85 Animals That Start with D

Illustration with different animal species and text saying animals that start with D

No matter how many animals we learn about, there’s always more information to uncover. Each letter of the alphabet has a long list of animal species that are fascinating and unique.

This article will focus on all the wonderful species that start with the letter D. You might learn about some new fascinating creatures along the way!

List of Animals That Start with D

Here are 85 animal species that start with the letter D.

1. Dabchick

Dabchick swimming
  • Scientific Name: Tachybaptus ruficollis
  • Habitat: Wetlands of Europe, Africa, and Southern Asia
  • Size: 0.3 to 0.4 pounds
  • Diet: Insects, small fish, mollusks

The dabchick, also known as the little grebe, is a small water bird that can be distinguished by its red/brown neck. Young birds have a yellow beak, but it becomes darker as they get older. Dabchicks often feed their chicks feathers with their food, and some adults eat feathers too. The feathers are supposed to protect their stomachs from fish bones. A group of these birds is known as a “water dance.”

2. Dachshund

Smooth-haired dachshund
  • Scientific Name: Canis familiaris
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 16 to 32 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic dog food

Dachshunds are known for their long bodies and short legs. While their unique statures cause a lot of health problems today, they were helpful for their duties as hunting dogs in the past. Dachshunds were bred in Germany to hunt badgers. So, their long, narrow bodies were perfect for squeezing into badger burrows. These dogs have a wide variety of appearances, and their hair can either be smooth, wiry, or long.

3. Dainty Green Tree Frog

Dainty green tree frog on branch
  • Scientific Name: Ranoidea gracilenta
  • Habitat: Near the eastern coast in Australia
  • Size: 1.8 inches long
  • Diet: Small insects

The dainty green tree frog, also known as the graceful tree frog, can be distinguished by its leaf-green back and yellow belly. As tadpoles, they have dark bodies with a hint of yellow in them. To avoid extreme heat, these frogs seek out wet areas with shade during the day and hunt at night. When communicating with other frogs, they let out a distinct “waaa” sound.

4. Dall Sheep

Dall sheep in nature
  • Scientific Name: Ovis dalli dalli
  • Habitat: Cliffs and mountains of Northern Alaska
  • Size: 150 to 300 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, lichen, moss

A Dall sheep’s massive horns take about 8 years to fully grow. The horns are made of keratin, which is the same material as human fingernails. To determine how old a Dall sheep is, you can count the number of growth rings on their horns. The hooves are rough to allow them to cling to cliffs and mountains as they travel. They spend most of their time in high elevations to avoid predators.

5. Dall’s Porpoise

Dall porpoises surfacing
  • Scientific Name: Phocoenoides dalli
  • Habitat: Coastal waters of the North Pacific Ocean
  • Size: 230 to 440 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, cephalopods, crustaceans

Even though these porpoises need to come to the surface to breathe, they often dive as deep as 1,640 feet underwater to hunt fish. They usually hunt at night because that’s when prey comes closer to the water’s surface. They’re most commonly seen in groups of up to 12, but the groups usually split off to play and hunt. These sea creatures are drawn to fast-moving objects, so they’re often seen swimming beside boats and faster sea life like dolphins.

6. Dalmatian

Dalmatian dog playing in grass
  • Scientific Name: Canis familiaris
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 33 to 71 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic dog food

These beautiful spotted dogs got their breed name because they came from the coastal area of Austria, which is called Dalmatia. When they were first bred, they were most commonly used as coach dogs, so they were taught to run alongside horse-drawn carriages. For that reason, Dalmatians usually get along well with horses. When these puppies are born, they don’t have any spots, but the spotted coloring starts to appear at two weeks old.

7. Dalmatian Pelican

Dalmatian Pelicans on the water
  • Scientific Name: Pelecanus crispus
  • Habitat: Lakes and rivers of Europe and Asia
  • Size: 21 to 33 pounds
  • Diet: Fish

Like other pelicans, Dalmatian pelicans have a throat pouch that serves several purposes. It can be used to capture fish and cool off the pelican during hot weather. These birds can hold up to three gallons of water in their pouch, which is over twice as much as their belly can hold. Despite being large and majestic, these birds rarely make any sounds. One of their defense mechanisms is to stay silent and still until the predator passes. If needed, they may make dramatic wing movements to scare threats away.

8. Dalmatian Wall Lizard

Two Dalmatian wall lizards
  • Scientific Name: Podarcis melisellensis
  • Habitat: Forests and rocky areas of Europe
  • Size: 4 to 8 inches long
  • Diet: Insects

Some of these lizards are spotted like a Dalmatian, but there are a lot of other color varieties too. These reptiles often have patterns with white, orange, or yellow. Orange male lizards are usually larger and healthier than other varieties, so some females will only mate with orange wall lizards. However, yellow males often provide more protection and territory to the females. White lizards have the hardest time mating, so they may intrude on other males’ territories to find females.

9. Dama Gazelle

Dama gazelle standing
  • Scientific Name: Nanger dama
  • Habitat: Grasslands and woodland of Africa
  • Size: 88 to 190 pounds
  • Diet: Shrubs, grass, acacias

Dama gazelles are the largest gazelles. They used to be common across the Sahara, but now, they’re critically endangered. They’re capable of living in dry environments because they get most of the water they need by eating plants. When eating the leaves of acacia plants, they will often stand on their hind legs to reach them. They’re always on the lookout for danger, and if they see a predator, they will jump into the air with stiff limbs to alert other gazelles.

