AZ Animals Staff
Author for A-Z Animals

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AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Chickens are not mammals. They are birds. They have feathers as opposed to hair or fur, and they have wings, even though they don’t fly very well. They lack the teeth that most mammals have, they exclusively lay eggs, and they don’t nurse their chicks with milk. It is true that a few birds do […] Read More

Nature makes many odd creatures, but one of the strangest on earth must be the armadillo. This animal looks like it’s wearing a suit of armor, and its name means “little armored one.” Some people think armadillos are amphibians or reptiles, but they’re not. They’re mammals. 5 Amazing Facts About Armadillos Armadillos eat many insects, […] Read More

Have you ever watched a video of a group of dolphins swimming next to a boat? If so, you probably saw them leaping, diving, splashing and having a ball. As you watched this display you may have wondered: Why do dolphins follow boats? Do they do it just for fun or is there another reason? […] Read More

If you’re looking for a delicious, healthy meal for dinner, two fish that might come to mind are trout and salmon. Trouts and salmon are closely related, but have key differences. Below we’ll dig into the differences between trout and salmon. How are they different as animals, what are the taste differences, and how is […] Read More

Human progress has led to the development of new ecosystems — and as our population has sprawled into the territories of other creatures, they’ve come to adapt to survive in our urban environments. Out of all the animals that are seen in the suburbs and cities, raccoons are often one of the most ubiquitous. With […] Read More

Almost all wild dogs, wolves, and even domestic dogs howl in one way or another, and it’s common knowledge that wolves howl at the moon. Right? It’s lived in folklore and entertainment for as long as it’s been written down and recorded, but do wolves actually howl at the moon? In short, no. It’s nothing […] Read More

Many types of animals love being petted. While pets like birds may enjoy having their feathers stroked, mammals are the ones that most seem to enjoy being on the receiving end of pats, pets, and snuggles. There is a scientific answer for why pets enjoy being stroked, but there is probably more than one reason […] Read More

Raccoons eat a wide variety of food, which is one reason they’ve managed to thrive in almost any environment. You can find raccoons in deep, untouched forests, city streets, suburban gardens, and rural farms. These intelligent, adaptable critters have even managed to charm humans with their cute, masked faces and their cleverness. Here’s a closer […] Read More

Have you ever seen a picture of two otters floating in a stream while holding hands? If you have, you probably thought you were looking at a pair of otters in love. Well, while that’s a nice thought, there’s a more practical reason behind this handholding behavior. Check out the following information to answer the […] Read More

Wolves tend to become the apex predators in whatever habitat they occupy, and that’s evident in the fact that they’ve spread prodigiously throughout the world. Species of wolves can be found everywhere from the frozen north of the Arctic down to the humid equatorial states of Central America. The gray wolf is the most predominant […] Read More

How many types of lions exist today? It might surprise you to learn that it’s been the subject of significant debate in the scientific community. In the article below we’ll dig into this scientific debate, review both extinct and current lion species, and review their lower classifications. Let’s dig in! The Great Lion Taxonomy Debate […] Read More

Lions are an apex predator known for their ferocity and hunting prowess. They’re obviously carnivores, but other questions remains. How much do lions eat, what is their favorite prey, and how often are their hunts successful? In the article below we’ll answer the question “what do lions eat” and much more! How Lions Hunt and […] Read More

Dinosaurs still alive today? If you’ve seen a cassowary foot you might think so! Cassowaries are not dinosaurs, but they are one of the closest living relatives. Let’s dig into how cassowaries and dinosaurs are alike! Are Cassowaries Dinosaurs? Take a look at the picture in the tweet embedded below and blurt out the first […] Read More

The cassowary is one of the closest living relatives to dinosaurs, and it looks the part. With prehistoric-looking feet and a claw that can reach five inches in length, cassowaries are imposing animals. But how dangerous are they? We’ll dig into past cassowary attacks and decide whether this bird lives up to its title of […] Read More

It’s not every day you can say an animal’s foot became the talk of the Internet. But that’s exactly what happened in January 2019. A tweet (embedded below) from a Ph D student showed a striking picture of a cassowary foot. Just how big is this foot and how deadly is it? Let’s dive into […] Read More

Armyworms are pests that can destroy any farm field, pasture, yard, or garden they come across with their hunger. True to their name, they march into vegetation. If you think you have armyworms, it’s necessary to know how to control them. But not all pests are the same and not all methods work on every […] Read More

