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The 7 Main Types of Animals And Their Characteristics
There are many different types of animals in the world, but some of the largest categories include:
The official mammal class is Mammalia. Animals that are considered mammals include warm-blooded vertebrates that have hair or fur and whose babies drink milk. Unlike other animal types like birds and insects, all mammal babies drink milk that comes from their mother’s bodies. This is one of the key ways to know if an animal is a mammal.
See the complete list of mammals.
Lizards, dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, and snakes – all belong to that ancient and stout class of animals known as the reptiles. This is a diverse group with more than 10,000 different species and a huge representation in the fossil record. Once the dominant land vertebrates on the planet, reptiles still occupy just about every single ecosystem outside of the extreme north and south.
See the complete list of reptiles.
Fish are aquatic vertebrates. They usually have gills, paired fins, a long body covered with scales, and tend to be cold-blooded. “Fish” is a term used to refer to lampreys, sharks, coelacanths and ray-finned fishes, but is not a taxonomic group, which is a clade or group containing a common ancestor and all its descendants.
See the complete list of fish.
Birds, members of the class Aves, include more than 10,400 living species. Their feathers distinguish them from all other classes of animal; no other animals on earth have them. If you see an animal with feathers, it’s undoubtedly a bird. Like mammals, birds are warm-blooded vertebrates with four-chambered hearts. However, they are more closely related to reptiles and are believed to have evolved from dinosaurs.
See the complete list of birds.
The official class of amphibians is Amphibia. To have the classification of an amphibian, an animal must be a vertebrate, require water to survive, be cold-blooded, and spend time both on land and in water. Though other animals only live on land or in the water, amphibians have the unique ability to thrive equally in both. Amphibians cover over 6,000 different species across the globe, but about 90% are frogs.
See the complete list of amphibians.
The definition of an invertebrate is any animal that does not have a backbone or vertebral column. The most prolific and easily recognizable members of the invertebrate family are insects. It’s estimated that upwards of 30 million individual species of invertebrates may exist accounting for between 90-95 percent of all organisms on the planet.
See the complete list of invertebrates.
All insects are part of the taxonomical phylum Arthropoda, and they are collectively referred to as arthropods. It is common to see this name misspelled as “anthropod,” but this is not the correct term. They can be found in nearly every environment on the planet, and they currently account for over half of all known living organisms in the world. They have undergone many cycles of evolution depending on the resources available to them.
See the complete list of insects.
Explore Types of Wild Animals from Around the World
We track thousands of animals from every continent and corner on earth, and are adding more every day!
- African Animals – Africa is home to some of the most incredible and dangerous animals in the world.
- Asian Animals – Asia has the world’s longest coastline, and an amazing diversity of exotic animals, birds, and more.
- Central American Animals – Discover the the nearly 400 different animals we track in Central America today.
- Eurasian Animals – Eurasia has some of the rarest animals in the world, like Siberian Tigers and Snow Leopards.
- European Animals – We track over 500 different animals in Europe, including wolves and bears.
- North American Animals – North America has many beautiful national parks that house some of the rarest animals on earth.
- Marine (Ocean) Animals – The ocean is teaming with life, from the smallest shrimp to the largest animal ever – the Blue Whale!
- Oceanian Animals – Oceania has many islands, and the world’s highest concentration of marsupials.
- South American Animals – Home to the stealthy Jaguar, the friendly Capybara, and many more!
See Endangered and Extinct Animals Lists
A-Z Animals follow’s the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species definitions of threatened and endangered animals. Please consult the lists below to learn more about which animals need our help the most
- Extinct – Species that no longer exist on earth
- Extinct in the Wild – Species that are only known to survive in captive or cultivated environments
- Critically Endangered – Animals that face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild
- Endangered – Animal species that face a high risk of extinction in the wild
- Vulnerable – Animal species that face a risk of extinction in the wild
- Near Threatened – Species that are facing population challenges and likely to become vulnerable to extinction soon
- Least Concern – Animals with strong populations that are not expected to face extinction risk in the near future
- Data Deficient – Species where we lack adequate information to assess the risk
- Not Evaluated – Animal species that have not been evaluated yet
Types of Animals By Letter: Explore A to Z Animal Lists
See lists of animals that start with every letter of the alphabet, from A to Z. We track all types of animals like lions and tigers, dogs and cats, even dinosaurs and spiders. Choose your favorite letter below to see all animals that start with it today.
Everything To Know About Pet Dogs, Cats Birds, and More
Some of the most popular types of animals on earth are pets. A pet is a domesticated animal that lives with a person or family, usually in a house. The most common pets include dogs, cats, fish, and birds, but there are also many amazing exotic pets like reptiles, lizards, and more! Horses, goats, and pigs can also be pets too.
Dogs are the most popular type of pet on earth with nearly 500 million worldwide. Thats almost one dog for every 15 people on earth! There are hundreds of different dog breeds. The Irish Wolfhound is the largest dog breed, and was bred to hunt wolves. Chihuahuas are the smallest, and were likely bred for companionship or to hunt small rodents. The most popular dog breeds are below.
Cats are the second most popular pet on earth with nearly 400 million worldwide. Thats almost one pet cat for every 20 people on earth! You can read about the hundreds of different cat breeds, from the large to the small. The most popular cat breeds are below
Pet Product Reviews
Pets are important members of our families and should be cared for. The AZ Animals team reviews the latest research on pet health, consults veterinarian best practices, and works directly with vet health specialists to review the best products for your dog, cat, and other pets. We’re excited to share our expert pet product recommendations with you, including the best dog food, best cat food, and best tanks for your pet fish
Latest Animal News, Facts, Rankings, and More!
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See all of A-Z Animals News and Information.
Animal Reference Guides And Educational Resources
We believe if people are more educated about the world’s animals, they will better car for them. That’s why we are building the world’s greatest animal encyclopedia, completely free to you. Please take a moment to learn more about animals today using these helpful guides and resources:
- Reference Library – See helpful information on conservation, classification, animal evolution, and more
- Glossary – A list of scientific and technical animal terms, with definitions
- Animal Habitats – Learn all about different animal habitats
- Diet – The different animal diets like omnivores, herbivores, and carnivores defined with examples
- Behavior – Learn all about animal intelligence, communication, community, language, migration, and more.