Photographer: Martina Nicolls
What is the difference between the African Leopard (Panthera pardus), the Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis), the Persian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) and the Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia)?
The African Leopard, Amur Leopard, Persian Leopard, and Snow Leopard are all solitary, elusive, large felines or wild cats. All of the leopards have pale-green or grey eyes.
The Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis, formerly Panthera pardus japonensis) is a critically endangered subspecies of the of the Leopard (Panthera pardus). It is also known as the North Chinese Leopard.
The Amur Leopard has thick pale-cream fur with dark markings on its head and widely-spaced rosettes on its sides. In winter, the colour of its fur changes to light-yellow to orange-brown.
The Persian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) is an endangered wild cat subspecies of the Leopard (Panthera pardus). It is also known as the Caucasian Leopard.
The Persian Leopard has a strong, stocky body, with short legs and broad paws. It is light in colour, with variations from pale to dark. It hasblack markings on its head and neck, and larger rosette shapes on its back, sides, and tail. It has a whitish underbelly. Its nose is short and broad. Its tail is bushy, long, and flexible. Its eyes are pale-green or grey. Its ears are small and rounded.
The Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungos) from Africa is a small, short-legged carnivorous mammal that lives in burrows, called dens. It has long, strong claws that dig through soil.
Its claws do not retract, so they are always visible. There are five toes on each foot, and each toe has a medium-sized claw.
The African Rhinoceros is a distinctive animal due to its thick, armoured skin and large curved horn. Rhinoceros means ‘nose with a horn.’ The critically endangered Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is also called the Hook-Lipped Rhinoceros. The White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) is also called the Square-Lipped Rhinoceros. Most rhinos in zoos are the Southern White Rhinoceros.
Some animals are described as ‘rhinoceros’ in their scientific or common name because they have a horn that looks like a rhinoceros horn.
The Rhino Catfish (Pterygoplichthys scrophus) from South America is a fish with a ridged, armoured body and two horn-like protrusions from its head that looks like the horns of a rhinoceros. The protrusions are actualy nostril flaps so that water doesn’t get up its nose. Its body is completely covered in small plates that look like armour.
What is the difference between the African Lion and the White Lion?
The White Lion (Panthera leo) is a feline, or felid, mammal – a wild cat. It is different from the African Lion (Panthera leo leo) and the Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica), but it is more similar to the African Lion.
The White Lion is not albino. It is leucistic, which means that it has reduced colouring, but not complete albinism. An animal that is albino lacks colour and has pink eyes. A leucistic animal does not have pink eyes.
The Caucasus Jungle Cat (Felis chaus chaus) is a sub-species of the Jungle Cat. It is also known as the Reed Cat or the Swamp Cat. It is a medium-sized feline, or felid, mammal. It looks like a lynx.
The Caucasus Jungle Cat has sandy, reddish-brown, or grey fur without spots. It has a long, narrow face with a white nose. Its eyes are yellow, and it often has white fur around its eyes. It has large, pointed ears with small tufts of black hair. It has long legs and a short, black-tipped tail. It has sharp teeth.
The Goeldi’s Monkey (Callimico goeldii) is a small, rare, primate mammal. It is also known as Goeldi’s Marmoset or the Callimico.
The Goeldi’s Monkey is black or blackish-brown. The hair on its head and tail sometimes has red, white, or silvery-brown highlights.
The Caucasian Squirrel (Sciurus anomalus anomalus) is a small arboreal (tree) mammal. It is also called the Persian Squirrel.
The Caucasian Squirrel ranges in colour from greyish-brown to pale-grey or orange-brown with a yellow-brown or rusty-brown underbelly. Its bushy tail is deep red. It has short claws.
The Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda) is a small canine, or canid, mammal.
The Fennec Fox has a creamy-brown fluffy coat, which keeps it warm at night and cool in the daytime. It has large ears. The soles of its feet have thick fur, which protects them from the hot desert sand.
The Bornean Bearded Pig (Sus barbatus) is a medium-sized ungulate (hoofed) mammal. It is endangered, with the species protected in some zoos around the world. The photographed pig is from the London Zoo.
The Bornean Bearded Pig has a dark-grey barrel-shaped body with a tassel, or tuft, on its tail. Its face has a prominent whitish beard of coarse hair. It has short legs and drooping ears and a blunt snout (nose).
It measures about 60 centimetres (24 inches) in length.
The Caucasian Wisent (Bison bonasus caucasicus) is a subspecies of the European Bison that lived in the Caucasus Mountains. Before its extinction, the last male Caucasian Wisent bred with cows from the lowland species of the European Bison (Bison bonasus bonasus).
In the 1940s and in 1959, a group of Caucasian Wisent and American Bison (Bison bison) hybrids were released into the Caucasian region, which bred with the Caucasian lowland hybrid species to form a single group. In 2000, zoologists categorized them as a new mountain species, called Bison bonasus montanus. However, the new category has not been confirmed.
The hybrid Caucasian Wisent is an ungulate mammal of the bovine family. It is an artiodactyl, because it is cloven hooved.
The hybrid Caucasian Wisent is broad and muscular, with a brown coat of fur.
The Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) is a canine, or canid mammal. It is also known as the Timber Wolf. It is related to the Coyote and the Golden Jackal.
The Grey Wolf has thick, grey-brown mottled fur, but it can be reddish-brown, white, or black. It has a triangular-shaped face with a wide forehead, medium-sized ears, and dark orange-brown eyes.
The Highland Pony (Equus ferus caballus) is an ungulate (hoofed) equine mammal, that is taxonomically the same as a horse. It is related to the Shetland Pony, the donkey, and the zebra.
The Highland Pony has a short, compact body with short legs. It can have various shades, such as mouse-coloured, brown, grey, black, and cream. Its mane is long and silky to protect it from the cold winters. It is an odd-toed ungulate, with a hoof that has one toe.
What is the difference between an African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) and an Asian Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)?
The African Buffalo or Cape Buffalo is not related to the Asian Water Buffalo.
The African Buffalo has an almost black coat, whereas the Asian Water Bufffalo has a blue-grey coat.
The African Buffalo has larger horns than the Asian Water Buffalo.
The Asian Swamp Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) is a large bovid mammal. It is not aggressive and has become domesticated.
The Asian Swamp Water Buffalo has blue-grey skin. It is a stocky animal with a short body and large belly. Its forehead is flat, its eyes are prominent, and its face is short. It has a wide nose. Its horns grow outward and curve in a semi-circle. Its tail is short.
The Duroc Pig (Sus domesticus) is a medium-sized domestic ungulate (hoofed) mammal.
The Duroc Pig has a reddish-brown, long, barrel-shaped body with short legs. It has partially drooping ears and a short pink snout (nose). Its hair is short. Its tail is curly. It has greenish-brown eyes.
The West Caucasian Tur (Capra caucasica caucasica) is a mountain-dwelling goat-antelope, and an ungulate (hoofed) mammal.
The West Caucasian Tur looks like a mixture between a goat and an antelope. It has a large, narrow body and short legs. Its coat is chestnut-coloured with a yellow underbelly. Both males and females have ridged horns.
The L’Hoest’s Monkey (Cercopithecus lhoesti) is a primate and a mammal. It is also known as the Mountain Monkey.
The L’Hoest’s Monkey has a short-haired, dark-brown coat, with a chestnut coloured back and a dark belly. It has a white beard. Its cheeks are light-grey, and it chest is white. Its tail is long and hook-shaped at the end.