or burrowing dog.


Class Insecta

Order Coleoptera

Family Lampyridae

Range Worldwide, especially in warm, tropical areas.

Size Up to 2.5 cm (1 in) in length.

Feeding Habits Fireflies eat at night. Immature fireflies, or larvae, consume snails and worms. Adult fireflies eat nectar or do not eat at all.

Offspring Females lay eggs that hatch into larvae. The larvae metamorphose into pupae, which grow into adults.

Life Span About one to three weeks.

Did You Know

Male fireflies attract females by sending out specific flash patterns of light.

Some species can generate both red and green light.

Fireflies produce a chemical called luciferin that reacts with oxygen to create light.

Fireflies are actually beetles, not flies.


Class Insecta

Order Diptera

Sub Orders Nematocera



Range Worldwide and in most habitats.

Size Smallest: 2 mm (0.08 in) long.

Largest: 50 mm (2 in) long.

Feeding Habits Adult flies eat insects, pollen, nectar, blood, or fruit. Most fly larvae consume dead organic matter.

Offspring Most fly species lay eggs 5 to 25 times a year. Flies metamorphose from embryo to larva, pupa, and adult forms. Metamorphosis lasts an average of two weeks.

Life Span Generally no more than a few months.

Did You Know

The female common housefly lays from 600 to 1000 eggs in its lifetime.

Of major insect groups, flies are the only ones with just one pair of wings.

The eyes of the small-headed fly almost completely cover its head.

The skipper fly lives in cheese and can survive more than a day submerged in wax.

Giant Panda

Class Mammalia

Order Carnivora

Family Ursidae

Genus Ailuropoda

Species melanoleuca

Conservation Concerns Endangered due to habitat destruction.

Range Central China.

Habitat Bamboo forests at elevations ranging from 2,300 to 3,800 m (7,500 to 12,500 ft).

Size Length: 1.5 m (5 ft).

Weight: 75 to 160 kg (165 to 350 lb).

Feeding Habits Giant pandas are herbivores; they mainly eat bamboo. They spend about 12 to 14 hours eating each day.

Offspring Giant pandas mate between March and May. Females give birth to one or two cubs after a three- to six-month gestation period.

Life Span About 20 to 30 years.

Did You Know

Giant pandas eat up to 38 kg (84 lb) of bamboo a day.

Giant pandas are a species of bear.

Only about 1,600 giant pandas remain in the wild.

Giant panda paws have a long wrist bone that works like a thumb to grasp bamboo stems.


Class Mammalia

Order Rodentia

Family Muridae

Conservation Concerns Some species threatened due to habitat destruction.

Range Europe and Asia, and worldwide in captivity.

Habitat Deserts, steppes, and riverbanks.

Size Largest: about 34 cm (13 in) long, weighing about 900 g (32 oz).

Smallest: about 5.3 cm (2 in) long, weighing about 100 g (3.5 oz).

Feeding Habits Hamsters are omnivorous; they mainly eat grains, fruit, roots, and leaves, but will also eat meat and insects.

Offspring After a gestation period of about twenty days, female hamsters give birth to as many as 18 young.

Life Span About two to three years.

Did You Know

Most hamsters are nocturnal and are rarely active during the day.

Hamster burrows can be as deep as 1.5 m (5 ft) below the ground.

During winter hibernation, the golden hamster's pulse rate drops from about 400 to 4 beats per minute.

Of about 14 distinct species of hamsters, eight are kept as pets.


Class Mammalia

Order Marsupialia

Family Phascolarctidae

Genus Phascolarctos

Species cinereus

Names young: joey

Conservation Concerns Endangered due to habitat destruction, predation, and disease.

Range Australia.

Habitat Eucalyptus forests.

Size Length: 69 to 79 cm (27 to 31 in).

Weight: 5 to 12 kg (11 to 26 lb).

Feeding Habits Koalas are herbivores; their diet primarily consists of eucalyptus leaves. Koalas usually feed at night.

Offspring Female koalas give birth to one baby a year. The joey lives and grows in the mother's pouch and emerges after five to seven months. The mother then carries the joey on her back for an additional year.

Life Span Up to 20 years.

Did You Know

Koalas eat the leaves of about 35 of 500 species of eucalyptus tree.

Koalas get most of the liquid they need from eucalyptus leaves.

Koalas often remain in the same trees for days.


Class Mammalia

Order Carnivora

Family Mustelidae

Genus Mustela

Species lutreola (European)

vison (American)

Conservation Concerns The European mink is endangered due to hunting and habitat destruction.

Range North America except the southwest, and Europe from France to western Siberia.

Habitat Near rivers, lakes, swamps, and marshes.

Size Length: 143 to 66 cm (17 to 26 in), including the tail.

Weight: 0.44 to 1.5 kg (0.97 to 3.3 lb).

Feeding Habits Minks are carnivores; they mainly eat small mammals, birds, crayfish, frogs, and fish.

Offspring The female mink gives birth to an average of four to six young per litter.

Life Span Four to five years in the wild.

Did You Know

Minks are very agile in water, as well as active on land.

Minks often live in the burrows of other animals.

The American mink has a stronger odor than the skunk.

Minks are raised on large-scale farms to supply the fur industry.


Class Reptilia

Order Serpentes

Family Viperidae

Sub Family Crotalinae

Conservation Concerns The Aruba Island rattlesnake is endangered due to habitat destruction.

Range North and South America.

Habitat Forests, mountains, savannas, and arid regions.

Size Length: 1 to 2.4 m (3.3 to 8 ft).

Feeding Habits Rattlesnakes are carnivores; they eat mammals (especially rodents) and reptiles.

Offspring The female rattlesnake gives birth to 8 to 15 young after a gestation period of four to seven months.

Life Span About 20 years.

