The show centers around the interactions of Henry the Lizard and an unseen, unnamed narrator. Each episode centers on a specific theme relating to its subject matter. In each episode, Henry faces a problem of some sort, which is resolved by the end of the episode.
This series includes examples of:
- Ambiguously Human: The caveman in "Prehistoric Animals", resembling the gorilla character, is the closest thing to a human character in the show, besides maybe the narrator.
- Artistic License Biology:
- "Extinct Animals" explains the extinction of the pygmy elephants of Madagascar with the legend of Roc Birds, which they also refer to as elephant birds. This is odd given 1) Madagascar never had pygmy elephants and 2) the real elephant bird was a large ratite or flightless bird resembling an ostrich. While the elephant bird was involved with the legend of the roc, it was due to sailors either mistaking the adults for hatchlings of large birds or finding the birds' large eggs. Ironic that this was meant to be a rebuttal to Henry's own botched-up report on elephant birds (The narrator reprimands Henry for "getting his elephant birds mixed-up", only to get them mixed-up himself?). Interestingly, they do mention that Madagascar did have large birds that didn't eat elephants (elephant birds were herbivores).
- The narrator refers to a snake that impersonates venomous coral snakes as a harmless milk snake with a ring pattern of red, yellow, and black. Unfortunately, the snake they show and the pattern he describes is of the actual coral snake.
- Badly Battered Babysitter: The framing device of Animal babies; Henry has to look after an infant lizard and finds it's a lot harder than he expects.
- The Board Game: Believe it or not. Also had a computer game version.
- Catchphrase: Several.
- "Excuse me, that's amazing!"
- "And that's straight from the lizard's mouth! So did I get an A or what?"
- "Even an 'or what' would be too good for that."
- "Another Z for the collection."
- "Didn't I even get one bit right?" "Not even one, Henry."
- "It's time for your report."
- "And now, ladies and gentle-lizards, it's time for Henry's Amazing Golden Gecko Awards!"
- "Oh, I do love when you're precise."
- "Come on, Henry, you expect anyone to believe that?"
- "Mmm... yeah!"
- "Do you think they bought it?"
- "You couldn't even give it away, Henry."
- "And next, the weather." "The weather?" "The weather I got it right, or the weather I got it wrong."
- "Take a guess."
- "More later, but first, hear now the sports!"
- "Fantasy-land One, Lizards Zero/Nil.
- Children Are Innocent: In "Extinct Animals", human kids are allowed in Henry's museum for this reason.
- Continuity Nod: In episodes aired after "Seashore Animals", Henry's crab Tuesday becomes an occasional recurring character, mostly in Henry's news report.
- Critical Research Failure: In-Universe with Henry's reports.
- Disney Acid Sequence: After the Golden Gecko Awards, Mountain Animals features a segment where Henry has altitude sickness. Crazy visuals ensue.
- Deadpan Snarker: Henry. And the narrator towards him.
- Different in Every Episode: Every episode's title is presented by an animal related to the episode's theme. For example, a camel presenting in Desert Animals.
- In Season 2, When Henry does his report, he brings his backpack searching for it tossing a pencil case, a ball, and something related to the episode.
- Egg MacGuffin: Henry has to look after an egg in Animal Eggs, which hatches at the end of the episode.
- Elephants Are Scared of Mice: In the cartoons, the elephant is always scared of the mouse.
- Excited Kids' Show Host: Henry falls under type 3 (the Informative Over Sixes Host).
- The Faceless: The Narrator is always somewhat off-screen, but that isn't to say that he doesn't interact with Henry's environment sometimes.
- In one segment of "Around the World", Henry is looking through a book of photographs, and the narrator asks if there is a photo of him in there too. Henry says that he took one, but that he got his thumb in the photo. The narrator is annoyed somewhat.
- Occasionally, sounds of walking (Slimy Animals) and door opening (River Animals) can be heard off screen, and they are attributed to the narrator as well.
- F--: Henry usually gets a Z in his reports, sometimes even an "or what?" would be too good for them.
- Formula-Breaking Episode: One episode ("Scaly Animals") had Henry saying the title card (interrupting the narrator in the process) and doing most of the narrating for the episode, while the narrator did the "special report" (even screwing it up intentionally to get back at Henry). The episode also ended in a musical number, unusual for the show.
- Furry Reminder: Henry is a gecko and as such is quite capable of climbing up walls or trees.
- Grand Finale: Averted somewhat, as the 52nd episode to air on Disney Channel, Animal Flight is a rather inconsequential and average episode, and ends on a semi-cliffhanger. There is some discussion whether this was meant to be the actual finale, however.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Aside from Henry and the narrator trading barbs, most of the show's humour comes from Henry overestimating his own abilities/knowledge and the results backfiring in his face, much to the narrator's amusement/exasperation.
- Hostile Show Takeover: Henry interrupts the narrator when he is reading the title card for "Scaly Animals" and the rest of the episode proceeds in a form of role reversal in which the narrator does some of the segments Henry would normally do (such as the special report), and vice versa.