10. Damar Flycatcher

Damar flycatcher on branch
  • Scientific Name: Ficedula henrici
  • Habitat: Tropical forests in Indonesia
  • Size: 12 to 13 centimeters
  • Diet: Small invertebrates

Damar flycatchers only live in Indonesia, and they’re not well-studied. They prefer moist areas of tropical lowland forests, but sadly, they’ve been affected by habitat loss in recent years. So, it’s unclear how many of these birds exist today. The males have black feathers with white spots on their stomachs and above their eyes. Then, the females are mostly brown.

11. Damara Tern

Damara Tern on shore
  • Scientific Name: Sternula balaenarum
  • Habitat: Arid shorelines of Southwestern Africa
  • Size: About 9 inches long
  • Diet: Fish, squid

Damara terns live near the water so they can dive under the surface and capture fish. They can dive as deep as 9 to 26 feet below the surface to hunt. They’re often found near other terns, but they hunt and feed alone. They have a distinct, high-pitched call that can be described as “tit-tit” or “tsit-tit.” These birds usually have black heads and gray wings, but when they’re flying, you can only see their white bellies.

12. Danube Crested Newt

Danube crested newt swimming
  • Scientific Name: Triturus dobrogicus
  • Habitat: Along the Danube River
  • Size: 5.1 to 5.9 inches long
  • Diet: Small invertebrates

These newts spend time in water and on land. As larvae, they take two to four months to transition from water to land, which is longer than similar newts. Males are easily distinguished by the jagged crest on their back and tail, which develops during their breeding phase. When breeding, these newts lay about 200 tiny eggs in the water, but young newts are sometimes eaten by adults.

13. Darjeeling Woodpecker

Darjeeling woodpecker on tree
  • Scientific Name: Dendrocopos darjellensis
  • Habitat: Forests of the northern Indian subcontinent
  • Size: 20 to 25 centimeters
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae

Darjeeling woodpeckers stand out due to their vibrant colors, including a yellow belly and head with a small patch of red/orange near their tail. Males also have a red patch on the top of their heads. They usually travel in pairs, and they peck at trees to capture the larvae of wood-boring insects. In the winter, these birds migrate from high altitudes to lower ones.

14. Dark Chanting Goshawk

Dark chanting goshawk perched
  • Scientific Name: Melierax metabates
  • Habitat: Across Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Size: 16 to 20 inches long, 34 to 41 inch wingspan
  • Diet: Reptiles, rodents, small birds

The name of this bird is deceiving because these goshawks have light gray feathers rather than dark ones. They’re carnivorous birds that will hunt any animals that are small enough to eat. So, they can be dangerous to humans if approached. They can fly 30 to 40 miles per hour to capture prey. Sometimes, these birds will follow other predators and capture the animals they scare away.

15. Dark Shyshark

Dark shyshark face
  • Scientific Name: Haploblepharus pictus
  • Habitat: Shallow rocky reefs near Namibia and South Africa
  • Size: Up to 2 feet long
  • Diet: Crustaceans, small fish, mollusks

Dark shysharks are catsharks with long, flat bodies and cat-like eyes. Their bodies are dark-colored with lighter speckles. They have ventral mouths so they can consume animals feeding off the ocean floor. They’re often hunted by larger aquatic animals, including other sharks. Since they’re much smaller than most sharks, they’re not harmful to humans and they’re rarely hunted.

16. Dark-Capped Bulbul

Dark-capped bulbul on branch
  • Scientific Name: Pycnonotus tricolor
  • Habitat: Woodlands of Southeastern Africa
  • Size: 7 to 8 inches long
  • Diet: Fruit, nectar, insects

This bird’s body is almost entirely covered in dull colors like black, brown, and gray, except for the base of the tail, which is bright yellow. They usually travel in pairs, and they can be very territorial toward other birds. They’re usually noisy birds that are always on the move. Fruit is the main part of this species’ diet, but these birds will also eat nectar and insects if those are available.

17. Dark-Eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco in the snow
  • Scientific Name: Junco hyemalis
  • Habitat: Forests across North America
  • Size: 4.9 to 6.5 inches
  • Diet: Seeds, insects

Dark-eyed juncos are often found hopping around forest floors. As they move, they peck at leaf litter to find food to eat. They’re some of the most common birds to flock bird feeders in North America. When they fly, their tails stretch out so you can see their beautiful white feathers more clearly. They often travel in groups, and those who joined the group first usually have a higher ranking in their hierarchy.

18. Dark-Fronted Babbler

Dark-fronted babbler on tree branch
  • Scientific Name: Rhopocichla atriceps
  • Habitat: Forests in the Western Ghats of India
  • Size: About 5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects

Dark-fronted babblers can’t fly far, which is why they all live in the same area. When they’re disturbed, they often drop from trees into the undergrowth rather than fly away. They often forage with other birds, and those birds don’t have to be the same species. These birds build nests out of balls of leaves and place them in bushes close to the ground. The dark coloring of these birds makes them hard to spot in dense vegetation, but their loud calls make them easy to locate.

19. Dark-Sided Flycatcher

Close-up of dark-sided flycatcher
  • Scientific Name: Muscicapa sibirica
  • Habitat: Woodlands of Central and Southern Asia
  • Size: 5 to 5.5 inches long
  • Diet: Flies, beetles, other small insects

Dark-sided flycatchers spend a lot of time sitting on branches, waiting for prey to pass. When they see an insect fly by, they’ll lunge forward to grab it. They build their nests anywhere from 6 to 60 feet in the air, and they usually put their nests on branches or inside holes of trees. These birds lay pale green eggs with red markings. They’re most commonly seen in mountainous areas with elevations of 13,000 feet above sea level.

20. Dark-Throated Oriole

  • Scientific Name: Oriolus xanthonotus
  • Habitat: Tropical forests of southeast Asia
  • Size: 17 to 19 centimeters
  • Diet: Fruit, flowers

Dark-throated orioles have a mix of yellow and black feathers, but adult males are the most vibrant. Females and juvenile males have dull yellow feathers instead, which look olive green. They usually travel in pairs or small groups, and they sing to communicate with each other. They sing short, fluid songs. Sadly, populations of this species are decreasing due to habitat loss.

