Aug 30

Here we go again on our course through our colossal collection of captivating creatures, as it’s time for more alphabetical exploration with the C’s! Whether you like chameleons, corals, capercaillies or cacti ARKive’s got it covered.

This is the Turk’s head cactus which has to be one of the strangest looking plants on ARKive. It is a succulent adapted to survive in hot, arid environments with its thick skin to reduce water loss and vicious spikes to deter potential predators.

Turk's head cactus

The rather unusual Turk's head cactus

What do you think? Can you find a stranger looking plant on ARKive

C is for …Cats

Cats, or as they are more accurately known, members of the ‘Felidae’ family, are one of the most charismatic groups of animals and are found everywhere except Australia and Antarctica. They tend to be solitary, with the obvious exception of the lion and to a lesser extent the cheetah, where siblings often stay together for up to six months and brothers can remain together for life. The cheetah is a bit of a favourite here in the office as it also appeared in Lauren’s Top 10 Cats blog.

Four cheetahs sitting in a row

A coalition of cheetahs

Despite their often bold markings many cats are very well camouflaged in their respective habitats. Can you spot the tiger in this picture? Or the snow leopard in this one

…Climate Change

In addition to our species pages we also have a series of featured pages on ARKive, including eco-regions such as the Western Ghats and topics such as climate change. Many of the species on ARKive are threatened by man-made changes to our climate such as rising sea levels, the melting of polar ice caps and extreme weather events. Our featured page outlines the causes and effects of climate change as well as links to the species most at risk such as the polar bear, koala, corals and the Atlantic salmon

Atlantic salmon male

Atlantic salmon are just one of the species affected by climate change

There are also ideas for what you can do to help reduce emissions and energy consumption, so why not take a look


The capybara, found only in South America, is the world’s largest rodent species standing at over 1 metre long and 60 centimetres tall. They are well adapted to swimming and are able to remain underwater for up to 5 minutes. They have partially webbed feet and their nose, eyes and ears are aligned high on their head so that most of their body can be submerged while swimming. 

Capybara swimming

Capybaras are strong swimmers

It is widely believed that capybaras were once, rather curiously, declared to be ‘fish’ due to their semi-aquatic lifestyle, and meant that early Venezuelan settlers could eat them during the period of Lent! 


Canada is the second largest country in the world by total area, but its wildlife is by no means purely terrestrial. Many whales and dolphins inhabit Canadian waters during the year, whether resident or migratory, including the blue whale, the North Atlantic right whale, the orca and the Pacific white-sided dolphin. Some of Canada’s most iconic species are more land based however and include the brown bear, the grey wolf, the moose, the North American otter and the bald eagle. Why not check out the full list of species that can be found in and around Canada? 

Common loon on the water

The common loon can be seen on the back of the Canadian dollar coin

Did you know that the common loon appears on the back of the Canadian 1 dollar coin, which is commonly referred to as a loonie? 

That’s it for now, we’ll be C-ing you!!  

Laura Sutherland, ARKive Education Officer