Have you ever considered how many animals have just 3 letters in their name? There are quite a few! In this post, we’ll look at some common and not-so-common 3 letter animals. From furry foxes to slippery eels, you’ll learn some cool facts about these three lettter animals.
The fox is a small, dog-like mammal that can be found all over the world. The fox is easily recognisable with its pointy nose, bushy tail, and reddish-orange fur. Foxes are omnivores and eat small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, worms, fruit, berries, and more.
A fun fact about foxes is that they are incredibly clever. They can problem-solve and have been known to raid bins for food. You may glimpse a fox venturing out at dawn or dusk to hunt. With excellent hearing, vision, and a great sense of smell, foxes are talented hunters.
Foxes communicate with sounds like barks, growls, howls, and screeches. Their howl is sometimes described as a “scream”. Foxes are widespread and adaptable animals found on every continent except Antarctica.
Slippery, snakelike fish, eels live in rivers, lakes, and oceans worldwide. Their long, narrow bodies allow them to hide in cracks and crevices easily. Freshwater eels have slimy skin and scales that make them appear smooth and slick. Saltwater eels may have fins and look more rough and scaly.
A neat fact about eels is that some species, like the European eel, are catadromous. This means they live in freshwater but return to the ocean to spawn. Eels are carnivores and use their sharp teeth to feed on fish, snails, frogs, crustaceans, and more. They swallow their prey whole.
Eels can range significantly in size from a few inches to over 13 feet long!
Bats may look a bit spooky as they fly through the night sky, but these mammals are fascinating creatures. With over 1,300 species, bats make up about 20% of all mammal species. That’s a lot of 3 letter animals! Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight.
Bats use echolocation to find and hunt prey at night. They emit high-frequency sound waves and listen for the echoes to figure out where things are. This allows them to expertly swoop through the darkness. Bats eat insects like moths, mosquitoes, and fruit. Some larger species may even eat small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
You’ve definitely encountered ants before. Found on every continent, there are over 12,000 species of these industrious insects. Ants are social creatures that live in organised colonies and work together. Each ant has a specific role or job for the colony, like foraging, defending, nest building, and tending to the queen.
Worker ants are wingless females that gather food, expand tunnels, and care for larvae. Soldier ants are larger ants with big jaws that defend the colony. The queen ant lays eggs and is vital to the colony’s survival. Ants communicate by leaving chemical trails and through touch.
Ants are incredibly strong. Worker ants can carry 20 times their own body weight!
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants. They’re found all over the world except Antarctica. Most bees feed on nectar and pollen. Bees play a crucial role by pollinating flowering plants and crops. As they move from flower to flower, they spread pollen, which allows the plants to make seeds and fruit.
One of the most well-known species is the honey bee, which lives in hives and makes honey. Honey bees are social and communicate by dancing. The honey bee waggle dance tells other bees where to find nectar. Bumblebees and carpenter bees nest underground, while mason bees make nests in holes in wood. Most bees can sting and do so only when threatened.
The yak should come to mind when you think of big, hairy cattle-like animals. These sturdy bovine creatures are native to the high elevations of Central Asia’s Himalayan region. Yaks have a thick, long fur coat that helps insulate them from the cold mountain temperatures. Under all that fur is a short-legged, muscular animal with cloven hooves.
Domesticated yaks are important livestock for local herding communities. Yak meat and dairy products are staples of the Tibetan diet. The milk is rich in fat and protein. Yak hair is used to create sturdy tents, ropes, and clothing. Yaks are also used as pack animals to carry loads across mountain passes.
The word “rat” often has negative connotations, but these intelligent, adaptable rodents are found across the globe for a reason. There are over 60 different species of rats. They’re widespread thanks to their ability to live nearly anywhere and eat almost anything.
Rats are omnivores and eat seeds, fruit, nuts, bugs, leftovers, garbage, and pet food. Rats have poor eyesight but make up for it with excellent hearing and sense of smell. Two common species are the brown rat and the black rat. Despite their names, colour can vary.
Rats have long tails for balance and are good swimmers, climbers, and jumpers. Wild rats typically live in underground burrows or holes and cracks in walls and trees. Though potentially pesty, rats play an important role as prey species in many ecosystems. Their tails also inspired the legend of the zodiac.
The emu is Australia’s largest bird and the second largest after the ostrich. These big birds can grow over 5 feet tall and weigh nearly 100 pounds! Emus are covered in shaggy, brown feathers. Under all those feathers, they have small wings and a long neck and legs.
Emus are flightless birds but can run up to 30 miles per hour using their strong legs. They use their beaks to forage for seeds, fruits, buds, tender shoots, and insects. Emus mate for life, and male emus sit on and incubate the eggs. Chicks stay close to the male for protection and learning for almost a year after hatching.
Dogs are one of the most popular pets for good reason. Hundreds of dog breeds come in different colours, shapes, and sizes. All dogs belong to the species Canis lupus familiaris. Though they look very different, Chihuahuas and Great Danes are considered domestic dogs and mutts.
Dogs are highly social, intelligent animals that can be trained and have keen senses of smell and hearing. They’re descended from wolves and carnivores, though they often eat processed dog food as pets. Some dogs have jobs herding livestock, pulling sledges, working with police and military, or guiding people who are blind.
From tiny teacup dogs to giant mastiffs, dogs vary immensely in looks and temperament. But they all share common traits like tail wagging, ball fetching, treat begging, and wanting to be man’s best friend.
Like dogs, cats are extremely popular house pets. From lazy tabbies to playful Siamese, domestic cats are members of Felis catus. Cats are carnivores that eat mainly small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Sorry, cats, no veggies allowed.
Cats are agile hunters with quick reflexes. They walk on their toes, which helps them quietly stalk prey. Cats have excellent night vision and sense of smell. Their rough tongue helps them clean themselves efficiently. While dogs are more trainable than dogs, cats can learn tricks and commands with time.
Cats may seem aloof compared to eager-to-please dogs, but they enjoy human company. Cats show affection by purring, head-butting, and kneading you with paws.
Elk, also called wapiti, is one of the largest deer species in North America and East Asia. These big beasts can weigh over 1,000 pounds and stand 5 feet tall at the shoulder. Male elk grow large antlers used for battling other males during mating season.
Elk live in forest and mountain habitats and feed on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark. They form large herds that provide safety in numbers from predators like wolves, bears, and cougars. Elk communicate through vocalisations like grunting, squealing, and bellowing. During the fall rut mating season, male elk run together, clashing antlers in competition while bugling loudly.
Brightly coloured koi fish are a popular pond decoration around the world. They’re a domesticated type of common carp and come in various colour patterns like orange, red, white, black, and yellow. Some koi fish can grow over three feet long.
Koi originated from Japan and were bred for their ornamental looks. In the wild, koi feed on plants, insects, and other small aquatic organisms. As pond pets, koi eat specially formulated pellets that float on the water for easy feeding.
Jays are songbirds from the crow family known for their bold blue and black feathers. Jays live throughout forests and woodlands worldwide. There are over 40 different jay species, including blue, green, grey, and Steller’s jays.
Jays are vocal birds with raucous, harsh “jay jay” calls. They feed on nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, eggs, and small animals. Jays sometimes raid other birds’ nests for eggs and chicks. Clever jays are known to cache food stores for later retrieval.
A boa should come to mind when you think of a slithering snakelike creature. Boas are non-venomous constrictor snakes found in tropical Central and South America. Common species include the red-tailed boa and common boa constrictor.
As constrictors, boas grab prey with their jaws and then wrap their muscular bodies tightly around it until it suffocates. Boas feast on small mammals, birds, and lizards. Smaller boas climb trees, while larger species stay on the ground.
Boas sense prey through heat sensory pits on their face. Their patterned scales help them blend into the forest floor. Boas aren’t actually slimy, just smooth and shiny. Growing over 13 feet long, boas are impressively strong reptiles.
Apes include chimpanzees, gorillas, gibbons, orangutans, and more. In forests and jungles worldwide, apes are intelligent primates who use tools and can learn sign language. Great apes like chimps and gorillas are the closest living relatives to humans, sharing 98% of the same DNA.
Unlike monkeys, apes don’t have tails. Most apes are plant eaters, while some eat meat, like insects and small mammals. Apes are social, living in family groups led by dominant males. Many ape species are endangered because of poaching, habitat loss, and disease.