Scientific name: orycteropus afer
The aardvark is from Africa. It is a very good digger and sleeps during the day and comes out at night to dig. Aardvarks are distantly related to elephants. Aardvarks eat ants and termites. Aardvarks are extremely primitive in their makeup and could be called a living fossil.
An abalone is a very large sea snail. Abalones are a different shape to most snails - they have a wide, flat shell. You can still see the spiral shape in their shell. Abalones are caught and eaten as food, and their shells are used to make jewellery.
The Abyssinian is an ancient breed of cat of uncertain origin, from either Egypt or Ethiopia. It is slim, lithe, and has a distinctive flecked (ticked) brown coat, large ears, and a long tail. They are active, intelligent, curious cats. They make good pets, but need constant attention or they get bored and unhappy. They are excellent hunters, so this needs to be taken into consideration if you live near a wildlife reserve and want an Abyssinian as a pet.
Scientific name: vipera berus
An adder is the name given to the common European viper. These snakes are venomous.
Afghan hounds are a large, slim dog with a long, silky coat that gives them a very distinctive appearance. They are a very old breed from the mountains of Afghanistan, developed to find hares and gazelles. They are an independant dog, and are not easily trained. Even when trained, they aren't always obedient and will ignore commands they don't feel like obeying.
Airedale terriers are originally from Yorkshire in England, and are one of the largest terriers. They have a very wirey coat and shed very little, especially if they are kept well groomed. Airedales were originally bred to hunt otters, but today are used as a police dog or as a pet. They are strong-willed, stubborn, and can be difficult to train.
Akitas are large dogs originally from Japan, and are descended from one of the oldest dog breeds. The breed is currently split into two - the American Akita and the Akita Inu. The American breed is larger, and a lot more colours are allowed. Akitas are a friendly, playful dog that needs lots of exercise. They can be boisterous around children, and can also be dominant so they need to be well-trained.
Scientific name: family: diomedeidae
Albatrosses are large sea birds. The great albatross has the largest wingspan of any bird. Albatrosses can glide for very long distances. They eat squid and fish that they dive into the water to catch.
An alien is someone or something from another place that doesn't belong here. An alien might be a person from another country, or they might be a creature from another planet.
Scientific name: (American) alligator mississippiensis and (Chinese) alligator sinensis
An alligator is a very large reptile, found in China and America. They are related to crocodiles but are generally darker in colour and have a broader snout. Alligators live in fresh water.