A North American beaver (Castor canadensis) waterproofs its fur by combing through it with its claws, spreading natural oils. Vancouver's urban Stanley Park is home to Beaver Lake, a small body of water that supports waterfowl, fish, and its eponymous mammals.
Small auks called dovekies dive for copepods and nest on rocky shores in Svalbard, Norway's Arctic archipelago. The birds deposit guano and carcasses on land, fertilizing a mossy garden that provides ideal lurking ground for arctic foxes and other hunters.
A kinkajou’s pollen-dusted cheek tells of a late-night nectar binge in an Ochroma, or balsa, tree. The balsa tree bursts into bloom at sunset during Panama's dry season, feeding a kaleidoscope of species.
In the Serengeti, life is hard for the greatest of African predators. An adult male lion like Hildur, shown here, might attain the advanced age of 12 in the wild. Adult females can live longer, even to 19.
New York's Empire State Building gleams in the windows of an architectural firm in this photo from a May 2009 National Geographic story on living roofs. Blossoming in cities around the world, overhead gardens like this one take advantage of acres of potential green space.
It's a snug fit for Chicago's famous "L" tracks, here shot from above by National Geographic Your Shot community member Angie McMonigal. Flanked on two sides by the elevated rail, the art deco Trustees System Service Building, now a condominium, dates to 1930.