'/> Amazing Animals: June 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ten Amazing Animals Whose Names Begin with The Letter “H”

If you’re asked to name 10 animals whose names start with the letter H, most probably you’ll have: horse, hare, hounds, husky, housefly, hummingbird on top of your list. But how about adding Hoiho and Hoopoe on your list. Have you seen these animals? probably not! Read on to know more about these animals and eight others whose names begin with H.


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The Hoiho (Megadyptes antipodes) is the rarest penguin in the world and is only found in New Zealand. They are found on New Zealand’s South Island living in forests and scrublands. During breeding season, they settle around Campbell Islands, South Island, Stewart and Auckland.

Hoiho is a medium-sized penguin with pale yellow eyes, yellow band of color around their heads, grey-blue back, and white on the front. The chin and throat are brownish-black and bright pink webbed feet. They grow to about 60 – 68 cm and weigh about 5-6 kg. Hoiho feed on small fish such as; opal fish, red cod, sprat and squid.

Unlike other penguins who live in groups, Hoiho prefer to live alone. They nest off by themselves. Hoiho return to their nest sites most nights. They can live to be over 20 years old and will usually stay with the same partner for life. It is endangered and protected.


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The Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) is a medium-sized wading bird found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and Yemen. Their habitat includes wetland, inland waters, marshes, savannas and forests. Most remain sedentary in their territories, although some pairs will move to normally into suitable habitat during the wet season only.

Hamerkop grows to about 47.5-50 cm long, weighing from 415- 470 g. The Hammerkop has an all brown body, thick square crest, long, flat, slightly hooked bill, a short tail, huge wings, black legs and partially webbed feet. Its diet includes frogs, tadpoles, fish and invertebrates. The species is known for building huge nests out of sticks in a tree fork near water. The female lays 3-7 whitish eggs, and both parents help with the incubation and care of the young.

Honey Badger

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The Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis) is a short, sturdy animal with short legs and a short bushy tail. They are found throughout most of Africa and western and south Asian region inhabiting arid grasslands and savannahs.

The lower parts of its body and face are usually black or dark brown in color, while the upper parts are silver-grey or white. It has a large head and powerful jaws. They are known for their snake-killing abilities. Honey badger grows to about 30 cm high, from 90-100 cm in length, and weighs around 10-14 kg.

Badgers have a large appetite for beehives. They are also ferocious nocturnal hunters, their likely prey includes insects, worms, scorpions, hares, meerkats, porcupines, ground squirrels, lizards, lizards, small rodents and larger prey such as tortoises, crocodiles young gazelle and snakes (including pythons and venomous species).


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The Huemul falls under the deer family that consists two endangered Andean species, commonly known as huemuls and taruca. They are endemic to southern Argentina and Chile. These mammals live in thick woods and bushes at high altitudes in the summer. During the winter season, homes, move down the mountains and settle in sheltered forested valleys that have a good supply of water. Their primary diet includes grass, shrubs and plants.

The Huemul has a sturdy, thick, and short-legged body. It has short, coarse, brown fur. It has a large black nose, small eyes, and large ears lined with white fur. Males grow to about 140 – 175 cm long, around 80 – 90 cm tall and weigh 40 – 100 kg. It has a lifespan of up to 10 years, however, they are on the endangered list since 1976.


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The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), also known as the Hoactzin, Canje, or Stinkbird is an unusual crested bird found in South America. It lives in swamps, wetlands and mangrove of the Amazon and the Orinoco delta in South America.

The bird’s upper plumage is brown marked with white, while its under body is reddish-brown. Hoatzin has a blue face lacking in feathers, maroon eyes, large wings and long black tail. It has a small head topped by a spiky, Rufous crest. Adults grow to about 61-66 cm or 24-26 in long and weigh around 816 grams. Hoatzins are herbivore animals, its diet consists of plants, flowers, and fruits.

Horseshoe crab

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The Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus), also known as the King Crab, is a marine arthropod that lives in shallow waters on the sea floor. Despite its name, it is more closely related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions than to crabs. There are four species of horseshoe crabs, three of them found in Asia and the other in North America. All four are quite similar in form and behavior.

It has a hard outer shell that is shaped like a horseshoe, and is greenish grey to dark brown in color. It has 5 pairs of jointed legs and a pair of pincers. Horseshoe crabs have 2 compound eyes on the top of their shells. Females are bigger than males and can grow up to 2 ft (60 cm) long and weighs up 4.5 kg. Horseshoe crabs grow by molting and emerge 25 percent larger with each molt. These crabs feed mostly at night and burrow. Its diet sea worms and mollusks (like young clams). The female lays eggs on the beach in early summer, and the young hatch in about six weeks.

