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1. Grade 3 Core Knowledge Language Arts® • Skills Strand
Unit 2 Reader
Guide to Animals
3. Guide to Animals
Unit 2 Reader
Skills Strand
Grade 3
Core Knowledge Language Arts®
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5. Table of Contents
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
Unit 2 Reader
Introduction: Meet Rattenborough . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Chapter 1: Classifying Living Things . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Chapter 2: Warm-Blooded and Cold-Blooded Animals . . 24
Chapter 3: Vertebrate or Invertebrate? . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Chapter 4: Fish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Chapter 5: Amphibians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Chapter 6: Reptiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Chapter 7: Birds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Chapter 8: Mammals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Chapter 9: Scientists Who Classify Animals . . . . . . . . 94
Pausing Point (Additional Chapters for Enrichment)
Chapter 10: Jane Goodall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Chapter 11: Deep-Sea Fish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Chapter 12: Tree Frogs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
6. Chapter 13: The Komodo Dragon . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Chapter 14: Beavers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Chapter 15: Hummingbirds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Glossary for Rattenborough's Guide to Animals . . . . . . 153
8. Introduction:
Meet Rattenborough
Greetings! Rattenborough, the famous explorer
and animal expert here! Remember me? I taught
you all about animals and habitats when you were
just little kids in first grade. I’ve been busy since
then traveling around the world. But, I’m back now
to teach you everything I’ve learned about animals
during my travels.
First, let’s take a quick look at what you learned
in first grade. Do you remember what a habitat is?
A habitat is the place where animals and plants live.
We learned that there are different habitats all over
the world with different kinds of animals and plants
living there.
We visited a desert habitat where it was very hot
and dry. It hardly ever rains in a desert so the plants
and animals that live there have to be able to get by
with very little water. I bet you remember that cactus
plants live in the desert, along with snakes and lizards.
6 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
9. Rattenborough in two habitats
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 7
10. We also visited an African savanna. A savanna is
also called a grassland. There were lots of interesting
animals living there—zebras, elephants, and even
lions! To be perfectly honest, I was always a little
nervous while we were in the savanna!
Next, we checked out some different kinds of
forests. We went to a hardwood forest full of trees
with leaves that change color and drop off in the fall.
We saw squirrels, deer, and even bears. We saw lots of
different kinds of birds in those tall trees.
Then, we visited a tropical rainforest that was very
hot, humid, and wet. There were lots of birds in this
forest, too. These birds were colorful, tropical birds
like toucans and parrots.
8 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
11. Rattenborough in three habitats
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 9
12. Last, but not least, we visited freshwater and
saltwater habitats. In the freshwater habitat, we
saw fish, turtles, ducks, and beavers. In the saltwater
habitat of the sea, we saw starfish, crabs, lobsters, and
10 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
13. Rattenborough in two water habitats
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 11
14. Besides learning about habitats in first grade, we
also studied the different kinds of things that animals
eat. Do you remember talking about herbivores,
carnivores, and omnivores? We learned that you can
sort animals by what they eat.
So, get ready because we are going to learn a lot
more about how to sort animals. Rattenborough,
your personal animal expert, at your service!
See you next time!
12 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
Eat only plants
Eat plants and meat
Eat mainly meat
Different animals eat different things.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 13
16. Chapter
1 Classifying
Living Things
Rattenborough here! Do you remember who I am?
I’m here now to help you learn about how scientists
sort, or classify, living things into groups. Since I
am an expert on animals, we will focus mainly on
First, I’m going to ask you two very important
questions. How do you know if something is living
or nonliving? What important characteristics do all
living things have?
• All living things create energy from food.
• All living things can have babies or make other
living things just like themselves.
• All living things have a life cycle. They start out
small and then grow.
• All living things change to fit in better with their
14 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
17. All living things are classified by their characteristics.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 15
18. Plants make up one group of living things. We know
this because plants have the same characteristics that all
living things have.
• Plants create energy from food. They make their
own food using the sun, water, and gases in the
• Plants make seeds that become new plants.
• Plants grow from small seeds into seedlings and
become adult plants.
• Plants can adapt to their habitat. For example,
all plants need water, but a cactus in a dry desert
does not need as much water as other plants.
16 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
19. Plants have the characteristics that all living things have.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 17
20. Animals of all shapes and sizes are living things, too.
So, animals also have the same characteristics that all
living things have.
• Animals get energy from the food they eat.
• Animals can have babies.
• Baby animals are small but grow into adult
• Animals can adapt to their habitat. For example,
the fur of polar bears looks white so they can
blend in with the snow where they live.
18 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
21. Animals have the characteristics that all living things have.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 19
22. Plants and animals are both living things, but
plants and animals are different in important ways.
For example, animals move from place to place, but
plants do not.
Scientists study how living things are alike and
different and sort, or classify, them into large groups
called kingdoms. There are five kingdoms of living
things. You have just learned about two—the plant
kingdom and the animal kingdom. (You will learn
about the other kingdoms in later grades.) The living
things in each kingdom can then be sorted into more
specific groups.
Scientists study animals within the animal
kingdom and classify them by the characteristics
they share with other animals. One way scientists
classify animals into more specific groups is by
checking if an animal has a backbone. Insects do not
have backbones, but birds and fish do. So, animals
with a backbone are in different, more specific groups
within the animal kingdom. Insects make up the
largest group in the animal kingdom. But there are
other large groups of animals, such as birds and fish.
You will learn more about other major groups in
future chapters.
20 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
Scientists classify living things into five kingdoms. They classify animals into
other groups by their characteristics.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 21
24. We classify the things around us so we can get
to know our world better. As we learn about living
things, we also learn about ourselves and our place in
the world.
So far, scientists have classified over 1 million
different kinds of animals. Most of these are
insects! Many scientists think there may be close
to 10 million other animals that still have not been
That’s all for now! Rattenborough, over and out!
I’ll be back in the next chapter to tell you more about
how animals are classified into different groups.
22 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
25. Insects are the largest group of animals.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 23
26. Chapter Warm-Blooded
2 and Cold-Blooded
Rattenborough, here again! In the last chapter,
you learned how scientists classify living things into
groups called kingdoms. You learned about the animal
and plant kingdoms. You also learned that animals
and other living things are classified into more specific
Today, you will learn more about the animal
kingdom. You will learn that there are many kinds of
animals that have different characteristics. Scientists
study these different characteristics to divide the
animal kingdom into more specific groups.