21. D’arnaud’s Barbet

D'arnaud's Barbets on branch
  • Scientific Name: Trachyphonus darnaudii
  • Habitat: Savannas of East Africa
  • Size: About 8 inches
  • Diet: Insects, fruit, seeds

D’arnaud’s barbets have beautiful feather patterns with yellow, black, white, and brown spots. They spend an equal amount of time on the ground and in trees, and they build tunnels that lead to their nests. During mating season, the males and females will display dances for each other, which include twitching, bouncing, and singing. They’re more closely related to woodpeckers than to some of the other barbet species.

22. Dartford Warbler

Dartford Warbler perched on plant
  • Scientific Name: Sylvia undata
  • Habitat: Dry heath habitats in southern England
  • Size: 4.7 to 5.1 inches long
  • Diet: Caterpillars, beetles, spiders

The Dartford warbler is a threatened species that almost went extinct in the 1960s. Since then, the population has slowly grown, but there still aren’t many breeding pairs left. These birds usually only have one mate in their life, and they lay beautiful white eggs with brown speckles. Sometimes, the males build several nests in various spots so the female can choose which one she likes best. In other scenarios, the two birds build a nest together.

23. Daruma Pond Frog

Daruma pond frog swimming
  • Scientific Name: Pelophylax porosus
  • Habitat: Marshes and grasslands in Japan
  • Size: 3.5 to 7.3 inches
  • Diet: Insects, worms

Daruma pond frogs are only located in Japan, but they can be found in a wide range of habitats, including grasslands, rivers, marshes, and ponds. As long as they’re near freshwater, they can thrive. The females are slightly bigger than the males. Their skin is usually a dull brown color, but they can be distinguished by a light-colored line across their backs.

24. Dassie Rat

Dassie rat on rock
  • Scientific Name: Petromus typicus
  • Habitat: Rocky areas of Southern Africa
  • Size: 6 to 11 ounces
  • Diet: Grass, leaves, flowers

Dassie rats are squirrel-like rodents that have adapted to survive in rocky habitats. They often socialize with other animals of their species, but they usually only travel by themselves or with a partner. These small critters mate for life. They mostly communicate with each other using body movements, but they may call out to other rodents if they sense danger.

25. Daurian Hedgehog

  • Scientific Name: Mesechinus dauuricus
  • Habitat: Forests of Northern Mongolia
  • Size: 1.3 to 2.2 pounds
  • Diet: Insects

Daurian hedgehogs are small critters that spend most of their time alone. While the species is listed as “least concern,” these hedgehogs are thought to be endangered because pesticides killed a lot of the population. They often stay near rocky areas so they can take cover if they sense danger. Like many similar species, these small mammals hibernate in the winter.

26. Daurian Pika

Daurian Pika by rocks
  • Scientific Name: Ochotona dauurica
  • Habitat: Mountainous regions of central Asia
  • Size: About 4.6 ounces
  • Diet: Grass, sedges

Daurian pikas are small mammals that are related to rabbits. They can be found in the mountains at elevations between 1,300 and 13,100 feet above sea level. These adorable critters are most active during the day. One behavior that makes them stand out from other pikas is that they make communal hay piles in the winter. They also share burrows with other pikas, which is where they can store food.

27. Dead Sea Sparrow

Dead Sea sparrow on human hand
  • Scientific Name: Passer moabiticus
  • Habitat: Across the Middle East
  • Size: 4.7 to 5.1 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds

Dead Sea sparrows are some of the smallest birds in the Old World sparrow family. Males have vibrant patterns of brown, black, and white while females have similar colors that are duller. These birds are usually very quiet, but they may let out of piercing “chi-wit” call when they take flight. These birds got their name because they were first reported to only be breeding by the Red Sea, but now they have a much wider range across the Middle East.

28. Death’s Head Cockroach

Group of death's head cockroaches
  • Scientific Name: Blaberus craniifer
  • Habitat: Forest floors of Florida, Mexico, and Central America
  • Size: 1.5 to 3 inches long
  • Diet: Vegetation, small insects, wood, carrion

Death’s head cockroaches can be distinguished by the black spot on their heads, which are often shaped like skulls. While the bugs themselves aren’t as dangerous as the name makes them seem, they can carry harmful bacteria from the substances they eat. They cannot fly, but they can use their wings to glide from higher places to the ground. They’re considered a pest in the wild, but they are sometimes kept as pets.

29. Deathwatch Beetle

Deathwatch beetle on wood
  • Scientific Name: Xestobium rufovillosum
  • Habitat: Decaying wood of Europe, North America, and Northern Africa
  • Size: 1 to 5 milligrams
  • Diet: Wood

Deathwatch beetles are pests that dig burrows in wood, especially oak. The sound they make in wood was once considered an omen of death since it sounded like a ticking clock. The tapping sound is part of their mating ritual. Males hit their heads against wood first, and then the females respond. They use the sounds to find each other in the wood. Females lay their eggs in wood crevices.

30. Decoy Scorpionfish

Decoy scorpionfish hiding in coral
  • Scientific Name: Iracundus signifer
  • Habitat: Tropical coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans
  • Size: About 8 inches long
  • Diet: Small fish, crustaceans, snails

Decoy scorpionfish have a bumpy exterior that makes them look like coral. So, they will camouflage among coral while they wait for prey to pass by. When they see prey, they lunge forward and use their large mouths to inhale their food. They can be dangerous to other animals and humans because the spines on their backs can create a venomous mucus.