Howler Monkey

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Howler Monkey, noted for its roaring cries, are native to tropical Central and South America. They are the biggest of all the New World monkey and currently, nine species are recognized. They live high in the trees in rain forests, misty forests, and swamp forest. They very seldom leave the trees and prefer to stay aloft, feeding mainly on leaves, fruits, flowers, buds, nuts, and budding twigs.

Howler monkeys are large, slow moving monkeys with a short snout, and wide-set, round nostrils. They have long, thick hair, which may be black, brown, or red. They also have a prehensile tail which acts as an extra arm to grip or even hang from branches Adults grow to about 56 to 92 cm, weigh around 7 to 10 kg, and tail between 58.4 to 91.4 cm long.

It is the loudest monkey and the loudest land animal. When a number of howlers let loose their lungs in concert, the noise can be heard up to three miles (five kilometers) away. Howler monkeys live in small troops where females outnumbered males. Howlers have a life span of about 20 years. These monkeys are in decline due to habitat destruction.

Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner

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The Horse chestnut Leaf Miner (Cameraria ohridella) is a new species of moth that was discovered in Macedonia in 1985 and had spread rapidly to other countries in Europe. It has now been found quite extensively in the Southeast region of England. These tiny moths around 4 mm long has shiny, bright brown front wings marked with white and thin black stripes.

Hooker Sea-lion

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The Hooker’s Sea Lion (Phocarctos hookeri)also known as New Zealand Sea Lion, is one of the rarest and most endangered sea lions. The major breeding colonies are found on Auckland Islands and to some extent near Stewart Island. Hooker Sea lions prefer sandy beaches as haul-out areas. On warm summer days they will flick sand over themselves to try to keep cool.

Adult males measure between 2.0-3.25 m long, weigh about 300 – 450 kg and are brown to black in color. Females grow to about 1.6 – 2.0 m, weigh up to 160 kg and are creamy-gray in color. The hooker sea lion has a blunt nose and short whiskers. Males may live as long as 23 years, females as long as 18 years. Females give birth to a single pup every 1-2 years.

They are opportunistic feeders with a diet of squids, octopus, some sharks and rays, crabs, crayfish, and fish. On occasion, they will eat penguins, elephant seals and fur seals.


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The Hoopoe (Upupa epops),is an exotic looking bird that is found across Afro-Eurasia. A remarkable feature of hoopoe is its distinctive ‘crown’ of feathers. A medium-sized bird that is about 25–32 cm long, weighs 46-89 g sand has 44–48 cm wingspan. Hoopoe has a pinkish-brown body, a long pinkish-brown crest, striking black and white wings, long black downcurved bill and, with a long, thin tapering bill.

It is a solitary forager which typically feeds on the ground searching for insects such as; locusts, beetles, crickets, ant lions, cicadas, bugs, ants, earwigs, small reptiles and frogs. They are territorial birds and also monogamous, although the pair bond apparently only lasts for a single season. The nest is in a hole in a tree or wall, with a narrow entrance.

Check out the entire Animal Alphabet list here:
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 1
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 2

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Gorgeous-looking “G” Animals

In the wild or kept in captivity, these animals whose names start with the letter G are simply gorgeous-looking.

From the tallest animal, to the burrowing rodents and to the high-leaping insect, the animal kingdom offers us with numerous gorgeous-looking G animals.


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The Common Goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus) is a type of carp and was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated. Up to now, goldfish is still one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish. The average goldfish grows to be about 8 to 13 cm long and may reach up to 4.5 kg. The goldfish has orange scales and long, flowing fins, but if returned to the wild, they go back to their natural colors (green to black) in just a few generations.

There are actually over 125 varieties of goldfish: gold, black, red, and mottled varieties. Also, several unusual varieties have been developed such as; the yellow-gold Lionhead, which has a crimson head and the trailing-finned Celestial, with bulging eyes at the top of its head. Goldfish feeds on tiny animals and plants living in the mud on the pond bed.


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The Gadwall (Anas strepera) is a medium-sized, streamlined ducks characterized by its dappled brown-and-black body plumage and light brown head and white wing-patch. Males sports gray-brown plumage with a white belly, and a black rump while females come in spotted light brown plumage, a yellowish bill with dark spots. Gadwalls average 46–56 cm long with a 78–90 cm wingspan. Males are slightly larger than the female, weighing on average 990 g. Gadwalls lives in open wet grassland, ponds and marshes and usually feeds on aquatic vegetation by dabbling for plant food with head submerged. The Gadwall breeds in the central North America, northern areas of Europe and Asia.


