The animal kingdom is positively enormous. Life has found a way to survive everywhere from the frozen wastes of Antarctica to boiling pools of acid. We are lucky enough to have zoos where people of all ages can marvel at the breadth of lizards, insects, mammals, and even fish, seeing how animals live and behave firsthand, and giving us an appreciation for the need for their survival.
Did you feel like you learned a lot when you visited zoos when you were growing up, or did you just go for the little train that took you over the tiger enclosure? Did the aviary let your heart take wing, or were you obsessed with the windowless building of nocturnal creatures? Did you jump at the chance to see the big cats, or crane your neck for a view of giraffes? Did you go with your school to study and remember the animals, or did you go with your parents to bond over our connection to our animal cousins? The time to put your brain to the test is now. All that information you never thought you would use is suddenly becoming useful in our definitive test of your zoo knowledge. Can you name that zoo animal?
This big cat can chase its prey at up to 70 mph! What zoo animal is it?
The African Cheetah is the fastest of all the big cats, able to chase down its prey, usually gazelles and impalas, and wrestle them to the ground for the kill. Strangely, this big cat still has not been adopted as a mascot for a car brand.
This 13-foot-tall animal is ready to travel, since it always has its trunk. What zoo animal is it?
The African Elephant is massive, towering creature in danger for its very existence. These gentle creatures are hunted for their ivory, which is prized on the black market for its beauty and its alleged medicinal properties.
Outcast members of this species may not be the joy of their community, but they are always part of the pride. What zoo animal is it?
The African lion species live in large packs called prides, and while there is a social ladder, even the lowliest lion is still a member of the pride.
This bird won't fly, but it sure is cute! What zoo animal is it?
The African penguin is an endangered species, with only about 52,000 African Penguins remaining. They keep cool by spending most of their time in the water, and hanging out in burrows and the shade when they climb out of the sea. They use their wings to swim and hunt fish, instead of flying.
This snake's babies are two feet long! What zoo animal is it?
Anacondas are the heaviest and largest snakes, some weighing as much as 550 lbs! They kill their prey by using their powerful muscles to squeeze their prey to death. Their number one predator is human beings, to use them for their skin and meat, or who kill them out of fear.
This bird eats more insects than any other North American hummingbird. What zoo animal is it?
Anna's hummingbirds' fabulous geographical range is attributed to its diet, which includes many types of insects as well as pollen from flowers. For this reason, Anna's hummingbird can survive in the frozen north even during the winter.
This big, cuddly animal eats and sleeps in trees! What zoo animal is it?
All bears can climb trees, but Andean bears are experts. These bears spend a lot of their time in trees, even when they sleep by building a sort of platform bed in the trees. As they live in a tropical climate, Andean bears do not hibernate, able to hunt all twelve months of the year.
This creature charges at its prey at speeds up to 200 mph. What zoo animal is it?
The American bald eagle is an enormous bird, standing up to 4 feet tall. With its massive, 8 foot wings, it can dive at prey at speeds up to 200mph. It has developed an interesting quality which causes it to lose feathers symmetrically, ensuring neither wing had more lift.
This animal collects plant matter in a special organ for storage, before bringing it home to turn into food. What zoo animal is it?
The simple honey bee has a special pocket in its body where it collects nectar from flowers, to regurgitate at the hive so it can be turned into delicious honey!
This animal sticks out its tongue to frighten off predators! What zoo animal is it?
The blue-tongued skink is a meek reptile with plenty of natural predators. When these lizards feel threatened, they stick out their shockingly blue tongues to startle their enemies and give them time to escape.
This animal hibernates for long periods. What zoo animal is it?
The brown bear spends 4 to 6 months per years sleeping. In this state, known as hibernation, the bear's heart rate and metabolism slow down, allowing it to live more efficiently while resting.
This animal makes itself at home in holes dug up by other animals. What zoo animal is it?
The burrowing owl is a strange bird that, unlike its peers, lives not just on the ground, but in the ground! These birds take over holes dug by moles, prairie dogs and other burrowing animals, and turns them into subterranean nests.
This animal climbs trees to obtain the hard fruit at the top. What zoo animal is it?
Coconut crabs are massive crabs that have evolved to be camouflaged on coconut trees, which they do indeed climb for the coconuts. Don't get your toes caught in their pincers! These crabs are strong enough to clip coconuts from the tree and tear them open with just their claws.
This large bird lays one egg at a time, keeping them in a foot-tall nest. What zoo animal is it?
Caribbean flamingos are huge, social birds that get their coloring from the pigments in the food they filter from the ocean with their strange bills. These birds build nests, with both mother and father participating, and then lay just one egg which they work to protect from the environment while they wait for it to hatch.
These animals are a lot like seals, but have little ears that stick out. What zoo animal is it?
California sea lions are a lot like seals, except that seals just have little holes but no ears that stick out. These sea lions communicate by barking and wailing, and they can recognize their relatives even in huge crowds, just from the sounds of their voices.
These cute little guys can jump 40 feet! What zoo animal is it?
Coquerel's sifaka is a native of Madagascar that lives on a diet of insects and fruit, jumping from tree to tree. Their name "sifaka" is what their distress call sounds like. When they detect a threat, they shout this call, warning their broodmates.
These tiny creatures love to follow the herd. What zoo animal is it?
Dung beetles survive on a diet of animal manure, and so they like nothing better than living in the shadow of large animals who like to eat!
These striped lizards do a funny "dance" to warn males off. What zoo animal is it?
