Some of the words on this website may be new or unfamiliar to you. We've defined them here for your convenience.


  • Anal plate

    Scale (sometimes two scales) that covers the anus, located on the under surface where the body joins the tail.

  • Bird

    An animal that has feathers and reproduces with hard-shelled eggs. Most but not all birds can fly.

  • Camouflage

    Colors and patterns that blend in with the surroundings, used to disguise or hide oneself.

  • Carnivore

    An animal or plant that consumes meat as its primary diet.

  • Cloaca

    Internal chamber into which the digestive, urinary and reproductive systems empty, opening to the outside through the anus.

  • Constrictor

    A snake that kills its prey by coiling around it and squeezing.

  • Crepuscular

    Active at twilight, either morning or evening.

  • Diurnal

    Active during the day.

  • Dorsal

    Referring to the upper surface of the animal.

  • Endangered

    There are over 100 species of animals that are close to disappearing from Ohio. Habitat destruction, pesticides, and pollution are the main causes.

  • Habitat

    A place where an organism lives. It must contain food, water, shelter, and a living space.

  • Hibernation

    A long-term, deep sleep during which the animal's heartbeat and respiration rates slow down considerably. Before going into hibernation, animals will store fat in their bodies to live off of until they awaken.

  • Keeled

    Refers to a scale with a raised ridge running down its midline.

  • Lateral

    Referring to one or both sides, between the upper and lower surfaces.

  • Mammal

    An animal that nourishes its young with milk produced by the female.

  • Nocturnal

    Active during the night.

  • Predator

    An animal that lives by capturing and eating other animals.

  • Prey

    An animal that is hunted or eaten by another animal.

  • Rattle

    A group of loosely attached horny segments at the end of the tail of a rattlesnake. When the snake vibrates its tail the parts of the rattle strike against one another producing a buzzing sound.

  • Smooth

    Refers to a scale that is smooth, without a raised ridge along its midline, hence not keeled.

  • Venomous

    Poisonous, referring to a snake or other animal that is capable of producing a noxious liquid, which, when injected into a victim, causes illness or death.

  • Vertebrate

    An animal that has a backbone, or spinal column.