- Interactive Narrator: The narrator and Henry consistently talk to each other and make a few jabs at each others' expense.
- King of the Dinosaurs: A Tyrannosaurus is one of the cartoon animals.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Henry.
- Lame Pun Reaction: The way the narrator reacts to most of Henry's jokes.
- Leitmotif: A Mickey Mousing-esque bass beat for when Henry is moving, as well as the intro theme during certain animal lectures.
- Lovable Lizard: Henry is an adorable little lizard.
- Medium Blending:
- Most of the time, the scene is blank white, sometimes with CGI objects and scenery, alongside CGI Henry and live-action animals. However, every episode involves animated, comedic shorts involving cartoon animals that loosely tie in the episode's theme.
- One of the few times Henry and the cartoon animals "crossover" is in "Prehistoric Animals", when a caveman walks pass a cave while dragging the rooster scientist, and Henry shows up a second later to explore the cave.
- In "Seashore Animals", a live-action shore appears to be on the same island Henry's stranded on.
- Nature Is Not Nice: Discussed and, ultimately, averted. The show doesn't shy away from the more gruesome facts of life, such as when predators hunt prey, and Henry himself can be squeamish about it. But both he and the narrator acknowledge, in the end, that animals don't do what they do to be cruel, but because they want to survive like every other animal, and sometimes the way they evolved means they can't do anything else.
- Not So Above It All: Downplayed, but occasionally the narrator does things that would be expected of Henry, like throwing an angry tantrum in "Animal Mothers", or fighting with Henry over looking through a pair of binoculars in "Animal Eggs".
- Once per Episode: Henry's report and "Henry's Amazing Golden Gecko Awards".
- Parental Bonus: Henry and the Narrator make a lot of movie references that might fly over a lot of the kids' heads as a joke for the parents.
- Predators Are Mean: Heavily averted. While scary at times, predators and scavengers are treated as just as dignified and worthy of respect as part of nature's complex ecosystems as the herbivores.
- Scavengers Are Scum: Thoroughly averted. While lamenting many scavenging animals like vultures aren't traditionally beautiful, they're good reasons they look the way they do and are respectable creatures. All three winners of the Golden Gecko Award for the birds of prey episode were vultures.
- Science Marches On: In "Extinct Animals", after hearing about the Jamaican Iguana, Henry laments "Sometimes I wish my relatives got lost, but not forever!" Henry needn't worry, as 8 years before the episode, the Jamaican Iguana was rediscovered, albeit in extremely fragmented populations.
- Henry manages to reference The Bee Gees in a spot about the jacana.
- "The passenger pigeons decided there was no place left for them on Earth. So they built spaceships, and went to seek out new worlds, boldly going where no pigeon had gone before!"
- "Seashore Animals" had many references to Robinson Crusoe, including Henry adopting a crab named Tuesday, named after Friday from the novel.
- "Free Whaley!"
- "Ground control to Major Tom!"
- "It's the Creature from the Black Lagoooooon!"
- Small Name, Big Ego: Henry. Especially with his museum dedicated to himself in "Extinct Animals".
- Henry is seemingly more hospitable than other episodes in "Animal Helpers". If only to beat a dog in a competition, with rewards being a parade and a pizza feed, that said.
- Show Within a Show Brainy Island, seen in Clever Animals. Henry eventually ends up in the show itself, contesting against a chicken, a crow, and a dog.
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: The narrator is the straight man, and Henry is the wise guy.
- Surprise Party: The Narrator arranges one in Henry's honour, inviting every animal the two ever met, in Animals Around the World.
- Talking Animal: Henry.
- Timmy in a Well: A reference to the old joke is seemingly found in Animal Helpers:Goodie: (Whimpers)
Henry: What's that you say? Little Timmy's gone down the well?''
Goodie: (Whimpers some more)
Henry: And his mommy's worried?
Goodie: (More Whimpering)
Henry: Cause he hasn't got his water-wings?
- Toilet Humour: Implied briefly at the end of Animal Partners.Henry: A cowboy needs a partner like fishies need a drink, we love to eat our beans all day and that's why we both (before Henry can sing the last word, presumably rhyming with drink, Beany the Horse neighs)
- Time Travel: Two episodes involves one: "Prehistoric Animals" (both Henry and the cartoon rooster) and "Endangered Animals" (just the rooster).
- Unreliable Narrator: The focus of an entire segment of each episode, where Henry clearly didn't do any research for his report and explains 'facts' about animals that are clearly false (such as passenger pigeons building flying saucers and leaving Earth, or basking sharks being island-eating, cold-blooded killers). The Narrator has to step in at the end to explain the truth.
- Wet Cement Gag: In "Extinct Animals", Henry steps into wet cement to make footprints for his museum, but it dries up before he realizes...Narrator: Uh, how long were you supposed to stay in there?
Henry: Ha ha. Oh, just a second or two... (tries to move out, but can't because the cement has dried and he's now stuck)
Narrator: I knew it.
- The Wild West: "Animal Partners" features Henry as a cowboy in the wild west, in search of a partner.