Our guide to the most unique animals around the world will provide fascinating and fun facts on animals from around the world.
Here you will read about the most common and the most endangered animals as well as the most impressive wildlife of many different countries. And here you will learn some awesome animal facts to impress your family and friends.
There are about 15 million animal species on our planet, and some say there are even many more! Only 2 million species are known or have been classified so far. Every year new species are discovered, described and named.
Africa is known as the continent with the most varied wildlife and the most animal species. If one considers countries, Indonesia on the Asian continent is referred to as the most biodiverse country of the world and has the largest number of mammal species on our planet. Australia on the other hand, is known for its variety of marine life and the highest number of fish species.
But let's start with some basic facts about the animal world:
Here we will tell you about some animals that are native and unique to the different continents or that are commonly encountered there.
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There are 17 megadiverse countries around the world. These countries are so special because of the high biodiversity which means high number of their unique plant and animal species. Read more about megadiverse countries on our special page here:
We have chosen ten unique and fascinating animals and wildlife species and will explain a litte bit more about them here.
Bats: There are almost 1,000 different species of bats living around the world. The small flying mammals live on all continents except Antarctica. They are mostly nocturnal animals that sleep during the day. Bats spend the day hanging up-side down in caves and trees and at night, they feed on insects and some species of smaller animals. Bats use echo waves from own ultrasonic squeals for orientation.
Dolphins: There are over 40 dolphin species in the world and dolphins can be found in every ocean region of this planet. Most dolphins, however, live in warm waters. The marine mammals travel in pods of up to 100 animals. Dolphins sleep with one eye open to keep watch on predators. The intelligent animals are known to make a variety of noises to communicate between each other.
Leopards: These mammals are the most widely distributed 'big cat' species and are native to 35 African countries. Other animals of the big cat species are the tigers, lions, jaguars and the snow leopards.
Leopards can be found in many regions in Africa and on the Asian continent as well. The large carnivores have quite a variety of spotted pattern of their coats. The East African leopards have circular spots while the Southern African leopards have square spots! A female leopard gives birth to a litter of two or three cubs and keeps them hidden until the are about two months old and start to roam freely.
Pumas belong to the cat species and live mainly in the Americas. These large mammals are considered the animal with the most names in English. Depending on region, these big cats are called: cougar, mountain lion, deer tiger, ghost cat, panther or mountain screamer and many other names.
Dragonfly: This flying insect has two strong transparent wings on either side of the long and slender body. There are over 3,000 species of dragonflies in the world. They can be encountered on all continents except Antarctica. Dragonflies have big compound eyes with about 30,000 lenses in each eye that give them the sharpest vision of any animal.
Sharks live in all five ocean regions of our planet. There are about 500 species of sharks. Only about 10% of the shark species are known to ever have attacked humans. The Great White Shark is the largest predatory fish. They feed on small fish, seals and dolphins. Most Great White Sharks are found in the ocean waters of the US coastline, southern Australia, northern Japan and Chile. However, the world's densest population of Great White Sharks is found at Dyer Island in South Africa.
Sheep: The domesticated mammals are descendants to the mouflons from central and southwestern Asia. These ancestors still can be found in Iran, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Today, China is the country with the largest domesticated sheep population in the world. With about 187 million sheep, China ranks before India and Australia. In Africa, Nigeria has the largest sheep population.
Vultures: These big birds of prey only feed on dead animals and do not hunt their prey. The largest of the vulture species is the Andean Condor. This is the largest flying bird on our planet! This vulture feeds on large carcasses of deer or cattle. The Andean Condor is the national symbol of five South American countries: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Marsupials: This is a special group of mammals that carry the young in a pouch. Most of these mammals live on the Australian continent but there are marsupials in South America too such as the opossum. There are more than 330 species of marsupials in Australia. Among the many marsupial species in Australia are koalas, wallabies, kangaroos or wombats.
Crocodiles are found on the American, Asian and Australian continents. There are 23 different species. Most crocodiles live in tropical rivers and swamps and many can grow up to 7 m/ 23 ft in length. Crocodiles have a narrower snout than alligators and an extra tooth that sticks out the lower and powerful jaw. They bask in the sun during the day and go hunting on fish, birds and larger mammals once it gets dark.
1. On which continents can you encounter bats?
2. Which animal is the ancestor of the domesticated sheep?
3. Which country has the largest sheep population?
4. On which continent do lemurs live?
5. Which vulture species has the largest animals?
6. Which animal is known as the largest of the big cats?
7. Which continent is known for marsupials such as wombats?
8. Name two marsupials - other than the wombat;-)
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