A-Z of animals : Vole to Woodchuck
Vole: small rodent resembling a mouse. It is from the subfamily Arvicolinae which includes lemmings and muskrats. There are approximately 155 species of voles.
Southern Red-backed Vole
Wallaby: Wallabies and kangeroos are similar marsupials that belong to the same family (Macropodidae) and genus (Macropus) but the wallaby is smaller than the kangeroo and has a more varied color pattern. A wallaby baby is also called a joey.
Wallaroo: The word “wallaroo” is a portmanteau of “wallaby” and “kangaroo”. Most wallaroos are only a little smaller than a kangaroo.
Walrus, a Pinniped, thus a type of seal. They feed on benthic invertebrates, such as molluscs, echinoderms and crustaceans, consuming up to 45 kg (100 lb) a day. Longevity is 40 years. Three walrus subspecies are recognized:
Atlantic walrus, measures 3m (9.8 ft) and weighs 1200 kg (2645 lb).
Pacific walrus, 3,6m (11.8 ft) long and weighs 1600 kg (3500 lb).
Laptev walrus or Laptev sea walrus, which lives in the Laptev Sea of the Arctic Ocean.
Found in Africa, Warthogs engage in ritual fights in which they charge straight on, clashing heads. Males weigh up to 115 kg (250 lb) and fights between them can be violent and bloody. Female warthogs only have four teats, confining litter sizes. Each piglet has its “own” teat and suckles exclusively from it. Even if one piglet dies, the others do not suckle from the available teat.
Despite its name, the large waterbuck is not truly aquatic, as the sitatunga or lechwe. Waterbuck roam in savannas along rivers and lakes of Eastern and Southern Africa. The waterbuck is divided into thirteen subspecies. Male waterbuck weigh up to 260 kg (575 lb) and females 215 kg (474 lb). The mother hides her young for 3 weeks, returning 4 times a day to suckle it. Each suckling session lasts only five minutes, during which time the mother cleans the calf so that no odour is left to attract predators.
Weasel: small, aggressive predators, with long and slender bodies and short legs; from the genus Mustella that includes seventeen subspecies of the weasel proper, ferrets, minks, polecats, stoats and least weasels.
Amazon Weasel or Tropical Weasel.
Short-tailed Weasel or Stoat
Wolverine (Gulo gulo) – also referred to as carcajou, glutton (gulo is glutton in Latin), quickhatch or skunk bear. It is the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae (weasels).
Wild Boar or Wild Hog or Razorback or Feral Pig, all of the order Sus scrofa; ancestors of the domestic pig.
There are some 80 species of whales, devided into toothed whales and baleen whales. The blue whale is the largest animal alive, weighing up to 190 tons (170 US tons). The longest specimen was a 33.58m (110 ft) long female. The lifespan of a whale is 30 – 80 years.
Baird’s Beaked Whale
Long-finned Pilot Whale
Northern Bottlenose Whale
Northern Right Whale
Short-finned Pilot Whale
Sperm Whale or cachalot, the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator in the world.
Note, the Killer Whale is a member of the dolphin family
The Narwhal‘s ivory tusk protruding from a tooth socket is the most distinctive feature of this arctic whale. This tusk is actually a tooth, reaching 3m (10 ft) in length. Embedded 38 cm (15in) into the head, the tusk is straight as an arrow, spiralled up to 12 cm (5in) from the tip where it is polished and smooth.
The Wildebeest herd is a spectacular sight, numbering up to 400 000 animals. Wildebeest have a unique ability to smell rain over long distances – with the first rainfalls the herds move at a fast and steady pace to the raining area, sometimes covering more than 2000 km (1242 miles). They often walk and run in a single file, but tend to graze in a scattered formation.
As large predators, Wolves depend on prey such as deer, elk, caribou, and in some parts of its range, moose and bison that weigh more than a 450 kg (1000 pounds). Their powerful jaws exert twice as much power as that of the domestic dog. The wolf is a highly social animal, generally living within the same pack for most, if not all, of its life. Only the top male and female breed, while any attempts to do so by others are punished.
Woodchuck: A grizzled grayish or brown marmot with reddish-brown underparts. Found mostly in North America. You might know it as a groundhog, from Groundhog Day, celebrated annually on February 2 in Canada and the United States.