31. Deer Tick

Deer Tick on leaf
  • Scientific Name: Ixodes scapularis
  • Habitat: Tall grass across North America
  • Size: 2 to 6 millimeters
  • Diet: Blood

Deer ticks are one of the biggest pests in North America. They cling onto humans and animals to suck their blood. These tiny critters can drink so much blood that they can grow to up to six times their size. Before they bite, they use an anesthetizing substance so their victim doesn’t feel pain. They are a common carrier of Lyme disease, so it’s important to remove them as soon as you find them. They get their name because they most commonly feed on white-tailed deer.

32. Dekeyser’s Nectar Bat

Dekeyser's nectar bat
  • Scientific Name: Lonchophylla dekeyseri
  • Habitat: Dry forests of Brazil and Bolivia
  • Size: About 0.38 ounces
  • Diet: Nectar, fruit

When available, these bats feed primarily on nectar, hence the species’ name. However, they will also seek out fruit and other plants if they can’t find nectar. Like most bats, these mammals are nocturnal and fly in groups at night. The groups typically contain more females than males. Sadly, many of these harmless bats are accidentally killed by people trying to get rid of vampire bats.

33. Del Norte Salamander

Del Norte salamander on moss
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon elongatus
  • Habitat: Coastal forests in Western United States
  • Size: 4.3 to 5.9 inches long
  • Diet: Termites, mites, beetles

Del Norte salamanders breathe through their skin instead of their lungs. However, they must remain damp at all times to breathe properly. So, they’re most active when it’s raining. While most salamander species hatch as an aquatic creature, these young salamanders are completely terrestrial as soon as they come out of the egg. So, the tiny salamanders grow bigger but do not go through a metamorphosis. Female also lay fewer eggs than most amphibians because the egg clutches only have 10 or 11 eggs.

34. Desert Bighorn Sheep

Desert bighorn sheep on rocks
  • Scientific Name: Ovis canadensis nelsoni
  • Habitat: Deserts of Southwestern United States
  • Size: 150 to 250 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, cacti, holly

Desert bighorn sheep are relatives of goats, and they can be distinguished by their massive curled horns. As these mammals age, their horns curl more. Their horns aren’t fully developed until they reach about 7 or 8 years old. The females have smaller horns that are never longer than a half-curl. They often travel in groups of 8 to 10 sheep, but herds of up to 100 are possible.

35. Desert Cottontail

Desert cottontail in dry area
  • Scientific Name: Sylvilagus audubonii
  • Habitat: Deserts and woodlands of Southwest United States and Mexico
  • Size: 2 to 3 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, bark, cacti

Desert cottontails rarely need to drink water, which is how they can survive in the desert. Instead, they get the water they need by eating plants with dew on them. These small mammals are fast, and they can run up to 19 miles per hour to escape predators. They rarely handle anything with their front paws, so they use their noses to move their food before eating it. They can turn the food with their noses to find the most edible parts.

36. Desert Horned Lizard

Desert horned lizard on rocks
  • Scientific Name: Phrynosoma platyrhinos
  • Habitat: Sonoran and Mojave deserts
  • Size: 2.7 to 3.7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, worms, plant material

These critters are often called “horny toads,” but they’re lizards, not toads. When most horned lizards feel threatened, they run away. However, they’re also capable of shooting blood from their eyes as a defense mechanism. The blood is not poisonous, but it deters predators. They spend most of their time alone, and they may be active during the day or night. When they’re not hunting, they often dig burrows in the dirt to hide in.

37. Desert Locust

Desert locust on branch
  • Scientific Name: Schistocerca gregaria
  • Habitat: Dry grasslands of Africa and Southwest Asia
  • Size: 8 centimeters long
  • Diet: Any vegetation

These insects will eat just about any vegetation, and they consume an amount of food equal to their body weight each day. They can fly up to 21 miles per hour and can travel over 100 miles in a day. These bugs usually travel in swarms of up to 80 million locusts. Since these critters eat so much, a swarm of them can destroy a whole grain field in only a few hours.

38. Desert Pocket Mouse

Desert pocket mouse
  • Scientific Name: Chaetodipus penicillatus
  • Habitat: Deserts of Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico
  • Size: 0.5 to 0.8 ounces
  • Diet: Seeds, grass, shrubs

Like many other desert animals, these small mice obtain most of the water they need from plants they eat. They dig burrows in the sand for many purposes, including shelter, food storage, and breeding. Young mice are raised in the burrows, and once they’re old enough, they spend most of their time alone. These rodents are most active at night, and they rarely travel further than one acre.

39. Desert Pupfish

Desert pupfish in the wild
  • Scientific Name: Cyprinodon macularius
  • Habitat: Desert waters of the United States
  • Size: About 2 inches long
  • Diet: Algae, plants, small invertebrates

Desert pupfish have adapted to thrive in desert waters, even when the water temperature reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of the water they live in can fluctuate up to 45 degrees throughout the day. They are hardy fish because they can also withstand the low oxygen levels of the desert water. Surviving the water isn’t a challenge for them, but they struggle to compete with predatory fish, which is why their populations have declined.

40. Desert Tortoise

Desert tortoise walking on sand
  • Scientific Name: Gopherus Agassizii
  • Habitat: Deserts of Mexico and Southwestern United States
  • Size: 8 to 15 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, herbs, flowers

Desert tortoises spend a lot of time digging burrows to keep themselves cool. About 95% of a desert tortoise’s life occurs inside tunnels. These reptiles also dig grooves in the sand to collect rainwater. However, their need for water is rare, and they may be able to last up to a year without drinking. They lay eggs that look like ping pong balls, and the female tortoise leaves them behind after laying them.