24 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
Scientists classify living things by different characteristics.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 25
28. Many animals—such as cats, mice, rats, cows,
elephants, tigers, and even people—belong to a group
called mammals. So, you and I are mammals! All
mammals have hair, but some have more hair, or
fur, than others. You have to get pretty close to an
elephant to see its hair, but it is a mammal.
Another characteristic of mammals is that they
give birth to live babies. Mammal babies begin
breathing, moving, and looking for food as soon as
they are born. Mammal mothers make milk to feed
their newborns. This is another key characteristic of
all mammals.
26 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
29. Mammal mothers feed their babies milk from their bodies.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 27
30. Do you think this crocodile is a mammal?
Answer: No!
Why not?
• Crocodiles have scales, not hair or fur.
• Crocodiles lay eggs and baby crocodiles hatch
from those eggs.
• A baby crocodile does not get milk from its
mother. Its first meal might be a bug. Later, he’ll
eat bigger animals.
Crocodiles belong to a different group of animals
called reptiles, along with snakes, lizards, and turtles.
28 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
31. Crocodiles, snakes, lizards, and turtles are all reptiles.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 29
32. Scientists also classify animals as mammals or
reptiles based on how the animals control their body
temperature. All animals need to keep a constant
temperature inside their bodies for their bodies to
work properly. If an animal gets too hot or too cold,
its body will not work the way it should. An animal
may become sick or even die.
Mammals are warm-blooded animals. When
warm-blooded animals are in a cold place, they use
energy from food they eat to help keep their bodies
warm. Some warm-blooded animals shiver to keep
warm. When they shiver, their bodies make heat to
keep warm.
30 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
33. When a person shivers, his/her body is using energy to keep him/her warm.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 31
34. When warm-blooded animals are somewhere hot,
their bodies react in a different way to cool off. Some
warm-blooded animals, like people, sweat to stay
cool. Dogs pant to stay cool. Other warm-blooded
animals drink lots of water as a way to cool off. Did
you know that cows need to drink almost a bathtub
full of water a day?
Warm-blooded animals act in different ways
to maintain a constant temperature inside their
bodies. Mammals can live in habitats with different
temperatures because their bodies do not rely on the
environment. Warm-blooded animals, like mammals,
must eat often to make energy to heat or cool their
bodies. Most warm-blooded animals need to eat every
day. Some need to eat every hour!
32 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
35. Dogs pant to stay cool.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 33
36. Reptiles are cold-blooded animals. The body
temperature of cold-blooded animals changes
depending on the outside temperature. They become
hot when it is hot outside and cold when it is cold
outside. But cold-blooded animals must also keep
a constant temperature for their bodies to work
Cold-blooded animals do not use energy from
their bodies to stay warm or cool. Instead they use
what is around them to keep warm or keep cool.
Crocodiles stay in water or mud in order to stay cool
on hot days. If they need to warm up on cooler days,
they bask in the sun.
34 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
37. Cold-blooded animals like these crocodiles cool off by taking a swim when it's
too hot. When it's cool outside, they warm up in the sun.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 35
38. While warm-blooded animals can live in just
about any habitat, cold-blooded animals can only live
in certain habitats.
Cold-blooded animals do not need to eat as often
as warm-blooded animals. This is because they do
not need lots of food to make energy to warm or cool
their bodies. Most crocodiles only eat once a week,
but they can live for months and sometimes years
without eating!
36 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
Reptiles are one group of cold-blooded animals. What other animals are cold-blooded?
Mammals are warm-blooded animals. What other animals are warm-blooded?
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 37
40. Chapter
3 Vertebrate or
Rattenborough, here again! You have learned that
scientists who study the animal kingdom classify
animals into different groups, based on different
characteristics. Some characteristics scientists study
• what makes up the animal’s skin, such as hair or
• whether animals give birth to live babies or lay
• whether mothers feed their babies milk from
their own bodies
• whether animals are warm-blooded or cold-
38 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
41. Scientists classify living things by different characteristics, such as what is on their
skin, if they lay eggs or have live babies, how they feed their babies, and whether
they are warm-blooded or cold-blooded.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 39
42. Another key characteristic that scientists study
is whether animals have a backbone. Animals that
have a backbone are called vertebrates. Humans are
vertebrates. Place your hand on the back of your neck
until you feel a bump. Now, rub your hand up and
down the middle of your back. Do you feel bumpy
bones that run in a row down your back, from your
neck down to your waist? That’s your backbone.
Another name for a backbone is a spine.
The backbone or spine wraps around and protects
an important part of your body called the spinal cord.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves. Messages travel
up and down your spinal cord from your brain to other
parts of your body. This is the way that your brain sends
signals telling the other parts of your body what to do.
40 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
43. Humans have a backbone and are classified as vertebrates.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 41
44. Many other animals also are vertebrates. All
mammals, reptiles, fish, and birds have a backbone,
so they are all vertebrates. They have some type of
spinal cord, too.
Animals with a backbone come in all different
shapes and sizes. Apes, rhinos, horses, rabbits,
bats—and yes, rats and humans, too—are all
mammals and vertebrates. Lizards, turtles, snakes,
and crocodiles are reptiles and vertebrates. Huge
sharks and tiny goldfish are also vertebrates. Small
hummingbirds and large eagles are vertebrates, too.
42 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
45. These animals are all classified as vertebrates because they have a backbone.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 43
46. But there are many more animals that do not have
a backbone. Animals without a backbone are called
invertebrates. Insects are the largest group in the
animal kingdom. Insects are also the largest group of
invertebrates. Insects include flies, wasps, beetles,
cockroaches, ladybugs, and butterflies. Other kinds of
invertebrates include earthworms and spiders.
44 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
47. These animals are invertebrates that do not have a backbone.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 45
48. Some interesting invertebrates live in the sea.
Lobsters, shrimp, and crabs do not have a backbone.
The giant octopus is an invertebrate as well. Have
you ever seen a jellyfish or a starfish? They are also
invertebrates. So, these animals do not have a
backbone or spinal cord.
46 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
49. These invertebrates live in the saltwater environment of the sea.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 47
50. Chapter
4 Fish
Rattenborough here again! You have learned that
scientists study the characteristics of animals. They
do this to divide the animal kingdom into different
groups, such as mammals and reptiles. Today you are
going to learn about another group of animals within
the animal kingdom—fish.