When an animal hibernates, it goes into a state of sleep or minimal activity. During this period, its metabolism slows down and it relies on stored energy reserves in its body and possibly stashed food. Hibernation allows many animals to survive winters, which are dark and cold, without having to migrate elsewhere or search for […] Read More

Cassowaries live in three locations: Australia, Indonesian islands, and the island of New Guinea. Yet, each of those locations covers a significant amount of land! Let’s examine the three species of cassowaries and the habitats and locations they can be found in! Where Do Cassowaries Live: Their Habitats The first thing to know about cassowaries […] Read More

Cassowaries are one of the most interesting looking animals on earth. They have a crest on their head made out of the same material as rhino horns, feet with dagger-like nails that look like dinosaur feet, and a unique bright blue head. Given their appearance, its easy to see why cassowaries are known as the […] Read More

Everyone knows ostriches are speedsters, but are they the fastest bird? Another large, flightless bird is the cassowary. Unlike ostriches, which live in wide-open savannas and deserts, cassowaries live in dense forests less ideal for sprinting. Yet, the speed and athleticism of cassowaries might surprise you. Let’s dig into the speed of cassowaries. Just how […] Read More

Cassowaries are giant birds native to Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia. Their unique appearance has led to significant attention. Cassowaries have giant feet with razor sharp claws, crests on their heads called “casques,” and can reach epic proportions relative to other bird species! Yet, you might be wondering whether cassowaries are the largest birds in […] Read More

Cassowaries are genus of large animals from Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia. While they look like birds, cassowaries also are incredibly large and also flightless. For many, that raises the question of just what exactly is a cassowary. Is a cassowary a bird, or something else? Let’s dig in. Is a Cassowary a Bird? First […] Read More

The alligator is native only to China, Mexico, and the United States. Gators in the United States were hunted almost to extinction, but they are now thriving. Many states have even turned these big, scaly monsters into tourist attractions. If you want to see American alligators, here are the states where you’ll have the best […] Read More

Cows are ruminators, that is, they spend much of their time grazing and chewing cud. But how is all that chewing enough to break down grass? It turns out it’s not, and they have a long process to further break down the grass they’ve chewed into cud. Read on to learn more about how many […] Read More

Have you ever been awakened by birds singing in the early morning? If you have, perhaps you thought it was just a bunch of birds saying good morning to each other. Well, it turns out that birds sing in the morning for several specific reasons. In short, there is a purpose behind their songs. What […] Read More

Have you ever seen two squirrels chase each other around a tree? Maybe you’ve been at a local park and witnessed six or eight squirrels in a game of chase at the base of a tree or racing around a tree trunk like they’re tiny racecars. If so, this question likely popped into your mind: […] Read More

Snakes are reptiles. They are not mammals. Mammals have hair or fur, while snakes are covered with overlapping scales. Most mammals are warm-blooded, which means their bodies regulate their own heat. Snakes are cold-blooded, which means the heat of their bodies is regulated by their environment. But the thing that really separates mammals from snakes […] Read More

Penguins, or Sphenisciformes, are not mammals, but birds. They are different from mammals in that they have feathers instead of hair or fur, and unlike most mammals penguins lay eggs instead of giving live birth. Like all modern birds, penguins don’t have teeth, though most mammals do. They also don’t feed their babies with milk […] Read More

When temperatures drop in the winter, most people stay indoors to keep warm. If you live in an area where it gets really cold you may wrap yourself in a warm blanket and sip some tea or hot chocolate. While you have a warm place to stay indoors, wild animals have to find ways to […] Read More

When you picture a raccoon, you probably think of the black stripe of fur running across this animal’s face. Some people say this black fur makes a raccoon look like it’s wearing a mask or a disguise. The description fits a raccoon because this clever animal tries to stay hidden from sight whenever possible. However, […] Read More

The five species of prairie dog currently in existence can only be found in the Americas, and they’ve exclusively built their habitats along the Great Plain. These creatures have a complex system of communication but are best known for the elaborate burrows that they build with their families underneath the surface of the Earth. But […] Read More

Beavers are famous for being hardworking, but prairie dogs might give those busy beavers a run for their money. These little guys build entire underground homes where hundreds of them find shelter. Fun Facts About Their Homes They live in highly complex colonies with underground burrows guarded by sentries.Their preferred habitat is short scrub grassland.They […] Read More

Much of modern human civilization is all about stripping the natural world from our daily lives, but the natural world still finds its way creeping back into the ordered world of human cities and suburbs. Coyotes — along with our wild animals — are appearing in urban areas with more frequency, and learning how to […] Read More

