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Corn snakes, also known as red rat snakes, are a slender species of snake known for their orange coloration. This native Georgia species lives in many different habitats, ranging from forests to inside barns and attics. Corn snakes were once in trouble due to collection from the wild for the pet trade, but breeding programs have mitigated this threat.
Although sometimes called Patagonian cavies or Patagonian hares, these unique animals belong in the mammalian Order Rodentia. Their closest living relatives are guinea pigs and the capybara. Native to central and southern Argentina, wild populations are in decline due to habitat loss and hunting.
With only between 1,000 and 2,500 yellow-crested cockatoos remaining in the wild, these birds are critically endangered. Like other animals found on Indo-Pacific islands, habitat loss and fragmentation are major threats to their survival.
Macaws are large members of the parrot family found throughout Central and South America. Their bright colors and loud vocalizations are important tools for communication but also make them easy targets for poachers.
Radiated tortoises are only native to the island of Madagascar but have been introduced to two other small islands to the east - Réunion and Mauritius. They are named for the yellow lined patterns on their shells. They are herbivores and much of their diet comes from grazing on grasses, which helps keeps plants trimmed back. The illegal pet trade and poaching are major threats, and conservation efforts are underway to save this critically endangered tortoise.
Meerkats are well-known to most people who enjoy animals because of their charismatic postures and social activities. They live in highly social groups, foraging together and dividing labor across the group, with one of the most important tasks being the lookout guard who will be vigilant to detect threats and alert the others.
The ostrich is the largest living bird species on Earth and is related to cassowaries and rheas. Ostriches cannot fly and instead walk over the ground seeking all varieties of small animals and fruits to eat.
Common warthogs are a species of wild pig with many similarities to the domesticated pig raised by humans. They are voracious foragers, using their very powerful neck muscles to drive their snouts into soils to uncover anything edible. The soil in an area of ground that has been foraged by a warthog or other species of pig is obviously overturned, and it is unlikely that anything edible remains. Warthogs’ excellent sense of smell helps direct their foraging efforts to places most likely to have tubers, roots, or small animals directly under the surface of the soil.
Zebras are among the most recognizable of all animals, with their distinctive striped color pattern. They are closely related to our domestic horses.
Giraffes are Earth’s tallest living mammals and specialize in browsing leaves and flowers from the tops of trees. Newborns may weigh over 100 pounds and stand 6 feet tall at birth.