Pocket Genius Science: The living world – What is an animal?

Facts At Your Fingertips: The living world – What is an animal?

Animals are living things that get their energy by feeding on other living things, including plants and other animals.

Like plants, animals can respond and react to the world around them and communicate with each other.

Most animals can also move around. Animals range from simple, tubelike sponges to complex human beings.

On the move

A few animals, such as sponges and clams, fix themselves in one place, but most need to move to find food or shelter.

Sharks have powerful muscles and a sleek body shape that allows them to swim through the water quickly in search of prey.


All animals obtain energy by eating other living things.

Herbivores eat plants, while carnivores eat other animals. Humans are omnivores, which are animals that eat both plants and other animals.

Responding and reacting

Animals have sense organs that tell them what is going on outside their bodies. For example, hairs on a spider’s feet sense vibrations when prey gets trapped in its web. The spider then runs over and wraps its prey in silk.


Animals communicate with each other in different ways: using sounds, chemicals, colors, or movements.

Bees tell others in their hive where to find food using a special dance that shows which way to fly and how long it will take to get there.


The octopus lives in holes and crevices on the ocean floor. It has eight arms, lined with suction cups for grabbing hold of its prey, which it then kills with poison from its beak.

If it loses an arm, it can grow another one.

Octopuses have three hearts two to pump blood to their gills and one to pump blood around the body