41. Desert Tree Frog

Desert tree frog on floor
  • Scientific Name: Litoria rubella
  • Habitat: Under rocks and logs in Australia
  • Size: 1.1 to 1.7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, beetles, larvae

Desert tree frogs have translucent skin that allows you to see their organs if they’re upside down. So, they’re sometimes called “naked tree frogs.” The females lay up to 300 eggs at a time, and the tadpoles can leave the water before they lose their tails. To stay moist, these amphibians usually squeeze into rock crevices or hide under leaf litter.

42. Desert Warthog

Desert warthog drinking water
  • Scientific Name: Phacochoerus aethiopicus
  • Habitat: Deserts of the Horn of Africa
  • Size: 99 to 280 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, leafy plants, flowers

Desert warthogs were once thought to be extinct, however, a population mistaken for common warthogs still exists today. Desert warthogs live in groups called “sounders,” which consist of female warthogs and their young. Male warthogs usually travel alone, but they sometimes stay with groups of other male warthogs. In the wild, they’re most active during the day, but warthogs living near humans have adapted to find food at night instead to avoid human contact.

43. Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear in sand
  • Scientific Name: Oenanthe deserti
  • Habitat: From North Africa to Central Asia
  • Size: 5.7 to 5.9 inches long
  • Diet: Insects

Desert wheatear males are pale brown with bold black patches across their wings and faces. Then, females are a solid pale brown color with no distinct markings. These birds will sit on perches close to the ground so they can pounce on insects when the opportunity presents itself. They can catch insects in the air and hover over prey while hunting. They lay eggs that are a unique light blue color with rusty speckles.

44. Desmarest’s Hutia

Desmarest's Hutia in tree
  • Scientific Name: Capromys pilorides
  • Habitat: All types of habitats in Cuba and nearby islands
  • Size: About 19 pounds
  • Diet: Roots, leaves, stems, bark

The Desmarest’s hutia, also known as the Cuban hutia is a large rodent species. Hutias sometimes cause damage to crops, so they are considered a pest. People used to hunt them for meat, but then it became illegal in 1968 to hunt them without a permit. They usually live in pairs, and they don’t burrow like other rodents. Instead, they seek out hollow trees to hide in. Even though they primarily eat plants, they will consume small animals like lizards if needed.

45. Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle

Devils Coach Horse Beetle
  • Scientific Name: Ocypus olens
  • Habitat: Across Europe and Northern Africa
  • Size: 0.8 to 1.3 inches long
  • Diet: Worms, slugs, snails, small insects

This bug has a menacing name because people associate it with evil. In the Middle Ages, many people believed a person would become cursed if this insect pointed its tail at them. While it can deliver a painful bite, this scary-sounding critter isn’t a huge threat to humans. It preys on most animals that are smaller than it, and it uses its sharp mandibles to crush prey. These insects sleep during the day and hunt at night.

46. Devon Rex

Devon rex in cat bed
  • Scientific Name: Felis catus
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 6 to 9 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic cat food

These slender cats have a unique appearance but a lovable personality. They look similar to the Cornish Rex breed, but their genetics are very different. Devon Rex cats are people-oriented felines who have a lot of energy. They came from Devon, England, in the 1950s. They have minimal grooming needs, but their unusual appearance makes them more prone to health concerns than other cats. For example, joint pain, hereditary myopathy, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are common for this breed.

47. Dhole

Dhole in autumn
  • Scientific Name: Cuon alpinus
  • Habitat: Dry forests of Southeastern Asia
  • Size: 26 to 44 pounds
  • Diet: Rodents, birds, deer

These wild dogs used to live all over the planet, but today, there are less than 2,500 adults in the wild. They don’t bark like similar species, but instead, they scream, chatter, cluck, and whistle. Adult dholes can eat over two pounds of meat within a few seconds, and they may regurgitate it later so other pack members can eat. They travel in packs and can run up to 45 miles per hour. Groups of dholes have been known to take down tigers, leopards, and even bears.

48. Diademed Tanager

Diademed tanager in clovers
  • Scientific Name: Stephanophorus diadematus
  • Habitat: Open habitats of South America
  • Size: About 7.5 inches long
  • Diet: Fruit, flowers, insects

Diademed tanagers have unique purple/blue coloring with a tiny red patch on the top of their heads. They can be found in all types of open habitats with trees, such as forests, woodlands, marshes, parks, and gardens. They seek out flowers and fruits so they can consume the sweet secretions from the plants. If no suitable plants are available, they will eat insects, but it’s not their primary choice.

49. Diamond Dove

Diamond dove sitting on branch
  • Scientific Name: Geopelia cuneata
  • Habitat: Across Australia
  • Size: 9 to 11 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, grass, insects

Diamond doves are often kept as pets, but they can also be found in the wild in Australia. This species is one of the only types of birds that give “pigeon milk” to their young. Pigeon milk is a thick liquid that comes from the crop’s lining. Like other doves, diamond doves are capable of finding their way home from hundreds of miles away, which is why doves are known for delivering messages to royalty. They can survive in almost any habitat as long as it’s not extremely hot or cold.

50. Diamond Firetail

Diamond firetail finch sitting on branch
  • Scientific Name: Stagonopleura guttata
  • Habitat: Forests of eastern Australia
  • Size: 4 to 5 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, herbs, grasses

Diamond firetails have bright red tails, eyes, and beaks. Despite being so beautiful, these finches are considered aggressive. They may attack or kill weaker birds if given the chance. They make a raspy sound when communicating. During mating season, the males will hold dry pieces of grass in their beaks while hopping up and down and singing to attract females.

51. Diamond Lizardfish

Diamond lizardfish close-up
  • Scientific Name: Synodus synodus
  • Habitat: Shallow waters from North Carolina to Uruguay
  • Size: About 8 inches long
  • Diet: Fish, small invertebrates

Diamond lizardfish usually hide under the sand of the ocean floor with only their heads showing. Then, when prey swims by, they jump out and capture it. They have needle-sharp teeth that can help them capture prey that would normally be too big for their size. While they’re rarely hunted due to their frightening appearance, some humans have stated that they taste good.