Fish are aquatic animals, meaning that they
spend their lives underwater. Most fish are cold-
blooded. Their body temperature changes with the
temperature of the water. Fish are also vertebrates. In
fact, they are the largest group of animals on Earth
that are vertebrates. Earth is covered mostly by water,
so it makes sense that fish are the most common
vertebrates. There are many different types and sizes of
48 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
51. Fish come in many sizes and colors.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 49
52. Fish lay eggs underwater. They also eat and sleep
under water. Fish do not sleep in the same way
mammals sleep. Fish can’t close their eyes because they
don’t have eyelids. When they sleep, they float around
or find a place to hide while they rest.
Like other animals, fish need to breathe oxygen.
But fish do not have lungs like people and they do not
breathe oxygen from the air. Instead, they have gills
just behind their heads. Fish gills take oxygen out of
the water, so that fish can breathe. But gills do not
work well outside water. They cannot take oxygen
out of the air. A fish will die quickly—within several
minutes—if it is removed from water.
Fish have scales that cover their skin. Scales are
rounded and smooth, and there is usually an inner
and outer layer. The scales protect the skin and help
fish move easily through the water. Fish also use the
different fins on their body and their tails to swim.
They are able to glide through the water, rapidly
changing direction by using their fins and tail.
50 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
53. Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 51
54. Most fish live in saltwater, because most water on
Earth is salty. Tropical fish that live in the warm ocean
are very colorful. They look as if an artist painted
interesting patterns on their bodies. Many fish also
live in freshwater, including streams, rivers, lakes, and
52 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
55. These tropical fish live in a saltwater habitat.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 53
56. Some fish travel in groups called schools. One
type of fish that travels in schools is salmon. Salmon
live in both saltwater and freshwater. Some types of
salmon are born in freshwater streams and rivers. After
about a year, they make their way to the ocean where
they live for one to five years. Then, they migrate
back to the exact same stream where they were born.
They lay eggs and the life cycle begins again.
Salmon don’t use a map to help them find their
way back home. Most scientists think they use their
strong sense of smell to find their way. They swim
upstream, against the river’s current, sometimes
swimming hundreds of miles. They leap over
waterfalls and rocks to get to the same stream where
they were born. They go through all this hard work to
reach their home to lay their eggs.
Hopefully, along the way, a grizzly bear or
fisherman won’t catch them first. It just so happens
that salmon are among the tastiest of all fish!
54 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
57. A salmon leaping over a waterfall to get upstream to lay its eggs must watch out
for enemies.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 55
58. Chapter
5 Amphibians
Greetings once again from your pal and animal
expert, Rattenborough! Are you ready to learn about
another group of animals within the animal kingdom?
The group we are going to talk about today is really
interesting. They live both in water and on land. This
group of animals is called amphibians. The word
amphibian comes from Latin meaning “both sides of
Amphibians are classified into three more
specific groups. Frogs and toads are the largest group.
Salamanders and newts make up another. Animals
in the third group do not have legs, so they look
more like large snakes. We don’t know as much about
this group of amphibians because they live mostly
56 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
59. Amphibians can live both in water and on land.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 57
60. To understand the life cycle of an amphibian, let’s
take a closer look at an American toad.
Like all amphibians, toads are cold-blooded. An
amphibian’s body temperature changes as the outdoor
temperature changes. Some amphibians hibernate
during the winter. Some toads dig deep underground.
Other amphibians like frogs bury themselves in mud
at the bottom of a pond. Hibernating amphibians
can survive for months. They do not eat or move,
using only the fat stored in their body to stay alive.
Frogs and toads—and all amphibians—are also
58 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
61. This toad may be preparing to hibernate for the winter.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 59
62. A toad’s life cycle begins as one of thousands
of soft, slimy eggs. The mother lays her eggs close
to shore in a pond, lake, or calm spot in a river or
But most of these eggs will never hatch. Instead,
they will be eaten by fish or other animals. If the water
moves the eggs away from the shore and into direct
sunlight, the eggs will dry out and die.
Out of the thousands of eggs laid, a few hundred
toad eggs manage to hatch into tadpoles. A tadpole
is very fragile. Its young body is made up mainly of
a mouth, a tail, and gills. At this stage, tadpoles are
aquatic. Like fish, they use gills to breathe underwater.
60 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
63. EGGS
The life cycle of a frog or toad
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 61
64. After a while, tadpoles begin swimming around
and eating tiny aquatic plants. Tadpoles tend to stay
together in schools, like fish. However, this makes it
more likely that other animals will be able to catch
and eat them. Most tadpoles end up as fish snacks.
If a tadpole survives for a month, skin will begin
to grow over its gills. After about six to nine weeks,
the tadpole also starts to grow little legs. As its body
changes, the young frog or toad starts to look less like
an aquatic animal and more like a land animal.
After a few months, a toad will make its way out
of the water to land. At this stage, it may still have
a tail, but that won’t last long. By this time, its gills
have become lungs. That means the toad now breathes
oxygen from the air instead of oxygen from the water,
like fish. Soon, it will be a full-grown adult toad living
and hopping around on land. Adult amphibians are
carnivores, eating insects, small reptiles, and even
62 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
65. Bottom: A young amphibian leaving the pond for land.
Top: The life cycle of a frog or toad
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 63
66. Adult toads are very good swimmers and can even
swim underwater. But they cannot use their lungs to
breathe underwater. Instead, their thin, moist skin
absorbs oxygen from the water.
Amphibians are a very interesting animal group.
Amphibians are the only type of animal that have
both gills and lungs. As adults, they live on land but
lay eggs in the water. The Latin meaning of the word
amphibian makes perfect sense!
64 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
67. This frog has laid her eggs in the water.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 65
68. Chapter
6 Reptiles
Hi again, it’s Rattenborough! You have already
learned a little about today’s group of animals, which
are reptiles. You already know that reptiles are cold-
blooded animals and vertebrates. But did you know
that reptiles live both on land and in water like
amphibians? Reptiles have lungs from the time they
are born, not gills, like amphibians.
You may also already know that reptiles lay eggs.
Some reptile eggs have soft shells and some have hard
shells. They lay their eggs on land. A few snakes hold
the eggs inside their bodies until they hatch. Very few
rare reptiles do give birth to live young, never making
real eggs.
Many different groups of animals are classified
as reptiles. These include animals such as crocodiles,
alligators, turtles, tortoises, snakes, and lizards.
