Explanations » B1+ Vocabulary Explanations » The animal world – B1+ English Vocabulary
Exercises Explanation Downloads
  • The animal world

    In this B1+ Upper-intermediate Vocabulary Lesson about the Animal World, you will learn essential terms related to animals, their habitats, and various animal issues. Check the pictures, definitions and examples below to understand these terms better.

    Animals & Habitats

    English vocabulary chart with pictures and labels illustrating different animal types and habitats, including mammals, rodents, reptiles, predators, prey, the wild/wilderness, nature reserves, animal sanctuaries, etc.

    1 Mammals are animals that produce milk to feed their young.

    • Most mammals feed milk to their young until they are at least two months old.

    2 Rodents are small mammals with sharp front teeth, such as mice, rats, squirrels, and hamsters.

    • Rodents such as hamsters make very good pets.

    3 Reptiles are cold-blooded animals with scales on their skin, such as snakes, lizards, turtles, or crocodiles.

    • We saw a lot of reptiles when we visited the zoo.

    4 A predator is an animal that kills and eats other animals, while 5 prey refers to the animal that a predator catches and eats.

    • The biggest threat to the rabbits in this forest is predators like foxes and wolves.
    • The lion pounced on its prey before tearing into its skin with its sharp teeth.

    6 A scavenger is an animal that feeds on dead animals and plants.

    • There are many scavengers in the woods who feed on the bodies of dead animals.

    7 A pest is an unwanted organism that damages or annoys crops, animals, or humans. Examples include insects like mosquitoes or worms, rats, and weeds.

    • Our crops were destroyed by pests last year.

    8 An extinct species is an animal that no longer exists, and 9 an endangered species is an animal that is in danger of becoming extinct. Similarly, 10 a rare species is an uncommon and rarely seen animal group.

    • The dodo bird is one of the many extinct species that disappeared due to human activity.
    • Pandas are an endangered species, so we must do our best to protect them.
    • Joe came across a rare species of spider whilst he was trekking in the jungle.

    ➪ Note that species, ending in -s, can be both singular and plural.

    11 A guinea pig is a small rodent that people sometimes keep as pets. However, as medicines and other products are often tested on small animals, the word guinea pig can also refer to any person or thing that is used as the subject of an experiment.

    • I used to have a pet guinea pig.
    • I asked him to be my guinea pig and taste my new brownie recipe.

    12 The wild or wilderness refers to any wild and uncultivated area that is inhabited by animals, not humans, while a 13 nature reserve is an area that is protected to preserve the animals and plants that live there.

    • Going on a safari gave me a chance to see animals in the wild.
    • The nature reserve near my home is home to 600 species of butterflies.

    14 An animal sanctuary is a place where animals are protected and encouraged to breed, and an 15 animal shelter is a place where lost, injured, or mistreated animals are cared for by staff.

    • Lara works in an animal sanctuary, looking after the horses and donkeys.
    • The lost dog was taken to an animal shelter, where he was later rehomed.

    16 A kennel is a place where people leave their pets to be cared for while they are on holiday. The word can also be used to refer to an enclosed area where dogs are bred or trained.

    • Our dogs stayed in a kennel when we went away last weekend.
    • The breeder keeps the dogs in a kennel at the bottom of his garden.

    Animal Issues

    English vocabulary chart illustrating various animal issues and verbs, including animal welfare, animal trade, overhunting, poaching, shrinking habitat, to breed, to tame, to put down, etc.

    1 Animal welfare refers to the well-being and humane treatment of animals, ensuring they are healthy, well-cared for, and free from suffering.

    • The main aim of the organisation is to improve animal welfare.

    2 Animal trade and animal trafficking are both terms used to describe the illegal transport and trading of animals.

    • As a charity, we strive to put an end to animal trafficking.

    3 Overhunting is when too many animals are hunted, causing their populations to decrease. 4 Overfishing is similar to overhunting but refers specifically to fish.

    • The bird population in the region has decreased due to overhunting.
    • Overfishing in the lake has resulted in a decline in the trout population.

    5 Poaching is the illegal hunting of wild or protected animals, and the 6 fur trade is the global business of buying and selling animal fur.

    • The men were arrested for poaching elephants.
    • He is strongly opposed to the fur trade and refuses to wear animal products.

    7 Animal testing is the use of animals to test medications and cosmetics.

    • I am against animal testing, as I think it is cruel and unethical.

    8 The term shrinking habitat refers to the reduction in the size of an animal’s natural environment. It comes from the verb shrink, which means ‘to get smaller’.

    • Due to their shrinking habitat, the frog population in the region has declined.

    9 Captivity is a situation where an animal is kept and unable to leave.

    • The lion had spent its entire life in captivity; it had never actually lived in the wild.

    10 Cruelty-free is a term used to describe cosmetics and medicines that have been produced without animal testing.

    • I try to buy cruelty-free cosmetics as I am opposed to animal testing.

    Verbs and Verb Phrases

    11 If you breed an animal, you take care of the animal and encourage it to reproduce more animals of its kind, and 12 if you tame an animal, you train an animal to obey you and behave in the desired way.

    • The farmer breeds a rare type of pig on his farm.
    • It was hard to tame the fox as it had spent all its life in the wild.

    13 If you put down an animal, you end its life because it is ill or a danger to others, and 14 if you slaughter an animal, you kill it deliberately for food or other purposes.

    • The cat was suffering from an incurable illness and had to be put down.
    • We try to slaughter our pigs in way that ensures they feel no pain.

    15 When a bird nests, it builds a home for itself using sticks, leaves, and other natural materials, and 16 when a bird lays eggs, it produces eggs, usually in its nest.

    • It’s important not to disturb the birds, as many of them are nesting.
    • Our hens lay eggs, which we later sell at the local market.

    After completing the exercises in this lesson on the Animal World, you can use the unit’s Vocabulary Flascards to revise and help you memorize the terms.