52. Diamondback Terrapin

Diamondback terrapin laying eggs
  • Scientific Name: Malaclemys terrapin
  • Habitat: Along the Atlantic coast of the United States
  • Size: 5 to 11 inches
  • Diet: Fish, crabs, marine snails

Diamond terrapins are suspected to be the only turtle species that survives in only brackish water. They get their name because of the diamond-shaped plates, also known as “scutes,” on the backs of their shells. You can tell the age of these terrapins by counting the growth rings on one of the plates. Every terrapin has unique scutes like human fingerprints. Diamondback terrapins earned the title of “official state reptile” in Maryland.

53. Diamond Tetra

Shiny diamond tetra fish
  • Scientific Name: Moenkhausia pittieri
  • Habitat: Inland bodies of South America
  • Size: 2 to 2.4 inches long
  • Diet: Plant matter, small insects

While these fish can still be found in South America, they’re more commonly kept in captivity today. Like other tetras, humans adore them for their shimmery scales. They’re easy to care for because they’re small and will eat almost anything you give them. They’re peaceful schooling fish, so they like to be kept with small groups of the same species. They seem more interested in having odd-numbered groups than even ones.

54. Diana Monkey

Diana monkey close-up
  • Scientific Name: Cercopithecus diana
  • Habitat: Forests of West Africa
  • Size: 8 to 12 pounds
  • Diet: Fruits, flowers, insects

Diana monkeys get their name from the white brow-like patch above their eyes because it resembles the brow of the Roman Goddess Diana. These primates search for food during the day, and they can store food in their cheek pouches if needed. They live in groups of 15 to 50 monkeys, which often have only one male. These mammals mostly use facial expressions, body language, and touch to communicate. So, they often groom each other as a way to bond.

55. Dickcissel

Dickcissel on purple flowers
  • Scientific Name: Spiza americana
  • Habitat: Grasslands of United States, Mexico, and northern South America
  • Size: 5.5 to 6.3 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, spiders, seeds

Dickcissels are rarely found in the same spot each year. They form massive flocks that can travel all the way from the United States to South America during migration. When they reach their wintering grounds, they may be accompanied by millions of birds. They have a distinct sound that’s similar to their name: “dick-dick-ceessa-ceessa.” During mating season, the males will sit on tall perches and call out the song repeatedly.

56. Dickinson’s Kestrel

Dickinson's Kestrel
  • Scientific Name: Falco dickinsoni
  • Habitat: Savannas of Africa
  • Size: 11 to 12 inches long, 24 to 27 inch wingspan
  • Diet: Lizard, amphibians, large insects

Like other kestrels, these birds have a wide variety of prey options. They will hunt almost anything small enough to eat. In some instances, they may steal from other birds, such as the gabar goshawk. They spend a lot of time resting on perches, but they rarely hover when flying. These birds fly in a choppy pattern, so they’re most likely to land by clinging to the side of a tree rather than landing on a branch.

57. Diederik Cuckoo

Diederik cuckoo
  • Scientific Name: Chrysococcyx caprius
  • Habitat: Wooded grasslands of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Size: 7 to 8 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, worms, caterpillars

Diederik cuckoos are thought of as lazy birds because they will never build their own nests. Instead, they lay their eggs in other birds’ nests. They may even destroy the eggs of other birds to make room for their eggs. This species is also known for being very noisy with a sound that goes like, “deed-deed-deed-deed-er-ick.” Despite being so loud, these birds live solitary lives and only come together during mating season.

58. Dingo

Dingo laying down
  • Scientific Name: Canis Lupus Dingo
  • Habitat: Deserts of Australia
  • Size: 28 to 44 pounds
  • Diet: Rodents, lizards, rabbits

This is the only canine species that’s native to Australia. Dingos can breed with domesticated dogs, which has made preserving the wild dingo population difficult. These mammals live in a strict social hierarchy where the alpha males and females get the most respect. Like domesticated dogs, they communicate with each other by barking, howling, and growling. They’re skilled hunters that can run up to 30 miles per hour.

59. Doctorfish

Doctorfish tang swimming
  • Scientific Name: Acanthurus chirurgus
  • Habitat: Rocky areas of the Atlantic Ocean
  • Size: 12 to 14 inches long
  • Diet: Algae, zooplankton, detritus

Doctorfish are also called “surgeonfish” because they have a sharp spine on each side of their tails. They use those blades to defend territory and scare away predators. If humans touch the spines, they may experience pain that could last for hours. Doctorfish often travel in schools to find places where the most algae are present. They’re found among rocks and coral reefs anywhere from 6 to 130 feet below the surface.

60. Dogo Argentino

Dogo Argentino in field
  • Scientific Name: Canis familiaris
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 77 to 99 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic dog food

Sadly, these beautiful dogs were initially bred for fighting. However, people later learned that the breed’s strong stature also made them great hunting dogs. Over the years, these dogs have had a wide range of roles, including police dogs and seeing-eye dogs. They’re loyal dogs with minimal grooming needs, but they require an experienced owner due to their high energy and prey drive.

61. Donkey

Mom and baby donkey
  • Scientific Name: Equus Asinus
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 220 to 700 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, straw, vegetables

While donkeys are in the horse family, they’re much slower and easygoing than most horses. They spend most of their days grazing on grass. These mammals are often called burros, and they stopped being called asses after 1785 due to the name’s relation to foul language. When donkeys get scared, they freeze for a few minutes to decide what to do. That action made people believe they were stubborn.

