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Animals are living things that do not make their own food by themselves. Animals usually eat other living things (animals, plants, fungi, etc.) to get energy to live. Some are parasites, and some have photosynthetic protists as symbionts.
There are millions of animal species. Some are big and some are small; some are fat and some are tall. Some live in water, others live on the ground and some animals can fly. Being able to move from one place to another is a distinctive trait (characteristic) of an animal.
Some animals eat only plants; they are called herbivores. Other animals eat only meat and are called carnivores. Animals that eat both plants and meat are called omnivores. Animals are divided into groups; see animalia. Their mode of nutrition is known as heterotrophic nutrition because they eat other living organisms as food in order to survive.
There are animals living in solitary and in groups. Examples of animals living in solitary are tigers, rhinoceros, cheetahs and more. Examples of animals living in groups are coyotes, bees, monkeys and more. Animals living in solitary do not have to share food with each other. Animals living in groups have better protection against becoming the prey of others. Bees and ants are grouped in a special group called a colony. In a colony, the animals work together in a special way and usually have a leader. The leader of the bees is called the Queen Bee.
The animal kingdom is varied. There are many types of animals. But, the common animals you know are only about 3% of the animal kingdom. There are many other animals, such as insects and sponges. Animals can mainly be divided into two main groups, the invertebrates, and the vertebrates. The vertebrates are animals with a backbone, or spine, and the invertebrates without. Invertebrates include insects, crustaceans, molluscs, corals, worms, and much more. The vertebrates are divided into 5 groups, fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Animals breathe Oxygen to live. Below are some common collective nouns for groups of animals:
- A herd of horses, buffalo, cows (mainly for herbivores)
- A pack of wolves, wild dogs (mainly for carnivorous animals living in groups)
- A flock of birds
- A colony of ants, bees
- A smack of jellyfish
- A swarm of locust (or other insects that fly together in large numbers)
- A school or shoal of fish or other water dwelling creatures
- A skulk of foxes
- A murder of crows
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