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The Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) also known as the Roseate Cockatoo, Rose-breasted Cockatoo, Galah Cockatoo is found in open habitats in almost all parts of mainland Australia. Known for its distinctive pink and grey plumage, this bird with bold and loud behavior grows to about 35 cm (14 in) long and weighs 300 to 400 gms.

The Galah has rose-pink head, neck with a paler pink crown, pale grey to mid-grey back, wings and pale grey rump. Galahs diet includes mostly seeds that fell off the ground. Galahs form permanent pair bonds, although a bird will take a new partner if the other one dies. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the young.


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The gecko is a small to medium species of lizard found worldwide in all the warmer regions. Gecko lizards consist of 3 subfamilies, 80 genera and about 600 species. Geckos are found in mountains, rainforests, rocky deserts, and grasslands. What makes geckos such unique lizards is their ability to produce sounds, making chirping sounds in social interactions with other geckos. Geckos can range in size from just a few centimeters to more than 50 cm in length.

Geckos come in different colors and patterns such as purple, pink, blue and depending on the species, have a variety of markings on their bodies. Some species can change color to blend in with their environment or with particular temperatures. All geckos, have no eyelids and in its place is a instead have a translucent membrane which they lick to clean. They all have flattened bodies, short necks and wide flat heads. Gecko’s toe pads have rows of tiny hooked bristles that enable them to climb smooth and vertical surfaces. Geckos feed on meat from other animals such insects and worms, however larger species of gecko hunt reptiles, mice and small birds.


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The Gemsbok (Oryx gazella) is a large African antelope characterized by its distinctive black and white markings on their face and long spear like horns. Gemsboks are light brownish-grey to tan in color, black tails, and white around the nose and mouth. It has a compact, muscular body with a thick neck having a short mane that runs from the head to the shoulders.

A dark brown stripe runs from the chin up to the neck edge and down through the join of the shoulder and leg. Males and females are difficult to tell apart. Both sexes have horns. Their horns that average 85 centimeters in length, are long and extend straight back from the head. Gemsbok are about 1.4 meters at the shoulder, and males can weigh between 230–250 kilograms.

Gemsbok are found in all of Africa’s arid and semi-arid open grassland, scrub and light open woodland. The Gemsbok has adapted to many desert and semi-desert life and is capable of surviving without water for extended periods. In desert areas, Gembok’s diet includes thick leaved plants, coarse grasses, wild melons, and roots and tubers they dig out of the ground.

Gentoo Penguin

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The Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua), is one of three species in the genus Pygoscelis. Its main distinguishing feature is the wide white stripe running across the top of its head and white patch around and behind the eye that joins on the crown. Also, Gentoo penguins have a very bright orange beak. They are found on many of the islands of the Antarctic region living in large and noisy breeding colonies.

The main colonies are on the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Kerguelen Islands. They are the fastest underwater swimming penguins, reaching speeds of 36 km/h. Gentoo penguins grow to about 75 to 95 centimeters tall and can weigh about 5.6 kg. They eat mostly krill and some small fish.


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The Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is an African ruminant, the tallest animal in the world. They are found in Chad in Central Africa to South Africa inhabiting savannas, grasslands, or open woodlands where Acacia and leguminous plants are flourishing.

Adult males can reach up to 16-18 feet in height and weighs 1,200 kilograms. Adult females are slightly smaller and lighter. Giraffes have long necks, its hind legs are slightly smaller than its front legs. Each giraffe has a unique coat pattern and its color varies significantly in the pattern, but consists of dark-reddish to chestnut brown blotches of various shapes and sizes. Both sexes have horns, although a female horn is much smaller. Giraffes can rest standing, but have to bend down to drink. Wild giraffes have a life span close to 13 years.


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There are two main species of Gopher, the Pocket Gopher and the Richardsons Ground Squirrel. Both belong to the family Geomyidae found in North America. However, the pocket gophers are considered burrowing rodents or “true” gophers. These adorable creatures can grow up to 15 cm long from head to body, weigh up to a quarter of a kilo, and have a tail of seven cm.

The average lifespan of gophers is from 2 to 3 years. Gophers dig a large community of tunnels and subterranean chambers, with large mounds of dirt at their entrances. These gopher towns contain an extensive network of tunnels that can stretch for vast distances through mountainous terrain. The adult gophers at times guard the entrance, and whistles to alert the community that an impending predator are coming.

