Consider trying to find a subject that is unique in some way. Many wildlife photographs work simply because the subject s is unusual, or starkly breaks a pattern that fills the rest of the frame.
Try adopting a viewpoint that exaggerates a bold feature such as the height of the animal; extremes appear to captivate our attention.
Excluding all other possible distract ions from the frame will, of course, force the viewer to go straight to examining the subject itself. So, zooming in and tight cropping can work if all the interest that you want to reveal is contained within an animal or aspect s of it.
Blurring out elements either in front of or behind the key feature will also reduce their tendency to steal attention. In this regard, you might consider larger apertures to reduce the depth of field. Alternatively, if the subject is moving, you could consider panning with a slower shutter speed to create a motion blur effect.
See if you can use features within an animal's environment to embrace or surround the main point of interest . This effectively forms a frame within the frame, which focuses the attention on a specific area.
A classic example of motion blur focusing attention on the subject's features. The monochrome conversion helped to simplify the background. Canon EOS 5D MkIII with 100-400mm lens at 235mm, ISO 200, 1/80sec at f/9
The uniform background of a complementary tone and tight cropping help focus attention on the unique horn and beautiful golden eye of this nose-horned viper. Canon EOS 5D with 105mm macro lens, ISO 200, 1/160sec at f/11, fill-in flash, handheld
I zoomed right in to include just the essential items in the frame to tell the story - a lioness, pestered by flies, tucking into a wildebeest kill. Canon EOS 7D with 500mm lens, ISO 250, 1/1000sec at f/8, beanbag