Cats, scientifically known as Felis catus, are tiny, domesticated, carnivorous mammals.
To differentiate it from its wild relatives, the domestic cat is the sole domesticated member of the Felidae family. A cat may live inside, on a farm, or in the wild as a feral cat, which roams freely and shuns human company.
Cats kept as pets by humans are highly prized for both their companionship and their pest-controlling abilities. There are around 60 recognised cat breeds, according to the different registries.
Felines share anatomical traits with domestic cats, including a strong, flexible body, fast reflexes, sharp teeth, and retractable claws. The animal has excellent senses of smell and sight at night. Both vocalisations and body language are used in cat communication. Vocalizations include meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling, and grunting. The cat is a solitary hunter yet a gregarious animal, and it is a predator that is most active at dawn and twilight (crepuscular). Its sensitive hearing allows it to pick up on mouse and other animal noises that are too low or too high in frequency for human ears to detect. Pheromones are sent and detected by cats as well.
Dogs, often known as domestic dogs or just dogs, are tamed wolves that have had their tails docked. The present wolf is the dog’s closest surviving cousin since it is also descended from an old wolf that has since been extinct. The dog was the first creature to be domesticated, by hunter–gatherers around 15,000 years ago, before the birth of agriculture. Because of their close relationship with people, dogs have proliferated into a vast domestic population and adapted to a starch-rich diet that would be insufficient for other canids.
Despite my undying affection for felines, I cast my ballot for dog. Loyalty simply adds to the adorableness of these creatures.
Bunnies, or rabbits, are tiny mammals belonging to the family Leporidae (which also includes the hares) in the order Lagomorpha (which also contains the pikas). The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and its offspring, all 305 breeds of domestic rabbit across the globe, are classified together. Out of the 13 species of wild rabbits in the genus Sylvilagus, 7 are cottontails. The European rabbit is well-known worldwide as both a wild predatory species and a domesticated type of livestock and pet, having been introduced on every continent except Antarctica. The rabbit has had far-reaching effects on ecosystems and societies, making it an integral part of everyday life in many parts of the globe.
There must be a reason why Rabbits always finish last. No matter the variety, they are always the prettiest creatures around.
The horse, Equus ferus caballus, is a domesticated odd-toed, hoofed animal belonging to the biological family Equidae; yet, wild subspecies have persisted till the present day. Both of today’s subspecies of Equus ferus trace their ancestry back to a Pleistocene ancestor. Over the course of 45–55 million years, the horse went from being a little multi-toed species called Eohippus to the huge, one-toed animal it is today. Horse domestication likely started about 4000 BCE and was well established by 3000 BCE. Most horses of the subspecies caballus have been domesticated, yet there exist wild herds of domesticated horses called feral horses. While the phrase “wild horse” is sometimes used to refer to herds of animals that have never been tamed, the vast majority of these groups do not really include any such animals. There is a large body of specialist terminology used to describe equine-related topics, including anatomy, life phases, size, colour, markings, breeds, movement, and temperament.
Squirrels belong to the rodent family Sciuridae, which also contains mice and hamsters. Rodents such as tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, flying squirrels, and prairie dogs all belong to the same family.
Squamate reptiles, such as lizards, are found on every continent except Antarctica and on most oceanic island chains. Some lizards are more closely related to snakes and Amphisbaenia than to other lizards, hence the group is paraphyletic since it excludes these two families. Sizes of lizards vary greatly, from the centimeter-long chameleon and gecko to the three-meter-long Komodo dragon.
The majority of lizards are quadrupedal and often run with a powerful side-to-side motion. Some families (termed “legless lizards”) have lengthy, snake-like bodies because their ancestors lost their legs later in evolution. For example, the Draco lizards that live in the forests can glide with ease. The males are notoriously aggressive and territorial, fending off competing males and using colourful displays to attract mates and frighten would-be suitors. The vast majority of lizard species are carnivores, with the Komodo eating water buffalo and other large animals.
There are two different kinds of chinchillas, both of which are crepuscular rodents that are bigger and more robust than ground squirrels. Herds of these South American animals may be found at altitudes of up to 4,270 metres in the Andes Mountains, where they have existed for millennia.88
The ribs play a major role in the development of the shell of the Testudines, the reptile order that includes turtles. There are two main types of modern turtles, distinguished by the way their heads retract: those with a side neck (also called a stout neck) and those with a concealed neck (also called a long neck). There are 360 known species of turtles, both extant and extinct, ranging from marine terrapins to terrestrial tortoises. Most continents, certain islands, and the whole ocean is home to sea turtles. Although many species inhabit or are found near water, they share the characteristics of other reptiles, birds, and mammals in that they breathe air and do not lay eggs underwater. They are closely related to crocodiles and birds, according to genetic research.
The superfamily Muroidea has a wide variety of medium-sized rodents with long tails. The black rat (Rattus rattus) and the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) are the two most significant species of “true rats” to humans.
An elongated, limbless, and completely carnivorous reptile, snakes belong to the suborder Serpentes. Snakes are ectothermic, amniote, multi-scuted vertebrates. Unlike their lizard relatives, many snakes can swallow food considerably bigger than their heads because their skulls have many more joints (cranial kinesis). Due to their tiny bodies, snakes often only have one lung, and their paired organs (such as the kidneys) appear in front of each other rather than side by side. Species that haven’t completely lost their pelvic girdle have been found to have retained a pair of claws on each side of the cloaca. There are many different kinds of legless lizards because elongated bodies without limbs or with severely reduced limbs have developed roughly twenty-five times independently via convergent evolution. Though superficially similar to snakes, some common families of legless lizards have eyelids and external ears, features snakes lack (though this is not always the case) (see Amphisbaenia, Dibamidae, and Pygopodidae).