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

Ideas for E.L.L.s | Teaching and Learning About Animals is one of my New York Times Learning Network posts, and it’s filled with ideas and multimedia resources for teachers of English Language Learners.

Web 2.0 Tools For Beginning English Language Learners – “My Storybook” includes hand-outs and links for another animal-related lesson plan.

This latest New York Times Learning Network interactive for English Language Learners is on parrots and pets. Students have to choose correct word definitions and a summary, and then write about their favorite pets.

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.

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

Animals and Plants from the Denver Zoo

Animal Bytes from the San Diego Zoo

Meet Our Animals from the Smithsonian

Animal Diversity Web

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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

My Favorite Animal is a lesson from Film English.

Alpabetimals is a site I learned about from Richard Byrne. I especially like their dictionary, which shows an image of the animal, pronounces its name, and produces the sound the animal makes. That last feature would make a fun vocabulary game review by playing the sounds and having teams or individuals write the name of the animal on a mini-whiteboard.

Feast your eyes on the ugliest animals in the world is from The BBC.

Animals That Changed History

Mystery Animal With Google requires the user to verbally ask questions to guess the animal the software has in mind.


Feedback is always welcome.

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