Gophers are omnivorous animals and their diet include: nuts, shrubs, berries, seeds, insects, grains, and grass. The gopher however, has a number of natural predators that include owls, coyotes, badgers, as well as humans, who treat gophers as agricultural pests.


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The Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is a member of the camel family, Camelidae (order Artiodactyla). But unlike camels, these lands, which include alpaca, llama, and vicuña do not have humps. Instead, Guanaco has a slender body, small head, brown eyes, long neck, large pointed ears and short tail. Guanacos are native to South American countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Peru. Guanaco can grow from 107 to 122 centimeters (3.5 and 4 feet) at the shoulder and weighs about 90 kg.

Its typical life span is 20 to 25 years. Guanacos are usually found in small herds living at high altitude grazing on grass and other plants. They can survive for several days without water, obtaining moisture from the plants they eat. The puma is its only primary natural predator.


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Grasshoppers are plant-eating insects in the order Orthoptera suborder Caelifera. There are more than 10,000 different species of grasshoppers found in grasslands, semiarid regions and lowland tropical forests. Their sizes vary from 1.3 cm to 15 cm in some tropical species. Grasshoppers are generally colored green, brown, or gray and may have yellow or red markings.

Just like other insects, the grasshopper’s body consists of the head, thorax and abdomen, three pairs of jointed legs, a set of wings, and a pair of antennae. They breathe through a series of holes called spiracles. They are able to hop, walk, and fly. The grasshopper’s long hind legs are used for hopping, while its short front legs are used to walk and to hold prey. The grasshopper’s diet includes plant, grasses, leaves and cereal crops.

Check out the entire Animal Alphabet list here:
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 1
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 2

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Fabulous Animals Whose Names Begin with The Letter “F"

The animal kingdom offers dozens of animals whose names begin with the letter F. Here are 10 of these fabulous F animals.

Ask any kid to name 10 animals whose names start with the letter F, and probably these animals will occupy a place in his list: fish, frog, fox, and flamingo. But the animal kingdom offers us with a dozen of F animals. Read on to find out what these animals are.


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There are hundreds finch species, however, the “classical” true finches are passerine birds in the family Fringillidae. Most are native to the Southern Hemisphere, inhabiting well-wooded areas, and some species live on mountains or even in deserts. They vary in size from 9.5-23 cm in length and weigh from 8.5 g to 80 g. True finches are mainly seed-eating songbirds but some species include berries and arthropods in their diet.

Finches typically have strong, short beaks, Plumage color varies, depending on the species. The basic plumage color is brownish, or at times greenish.

Frill-necked Lizard

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The Frill-necked Lizardis a large lizard that grows up to 90 cm long, about two-thirds of which is tail. They are found in northern Australia and southern New Guinea inhibiting tropical savannah woodlands. These arboreal lizards come in no specific colors, but is characterized by its frill. They occasionally come down from trees to search for food and to protect its territory. When threatened, it stands on its hind legs, opens its yellow-colored mouth, spreads out its colorful frill around its head and hisses.

Like many lizards, the Frill-necked Lizard is insectivorous. Its diet includes ants, spiders, termites, cicadas, and small lizards. Other menu items include spiders, cicadas, termites, and small mammals. Females lay 8-12 small, soft-shelled eggs which are laid at the onset of the wet season. Hatchlings emerge totally independent and able to hunt using their frill.

Fairy Bluebird

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Fairy-Bluebirds are two small species of passerine birds that inhibit the lowland rainforests throughout southern Asia and the Philippine island of Palawan. These large and colorful birds can grow to about 25 cm long and weigh 75 grams. The adult males have crowns and typically with cobalt blue or black plumage, while the females wear purple or dull blue-green plumage. Fairy-bluebirds are famous for their melodious whistle.

Fairy-bluebirds usually live and traveled in pairs or seen gathering in fig trees in small groups (about 30 birds). These birds bathe in streams occasionally. They make their nest in dense trees about 20 feet above the ground. The nest is made from sprouting twigs and rootlets and camouflaged with moss. These birds lay two to three eggs greenish-white eggs. They feed on fruits, especially that of fig trees. They occasionally eat insects and nectar.


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Ferrets are domestic mammals that are very playful, and are very entertaining to watch. They typically come in white, black, brown, or mixed fur. Ferrets grow in size to an average of 51 cm long including a 13 cm tail. On average, they weigh about .7-2 kg. Males are bigger in length and weight than females, where adult females grow between 13-14 in. long. Ferrets live 7-10 years on average.

