Jaguars are wild cats that live in rain forests, swamps, deserts, and shrubby areas from South and Central America. These solitary felines often have dens in caves. Jaguars are territorial. They are very good swimmers. Jaguars are an endangered species due to loss of habitat and over-hunting by man.
Anatomy: These graceful cats grow to be about 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 m) long; the tail is 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 m) long. Jaguars are bigger than leopards, and their dark markings are arranged in a rosette of 4 or 5 spots placed around a central lighter-colored spot.
Diet: These large cats are carnivores (meat-eaters). They hunt mammals, reptiles, birds, and eggs, including capybaras, peccaries, tapirs, turtles, and alligators. They often bury their prey after killing it, in order to eat it later. They hunt mostly at night; they are nocturnal.
Leopards are widely-distributed wild cats that live in rain forests, woodlands, plains, deserts, and shrubby areas. They are found in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, parts of China, India, Siberia, and Southeast Asia. Leopards are a threatened species due to loss of habitat, loss of prey, and over-hunting.
Leopards are fast runners, good swimmers and excellent tree climbers. They often hide their food in trees. The leopard's call sounds like a raspy cough, not a roar. Leopards live up to 21 years in captivity.
Anatomy: These graceful, medium-sized cats grow to be about 3.5-5.5 feet (1-1.7 m) long; the tail is 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 m) long. Adults weigh from 65 to 175 pounds (30-80 kg). Males are larger than females.
Some leopards have dark rosettes on a black background, making them appear black; these leopards are called black panthers. Cubs are gray when they are born.
Diet: These large cats are carnivores (meat-eaters). They hunt a wide range of mammals, reptiles, birds, crabs, and fish. They hunt mostly at night; they are nocturnal.
Lions are large cats that live on grassy plains (savannas) in Africa and a some grasslands of India. These golden-colored felines grow to be up to 6 feet (1.8 m) long and weigh up to 420 pounds (190 kg). Lions live for about 15 years in the wild. The scientific name for lions is Panthera leo.
Lions live in permanent groups, called "prides." These prides have up to 25 lions in them. The home territory of a pride can cover 100 square miles (260 square km). The females do most of the hunting, often hunting in groups.
Lions are nocturnal (more active at night). Lions hunt antelopes, zebra, wildebeest, warthogs, and other large, herding animals.
The Kangaroo is a common marsupial from the islands of Australia and New Guinea. There are 47 species of "roos." Kangaroos can hop up to 40 miles per hour (74 kph) and go over 30 feet (9 m) in one hop. When standing, roos often use their muscular tail as a extra leg. These shy animals live about 6 years in the wild and up to 20 in captivity. Most roos are nocturnal (active at night). Many roos are in danger of extinction, but they are also considered pests due to the way they damage crops. An adult male is called a buck, boomer or jack; an adult female is called a doe, flyer, roo, or jill. A baby is called a joey. A group of roos is called a mob.
Anatomy: Roos and wallabies range in size from 2 pounds (the Rock Wallaby) up to 6 ft and 300 pounds (the Red Kangaroo). The soft, woolly fur can be blue, grey, red, black, yellow or brown, depending on the species. Females have a pouch in which the young live and drink milk.
Diet: These herbivores (plant-eaters) eat grass, leaves, and roots. They swallow their food without chewing it and later regurgitate a cud and chew it. Roos need little water; they can go for months without drinking, and they dig their own water wells.
Classification: Kingdom Animalia - animals
Phylum Chordata - chordates
Class Mammalia - mammals
Infraclass Marsupialia - marsupials (pouched mammals)
Order Diprotodontia - kangaroos, wallabies, possums, koala, wombats, and relatives
Family Macropodidae - kangaroos, wallabies, and relatives
Genus Macropus - kangaroos, wallaroos and many species of wallaby.
The Koala is a small marsupial (pouched mammal) that lives in Australia. Koalas are arboreal, they spend most of their time in eucalyptus (gum) trees. These nocturnal (most active at night) animals spend 18 to 20 hours each day resting and sleeping; they spend much of the night eating. They are aggressive animals who live in woodlands.
Koalas are not bears; their closest relative is the wombat. The genus and species of the koala is Phascolarctos cinereus.
Anatomy: The koala is up to 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 m) long, weighing 10-30 pounds (4.5-13.5 kg). The soft, woolly fur is light-gray to brown, and it has patches of white on the chest, neck. and ears. This fur protects them from cold weather and rain. Koalas have rough pads on their feet and hands which are used for gripping the trees they live in. The koala's brain is very small. Like other young marsupials, baby koalas (called joeys) live in their mother's backwards-facing pouch for months. The koala is one of the few animals that has fingerprints (other animals with fingerprints include many primates and fishers)
Diet: These herbivores (plant-eaters) eat mostly eucalyptus (gum tree), chewing these tough leaves using their powerful jaws. They store unchewed food in cheek pouches. Koalas have a keen sense of smell which they use to make sure the type of gum leaves are edible and not poisonous.
Cats are small, tame, furry mammals that are often kept as pets and farm animals. There are over 30 different breeds of tame cats, with different body shapes and sizes, coloring, fur length, eye color, tail length, voice, and temperament. House cats do not enjoy swimming. Cats were domesticated over 7,000 years ago.
Diet: Even tame cats are fast, effective hunters. They are carnivores (meat-eaters). Cats will kill and eat small mammals, birds, fish, frogs, lizards, and snakes. On farms, cats help reduce the vermin population (rats, mice, and other small, destructive animals). Cats use their acute sight and hearing to catch prey. They swallow large bites of meat without chewing it. Cats are primarily nocturnal (most active at night). They have very good night vision.
Anatomy: Cats are graceful animals that have a rounded face. They have a sand-papery tongue and needle-like teeth. Their skeleton is extremely flexible.
Horses are large, fast-running mammals that live in family groups on grasslands. They eat grasses; they are nomadic herbivores. Racehorses can gallop at up to about 42 mph (68 kph) in short bursts in order to escape from predators. The horse's life span is about 20-35 years. Horses were first domesticated by people in Asia 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. There are about 200 domesticated (not wild) breeds of horses. The earliest-known horse is the tiny Eohippus (Hyracotherium).
Names: An adult female horse is called a mare, the adult male is called a stallion. A foal is a horse not yet one year old; a colt is a young male and a filly is a young female. A gelding is a sterilized male horse. A pony is a small horse, less than 58 inches (146 cm) tall at the shoulder. Horses are closely related to the zebra and donkey. Mules and hinnies are the offspring of donkeys and horses. The genus and species of the horse is Equus caballus.
Anatomy: Horses have hoofed feet (they are ungulates). The hooves and teeth continue to grow throughout the horse's life. Horses have a narrow, flowing mane. They have large nostrils that let them get lots of air quickly. Large eyes and ears help the horse detect predators early, allowing it to run away. The heaviest horse is the Belgian (up to 3,150 lb,1400 kg), a draft (working) horse; the tallest is the Percheron (7 ft tall), another draft horse. The lightest and smallest is the miniature horse, a type of pony.
Sleeping: Horses sleep standing up, but if they feel safe, they will sleep lying down.