66 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
69. Crocodiles, turtles, snakes, and lizards are all reptiles.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 67
70. Some people may think reptiles, mainly snakes, are
scary. Most reptiles will not harm people. But there
are some reptiles that you should try to avoid. The
black mamba is the best example. This is the longest
and most poisonous snake in Africa. It is also the
deadliest snake in the world. A mamba injects venom
whenever it bites something. A mamba bite can kill
any animal—even a human—in less than 20 minutes!
68 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
71. A poisonous black mamba snake
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 69
72. Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and water moccasins
are types of poisonous snakes found in the United
States. Rattlesnakes, or rattlers, are easy to spot
because they have “rattles” that shake on their tails.
You know when there is one nearby because you can
hear the rattles shaking.
Copperheads have a triangle-shaped head and dark
stripes. They are normally less than three feet long.
They prefer to live in rocky, wooded areas. They only
bite humans if they are attacked or startled.
Water moccasins live in the water so they are hard
to spot. They have a dangerous bite, but rarely attack
humans. If you live in a southern state like Florida,
Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana, you are more
likely to see one. They live in swamps or shallow lakes.
You might want to avoid swimming in shallow waters
if you live in those states.
70 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
73. Rattlesnake
Water Moccasin
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 71
74. Some people think snakes are slimy because
their skin looks shiny, but most reptiles have thick,
dry, scaly skin. Reptiles are known for molting, or
shedding their skin. Reptiles shed their skin several
times during their lives. Snakes, for example, shed
their skin in one big piece. They do this when they
grow too big for their current skin.
72 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
75. This snakeskin has been left behind by a large snake after it molted.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 73
76. The biggest reptile is the saltwater crocodile, which
lives mainly in Australia and a few parts of India and
Asia. Male saltwater crocodiles can grow to be 20 feet
long or more! Attacks on humans are rare. If they do
attack a human, it’s usually not a happy ending.
Crocodiles have the most powerful bite in the
entire animal kingdom. Their bites are ten times
stronger than that of a great white shark. Despite their
power when they bite and snap their jaws shut, it is
fairly easy to hold a crocodile’s mouth closed. They
open their mouths using a weak set of muscles. In
fact, a third grader may be able to hold a crocodile’s
jaw shut . . . would you like to try?
74 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
77. Crocodiles have powerful jaws and a mean bite.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 75
78. Chapter
7 Birds
Yoo hoo—over here! It’s Rattenborough! So
far, you have learned about the following groups
of animals within the animal kingdom: mammals,
reptiles, fish, and amphibians. Do you remember all of
their different characteristics? Do you remember that
we said that fish were the largest group of vertebrates
in the animal kingdom? Well, today we are going to
talk about the second largest group of
Birds belong to a group all their own. Birds, like all
living things, are highly adaptive, meaning they can
survive in many different habitats. You can find them
in deserts and in the coldest places on Earth. Many
love forests. There are only a few birds found way out
to sea, many miles from land. But if you are out in a
boat only a few miles from land, you may see many
sea birds, such as seagulls.
76 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
79. Different kinds of birds live in many different habitats.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 77
80. Like mammals, birds are warm-blooded. Many
birds migrate when the seasons change. In late fall,
they fly in groups called flocks from colder places to
warmer places. Then, in the spring after winter is over,
they migrate back to the place where they were in the
fall. Birds are the only animal besides some insects and
bats that are able to fly like an airplane.
78 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
81. A flock of migrating birds
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 79
82. All birds have wings, but not all birds are able to
fly. Penguins are probably the best known birds that
do not fly. Penguins make up for not flying by being
great swimmers. Ostriches, the largest of all birds,
can’t fly either, but they sure can run very fast! They
also lay the world’s largest eggs.
Besides wings, all birds have two legs and a mouth
without teeth, called a beak. A key characteristic of
birds is that they all have feathers. Feathers help these
warm-blooded animals fly and help them maintain
a constant body temperature. Bird feathers come in
all kinds of colors and sizes. A bird’s feathers are also
called plumage. Peacocks have the fanciest plumage
of all. They like to show off by fanning their long,
colorful feathers.
80 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
83. All birds have wings and feathers, but not all birds can fly.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 81
84. Most birds are nesting animals. Many birds make
their own nest, often high up in the trees or in thick
bushes. They use bits and pieces of nature, such as
twigs and parts of plants, to create their nest. Other
birds build their nests in tree holes. Some bird nests
are made of mud.
Most birds lay eggs in their nests. Some lay a
bunch of eggs and some lay only one or two. The nest
needs to be in a safe place to protect the little eggs
from the weather and other animals that might eat
the eggs. Birds sit on their eggs to keep them warm
and safe until the eggs hatch. Once they hatch, the
baby birds need to eat. Mother and father birds fly
out from the nest and find food for their babies. They
fly back to the nest and place the food in each baby’s
82 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
85. Baby birds are being fed by their parents.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 83
86. Many birds are omnivores. Some birds eat seeds
and berries. Some eat insects. Some, like the great
blue heron, eat fish. Hawks eat little mammals.
Other birds, like tiny hummingbirds, eat nectar from
flowers. All birds drink water.
Birds are also known for their songs. Their songs
are used to attract mates and to claim a place as their
own. Sometimes it seems as if they sing because they
want to. Maybe they sing just to remind us how
beautiful and interesting the animal kingdom is!
84 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
87. Different kinds of birds eat different types of food.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 85
88. Chapter
8 Mammals
Aha! Now we get to an animal group that I
really know a lot about! I, Rattenborough, am part
of this group of animals myself! I’m talking about
mammals. Do you remember the characteristics that
scientists use to identify mammals? Hair is one major
characteristic. Live birth and giving milk to their
young are others. They breathe oxygen from the air
using their lungs. Mammals are also warm-blooded,
and they are vertebrates.
Most scientists agree that mammals are the
smartest creatures in the animal kingdom. All animals
communicate in some way. Dogs communicate by
barking and wagging their tails. Cows moo. Some
cats meow, others roar. But mammals seem to use the
most complex forms of communication. Humans use
language to talk. They also communicate with their
faces and hands. Some apes and chimpanzees have even
been taught to use sign language to communicate.