62. Dorcas Gazelle

Adult and baby dorcas gazelle
  • Scientific Name: Gazella dorcas
  • Habitat: Arid habitats of Northern Africa
  • Size: 32 to 44 pounds
  • Diet: Leaves, flowers, grass

Dorca gazelles have different fur colors depending on where in Africa they live. Some are a darker brown color while others are a pale fawn color with more white. They’re social animals that usually live in groups with one male, several females, and possibly young gazelles. They have adapted to survive in a wide range of temperatures, but they are usually most active at night to avoid extreme heat. They’re capable of running up to 60 miles per hour if they feel threatened.

63. Dot-Winged Antwren

Dot-winged antwren clinging to branch
  • Scientific Name: Microrhopias quixensis
  • Habitat: Tropical lowlands from Southern Mexico to Northern Bolivia
  • Size: About 4.3 inches long
  • Diet: Small insects

As the name implies, these little black birds are distinguishable by the white dots on their wings. The males have completely black bodies while the females have red/orange bellies. These birds lay white eggs with small brown spots. They usually travel in pairs through humid forests. When searching for food, they seek out insects among vines and leafy thickets.

64. Double-Striped Bluet

Double-striped bluet on leaf
  • Scientific Name: Enallagma basidens
  • Habitat: Near water in North America
  • Size: 21 to 28 millimeters
  • Diet: Small insects

The double-striped bluet is a beautiful blue damselfly species. They’re most commonly seen near lakes and ponds because they need to be near water to lay their eggs. They move quickly and may land on humans, but they don’t cause any harm. Instead, they often eat pesky insects, such as mosquitoes and small flies, making them beneficial to humans.

65. Downy Woodpecker

Downy woodpecker on tree branch
  • Scientific Name: Picoides pubescens
  • Habitat: Near trees across North America
  • Size: About 7 inches, 12 inch wingspan
  • Diet: Insects, larvae, fruit, seeds

These small birds are a symbol of bravery and hard work. Native American legends say that the red spot on the woodpecker’s head means the bird is a fire detective or has a warrior’s badge. Around their nostrils, they have unique feathers than prevent them from inhaling wood when pecking at trees. Inside their heads, they have a spongy material between their bill and skull to protect their brains. They can peck at a tree up to 10 times in one minute.

66. Draco Volans Lizard

Draco Volans Lizard on tree branch
  • Scientific Name: Draco volans
  • Habitat: Forests of Southern Asia
  • Size: 7.7 to 8.7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects

Draco volans lizards, also known as common flying dragons, have flaps on each side of their body that look like wings. The “wings” are membranes of skin called “patagia.” However, this lizard cannot fly, but it can glide like a flying squirrel. These lizards can glide for about 26 feet at a time. They’re most active early in the morning, and then they rest from 11am to 1pm, similar to when a human would take a lunch break. It’s suspected that the sun is too hot for the lizards at that time of day.

67. Drill

Drill primate outside
  • Scientific Name: Mandrillus leucophaeus
  • Habitat: Rainforests of Cameroon
  • Size: 26 to 70 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, crops, crabs

Drills are one of the largest monkey species but also one of the least studied. They’re shy mammals that live in dense rainforests that are often in restricted areas, so they’re difficult to observe. They’re closely related to mandrills, and both types of primates live in groups of about 20 animals, including a dominant male. While they’re rarely seen, they’re heard often. They make a mix of grunts, screams, and calls to communicate with each other.

68. Dromedary

Dromedary camel in desert
  • Scientific Name: Camelus dromedarius
  • Habitat: Arid areas of the Middle East, India, and Africa
  • Size: 660 to 1,300 pounds
  • Diet: Dry grasses, thorny plants, saltbush

Dromedary camels only have one hump on their backs. To survive in deserts, they can consume large amounts of water at a time. They’re capable of drinking 30 gallons of water in only 10 minutes. Despite popular belief, these camels store fat in their humps, not water. While most mammals have a consistent body temperature throughout the day, a dromedary’s can fluctuate. Their body temperature is usually between 93 and 107 degrees Fahrenheit.

69. Dubia Roach

Group of dubia roaches
  • Scientific Name: Blaptica dubia
  • Habitat: Tropical forests of Central and South America
  • Size: 1.6 to 1.8 inches
  • Diet: Fruits, vegetables, grains

Dubia roaches are the easiest cockroach to take care of, so they’re commonly used as feeders for reptiles. They have spots on their backs that distinguish them from other roaches. Female dubia roaches reproduce about once per month and give birth to live young. Only the male roaches have wings. Despite reproducing so frequently, these bugs rarely infest homes because they thrive in tropical forests.

70. Duck-Billed Platypus

Duck-Billed Platypus on the shore
  • Scientific Name: Ornithorhynchus anatinus
  • Habitat: Near water in Eastern Australia
  • Size: 1.5 to 5 pounds
  • Diet: Insects, worms, shellfish, larvae

The platypus is a peculiar animal with a furry body, a beaver-like tail, webbed feet, and a duck-like bill. When someone first brought a taxidermy platypus from Australia to Britain, people thought it was a joke because it looked like a made-up creature. Platypuses are one of the only venomous mammal species. They might look cute and cuddly, but males have a spur on each back foot that can secrete venom. Luckily, the venom isn’t life-threatening, but it’s still painful. They’re also one of the few egg-laying mammals.

71. Dugong

Dugong on ocean floor
  • Scientific Name: Dugong Dugon
  • Habitat: Coastal waters from east Africa to Australia
  • Size: 330 to 880 pounds
  • Diet: Seagrass, algae, jellyfish

Dugongs are closely related to manatees, but manatees are larger, have rounded tails, and have rougher skin. It’s rare to see a dugong kept in captivity because they have specific diets that are difficult to maintain. They’re gentle creatures that have poor eyesight. So, they use the bristles on their bodies to find food as they move along the ocean floor. These creatures don’t breed often since females only give birth every three to seven years.

