Top 5

Top 5 Animals

From playful penguins to a powerful polar bear, check out our wildest wildlife!

1. Party penguins

Eileen Agar Photograph of Lubetkin’s Penguin Pool at London Zoo [1940s–1950s]

Eileen Agar, Photograph of Lubetkin’s Penguin Pool at London Zoo, [1940s–1950s] © Tate

Art fact: Eileen Agar, who took this photo at London Zoo, is an Argentine-born British artist. When she was young she travelled from Argentina to Britain with a cow and an orchestra, because her mum thought that milk and good music were needed for a happy life. She was the first female surrealist and experimented with new ways of making art and new materials.

Animal fact: To survive in such low temperatures, these penguins have special adaptations - they have large stores of insulating body fat and several layers of scale-like feathers that protect them from icy winds. They also huddle close together in large groups to keep themselves, and each other, warm.

2. Rhino a go go!

Henry Moore OM, CH, ‘Rhinoceros’ 1982
Henry Moore OM, CH
Rhinoceros 1982
Tate
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

Animal fact: During the heat of the day, these magnificent mammals can be found sleeping in the shade or wallowing in muddy pools to cool off. They love to get mucky, in fact! Mud protects their skin from the strong sun (like a natural sunblock) and wards off biting bugs, too!

Art fact: Henry Moore, lived in the countryside and had a close relationship with the animal world. As well as real animals, like this rhino, he also liked to draw objects related to the natural world, like fossils, stones and wood pieces.

Want to learn more about Moore? Check out his biography.

3. Tiger Tiger....

John Macallan Swan
Head of a Tiger
Tate

Art fact: John Macallan Swan drew and painted animals with great power and poise. This tiger has his head held high. This artwork was made using crayons on paper. Have you ever taken crayons to the zoo?

Animal fact: Tigers are the largest wild cats in the world. Adults can weigh up to 363kg – that’s about the same as ten ten year olds! – and measure up to 3.3m!

4. A great bear

Briton Riviere, ‘Beyond Man’s Footsteps’ exhibited 1894
Briton Riviere
Beyond Man’s Footsteps exhibited 1894
Tate

Animal fact: Did you know that a polar bear’s fur isn’t white? It’s actually transparent with a hollow core that reflects light. This helps the bears blend in with their surroundings a useful trick, especially when hunting wary seals!

Art fact: Briton Rivière was an animal painter interested in Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution and the relationship of animals to man. This artwork shows both extreme weather conditions and the beauty of ice, snow and sunsets in the Arctic.

5. Top trunks

David Shrigley, ‘Untitled’ 2004
David Shrigley
Untitled 2004
Tate
© David Shrigley

Art fact: This drawing by David Shrigley, looks like something you might doodle in your notebook. Hopefully there aren’t any people in the car when the elephant steps on it! This artwork is unusual and a bit scary. The main thing to you need to know is that Shrigley likes to look at the humorous side of life!

Animal fact: An elephant's trunk is basically an elongated nose and upper lip — combined! Elephants use their trunks to breathe, explore their environment, communicate, pick up, push, carry, drink and give themselves a refreshing shower!

Big thanks to National Geographic Kids for working with us on this fantastic animal Top 5! Check out the Nat Geo Kids website here to find other great animal pics and facts!

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