No one is sure exactly how many kinds of totem animals there are on this planet because new ones are still being discovered every day. Are you ready to learn more about some of these animals and their characteristics? It is estimated roughly one and a half million individual animals have been classified and cataloged, but because this work is being done by so many different people around the world, no one is even sure of that.
Scientists believe there are many more animals which have not yet been discovered. Estimates vary widely, from two million to fifty million different animals may be in our world today.
The term “animal” includes mammals, insects, reptiles,anphibians, and fish. Nearly one million of the classified animals are insects. There are approximately 4,000 amphibians, 9,700 birds, 21,000 varieties of fish, 6,500 reptiles, and 4,500 mammals. These numbers vary depending on whose study you use.
Sizes of animals may range from microscopic animals barely visible under a microscope, to the blue whale, which is the largest living animal today. More than half of the animals on Earth are less than one inch long.
The blue whale is seventy-five to eighty feet long, more than twenty feet tall, and can weigh up to one hundred fifty tons. The largest on record weighed one hundred ninety tons. The heart of the blue whale is approximately the size of a Volkswagon Beetle car. It is also the loudest animal on Earth, with its vocalizations being audible five hundred thirty miles away!
In the English language, we have developed some very specialized words to use when describing animals, as have other languages around the world. The names of the sounds animals make have many strange names.
Sometimes the name mimics the sound an animal makes. Insects may hum, buzz, murmer, drone, buzz, chirp, or pitter. Birds may sing, bleat, caw, croak, crow, boom, whistle, peep, cackle,cuckoo, scream, chant, drum, coo, gobble, moan, quack, hiss, honk, squawk, cry, howl, chatter, hoot, pipe, shrill, titter, warble, jug-jug, whipoorwill, crey, grunt, screech, wail, or talk.
Farm animals may bray, bellow, bleat, baa, moo, neigh, low, meow, mew, purr, caterwal, bark, growl, woof, arf, whine, squeak, grunt, squeal, whistle, or whinney.
Wild animals might gibber, bray, growl, caterwal, howl, bell, click, call, trumpet, laugh, bark, yelp, croak, bleat, grunt, squeak, roar, squeal, chatter, snort, low, hiss, or bellow to name just a few.
There is usually also a specific word to distinguish the male from the female in each species. Babies of each animal usually have a name of their own, as well.
Animals may live anywhere from a few hours for some insects up to four hundred years for some giant tortoises. There are animals which are found in almost all climate regions of the world, others are confined to one small area of the world and have developed very specialized skills to cope with their unique living conditions.
An example of this type of oddity is the platypus, which is only found on the mainland of Australia and in Tasmania. It has a bill like a duck and hatches its babies from eggs, yet nurses its young with milk. It has a poisonous bite and is the only mammal which lays eggs.
The largest catfish in the world is found in Africa. It can reach six hundred pounds and leaves the water for short periods by crawling on its flippers to hunt on land. The giraffe is the tallest land animal, with the largest recorded being twenty feet tall. Giraffes do not have vocal cords.
The bumblebee hummingbird is the smallest bird, measuring less than two inches. It is the only bird that can fly straight up like a helecoptor or hover in place in mid-air.
The sperm whale goes the deepest in the earth, submerging itself as far down into the ocean as 10,000 feet to feed.
The eagle flies the highest, reaching altitudes of more than 11,000 feet and diving at speeds in excess of one hundred miles per hour.
There is only one bird in the world that is known to be poisonous. It is called a hooded pitohui and is found only in New Guinea. It’s feathers are coated with the same poison as the poison-arrow frog family. This family of 170 poisonous frogs come in colors that vary from a brilliant sapphire blue to red, to lime green or yellow. They can have a variety of color patterns from spots to stripes, but all are brightly colored. Their poison is so deadly that humans cannot handle them with bare hands.
Two of the fifteen families of snakes are poisonous. In the US there are four snakes that are poisonous, the rattlesnake, the cotton mouth, the coral snake, and the water moccasin. In the US more people are killed from lightening each year than from poisonous snakes.
Madagascar is the only country that has no poisonous snakes. Australia does not have any snakes from the viper or pit viper families.
Australia does have some of the strangest animals in the world, including the Tasmanian Devil, named for the sound of its scream, three kinds of wombats, and the kangaroo, which is the world’s largest rat.
Are you ready to learn more about some of these animals and their characteristics?
Introduction | Respect and Honor | New Age Spirituality | Finding Your Totem
The Conscious Mind | Life Totems & Power Animals | The Unconscious Mind
Directional Totems | Tantra Totem | The Totem Animals