Ferrets spend much of the day sleeping, usually consuming up to 18 hours. They have a keen sense of hearing and smell, but have relatively poor eyesight. They have a reputation of being smelly. In the wild, ferrets feed on small prey, such as meat, bones, feathers, skins, organs and fur. However, kept as pets, they will do with meat-based diet that includes mice, rabbits, chicken meat, beef and wallaby.


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Firefly or winged beetles have over 2,000 species found in marshes, wet wooden throughout tropical and temperate areas around the world. They are a familiar sight during summer evenings flashing their signature “cold light”.

Firefly average 5-25 mm in length and live in the wild for about 2 months. Their soft, flattened black or dark brown bodies are often stained with yellow or orange. Their most notable feature is the greenish-yellow underside of the abdomen where flashes of lights are produced. Their diet consists of pollen and nectar. Some adults eat other insects, insect larvae and snails.

Fiddler Crab

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Fiddler crabs are any of the 97 species of small, semi-terrestrial crabs of the genus Uca. They got their name because the male has one claw that is much larger than the other. They are found in tropical and temperate environments around the world inhibiting beaches, lagoons, sandbars, mudflats swamps or mangrove forests. A fiddler crab’s life span is about 2 years.

Fiddler crabs body size ranges from about 2.5 to 3 cm (1 to 1.2 inches). Aside from their big claw, males appear more brightly colored than females. are more brightly colored than the females. The typical color patterns are: bright green, red, yellow to light blue. Like all crabs, fiddler crabs shed their shells as they grow. Lost appendages are re-grown when they molt. Fiddlers diet consist mainly of algae, bacteria, fungus, and detritus.


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Northern Flickers are medium-sized, brown woodpeckers that are local to most of North America, parts of Central America, Cayman Islands and Cuba. There are more than 100 common names for the only bird that frequently feeds on the ground such as: Common Flicker, Yellow-shafted flicker, Yellowhammer, clape, harry-wicket, wick-up, wake-up and gawker bird. They live in forest edges, orchards, woodlands, farmlands, parks and even roadsides. Northern Flicker averages 13 inches long, weigh about 4 to 6 ounces and with a wingspan of 18 to 21 inches. They have slim, rounded head, long, flared tail and slightly down-curved bill.

Typical adult flickers are brown with a white rump patch and black bars on the back and wings. Eastern birds own bright yellow feathers while western ones have red tail feathers. Northern flickers main source of food is insects specially ants, but they also eat fruits, seeds, berries and nuts.

Northern flickers build their nests in trees. Both male and female shared building the nest that will take about 1-2 weeks to finish. The entrance hole is roughly 5 cm to 10 cm wide. Females lay about 6-8 white and glossy-shelled eggs.

Fruit bat

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Megabats or fruit bats are relatively large flying mammals. There are over 160 known species of fruit bats that live that live in dense forests in Asia, Australia, Africa, and Europe. Also known as flying foxes, their sizes vary from the smallest species about 6 cm to the largest that reach 40 cm. These large-eyes nocturnal animals sleep hanging from their feet during the day.

Fruit bats have furry body and their wings are long fingers covered by thin skin. They have weak legs and experienced difficulty while walking. Their sense of smell is excellent, however, with one exception, Egyptian fruit bat, does use echolocation to navigate in caves. They tend to live in large colonies, or “camps.” Fruit bats mainly eat fruit and flowers. These bats normally chew the flowers and fruit, then spit out the remaining pulp, seeds and peel.

Finnish Spitz

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A Finnish Spitz is a breed of dog that originated in Finland. On average, it grows to about 15-20 inches (38-51 cm.) tall and weighs about 31-35 pounds (14-16 kg.) Its appearance resembles a fox. The body is muscular and square with a head that is flat, the ears rounding slightly at the forehead. Finnish Spitz lips and nose are black with dark almond-shaped eyes. The ears are erect and open towards the front of the dog. The Finnish Spitz is a double coated breed which consists of a soft, dense undercoat and long, harsh guard hairs. Coat color patterns includes red-brown, honey-colored, golden-red to yellowish-red.

Fire-bellied toad

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Oriental fire-bellied toads belongs to a group of eight species of Bombina. Their range covers Korea, northeastern China, southern Japan, and southern parts of Russia found in ponds and in slow-moving streams and ponds. These small toads grow between 4-7 cm long and are characterized by its brightly colored red or yellow-and-black patterns on their lower abdomen. The rest of the toad’s skin carries green or dark brown. The skin on their dorsal side is covered with small tubercles. In the wild, Oriental fire-bellied toads thrive on small aquatic arthropods.

Check out the entire Animal Alphabet list here:
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 1
Amazing Animal Alphabet Series 2