General Terms Glossary
On our website we use many different terms which are not particularly common. These are specialist terms which scientist’s use to describe different parts of an animal’s life or to describe their appearance.
The list below details some of these terms and what they mean. If you find a term you don’t know on our website let us know and we will add it to the glossary.
An adaptation is a change in an animal’s body or behaviour pattern which allows it to better survive in the ecosystem which is part of.
Arachnids have a 2 part body which has 8 legs attached to it. Spiders, scorpions, mites and ticks are all arachnids.
A large ecological community type. For example the savannah is a biome.
An adaptation which means the animal blends into its environment and is harder to spot.
An animal whose entire diet is made up of meat
Protecting animals, natural resources and plants by using them in a sustainable manner so they will be available into the future.
A method of training animals over generations so they will accept humans and co-exist with them.
The organisms which are in an area and the way these organisms interact with each other.
An animal which requires outside heat so it can perform its basic function. More commonly known as a cold blooded animal. Reptiles, Amphibians and Invertebrates are Ectotherms.
An animal whose weight is supported by their third and fourth toe.
The natural home of an animal or plant.
Animals which feed exclusively on insects.
An animal which can generate heat within its own body. Commonly referred to as a warm blooded animal. Birds and Mammals are Endotherms.
An animal whose entire diet is fruit.
Animals which feed exclusively on plants.
An animal which does not have a back bone. Examples are insects, arachnirds, octopus and more.
A group of animals which are mammals but they carry their young around in a pouch. Includes koalas and kangaroos.
A marsupial which lays eggs instead of giving birth to live young. This group is made up of only echidnas and platypus.
Animals which feed on both meat and plant materials.
Odd toed ungulates
A species of animal whose weight sits entirely on its third toe.
A group of animals which feed their young on milk and are covered in hair. Mammals are endothermic animals.
Learn more about mammals and view fact files for individual species by clicking below.
An animal which relies on an outside heat source so it can function properly and has skin covered with scales.
Learn more about reptiles and view fact files for individual species by clicking below.
A mammal which develops in the womb while attached to the mother by a placenta.
An animal which hunts other species to feed on.
An animal which is eaten by another.
Species in the order primates which are characterised by binocular vision, arms and legs which can grasp things and a large brain. Examples include apes, monkeys, lemurs and humans.
A two part name made up of Latin words which allow scientists across the world to communicate as they are always the same.
A hooved animal
A space in which animals are housed so people can view them. Animals can also be bred there for release into the wild.
A group of animals or plants which are the same. This allows them to create young together.
A group of animals with different genes to the others in their species.
Animals which have back bones
IUCN Red List Categories
The IUCN red list is the premiere resource for determining the likelihood of an animal going extinct. They complete in depth assessments of the animal’s population and then group them in to one of nine categories from most to least threatened.
The red list is managed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
As of 2020 116,000 species has been assessed for inclusion on the red list.
The categories are listed below in order of least to most threat level going from left to right.
A species is listed as not evaluated if an assessment has not been conducted yet to determine how threatened the population is.
A species is listed as data deficient when there has not been enough research to determine how threatened the population is.
A species is listed as least concern when it is not currently threatened and is not at risk of becoming threatened in the immediate future.
A species which is not facing an immediate threat but changes in its environment or habitat availability would make it threatened.
A species which is currently at risk of extinction but its decline is not occurring fast enough for it to be considered endangered yet.
A species is endangered when it is soon to become extinct but it’s decline is progressing at a slower rate than a critically endangered species.
A species is critically endangered when changes in their population size or habitat availability have meant it is close to becoming extinct.
Extinct in the Wild
An animal is extinct in the wild when the same process has occurred declaring it extinct in the wild but there are still some in captivity.
An animal is extinct when exhaustive surveys prove that there is no doubt that the last individual of this species has died.