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aardvark a large mammal with a long snout, long ears, a long tail, and almost no hair. Aardvarks are active at night, when they use their powerful claws to dig open ant or termite nests. They catch their food with long, sticky tongues. Aardvarks live in southern and central Africa. Although they are sometimes called anteaters, aardvarks are not closely related to any other kind of mammal.
abbey a religious place or building where monks or nuns live.
abide to live; dwell. [1/3 definitions]
aborigine one of the first people to live in an area.
algae organisms that live mainly in the water and make their food through photosynthesis. Algae are different from plants in that they have no true leaves, roots, or stems. Seaweeds are algae. "Algae" is a plural noun; the singular form is "alga."
alligator a large reptile with short legs, a long body and tail, and a long, wide snout. Alligators are protected by thick skin with many hard bumps. They live in rivers, lakes, swamps, and other bodies of water in the southeast United States and in China. They usually eat insects, fish, turtles, snakes, birds, and other water animals, but have been known to attack small land mammals. They are closely related to crocodiles. Chinese alligators are endangered because their habitat is being changed by people.
alpaca an animal with long legs and a long neck. Alpacas live in the mountains of South America. They are mammals closely related to llamas and to camels. Alpacas are raised for their long, soft wool.
amoeba a tiny living thing made of only one cell. Amoebas move by changing their shape. They eat by wrapping their bodies around their food. Amoebas live in fresh and salt water, soil, and in animals. Most kinds of amoebas can only be seen through a microscope.
amphibious able to live both on land and in water. [1/2 definitions]
ant an insect that lives in large, organized groups called colonies. Most kinds of ants live in or on the ground. Ants are related to bees and wasps.
anteater a mammal that uses its long, sticky tongue to eat ants and termites. True anteaters have no teeth, are furry, and live in Central or South America. They are related to armadillos and sloths. Other kinds of mammals that eat ants are also sometimes called anteaters, but they are not related to American anteaters.
antelope an animal with horns, a long neck, long legs, and hooves. Antelopes are known for their fast running. Antelopes are mammals that eat plants and chew their cud. The smallest kind of antelope is only one foot tall; the largest antelope is six feet tall at the shoulder. Gazelles, gnus, and impalas are all antelopes. Most antelopes live in Africa; some also live in Asia. [1/2 definitions]
ape a mammal in the group of primates, which includes chimpanzees, gibbons, gorillas, and orangutans. Apes do not have tails. They have very flexible hands and feet. Apes range in size from three to six feet tall, and they can weigh up to 450 pounds. Apes live in the forests in Africa and Asia. [1/2 definitions]
aquaculture the farming of plants and animals that live in water.
armadillo a mammal whose body is protected by hard, bony plates. Armadillos live in Central and South America, and the southern United States. Some kinds of armadillos are only six inches long; other kinds grow up to four feet in length. They eat mostly insects and are related to sloths and anteaters.
a roof over one's head a place to live; home; shelter.
ass a mammal with long legs and hooves that is closely related to the horse. A donkey is a domestic ass. Asses look like horses but are smaller and have longer ears. Wild asses live in Africa and Asia and are in danger of becoming extinct. [1/2 definitions]
baboon a large monkey that has a long snout like a dog's. Baboons live on the ground in large groups in Africa and Arabia. They can be powerful fighters.
bacteria microscopic organisms that often play a role in the decay of living things, the process of fermentation, and sometimes in causing disease. Bacteria are each made up of only one cell, but different kinds of bacteria can take different shapes. These organisms live in all parts of the earth including oceans, deserts, glaciers, hot springs, and in the bodies of most living things. While some kinds of bacteria are dangerous, most kinds are useful because they help in the digestion of food, in the making of soil, in the creation of medicines, and in many other natural processes.
badger a furry mammal with short legs and a long body. The American badger has a white stripe on its forehead that runs down its back, and it has long dark marks on its face also. Badgers eat worms, rodents, rabbits, and plants. Different kinds of badgers live in Europe, Asia, and North America. They are related to skunks, otters, and other kinds of weasels. [1/2 definitions]
barrack (usually plural) a building where soldiers live for a short amount of time.