Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Sites For Learning About Animals

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'Animal Kingdom' photo (c) 2010, Derek Hatfield - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

After taking our grandkids to the zoo yesterday, I thought it might be useful to pull together some of the best resources out there to learn about animals.

This “The Best…” list is geared more towards Intermediate English Language Learners and above. You can find many activities for Beginning ELL’s under Animals on my webpage.

These sites would be useful for students who are researching for essays or reports.

There are many sites out there with information about animals, but many don’t seem particularly accessible to me. I’ve just included ones that I thought were engaging, had simple language, included some multimedia, and were easily navigable. I’ve also included one or two fun sites and ones where students can create some of their own online content about animals.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Sites To Learn About Pandas

The Best Sites For Learning About Weird-Looking Creatures (And For Making Your Own!)

The Best Sites For Learning About Polar Bears

Here are my choices for The Best Sites For Learning About Animals:

Columbus Zoo Animal Guide

Creature Features from National Geographic


Glossopedia Animals


Animals and Plants
from the Denver Zoo

Animal Information from Sea World

Animals A To Z from Oregon Zoo

Zoo Animals
from the Sacramento Zoo

Animals from the Pittsburgh Zoo

Animal Bytes from the San Diego Zoo

Meet Our Animals from the Smithsonian

Animal Diversity Web 

The BBC Earth Explorer is an absolutely amazing source of images and videos about Planet Earth. It has a cool interface, too.

Have Friends, Will Travel: 10 Amazing Animal Migrations is a very interesting article with photos.

“Worlds Fastest And Slowest Land Animals” is a very accessible infographic showing 32 fastest(and slowest) land animals.

Who Pooped? has got to be one of the most original — and somewhat gross — ideas for an interactive to teach about animals. Of course, students will love it! The Minnesota Zoo created this site, which is engaging, informative, and accessible to English Language Learners.  Oh, and did I mention it’s a little bit gross?

Whose Poo? is a similar game from the Denver Zoo.

The World’s 13 Ugliest Animals is a very visual piece on…ugly animals.

Wildlife frozen in time is an absolutely amazing slideshow from The Guardian.

Top 10 Militant Animals is the title of a TIME Magazine slideshow about animals that have been used in military service.

Largest living things is the title of a pretty interesting slideshow at the Christian Science Monitor.

My Favourite Animal Families is the title of a very cute collection of images from The Telegraph.

“Life Is” is just an amazing site from the BBC. It’s part of television series on “the extraordinary things animals and plants do.”

Smart Animals is the title of a TIME Magazine slideshow about animals that have shown particularly high intelligence.

“Ugly Animals” is the title of a New York Times slideshow.

The New York Times invited readers to contribute their own pictures of “ugly animals” and you can see them at Readers’ Ugly Animal Photos

10 scary animals that are totally harmless is a fun and informative slideshow.

National Geographic has a special site about animals.

ARKive is a site filled of photos, videos, and information about endangered species throughout the world.  Students can create their own “collection” of endangered animals — by personal interest, speciies, geographical area, or any other category they want to create.  Their collection will then be accessible via the Internet.

The National Zoo at the Smithsonian has a great collection of E-Cards. Not only are there a lot to choose from, but finished cards are hosted by zoo’s server and appear to stay there indefinitely.

And, lastly, for fun, you can create a Talking Pet and it with a friend or teacher.

Twelve Years of Lesson Plans About the Animal Kingdom comes from The New York Times Learning Network.

The Animal Odd Couple is a must-see CBS News video of a friendship between a dog and an elephant. Just because I like it so much (I’m a big fan of elephants and dogs!), I’m adding it to this list.

The Otherworldly Flora and Fauna Of The Coral Triangle is a slideshow from TIME Magazine.

Animals in the news is a series of photos from The Boston Globe’s Big Picture.

14 of the greatest animal migrations is a pretty interesting slideshow from The Mother Nature Network.

World Animal Day is October 4th, and you can read all about it at ESL Holiday Lessons, which has an excellent lesson plan on the day that’s designed for English Language Learners.

National Geographic has just unveiled a new site to support their November extravaganza on “Great Migrations.” It’s an amazing site, filled with incredible videos, interactives, photos — the works — all on animal migrations.

The Boston Globe’s Big Picture also has a nice series of pictures from the Great Migrations series.

In pictures: Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 is a pretty amazing slideshow from the BBC.

“Amazing Bird Photos You’ll Swear Are Fake” is the title of a slideshow from Discovery.

On War: Animals in War is an interesting series of photos from The Denver Post.

The world’s best underwater photographs 2010 is a slideshow from The Guardian.

ZooBorns is a website and a book of the most incredibly cute photos of baby animals.

In addition to the website, several sites have published slideshows of the the best ZooBorn photos. They include:

ZooBorns: cute exotic baby animals born at zoos around the world from The Telegraph

Zoo Borns Book Showcases The Cutest Baby Animals from The Huffington Post.

Cutest Book Ever: ZooBorns Internet Craze Moves to Print from Wired.

“San Diego Zoo Kids” has tons of accessible information and online games on…animals.

Top 10 Evil Animals is a pretty interesting slideshow from TIME Magazine.

TIME Magazine has an excellent, and growing, number of slideshows about animals.

Portraits Of The Insects Among Us is a slideshow from TIME.

This “Gibbon Taunts Tigers” video is amazing. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About Animals.

Top 10 Real Life Monsters is a TIME Magazine slideshow.

National/Iconic Animals around the world is an interactive map.

I just had to add this video to this list. At forty-five seconds into the video it really gets amazing:

Here’s an amazing video of birds that moonwalk. It’s from PBS. I’ve “tube-chopped” the best minute-and-half here, but you can see the entire longer video here.

Ology — Zoology

The words “cute” and “porcupine” do not naturally go together in my mind, but they do now after watching these videos:

Famous animals throughout history is a slideshow from The Washington Post.

Scientific American posted this video with a short analysis.

I don’t know about you, but I was amazed by it.

The Serengeti Lion is a beautiful site from National Geographic.

Blobfish voted world’s ugliest animal is from The Guardian.

The Smithsonian Science Education has just launched an online learning game site. They only have one up-and-running, called Shutter Bugs, but they list more to come. Shutter Bugs is an excellent game for Beginning English Language Learners to learn the names of animals, along with different verbs. It could also be used for very young native English speakers.

Fun Video Useful To ELLs: “One Man Does 30 Animal Sounds”

Go Wild is an informative site about animals from the World Wildlife Federation

Feedback is always welcome.

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You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

2 Comments

  1. I found these sites very helpful. I believe these would be an awesome tool to use in the classroom when learning about habitats and animals or different species. I have to agree that “Who Pooped?” is pretty gross just thinking about it. I haven’t checked it out, but I will leave it at the title alone…GROSS! ;)
    However, ROAR, the game is an excellent learning game to use. Not only will I be able to teach my students a science lesson about animals and their habitats, BUT I will also be able to get a little language arts and grammar in too! Thanks for sharing!

  2. http://zebrahumor.wordpress.com is a great edutainment resource. While it has plenty of zebra jokes, there are plenty of facts thrown in.

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