86 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
89. Mammals communicate in different ways.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 87
90. There are two other mammals that also seem to
use an advanced form of communication. In fact, you
may not even realize that these animals are mammals
because they live in the ocean. Dolphins and whales
are classified as aquatic mammals. Dolphins and
whales, like other mammals, do not have gills like
fish, so they cannot breathe underwater. Instead, they
use blowholes at the top of their heads to blow out
water and suck in air. Dolphins and whales rise to the
surface of the water and poke their heads into the air
to breathe.
Whales and dolphins communicate by sending
out sound waves through the water. These waves,
called sonar, help them find their way through the
ocean. The sound waves bounce off objects and echo
back to the whale or dolphin. The whale or dolphin
can tell the size, shape, and speed of objects, and the
distance away from them based on the time it takes
the echo sound to travel back to them. They also use
their sounds to “talk” to each other!
88 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
91. You might think dolphins would be classified as fish, but they are classified as
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 89
92. Dolphins and whales also give birth to live young.
No eggs needed! They even feed milk to their young.
If you study them closely, you will learn that dolphins
and whales have hair, not scales. They also have very
thick skin. Their skin protects them from the cold and
animals that are their predators.
You might also be surprised to learn that bats are
also mammals. Bats fly like birds, but they do not
have the other characteristics that birds have. Bats
have fur, not feathers. Their arms have wing-like flaps
of skin, but they are not like bird wings. Bats also
give birth to live young and they produce milk. So,
scientists classify bats as mammals.
90 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
93. Bats are also mammals.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 91
94. Here’s an interesting fact: not all mammals give
birth to live young. The duck-billed platypus and
spiny anteater both lay eggs like birds and some
reptiles, but have all the other characteristics of
mammals. Good luck finding one. They are very rare!
Mammals have their fair share of odd members,
like the duck-billed platypus. But the basic
characteristics—hair, backbone, milk, warm-
blooded—are always present in mammals no matter
92 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
95. A duck-billed platypus
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 93
96. Chapter Scientists
9 Who Classify
Rattenborough, here once again! You have been
learning about how scientists study the characteristics
of living things. They classify all living things into one
of five large groups called kingdoms. You have been
learning a lot about how animals are sorted into more
specific groups within the animal kingdom.
The scientists who study animals and their
characteristics are called zoologists. Zoologists
observe animals to see the ways they are the same and
the ways they are different. For example, zoologists
discovered that some animals are warm-blooded and
some are cold-blooded.
94 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
97. This zoologist is studying a turtle.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 95
98. Zoologists also classify animals by whether or not
they have a backbone. Animals with a backbone and a
spinal cord are called vertebrates. Animals that do not
have a backbone are called invertebrates. We learned
that there are five groups of vertebrates—fish, birds,
amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. The largest group
of vertebrates is fish.
Zoologists also study other characteristics of
animals. They study animal body parts and how they
are alike or different. All animals need to breathe
oxygen. But they may have different organs that help
them breathe. Fish and young amphibians have gills
that help them get oxygen out of the water. Mammals,
reptiles, and adult amphibians get oxygen from the air
using lungs.
Zoologists also study how different animal babies
are born and cared for. Do you remember which
group of animal mothers feed their babies milk from
their own bodies?
96 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
99. Do you remember which group of animals feed their babies milk from their own
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 97
100. Everything we have learned about animals was
discovered by scientists. There have been many
scientists who have been interested in animals since
long, long ago. A Greek man named Aristotle first
classified animals over 2,000 years ago. He wrote a
book called A History of Animals. As scientists have
discovered and learned more about animals, the
classification system has changed. There is still much
to learn about animals. After all, there are thousands
of new animals yet to be discovered and classified!
98 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
101. A statue of Aristotle
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 99
102. Every single day, scientists learn new facts about
animals. Scientists even find new animals they didn’t
know existed. There is no end to new knowledge if
you study living things!
Today, there are about one million scientists
around the world who are studying and classifying
animals, even as you read this. Every one of them
spends the day observing, experimenting, and finding
new information. This adds to our knowledge about
the world we live in.
If you want to be a zoologist when you grow
up, there is plenty to study. You never know when
someone is going to learn something that changes the
way we think about the world. Who knows? Maybe
you will be the first to find a feathered fish or a flying
snail. It may sound silly now, but a hundred years ago,
nobody knew that whales communicated with each
other. What will you discover?
100 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
103. What kind of animals would you like to observe if you were a zoologist?
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 101
104. Chapter
10 Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall is a very famous primatologist. She
is a scientist who studies a group of mammals called
primates. Primates are a group of mammals that
includes humans, monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees.
Jane Goodall has spent her whole life studying
chimpanzees. She has focused on studying animal
behavior in chimpanzees. Her discoveries have made
her one of the best known scientists in the world.
Goodall was born in 1934 in London, England.
When she was a little girl, her father gave her a toy
chimpanzee. It looked so real that people who visited
her house were afraid of it, but she loved it!
When Goodall was 23, she went to Africa. She
began studying chimpanzees with a well-known
scientist named Louis Leakey. After a year of working
in Africa, Goodall went back to England and studied
at the University of Cambridge. Can you guess what
her favorite subject was? Chimpanzees!
102 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
105. Jane Goodall
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 103
106. After finishing school, Goodall returned to Africa
and spent the next 45 years studying chimpanzees
in the wild. Her discoveries during those years
completely changed the way people think about
Before Goodall’s work, people thought
chimpanzees were herbivores. She discovered that they
eat meat, too. More importantly, Goodall discovered
that chimps were quite intelligent. She observed them
making and using tools! Before that, people thought
humans were the only animals that made and used
When you hear the word tool, you may think of a
hammer, saw, or shovel. Chimps don’t use those kinds
of tools. A tool is something used to help make a job
easier. Tools can be very simple. A rock becomes a tool
if you pick it up and use it to crack open a walnut.
104 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
107. Goodall studies chimpanzees, a type of mammal belonging to the primate group.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 105
108. Goodall observed chimps using blades of grass
and sticks as tools. Chimps like to eat termites, a type
of insect that is like an ant. Termites live in holes
underground. To catch these tasty insects, Goodall
observed a chimp sticking a blade of grass into a
termite hole. The termites crawled onto the grass.
Then, the chimp took the grass out of the hole and
ate all the termites. Before Goodall wrote about this
behavior, people did not realize how clever chimps
and other primates are.
Goodall gave names to all the chimps in the
group she was studying. She got to know them pretty
well. Over time, she learned that chimps were smart
animals. She learned that chimps express many of the
same feelings as people. They can feel happy, sad, and
mad. Chimps can also be mean. Goodall saw them
attack and eat small monkeys, not out of hunger, but
because they didn’t want them around.