The quick answer is, yes, dogs are mammals. Dogs have all of the attributes that make them mammals, and they have a long history of living alongside humans. They are related to foxes, jackals, and gray wolves. So, what makes a dog a mammal? They Give Birth To Live Young Like other placental mammals, dogs […] Read More

Mammals represent one of the most diverse groups of creatures within the animal kingdom, and it all comes down to their warm-blooded nature. Mammals can maintain higher body temperatures than reptiles and amphibians, and that provides them with higher metabolisms and the ability to generally be more active. The result is a series of evolutionary […] Read More

Rodents are found on every major continent, and they remain one of the most diverse and prolific groups of animals on the planet. It can be hard to keep track of which animals are rodents, but it can also be difficult to track which animals fall under the label of mammal as well. If you’ve […] Read More

Fish are not mammals, but they are such a diverse group that putting all of them in one class, and they used to be grouped in the class Pisces, is inefficient. Instead, they are classified into three classes and an unlistable number of subclasses, clades, orders, suborders, tribes, superfamilies, families, genera, and species. This is […] Read More

New research was released on September 7th that had a shocking conclusion: animals are shape-shifting in response to climate change. The research comes from scientists at Deakin University in Australia and traces how 30 species have responded to rising climate temperates. Let’s dive into what “shape shifting” means and 3 animals that are changing in […] Read More

Birds are not mammals, but avians. Unlike mammals, they do not have fur or hair — instead, they have feathers, though sometimes they possess bristles on their heads or faces that resemble hair. They are not mammals even though they are warm-blooded, breathe air, and possess vertebrae, which are other mammalian characteristics. They’re not mammals […] Read More

Owls live in every part of the world except Antarctica and some remote islands. These large-eyed, nocturnal raptors are among the most mysterious, intriguing members of the animal kingdom. Are Owls mammals? Read on to find out. The ancient Greeks believed they were an omen of good luck. In their mythology, owls were the companion […] Read More

There are 8.7 million species on the planet, and that means that you and your cat are just one tiny bit of representation in a diverse milieu of life. We share common ancestry with chimpanzees, squid, and even single-celled organisms — so it only makes sense that we share ancestry with the cats that live […] Read More

Marsupials have evolved one of the most unique adaptations in the entire animal kingdom. These devoted mothers keep their offspring with them at all times, hidden away in an abdominal pouch. They are really like no other animals on the planet. Some of the most well-known marsupials include wombats, wallabies, koalas, bandicoots, opossums, kangaroos (as […] Read More

Sea urchins are spiny animals that live on the bottom of the sea. While sea urchins aren’t known to be nimble hunters — moving slowly on tube feet – their diet may surprise you. Let’s dig into what sea urchins eat and how this class of animals have managed to thrive for hundreds of millions […] Read More

Of all the different types of animals, mammals are the ones that humans can relate most closely to. This is because humans are just one of the many species of mammals. So what are their characteristics? How are they alike and what are their differences? All mammals are vertebrates, but not all vertebrates are mammals. […] Read More

The Maine Coon cat is widely known as a “gentle giant”, and that’s not just due to their big personalities. Maine Coons rank with Ragdolls and Siberians as one of the biggest domestic cat breeds in the world, and members of this breed have actually been ranked multiple times as the largest domestic cats alive. […] Read More

Bats are found in every part of the world. These winged, nocturnal navigators have inspired many legends and myths. Few animals in the world have been as misunderstood and maligned as bats, but they are harmless and even beneficial creatures. Their evil reputation is probably caused by their seeming ability to navigate without sight, their […] Read More

The longest species of venomous snake in North America is the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake , or Crotalus adamanteus. They are also the longest Rattlesnakes in the world, so it should come as no real surprise that the largest rattlesnake ever found was also an Eastern Diamondback. In 1946, an eastern diamondback specimen was shot by […] Read More

It’s easy to take for granted the fact that humans are mammals. If a primate is a mammal and the human is descended from the primate, then it follows that a human is also a mammal. But what makes a mammal? How are humans mammals? Why do we think of humans as different from other […] Read More

Turtles are not mammals, they are reptiles. Mammals are animals that usually have hair or fur. Cetaceans have lost their fur to make them more streamlined as they swim, but once in a while, a whale is found with a whisker or two. Mammals have vertebrae and are warm-blooded, though there are mammals, such as […] Read More

Bats are the only mammals that are capable of true flight. True flight is achieved with the motion of wings, and to that end, the forelegs and fingers of bats evolved into leathery wings. Other anatomical adaptations also had to happen to allow bats to truly fly, such as having a heart that’s much larger […] Read More