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The largest living bird is the ostrich at 9 feet tall and weighing 350 pounds. The heaviest flying bird is the kori bustard weighing 42 pounds. The bird with the longest wingspan is the wandering albatros whose wings measure over 12 feet from tip to tip. The smallest bird of all is the bee hummingbird which weighs a mere 0.056 ounces.
There are approximately 4,260 species of mammals on planet Earth. The largest mammal is the blue whale which measures 110 feet and weighs over 300,000 pounds. The smallest mammal is the Kitti's hog-nosed bat which weighs 0.07 ounces and is about the size of a large bumblebee. Both of these species are Endangered.
There are over 8,200 species of reptiles worldwide; found on every continent except Antarctica. These include turtles, crocodilians, lizards, snakes and tuataras. A 10 pound mammal or a 10 pound bird eats 30 to 50 times as much as a 10 pound reptile.
97% of identified species on Earth are invertebrates. It is estimated that only 10% of invertebrate species have been identified. So far about 1,000,000 species of insects, which make up the largest percentage of this group have been identified. 15-20% of the terrestrial biomass is made up of ants.
There are approximately 6,000 species of amphibians including frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians. About 1/3 of these species are listed as Threatened or Endangered. Because of their dependence on clean water, declines in amphibian populations are often the first indicators of environmental problems.
Fish make up the largest and most diverse class of vertebrates with over 25,000 species. While only 3% of the water on Earth is freshwater it is home to 41% of all fish. 1,500 species are found in the Amazon Basin alone.
Fun Fact
The national animal symbol for Botswana is the zebra.
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