106 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
109. A chimpanzee uses a plant stem as a tool.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 107
110. Goodall is more than a scientist. She is also an
activist. An activist is someone who works hard to
solve a problem and change something in the world.
Goodall works as an animal rights activist to protect
chimpanzees and their habitats. She tells others
about human damage to habitats, such as hunting
and pollution, and works to stop these problems.
She loves working with young people and teaching
them how to protect animals. She has written many
books and has been the subject of books and movies.
She has won many awards for her work in protecting
chimpanzees. As of 2013, she was 79 years old and
still working to spread the message that animals need
to be protected!
108 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
111. Jane Goodall continues to work as an animal rights activist.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 109
112. Chapter
11 Deep-Sea Fish
Oceans are very, very deep bodies of water.
However, people cannot go very deep into the ocean.
Even with all the right scuba gear, including a tank
of oxygen, there is a limit to how deep you can go
underwater. The deeper you go, the higher the water
pressure gets because of the weight of all the water
around you.
You can notice water pressure if you swim to the
bottom of a pool. If you rest on the floor of the pool
for a few seconds, you will start to feel the pressure in
your eardrums.
The deeper you go in the ocean, the higher the
water pressure gets. If you dive a few hundred feet
down, you will start to feel like someone is squeezing
your head and chest. At 1,000 feet, you might pass
out. Go deeper than that and you might be crushed
by all the water pressure!
110 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
113. Scuba divers feel more water pressure the deeper they dive in the ocean.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 111
114. How deep are oceans? That depends on where
you are in the world. Some parts are a few yards deep,
while others are around 10,000 feet. The deepest part
of the ocean is more than six miles deep! Down there,
the water pressure is very strong. It is so strong, it
would feel as if someone dropped 3,300 elephants on
you at the same time. In other words, you would be
crushed to the size of an ant, maybe smaller.
No creature that lives on land can survive the
water pressure of the deep ocean. Most fish can’t
either. However, there is life down there—lots of it!
How do we know? Scientists have created special
submarines called submersibles that can go deep in
the ocean.
Some submersibles can carry a person or two.
Others are controlled remotely from the surface.
With a light and a camera, a submersible can be used
to explore the deepest parts of an ocean. Scientists
developed the first submersible about 50 years ago
and have been discovering some pretty crazy-looking
fish ever since!
112 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
115. A submersible exploring deep underwater
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 113
116. Fish that live deep down in the ocean are unlike
any other living things. They have incredibly thick
bodies because they need to withstand all that water
No sunlight reaches the bottom of the ocean, so
it’s completely dark down there. Many deep-sea fish
glow! Lantern fish are the most common deep-sea
fish. In fact, they are among the most common of all
vertebrates. There are billions of them down there!
114 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
117. Lantern fish
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 115
118. The anglerfish is easily one of the strangest
creatures on Earth. Have you ever seen anything so
ugly? Anglerfish are known for their huge mouths and
scary teeth. What is more amazing is that they have a
built-in flashlight on their head used to communicate
with other fish.
Humans have only managed to explore a tiny part
of the deep seas. If you are interested in discovering
new creatures, then you might want to think about
becoming a deep-sea marine biologist, which is a
scientist who explores ocean life.
116 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
119. An anglerfish
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 117
120. Chapter
12 Tree Frogs
As you have learned, amphibians are vertebrates
that spend part of their lives in water and part of their
lives on land. They start out like fish because they
are born with gills and can breathe underwater. They
later develop lungs, so they can breathe air and live on
land. Tree frogs are one type of amphibian. They are
different from most amphibians because they spend
most of their lives in trees.
The American green tree frog can be found in
most parts of the southeastern United States. A typical
American tree frog is only about two inches long, so
they are pretty small. But they can be loud if there are
a few hundred of them gathered together.
118 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
121. An American green tree frog
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 119
122. If you live in the southern United States, near
water and lots of trees, your summer nights may be
filled with the gentle chirps of tree frogs.
American tree frogs range in color from lime green
to yellow. A tree frog’s most distinct characteristic is its
long toes with suction cups. The suction cups allow
a tree frog to cling to and climb anything. A tree frog
can even stick to a window.
Tree frogs like to stay in the trees, so you are more
likely to hear them instead of see them. They will
leave the trees to lay eggs. They are most likely to
come down to the ground after a heavy rain, when
everything is nice and wet.
120 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
123. This tree frog's long toes with suction cups help it climb this branch.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 121
124. If you do see one, don’t worry! They are pretty
friendly. They are easy to catch, too. If you catch one,
it might sit on your hand or crawl around on your
You will probably only find them at night because
they are nocturnal. This means they sleep during the
day and are active at night. They eat small insects,
such as crickets, moths, and other nocturnal insects.
Like other amphibians, American green tree frogs
lay their eggs in or near the water. Most of them like
to lay their eggs very close to water, but not quite in
it. Their favorite place is on a tree limb or leafy branch
that has fallen into a pond.
122 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
125. The American green tree frog is nocturnal.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 123
126. Different kinds of tree frogs have been around
since long before the dinosaurs roamed the earth. You
can find many different types of tree frogs in parts
of North and South America, Europe, and Southeast
Asia. This is a red-eyed tree frog, which you can find
in Mexico and much of Central America.
Most tree frogs prefer a fairly warm, wet climate.
If you live in a place with tree frogs, consider yourself
lucky. In the summer, you can fall asleep each night
listening to the steady song of a tree frog orchestra.
124 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
127. This type of tree frog lives in Mexico and Central America.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 125
128. Chapter
13 The Komodo
You have probably heard or read at least one fairy
tale with a dragon as a character. In these stories,
dragons fly around breathing fire and frightening
innocent people, until a brave knight comes along and
kills the dragon. Well, you won’t find fire-breathing
dragons in a book about animal classification. There is
no proof that these fairy tale dragons ever existed.
There is, however, one real dragon that does exist:
the Komodo dragon. No, it does not breathe fire
and it does not fly. It’s just a big reptile. They can be
pretty mean. It’s rare, but they have attacked and even
killed humans. So, be careful if you are ever traveling
through Indonesia.
126 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
129. Fire-breathing dragons are found only in fairy tales and movies. The Komodo
dragon is a large reptile found in Indonesia.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 127
130. These dragons are named after the island of
Komodo, which is part of Indonesia. They can be
found on four or five other Indonesian islands, as
well, but overall they are pretty rare.
