Melanistic animals are animals with an increased amount of the dark pigment melanin in their skin, hair and feathers, etc., giving them a dark appearance. Melanism is a genetic mutation that occurs in many different types of animals, including mammals, reptiles and insects. Among the best-known melanistic animals are the black leopards and jaguars known as panthers.
Other melanistic animals include squirrels, deer, pheasants, the silver fox (a melanistic red fox), several cat species, even penguins (a melanistic king penguin was filmed during the making of the BBC series “Dynasties”) and flamingos (a black flamingo was spotted in Cyprus in 2015).
On this page we explore melanism and other genetic conditions that affect the appearance of animals, and provide pictures and facts on a variety of melanistic animals.
Marsupials are mammals and, like all other mammals, belong to the class Mammalia. Marsupials are known as “pouched mammals” because, after being born, their young continue to develop in a special pouch in the mother’s abdomen.
Marsupials belong to the infraclass Metatheria, which is one of the three main mammal groups, the others being the egg-laying monotremes and the placental mammals.
Ugly animals include mammals such as the proboscis monkey, aye-aye, naked mole rat and elephant seal; fish such as the blobfish and goblin shark; birds such as condors and the kakapo; and amphibians such as giant salamanders.
Below is a list including these and other ugly animals, with pictures and facts on each species.
Snakes are not amphibians; snakes are reptiles that belong to the class Reptilia, a group that also contains animals such as lizards, turtles and crocodilians. Amphibians belong to the class Amphibia, a group that also contains animals such as frogs, toads, newts, caecilians and salamanders.
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Asian animals include mammals such as the giant panda, tiger, Asiatic lion, snow leopard, orangutan and proboscis monkey; reptiles such as the saltwater crocodile, Indian cobra and Komodo dragon, and birds such as the great hornbill, painted stork and peacock.
On this page is a list of famous (and not-so-famous) Asian animals, with pictures and interesting facts on each species.
Humans did not live with dinosaurs; many millions of years separate the last (non-avian) dinosaurs and the first humans. Dinosaurs first appeared in the Triassic Period of the Mesozoic Era, and became extinct 66 million years ago. The first modern humans (Homo sapiens) appeared around 315,000 years ago; at least 65 million years after the last dinosaurs.
Read on for interesting facts on dinosaurs and humans (and why they never crossed paths)…
Sharks are not mammals; sharks are fish. Sharks lack mammalian characteristics such as hair and lungs, and do not produce milk. Being fish, sharks have scales and fins, and breathe using gills. Sharks belong to the class Chondrichthyes, whereas mammals belong to the class Mammalia.
Although sharks do share some physical characteristics with mammals (especially marine mammals such as whales and dolphins), they are very different types of animal.
On this page you’ll discover why sharks are fish rather than mammals, and learn some amazing facts about both groups of animals along the way…
Birds are not mammals; birds belong to the class Aves and are more closely related to reptiles than to mammals. Mammals belong to the class Mammalia. Birds are the only living animals to have feathers, whereas mammals are the only animals to have hair.
All living birds are directly descended from dinosaurs; a bird is far more closely related to an alligator than it is to a bat or any other mammal!
Although both birds and mammals do share a common ancestor, the ancestors of birds split from the ancestors of mammals over three hundred million years ago.
With such a vast amount of time (and evolution) separating birds and mammals, the answer to the question “Is a bird a mammal?” is definitely “no!”.
To fully understand why a bird is not a mammal, we need to take a closer look at both groups of animals…
Animals that start with X include: mammals such as Xanthippe’s shrew and the xolo (a breed of dog); the reptile Xantus’ leaf-toed gecko (a species of lizard); fish such as the X-ray tetra and xestus sabretooth blenny; and birds such as Xantus’ Hummingbird and the xeme. On this page are pictures and facts on these …
Insects are animals. Like all animals, insects are multicellular organisms that respire using oxygen, reproduce sexually, eat and move. Insects belong to the animal class Insecta, which, with around one million living species, is by far the biggest class within the animal kingdom. Insects make up at least two-thirds–and likely a much larger proportion–of all known living animal species.
On this page you’ll find a simple, fact-filled guide to insects and why they are considered to be animals…