The animal kingdom comprises more than two million species; some beautiful and colorful while others are odd-looking and bizarre. If you are asked to name 10 popular animals that begins with the letter E, how would you do it?
Guess, the first five animals that you could give are: elephant, eagle, emperor penguin, elephant seal and earthworm. Below is my own list of popular animals that starts with the letter E.
The Great Egret (Ardea alba), a large bird, long-legged, with all-white plumage is found throughout tropical regions of the world. They can reach one meter in height and weigh up to one kilogram, Great egrets have a yellow bill and black legs and feet. Males and females are identical in appearance.
Great egrets live near salt or fresh water, and feed in shallow water, ponds, streams, and other drier habitats. They snare prey by standing still for long periods awaiting unsuspecting prey to come by. Its diet includes: fish, frogs, mice, reptiles, amphibians and occasionally small birds. These birds nest in trees, near water. Great egrets are monogamous, and both parents incubate their three to four eggs It has a slow flight, with its neck retracted.
The Eyelash Viper
The Eyelash Viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) is a relatively small species of snake found in Central and South America. Small that rarely exceed 75 cm in length and arboreal, they have a wide, triangular-shaped head. Eyelash viper’s most distinguishing features, is its eyelashes-like set of modified scales over the eyes. They are characterized by their wide range of color variations, including yellow, green, red, brown, green, even pink.
Eyelash vipers inhabit humid, low altitude tropical areas with dense plants and near a permanent water source. These aggressive and nocturnal snakes feed on frogs, lizards, rodents and small birds. A swift hunter, it waits patiently for unsuspecting prey to pass by. Eyelash vipers give birth to an average of 10–12 young on a yearly basis.
Echidnas, also known as spiny anteaters, are small mammals that are covered with brownish-black or grayish rough hair and yellow spines. They live in New Guinea and Australia. Together with the Platypus, they are the only surviving species of monotremes, an order of egg laying mammals. The echidna is 43 to 71 cm long and weighs 2.3 to 10 kg.
Echidnas are powerful diggers with large claws and short, strong limbs. They have snouts which have the functions of both the mouth and nose. Their tongues have tiny spines that help capture their meals. Using their snouts, echidnas feed by tearing open soft logs, anthills and the like.
Earwigs are dark, reddish-brown insects in the order Dermaptera which are characterized by the pincer-like projections (cerci) on the tip of the abdomen. There are more than 1,000 extant species of earwigs found in North America and Europe. Earwigs can reach up 1 inch long and have three pairs of legs. They are elongated, flattened with flexible and muscular abdomen.
Earwigs are generally nocturnal and hide during the day in small, dark, and moist areas. They can be found in mulch, underneath rocks, organic debris, piles of lawn clippings, or in tree holes. Earwigs feed on living or dead plant material, algae, fungi, mosses and some insects. Indoors, their food consists of sweet, oily and greasy foods.
The Elk (Cervus canadensis),are related to deer, but are much bigger. A native to North America, elk or wapiti, adapted well to countries where it was introduced including, Eastern Asia, Argentina and New Zealand. They are found in forest and other grassy areas, feeding on plants, leaves, grasses and bark.
A male elk’s antlers grow up to 41.2 meters above its head, which are shed each March and again start to grow in May, just in time for the mating season. Adults typically stay in single-sex groups for the most part of the year. However, when breeding season commences, adult males (bulls) compete for the attentions of the cows. They will engage in in ritualized mating behaviors such as bugling, posturing, and antler wrestling (sparring). During the breeding season the bugling of bull elk echoes through the mountains which can be heard for miles. The bull which bugle more and have the loudest call get the female”s attention.
The Common Eider
The Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) is a large, colorful sea duck that reaches up to 50-70 cm in body length and weighs up to 3 kilograms. They are found throughout the coast of North America, Europe and Siberia. There are four Common Eider races in North America, distinguishable by their body size and bill structure.
The Common Eider is characterized by its large, long wedge-shaped bill. Adult males have bright white, black, and green plumage while females are dull brown in plumage with black barring. Eiders breed along the coastal islands near an ocean. They may nest colonies numbering over 1,000.
European Fire Salamander
The Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) is a very famous salamander species in Europe. This black and yellow-striped salamander lives in deciduous forests and spend much of their time hiding under stones, mossy tree trunks and fallen leaves. The fire salamander can reach 8 inches in length. Fire salamanders are usually nocturnal but on rainy days they are active in daytime as well. A good hunter, they feed on spiders, slugs, earthworm and other small insects.
The Emperor Shrimp
The Emperor Shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) is a commensal shrimp that lives side by side with sea cucumbers and sea slugs. They are found in deep reef, back reef, lagoons, and coastal bay. A distinctive mark is its typical duck-billed appearance. Color pattern varies, but usually are orange-red with some white spot along the back. The claws and legs are purple in color.
Living with different species of sea cucumber or sea snail, enable Emperor shrimps to find food (in the sand moved by the sea cucumber, for example). Also, Emperor shrimps have been observed feeding on the fecal pellets of sea slugs.
The Ermine (Mustela erminea) is a small mammal of the family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets, minks, skunks, otters, badgers. They are found in the Arctic tundra of North America, Asia, and Europe.
Ermine or stoat has a slender body, big eyes, long snout and very short legs. On average, ermine reaches 10 inches (25 cm) in length and can weigh up to 299 grams. They have brown to yellow-brown fur and the tail‘s tip is often black. During winter, ermine grows white fur, but the tip of the tail remains black.
Ermine are nocturnal and hunt for prey during the night. Its diet includes: small mammals, birds, small reptiles, fish and insects. A very skillful tree climber, they are ferocious hunters who find prey primarily by using their keen sense of smell. Ermine is capable of killing animals much larger than itself.