They prefer hot, dry places. They dig burrows two
to three feet deep in the ground. Like most reptiles,
they spend most of their time sleeping or simply
A Komodo dragon can be as big, or bigger, than
a crocodile. They weigh up to 150 pounds and can be
over ten feet long from tail to head. The largest one on
record weighed 370 pounds, or as much as about six
third graders.
128 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
131. A Komodo dragon can be as large, or larger, than a crocodile.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 129
132. Like many reptiles, they can’t hear or see very well.
Instead, they have a strong sense of smell. They do
not use their nostrils to smell—they use their tongue!
They can smell food several miles away if the wind is
blowing in the right direction!
Speaking of food, Komodo dragons are carnivores,
so they eat mainly meat. For the most part, they eat
dead animals. But if there are no dead animals around,
they hunt for food.
130 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
133. Komodo dragons use their tongues to smell!
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 131
134. They have sharp claws and teeth and, when
needed, can move pretty fast. They are the only lizards
known to attack, kill, and eat animals that are bigger
than they are. They might hunt a goat, deer, and even
water buffalo!
Young Komodo dragons eat insects, smaller
mammals, and birds. How? They climb trees and
catch them. They will eat anything they can get their
claws on, as long as it’s meaty.
You definitely don’t want a Komodo dragon to
bite you or even lick you! Its saliva is loaded with
dangerous germs that can make people very sick. The
best way to observe a Komodo dragon is at a zoo,
unless you are very brave or very foolish!
132 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
135. The safest way to observe a Komodo dragon is at a zoo.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 133
136. Chapter
14 Beavers
Beavers are mammals that have an important
role in nature. Beavers have two key characteristics:
long, sharp teeth and a flat, wide tail. They use their
teeth to gnaw down trees of all sizes for food and for
building things. They use their tails to swim, but that’s
not all! If a beaver smells or sees danger nearby, it will
warn the other beavers. It slaps its tail on the water
surface as a loud warning.
Beavers live in ponds and lakes in some parts of
North America and in some parts of Europe and Asia.
They are pretty hard to find today because they were
nearly hunted to extinction. Beavers were prized for
their pelts, which people used to make fur coats and
134 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
137. Beavers have long, sharp teeth and a flat, wide tail.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 135
138. They are still hunted today, not only for their pelts
but also because many people think they are pests.
As you will learn, beavers can play a very important
role in nature by creating a special habitat called a
wetland. But sometimes they are pests because they
disturb places where people live.
Beavers are the second largest rodent in the world.
They do look a bit like their fellow rodents, such as
mice, rats, and hamsters.
136 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
139. Beavers are mammals that belong to a smaller group of animals called rodents.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 137
140. Have you ever heard the expression “busy as a
beaver?” It comes from the fact that, in the wild,
beavers never seem to stop working.
They spend much of their time in water. They are
best known for building dams in rivers and streams.
They build dams in order to create deeper bodies of
water. They move slowly on land, but they are great
swimmers. Deep water protects them from bears and
other predators. When they sense danger, they dive
underwater. They can hold their breath underwater
for up to 15 minutes!
Beavers also build places to live called lodges.
Lodges are big piles of sticks and mud that they build
after they have built a nice dam.
Beavers use their strong teeth to gnaw down trees
of all sizes. Then they strip off and eat the bark of the
tree. They use what’s left over to build their lodges and
138 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
141. A beaver swimming from its lodge towards a dam
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 139
142. A single beaver family can really change its
surroundings. Beavers' dams can cause the water in
the stream or river to rise up, flooding the nearby
land. This creates a swamp, or wetland. Wetlands are
important habitats for many types of birds, mammals,
fish, and insects. But if there are people living nearby,
they may not welcome the flooding!
Beavers don’t stay in one place for very long. Once
the good bark from all the trees is eaten in one place,
they tend to move downstream and start all over
again. But the wetland they made often remains long
after they leave.
140 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
143. Wetlands are important habitats for many kinds of animals.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 141
144. Beavers are very territorial. This means they don’t
like other beavers to move into the same area where
they build their lodge. They want to keep all the tasty
tree bark for themselves! They often attack other
beavers that try to move into a space that they have
All in all, beavers are interesting mammals to
watch and study.
142 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
145. Beavers are territorial.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 143
146. Chapter
15 Hummingbirds
Birds can be found nearly everywhere on Earth
and they come in many different sizes and colors.
They also live in many different types of habitats.
This affects how they eat, nest, and sing songs.
Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds. The bee
hummingbird is the smallest bird on Earth, just two
inches long. It weighs less than a penny!
A hummingbird is an amazing little animal. It can
flap its wings up to 90 times in one second! That’s so
fast it looks like its wings are a blur. It’s hard to see its
wings because they are constantly flapping.
144 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
147. A hummingbird compared to the size of a penny
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 145
148. Hummingbirds dart around from flower to flower,
like bees. They use their long, pointy beaks to drink
sweet nectar from flowers. Since they are so busy
flapping their wings, they need to eat a lot to replace
all of their energy. A typical hummingbird will visit
hundreds of flowers every day, drinking more than its
own weight in nectar. Nectar has sugar, which gives
hummingbirds plenty of energy. As they find insects
on flowers, hummingbirds eat them up.
Hummingbirds are attracted to red flowers. They
are also drawn to red feeders, which people hang on
porches and trees. The feeders are filled with sugary
water, which is then dyed red to attract the birds.
People hang feeders for them because these birds are a
lot of fun to watch!
146 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
149. A hummingbird approaches a flower for nectar.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 147
150. Like many birds, the ruby-throated hummingbird
migrates. This means it spends part of the year in one
place and part of the year in another place. It can be
found in parts of the eastern United States during
the late spring and early summer. When autumn rolls
around, it heads south for warmer weather.
Here is an amazing fact: this tiny bird, which
is shorter than your finger, doesn’t migrate just a
few miles. It migrates all the way across the Gulf of
Mexico—500 miles—without stopping! From there,
it may continue south through Mexico to Costa Rica
and beyond.
Here is another interesting fact: they are the only
birds that can fly backwards! They can also hover and
fly upside-down.
148 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
151. The locations where the ruby-throated hummingbird lives in summer and winter
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 149
152. Their nests are very small, about half as big as a
walnut shell. They make their nests using little bits of
moss and leaves. They use spider webs to hold these
little bits of nature together. They sometimes eat the
spider before using its web as glue.
