What Are Terrestrial Animals ? (With 12 Examples You Need To Know)

Depending on the place where animals live and thrive or the habitat, animals are categorized as Terrestrial Animals, Aerial Animals, Arboreal Animals, Aquatic Animals, and so on.

In this article, we shall talk about terrestrial animals with some examples

What are Terrestrial Animals? Any animal that lives, grows, and reproduces on land For example, Reptiles, Mammals, Humans, and Apes are all Terrestrial Animals, Thus animals that live and thrive on land are called Terrestrial Animals.

Examples Of Terrestrial Animals

  • Eagles(Bird)
  • Hummingbird(Bird)
  • Bat(Mammal)
  • Cat(Mammal)
  • Lion(Mammal)
  • Mice(Mammal)
  • Chamelon(Reptile)
  • Geckos(Reptile)
  • Spider(Arthropoda)
  • Ant(Arthropoda)
  • Snakes
  • Giraffes

Why did Terrestrial Animals call so? Based on the habitat that is the place where the animals live, thrive, and spend most of their time, animals are classified as Terrestrial Animals, Arboreal Animals, Aquatic Animals, and so on. 

Characteristics of Terrestrial Animals

  • The entire life span of terrestrial animals is spent on the land.
  • They generally have four legs called limbs, which are adopted for different environments such as air in case of birds, Trees in case of monkeys, reptiles, lizards, and squirrels.
  • Their limbs perform different types of function, that is, In birds forelimbs are modified as wings for flying function, In Reptiles both forelimbs and hind limbs are adapted for running, creeping and burrowing, Similarly In mammals all the four limbs can perform complex functions.
  • These animals have ears that vary according to their habitat, as it enables them to detect sounds from other animals that may be prey or predators thus help them to survive on the land.
  • These have a nose that can detect different kinds of smell thus this characteristic increases the chances of survival in terrestrial habitats.
  • These terrestrial animals have fur that help them to avoid the cold in their habitat, especially in snow, nights and in cold temperature regions.
  • Animals that live in open places have strong limbs, For example deer and horses have strong legs that are adapted in open lands.
  • Burrowing animals have short limbs and heads are in the shape of a snout to help in digging.
  • Long limbs for swinging from trees to trees in monkeys, tail as well for coiling around the branches.
  • Terrestrial Animals have prominent and strong legs that can help to run faster, for example cheetahs.

Types Of Animals based on their Habitat

  1. Aerial Animals.
  2. Arboreal Animals.
  3. Aquatic Animals.
  4. Amphibious Animals.

Types of Terrestrial Animals with Examples

According to the function and adaptation of the terrestrial animals, they are classified as Aerial Animals, Arboreal Animals, and so on.

Terrestrial Animals typesDefinition/ Meaning/FunctionExamples
Aerial AnimalsShow Aerial Mode of LifeEagle, Hawk, and Hummingbird.
Arboreal AnimalsLive on treesMonkeys, Lizards, and Squirrels.

1. Aerial Animals

Are Birds Terrestrials Animals? Yes, For example, Eagle, Hawk, Hummingbirds, and other birds belong to the terrestrial animal category. However, Terrestrial Animals are further classified based on their adaptation to trees, land, and air. In this case, Birds are classified further as Aerial Animals after classifyinging them into Terrestrial Animals.

In other words, birds are also called animals that belong to the terrestrial animal category. However, they are further grouped as Aerial Animals as they use air for travel and spend more of the time in the air than any other Terrestrial Animals such as Reptiles, Mammals including humans and Apes.

Ten Examples of Birds that are Terrestrial Animals

  1. Eagle
  2. Hawk
  3. Crane
  4. Egret
  5. Peacock
  6. Emu
  7. Ostritch
  8. Kingfisher
  9. Kiwi
  10. Chicken

What are the Characteristics of Aerial Animals ?

  • The Aerial Animals have tissue or organ or organ system that is adapted for flying function.
  • These Aerial Animals have less body weight among the terrestrial animals such as Mammals and Reptiles, as it is an adaptation toward flying character. 
  • Usually these Aerial Animals have streamlined bodies which cause less resistance while flying. For example, birds have hollow bones that are less dense than the mammal and reptile bones. 
  • They have special hunting strategies that are performed in flight mode, For example, Eagles, and Hawks show maneuvers in air while praying.
  • Their eyes are advanced so that they can detect their prey from longer distances, similarly escape from their own predators.

