The species pages in the Museum are organised within the various categories described below.


  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Canidae
  • Genus: Canis
  • Species: Canis familiaris

The domestic dog (Canis familiaris) descended from a subspecies of wolf (Canis lupus). There are approximately 400 breeds of dog, which vary widely in the size, appearance and characteristics. The female is termed a bitch and the male a dog, their offspring are known as puppies. The process of giving birth is welping.


  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Felidae
  • Genus: Felis
  • Species: Felis catus

The domestic cat is a small obligate carnivorous mammal. They are entirely dependent on a dietary supply of the amino acids arginine and taurine, since they are unable to produce them de novo. The entire female is termed a queen, and the entire male a tom. The neonatal offspring are known as kittens and the birthing process is termed kittening.


  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Lagomorpha
  • Family: Leporidae

The rabbit is a small mammal in the family Leporidae which is comprised of eight genera. There are many species of rabbit within these genera and, along with the pikas and hares, they make up the order Lagomorpha. The male rabbit is termed buck and the female doe. Neonatal rabbits are known as kittens or kits. Rabbits are hindgut fermenters, with most of their digestion taking place in the caecum. Uniquely, the caecum of the rabbit is able to separate digestible from undigestible fibrous material. The more digestible material is coated in mucous and passed as a caecotrope, usually at night. Caecotropes contain large amounts of bacteria and microbes. Rabbits eat the caecotropes directly from the anus (caecotrophy). The purpose of this may be to gain access to the vitamins produced by bacteria in the caecum. They are obligate herbivores, and as such the main component of their diet should be fibre; this is necessary to drive caecotrophy. They are obligate nasal breathers and are unable to vomit. They also have a unique calcium metabolism. Important diseases of rabbits are myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease, for which vaccines are available.


  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Perissodactyla
  • Family: Equidae
  • Genus: Equus
  • Species: Equus ferus
  • Subspecies: Equus ferus caballus

There are over 300 horse breeds, which are divided into ‘hotbloods’ (speed and endurance horses), ‘coldbloods’ (draft horses and some ponies suitable for slow, heavy work) and ‘warmbloods’ (cross between ‘hotbloods’ and ‘coldbloods’ bred for riding). A horse of either sex less than one year old is known as a foal, once it is between one and two years of age it is termed a yearling. The birthing process is termed foaling. A colt is a male horse under the age of four and a female horse of the same age is termed a filly. An entire male horse over this age is a stallion and a female is a mare. A gelding is the term used to describe a castrated male of any age. The life expectancy of a horse is usually 25-30 years.


  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Bovidae
  • Genus: Bos
  • Species: Bos primigenius
  • Subspecies: Bos primigenius taurus, Bos primigenius indicus

Cows are large, herbivorous, ruminant, ungulates. They are commonly raised as livestock for beef and veal, as dairy animals for milk and may be utilised as draft animals. Their hides are also sold for leather. An intact male is termed a bull. An adult female of first/second parity or more is known as cow, whereas a young adult female under three years of age that has not yet produced a calf is a heifer. A young female that has produced one calf may be termed a first-calf-heifer. A castrated male is known as a steer. The birthing process is termed calving.


  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Bovidae
  • Subfamily: Caprinae
  • Genus: Ovis
  • Species: Ovis aries

Sheep are small, herbivorous, ruminant ungulates. They are usually kept for producing meat, milk and wool. More than 200 breeds now exist, many of them bred for specific purposes. An entire male sheep of breeding age is termed a ram; a castrated male sheep is a wether. A ewe is a female sheep of breeding age. Lambing is the process of giving birth and the offspring are termed lambs until they reach one year of age. The average lifespan of a sheep is 10-12 years.


  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Artiodactyla
  • Family: Suidae
  • Subfamily: Suinae
  • Genus: Sus

Pigs are omnivorous ungulates descended from the wild boar. They are commonly kept as livestock for meat and leather. In many European countries, they are used to find truffles; utilizing their foraging ability owing to their snouts. Some breeds are kept as pets. An entire male pig of breeding age is a boar and a castrated male a hog. A female pig which has produced its first litter is known as a sow. A female pig which is yet to produce a litter is a gilt. The birthing process is termed farrowing, producing piglets.


Birds are winged, feathered, bipedal, egg-laying vertebrates. There are approximately 10,000 species of bird, all of which have feathers, a beak with no teeth and lay hard-shelled eggs. Most, but not all species of bird can fly. Flightless birds include the ratites and penguins. Birds have unique skeletal, digestive and respiratory systems that are highly adapted for flight.


Any other species will be included here.

View the species pages.