The spider’s web is nice and sticky. It is also
flexible. A hummingbird will lay two tiny eggs. When
its tiny eggs hatch and the babies begin to grow,
the spider web will allow the nest to expand. This
helps the babies stay warm and safe. In the image, a
hummingbird is feeding its babies. Maybe it is giving
them a nice, juicy bug to eat. Maybe it is sharing a
taste of sweet flower nectar with the babies.
See if you can find a more interesting little bird
than that!
150 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
153. A ruby-throated hummingbird feeds its babies.
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 151
154. 152 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
155. Glossary for
Guide to Animals
absorb—to take in or soak up (absorbs)
activist—a person who strongly believes in changing
something and works hard to try to make change happen
adapt—to change
adaptive—easily changes to live in different
amphibian—an animal that can live on land and in
water (amphibians)
animal—a living thing that is not a plant (animals)
aquatic—living, growing, or found in water
Aristotle—a Greek man who lived long ago and was
one of the first people to write about classifying animals
attract—to draw or pull toward a person, place, or
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 153
156. B
behavior—how a person or animal acts
burrow—a hole in the ground dug by an animal for
safety or for living (burrows)
carnivore—an animal that mainly eats meat (carnivores)
characteristic—something that makes a person,
thing, or group different (characteristics)
classify—to put things into groups based on
similarities or type (classifying, classified)
climate—the usual weather patterns in a particular
cold-blooded—only able to control body temperature
by using surroundings; Reptiles are cold-blooded.
communicate—to share information with
others through language, writing, or gestures
creature—an animal (creatures)
crocodile—a large reptile that lives near water and has
thick, scaly skin and very strong jaws (crocodiles)
154 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
157. D
deadliest—most likely to cause death
duck-billed platypus—a mammal that has a bill like
a duck and lays eggs
echo—a sound that is repeated when sound waves
bounce off the surface of an object
exist—to be alive (existed)
extinction—the state of no longer existing, usually
referring to plants or animals that have died out
feather—one of many light, soft parts that covers a
bird’s skin (feathers)
fin—a bony spine covered with skin that sticks out
from a fish’s body and helps it swim (fins)
flock—a group of birds (flocks)
fragile—easily harmed
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 155
158. G
gill—one of a pair of organs fish use to breathe
underwater (gills)
gnaw—to bite or chew something over and over
habitat—a place where plants and/or animals live and
grow (habitats)
herbivore—an animal that only eats plants
hibernate—to spend a season resting or sleeping
hover—to float in the air close to something
inject—to force in fluid, like poison, usually by
piercing the skin (injects)
invertebrate—an animal without a backbone
island—an area of land completely surrounded by
water (islands)
156 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
159. K
kingdom—a major group into which all living things
are classified (kingdoms)
Komodo dragon—the largest, living lizard (Komodo
language—words used to communicate
life cycle—the stages through which a living thing
goes from birth until death
mammal—an animal that gives birth, has hair, feeds
milk from its own body to its young, and is warm-
blooded (mammals)
marine biologist—a scientist who studies underwater
sea life
migrate—to travel back and forth from one place to
molt—to shed skin (molting, molted)
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 157
160. moss—a very small green or yellow plant that grows
on moist rocks, tree bark, or wet ground
nature—everything in the outside world that is not
made by people
nectar—sweet liquid that comes from flowers
nocturnal—active during the night
nostril—one of the openings of the nose (nostrils)
observe—to watch closely and carefully (observing)
ocean—an enormous body of saltwater
omnivore—an animal that eats both plants and meat
orchestra—a group of musicians who play
instruments together
organ—an important body part that performs a
specific function (organs)
oxygen—a colorless gas that animals must breathe to
stay alive
158 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
161. P
pelt—the skin of a dead animal with hair or fur on it
penguin—a bird that cannot fly, has black and white
feathers, and uses its wings for swimming (penguins)
plumage—birds’ feathers
poisonous—full of poison or venom
pollution—making land, water, or air dirty, thus
causing damage
predator—an animal that hunts other animals for
food (predators)
primate—a mammal such as a monkey, ape, or
human (primates)
primatologist—a scientist who studies primates
reptile—a cold-blooded animal with tough, scaly
skin that uses its surroundings to control its body
temperature (reptiles)
rodent—a small mammal with large, sharp front
teeth, such as a squirrel, rat, or mouse (rodents)
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 159
162. S
savanna—a large flat area of land with a lot of grass
and few trees commonly found in Africa and South
scale—a thin, small disc on the outside of the bodies
of some animals, such as fish and reptiles (scales)
school—a large group of fish or other aquatic animals
that swim together (schools)
scientist—an expert in science who has knowledge
of the natural world based on facts learned through
observation and experiments (scientists)
scuba gear—clothes and equipment used for diving
and breathing underwater
sign language—a way to communicate using hands
to make signs that stand for letters and words
sonar—a way to find things underwater using sound
spinal cord—a large group of nerves that connects to
the brain and sends messages to other nerves in the
160 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
163. spine—backbone
startle—to surprise (startled)
submarine—a type of ship that carries people deep
underwater for a long time (submarines)
submersible—a type of ship used to travel deep
underwater for research that usually operates without
people inside of it (submersibles)
suction cup—a round, shallow cup that can stick to a
surface (suction cups)
survive—to continue to live (survives)
tadpole—the early form of frogs and toads that has
gills and a tail, but no legs (tadpoles)
temperature—the measurement of how hot or cold
something is (temperatures)
territorial—keeping animals or people from coming
into an area already claimed
tongue—the part of the mouth used for tasting,
licking, and swallowing
Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals 161
164. V
venom—poison produced by an animal used to harm
or kill another animal
vertebrate—an animal with a backbone (vertebrates)
warm-blooded—having a constant body temperature;
Mammals are warm-blooded.
water moccasin—a type of poisonous snake found in
the southern United States (water moccasins)
water pressure—the weight or force of water as it
presses against something or someone
weather—what it is like outside
weight—how heavy something is
wetland—an area of land covered with shallow water,
such as a swamp (wetlands)
zoologist—a scientist who studies animals and their
characteristics (zoologists)
162 Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
165. Core Knowledge Language Arts
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168. Rattenborough’s Guide to Animals
Unit 2 Reader
Skills Strand
grade 3
The Core Knowledge Foundation