2. Arboreal Animals

Are Arboreal Animals Terrestrial Animals? Yes, Those animals which live and thrive on trees are called Arboreal Animals. Monkeys, Lizards, and Squirrels, are examples of Arboreal Animals.  However, we give less importance to birds in this Arboreal Animals category as the birds have an advanced character that is they could fly in the air while arboreal animals can’t fly like birds.

Examples of Arboreal Animals that are Terrestrial Animals

  1. Lizards(Reptile)
  2. Apes(Mammal)
  3. Monkey(Mammal)
  4. Squirrel(Mammal)
  5. Chamelon(Reptile)
  6. Rhesus macaque(Mammal)
  7. Green tree pythons(Reptile)
  8. Sloths(Mammal)
  9. Koalas(Mammal)
  10. Japanese macaque(Mammal)

Are Reptiles Terrestrials Animals?Yes, For example, Frogs, Salamander and including other reptiles, Reptiles belong to the terrestrial animal category. However, Terrestrial Animals are further classified based on their adaptation to trees, land, and air. In this case, Reptiles are classified further as Arboreal Animals after classifying them into Terrestrial Animals.

In other words, Reptiles belong to the terrestrial animals category. However, they are further placed in a group called Arboreal Animals as they use to live in trees and spend some of the time in trees than any other Terrestrial Animals such as Dog, Cat, and Wolf etc. 

Examples of Reptiles that are Terrestrial Animals

  1. Frog
  2. Salamander
  3. Geckos
  4. Turtle
  5. Chamelon
  6. Skink
  7. Lizard
  8. Snake
  9. Komodo dragon
  10. King cobra

What are the Characteristics of Arboreal Animals ?

  • They are likely to spend most of the time in trees. For example, eating or finding prey,  sleeping, reproducing, giving birth and caring for their progeny all happen on trees.
  • Limbs that may be two or four that are well adapted for climbing tree branches, perch on tree branches and trunks.
  • Some have tails that can coil on tree branches while swinging and sleeping. 
  • They have digits on their fingers that help to give better grip on tree branches.
  • Tails, digitate fingers, are the adaptation found in Arboreal animals that are responsible characters found in  them to thrive on trees.

3. Aquatic Animals 

Are Aquatic Animals Terrestrial Animals? No, Aquatic animals can not be terrestrial animals, as aquatic animals live and thrive in the water and can’t survive without water.

The entire lifespan of aquatic animals is spent underwater and they need water for all parts of their life cycles such as birth, growth, reproduction or breeding, and they can’t live without water. The aquatic animals can be saltwater aquatic animals, simply called as marine animals or freshwater aquatic animals or both.

Examples of Saltwater aquatic animals or marine animals are sharks, tuna, clownfish, stingrays, whales, and dolphins. Examples of Freshwater aquatic animals are snails, turtles, and river dolphins. 

Examples of Aquatic Animals are

  1. Shark
  2. Fish
  3. Octopus
  4. Starfish
  5. Seahorse
  6. Oyster
  7. Whale
  8. Squid
  9. Dolphin
  10. Mussel

What are the Characteristics of Aquatic Animals ?

  • These Aquatic Animals have gills that absorb the oxygen required for the body through the water.
  • They have streamlined bodies that are responsible for the least resistance of the water while swimming through the water.
  • Instead of limbs like in reptiles and mammals, these aquatic animals have fins for locomotion and movement.
  • Most of the aquatic animals are ectotherms thus they don’t need to spend extra energy on maintaining body temperature. However, some aquatic animals are endotherms, which means they regulate their body temperature by spending energy.
  • They have water resistant adaptation by having small scales that keep water to get inside the body.
  • These have bladders that are an organ filled with air, enabling the fish to balance in water.

4. Amphibious Animals

Are Amphibious Animals Terrestrial Animals? No, Amphibious Animals can not be Terrestrial Animals even though some can live on land like terrestrial animals but they require water in some part of their lifecycle, especially during fertilization and breeding they need water. Thus Amphibious Animals can’t be strictly terrestrial animals.

Ten Examples of Amphibious Animals are

  1. Frogs
  2. Salamander
  3. Japanese giant salamander 
  4. Flying frog 
  5. Toad
  6. Dart frog
  7. Tree frog
  8. Mossy frog
  9. Dakota toad
  10. Newt

What are the Characteristics of Aquatic Animals ?

  • These pass through a larval stage, in this stage these amphibians are hard to find which type of the species they are.
  • The eggs formed after fertilization are filled with gel and do not provide rigidity like in reptiles eggs.
  • They have smooth skin that is permeable to gases present in the water as well as atmosphere.
  • Gills or skin is helpful for respiration in water and in atmospheric air respectively.