Did You Know

The most dangerous rattlesnake is the Cascaval of South America--75 percent of its human victims die of asphyxiation.

The rattlesnake's rattle can be heard up to 20 m (60 ft) away.

Rattlesnakes can only sense vibrations-they can't even hear another snake's rattle.

A newborn rattlesnake has no rattle, just a scale at the end of its body.


Class Cephalopoda

Order Teuthoidea

Range Squid live throughout the world's oceans at all depths.

Size Largest: The giant squid can reach a length of 18 m (60 ft) including tentacles, and weigh up to 900 kg (1980 lbs).

Smallest: One species of sepiolid squid only reaches a length of about 1.8 cm (0.7 in), and weighs as little as 700 mg (0.02 oz).

Feeding Habits Squid are carnivores; they eat fish, crustaceans, and smaller squid.

Offspring Female squid lay thousands of eggs, which attach to foliage or to objects at the bottom of the ocean.

Life Span The common squid lives about one to two years.

Did You Know

Some squid have bioluminescent organs that make them glow in the dark.

When being chased, many squid squirt a dark liquid to distract their attacker.

Giant squid have eyes the size of basketballs

Squid swim faster than any other invertebrate.

Biologists estimate that there are as many as 500 species of squid.


Class Mammalia

Order Carnivora

Family Felidae

Genus Panthera

Species tigris

Conservation Concerns Endangered by hunting and habitat destruction.

Range Siberia, Southeast Asia, southern India.

Habitat Forests, grasslands, savannas, and swamps.

Size Length: 2 to 3 m (7 to 10 ft), not including tail.

Weight: 75 to 258 kg (165 to 570 lb).

Feeding Habits Tigers are carnivores; they prefer to eat large mammals, including deer, buffalo, and antelope.

Offspring The female tiger may give birth to two to four cubs. The cubs leave the mother after about two years. Only half of all cubs survive to adulthood.

Life Span About 15 years in the wild.

Did You Know

The Bengal tiger is the world's largest cat, weighing up to 180 to 258 kg (400 to 570 lb).

Tigers can jump up to 10 m (33 ft) in one leap.

A tiger catches prey only once in 10 to 20 hunts.

A tiger's roar can be heard up to 3 km (2 mi) away.

Vampire Bat

Class Mammalia

Order Chiroptera

Family Phyllostomidae

Names young: pup

group of flying bats: flock

group of roosting bats: colony

group leaving the roost: emergence

Range Mexico, South America.

Habitat Caves or cavelike places in forests and open areas.

Size Length: 6.9 to 9.3 m (2.5 to 3.2 in).

Weight: 15 to 50 g (0.53 to 18 oz).

Feeding Habits Vampire bats suck the blood from livestock, birds, and sometimes humans. They hunt shortly after dark, flying about 1 m (3.3 ft) above the ground to find prey.

Offspring Female vampire bats give birth to a single pup after a gestation period of about seven months.

Life Span Up to 19 years in captivity.

Did You Know

Vampire bats are very agile on the ground, using their hind legs to crawl and run.

When feeding, vampire bats ingest about 20 ml (1 oz) of blood a night.

Vampire bat saliva contains a powerful anticoagulant, or blood thinner.

Vampire bats occasionally form colonies as large as 2000 bats.

Article key phrases:

Aruba Island rattlesnake, European mink, brush wolf, fly species, American mink, poisonous spider, Leaf cutter ants, queen ant, prairie wolf, queen ants, Axolotls, female tiger, golden hamster, largest cat, Axolotl, eucalyptus leaves, luciferin, Genus Panthera, Vampire Bat, Genus Canis, giant squid, Black Widow Spider, vampire bats, Bengal tiger, Black widows, fly larvae, pulse rate, Minks, vison, fur industry, tadpoles, Giant Panda, blood thinner, pupa, Koalas, Class Cephalopoda, giant pandas, habitat destruction, Brachycera, gestation period, hamsters, predation, Rattlesnakes, herbivores, omnivores, subtropics, larva, Cockroach, Class Amphibia, crayfish, honeydew, riverbanks, black widow, egg sac, Cockroaches, carnivores, small fish, Class Reptilia, Class Mammalia, antennae, rattlesnake, nectar, Mink, gills, Koala, Class Arachnida, Fireflies, Metamorphosis, savannas, crevices, Order Carnivora, invertebrate, larval stage, tentacles, Class Insecta, squid, grasslands, hind legs, small mammals, hard case, organic matter, beetles, snails, coyotes, skipper, swamps, webs, larvae, Hamster, Life Span, pores, green light, tropical areas, Firefly, tropics, captivity, emergence, ants, human food, pollen, Offspring, cubs, roar, pups, pup, attacker, Coyote, mating, foliage, vibrations, fungus, Southeast Asia, pouch, habitats, worms, flock, ml, popular belief, bamboo, lungs, Ant, maturity, hunts, hatch, frogs, proportion, prey, nest, Habitat, glow, colony, regions, litter, Tigers, run, mm, leap, mg, people, tiger, oxygen, beats, mammals, wolf, buffalo, France, fish, lifetime, baby, ca, food, cm, lbs, cheese, birds, lb, wings, water, forests, oceans, grains, South America, roots, trees, livestock, diet, insects, ocean, eggs, fruits, Europe, joey, oz, fruit, world, plants, Asia, kg, range, United States, blood, pets, thumb, mountains, risk, eyes, hunting, mother, young, species, Weight, wild, flies, paper, leaves, body, breeding, scale, land, March, liquid, head, sides, minute, active, birth, average, brush, Conservation, females, partner, tail, end, night, material, lives, defense, packs, chemical, half, lakes, warm, percent, length, worker, days, period of time, ground, parts, day, Smallest, hours, months, way, weeks, years

Search this website: