California Sea Lion

Experts in the water, California sea lions can swim as fast as 20 miles per hour, which is helpful for escaping predators, such as a shark, as well as to catch their own prey. Sea lions use their keen senses of sight, hearing and touch to help them navigate and hunt underwater. Often, they cooperate with each other and even with other species, such as porpoises, while hunting.


With a catlike appearance, climbing and leaping skills, and an affinity for stalking and pouncing on prey, the fossa was once thought to belong to the cat family. This mongoose relative plays an important role as predator in keeping prey populations in check. The fossa keeps its balance with the help of a tail as long as its body.

Bearcat (Binturong)

Also known as the binturong, the bearcat is agile like a cat in the canopy and less adept on ground, walking flat-footed like a bear. However, it is neither a bear nor a cat, but belongs to the civet and mongoose family. Spending most of its time in the trees, it slowly and skillfully walks along branches at night while foraging for fruit and small animals.

Florida Manatee

blue manatee books sponsors foodAlso called the sea cow, the manatee is the only herbivorous mammal specially designed to live its entire life in the water. The Florida manatee is at home in saltwater, as well as fresh water, but needs access to fresh water frequently. Its forelimbs are reduced to simple paddles for swimming yet are flexible enough to bring food to its mouth. The tail pumps up…

Banded Palm Civet

Civets look like a cross between a rat and a weasel, but they actually belong to a group of lesser known carnivores that includes civets, genets and linsangs. Banded palm civets are solitary night hunters equipped with tiny teeth for eating small prey such as insects, worms and crustaceans.


Large-spotted Genet

A weasel relative, the solitary genet rests during the day high up in a tree or another animal’s abandoned burrow. At night it’s on the move, climbing and leaping from tree to tree in search of small prey. Stalking and pouncing, the genet catches a snack.

Asian Elephant

From trunk to toe, Asia’s largest land mammal displays some amazing adaptations to life as a forest-dwelling herbivore. It is most famous for its trunk, which is indispensable for feeding, drinking, smelling, touching, communicating, and bathing. Asian elephants live in family groups called herds that are led by older, experienced females.

Learn more: The Cincinnati Zoo is committed to helping to save the world’s largest land mammals.


The aardvark is specialized to eat ants and termites. Sweeping its snout from side to side along the ground, the aardvark sniffs out an insect nest. It digs in with its shovel-shaped claws, and licks up the ants and termites with its long, sticky tongue. One aardvark eats more than 50,000 insects a night!


Tayras are both terrestrial and arboreal. On the ground, they run and bounce with the back arched and the tail along the ground. In the trees, they climb and move swiftly, using the tail for balance. Tayras take shelter in tree hollows, underground burrows, or in tall grasses.

Red Panda

What is this frosty-faced beauty of ringed tail and rust-colored fur? Some call it fire fox, shining cat, cloud bear, or Himalayan raccoon. Though similar in character and appearance to raccoons and bears, the tree-dwelling, bamboo-munching red panda is in a family of its own.

Made for a life in the trees, the red panda travels through the canopy with ease. Not only is the panda a great climber, it is also an amazing jumper, clearing distances up to five feet. Hair…