The Fiji iguana is an elegantly striped lizard that spends most of its time living in the trees, coming down only occasionally to do things like lay eggs. Male Fiji iguanas warn off other males by bobbing their heads around like they're in a nightclub.
This adorable animal is the top predator in Madagascar! What zoo animal is it?
The Fossa is a strange creature resembling many species of kanid and big cat, but it's actually a sort of civet or mongoose. From nose to tail, they can be up to 6 feet long, but about half of that length is just their tails.
These huge mammals don't float, but spend a lot of time in bodies of water. What zoo animal is it?
Hippos don't float! They locomote under water by walking on the floor of the river, lake, or stream. It's a good thing they can hold their breaths for up to five minutes, meaning they can cross larger bodies of water, even when the walk is long.
This huge bird's young are reared by the fathers. What zoo animal is it?
Emu are large, flightless birds that wear a sort of coat of feathers not meant to keep them aloft, but to keep them warm. These birds lay eggs which are then protected by the males. When the chicks are born, they can immediately run around and collect their own food, though they stick with their fathers for a while.
These strange, large animals can live for over a century! What zoo animal is it?
The aptly named Galápagos tortoise is a huge, slow moving creature that lives for many decades, sometimes more than a century. Though they sport huge shells, these creatures aren't too weighed down. Their shells aren't solid, but instead they are a sort of honeycomb of chambers, limiting the extent of damage, and keeping the whole structure very light.
This animal can walk on windows, and is the famous mascot of Geico. What zoo animal is it?
The gecko is a strange lizard with a peculiar footprint composed of many tiny folds of skin that create a huge amount of friction when pressed against a surface, even a window. As a result, geckos can walk up walls!
These bears have a special pseudo-thumb that they use to hold food. What zoo animal is it?
Giant pandas (which are indeed a kind of bear, not a weasel) live on a diet of bamboo, lots of bamboo. They eat the stalks and the leaves, any part of the plant they can get a hold of. As a result, they have evolved teeth that can tear up bamboo like a necktie in a paper shredder, and special bones in their paws that allow them to grasp the bamboo.
This animal is one of only two venomous lizards in the world. What zoo animal is it?
The gila (pronounced "HEAL-ah) monster is a very cool looking lizard found in the American southwest. When it attacks prey or protects itself from predators (or hapless humans) it uses its special, hollow teeth that actually inject venom into what it bites.
This is the tallest land animal! What zoo animal is it?
Giraffes, formerly called "Camel-Leopards", are the tallest land animals alive, standing up to 18 feet tall!
These animals are the largest primates in the world! What zoo animal is it?
Standing up to 6 feet tall, western lowland gorillas are the largest primates on Earth. Social animals, these gorillas live in communities called troops, thus giving everyone a reason to confuse actors with western lowland gorillas.
This stinky animal is immune to many kinds of venom! What zoo animal is it?
The honey badger is a tough animal built to defend itself by biting back, wriggling around, and by its incredible immunity to venoms. Honey badgers hunt things like scorpions and poisonous snakes, but somehow survive the bites!
This bird is built for hunting like a falcon, but it doesn't take flight! What zoo animal is it?
The secretary bird's head is the dead giveaway: It's a hunter, with eyes arranged for depth perception. These birds live on the African steppe, and use their predatory heads and long legs to hunt in the tall grass the way a raptor would watch from the sky, looking for prey. Once their huge legs snatch up prey, the bird bashes it on the ground and eats it.
These animals have toxic saliva that means if one bites you and you manage to escape, you still haven't long to live. What zoo animal is it?
The Komodo dragon is a huge lizard that looks like something out of a 1950s B-movie. These creatures are great hunters, and in the event they can't win their fights outright, they have a backup plan: their saliva poisons their prey, causing necrosis and death. These lizards don't need to be able to run quickly, since if you get away, you don't have long before you fall prey to their secret weapon.
This dangerous creature lays eggs that look a bit like chickens' eggs. What zoo animal is it?
The Mang Mountain pit viper is a venomous snake that can kill with a bite, but generally prefers to stay out of the way of humans. It's so good at this, we didn't even know it existed until 1989. The Mang Mountain pit viper lays eggs that look a lot like chickens' eggs, which they protect with every once of venom they have. If you spot a bunch of eggs under a ledge on Mang Mountain, just steer clear, OK?
These colorful birds have been observed throwing food to each other! What zoo animal is it?
Toucans, which have been seen throwing food to each other as a form of courtship, are one of the most important animals in the rain forest. They eat fruit, and then scatter the seeds throughout the forest, replanting trees and bushes.
These animals eat soil from the ground every once in a while, because it helps them digest their main source of food. What zoo animal is it?
Koalas are not bears at all, but marsupials who rear their young initially in pouches, like kangaroos. Koalas eat eucalyptus, which is difficult to digest, so they add a little grit to their diets to better digest their food.
This animal used to be known as the giant kingfisher. What zoo animal is it?
The laughing kookaburra is the biggest of the kingfisher family, an animal found in places like Australia and New Zealand. This creature's call sounds like laughter, and has been used as a sound effect in film for monkeys!
This animal's groups are called "mobs". What zoo animal is it?
The meerkat is a strange creature that survives because of teamwork. One meerkat keeps a lookout for predators while the others go to work looking for food. At the slightest sign of danger, the guard (they are actually called that!) barks out a warning and dives back into its burrow, followed by all the other ones.
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