72. Dumeril’s Boa

Dumeril's boa close-up
  • Scientific Name: Acrantophis dumerili
  • Habitat: Only on the Island of Madagascar
  • Size: 4 to 7 feet long
  • Diet: Small mammals

Dumeril’s boas have mottled brown scales to help them blend in with the ground. They wait in one spot for a while before ambushing prey. They will grab prey with their curved teeth and wrap their bodies around the animal until it stops breathing. Many humans fear them, but they’re harmless to people. They can be beneficial for local people because they help control the rodents.

73. Dune Lark

Dune lark standing on red sand
  • Scientific Name: Calendulauda erythrochlamys
  • Habitat: Grasslands of Namibia
  • Size: About 7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, spiders, seeds

Dune larks are one of the few bird species present among the sand dunes of Namibia. Males attract females by singing songs from the dunes and performing a flight display. The flight display occurs at 33 to 100 feet in the air, and it consists of fluttering and deep wingbeats. These birds usually have a pale brown coloring that’s similar to the sand surrounding them.

74. Dunlin

Dunlin searching the shore
  • Scientific Name: Calidris alpina
  • Habitat: Wet areas of the Arctic Tundra
  • Size: 1.7 to 2.7 ounces
  • Diet: Insects, worms, spiders, snails, clams

Dunlins have long, curved bills that allow them to sift through the ground’s surface to find food. The tips of their bills are sensitive, so they can detect prey by touching it. Thus, they can hunt even at night. These birds don’t need to stick their bills too deep into the ground to find their food. Instead, they usually only submerge their bills about a quarter-inch deep. Groups of dunlins announce their territories by flying around and creating a song.

75. Dunnock

Dunnock bird sitting on branch
  • Scientific Name: Prunella modularis
  • Habitat: Forests of Europe and Western Asia
  • Size: 0.6 to 0.9 ounces
  • Diet: Insects, seeds, spiders, worms

Dunnocks are small songbirds that communicate using a variety of loud sounds. Not every dunnock has a similar mating style. Some birds are monogamous, while others are polygamous. If a female dunnock has multiple partners, a male may end up raising chicks that aren’t his own. These birds usually stay in the same place year-round, but they may travel short distances if the winter gets too cold.

76. Dunn’s Salamander

Dunn's salamander close-up
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon dunni
  • Habitat: Under rocks in Washington state
  • Size: 5 to 8 centimeters long
  • Diet: Insects, worms

The Dunn’s salamander is a lungless amphibian breed, so they breathe through their skin since they don’t have lungs. Unlike other salamanders, their larvae are terrestrial and don’t have gills at all. When the eggs hatch, they look like full-grown salamanders, only smaller. These salamanders spend most of their time hiding in moist areas, such as under logs. If they feel threatened, they’ll either scurry away or freeze in place.

77. Dusky Crag Martin

Dusky crag martins on cliff
  • Scientific Name: Ptyonoprogne concolor
  • Habitat: Mountainous areas of Southern Asia
  • Size: About 13 centimeters long
  • Diet: Insects, worms

Dusky crag martins are part of the swallow family. These tiny birds make their nests on cliffs. If there are no cliffs around, they will usually live on tall, man-made structures. These birds have a wide variety of communication sounds, including songs, calls, gurgles, chirps, and whines. They’re peaceful birds, so they rarely harm other animals, and they’re not pests to humans.

78. Dusky Dolphin

Dusky dolphin swimming
  • Scientific Name: Lagenorhynchus obscurus
  • Habitat: Cool waters across the Southern Hemisphere
  • Size: 176 to 264 pounds
  • Diet: Anchovies, sardines, hake, squid

The behaviors of these dolphins vary depending on where they live. They spend most of their time close to the shore, and they travel in groups of 10 to 20 dolphins. They interact with other dolphins frequently, so you may see them playing, hunting, and leaping together. They can dive underwater for 90 seconds at a time, so they frequently need to return to the surface to breathe. Since they’re large, fast creatures, they have very few predators.

79. Dusky Leaf Monkey

Dusky leaf monkey holding baby
  • Scientific Name: Trachypithecus obscurus
  • Habitat: Tropical forests in Peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand
  • Size: 11 to 19 pounds
  • Diet: Leaves, shoots, seedlings

The structure of this species’ hands and feet is similar to humans. Dusk leaf monkeys have opposable thumbs, so they collect food by grabbing branches and inspecting the leaves. They’re also social like humans, so they can be seen chasing, jumping, and wrestling each other for fun. When these monkeys are born, they have a bright orange coat, but it becomes gray as they grow into adults. They usually eat about 4 pounds of food a day, which is a lot considering their size.

80. Dusky Lory

Dusky Lory on tree branch
  • Scientific Name: Pseudeos fuscata
  • Habitat: Across New Guinea and nearby islands
  • Size: About 10 inches long
  • Diet: Fruit, nectar, seeds

Dusky lories have tiny hair-like structures on their tongues that help them collect nectar from flowers. The bristles can easily soak up the nectar, so these birds are sometimes called “brush-tongued parrots.” Then, their beaks have a pointed tip to help them eat nuts and seeds. These birds spend about 70% of their days searching for food, and they can travel up to 30 miles each day. They’re noisy, social birds, so they like to forage in groups.

81. Dusky Pademelon

Dusky pademelon sitting in wood chips
  • Scientific Name: Thylogale brunii
  • Habitat: Tropical forests and grasslands of New Guinea
  • Size: 8 to 22 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, fruit, leaves

The dusky pademelon, also known as the dusky wallaby, is a marsupial from New Guinea. They are curious creatures that may not run away when humans observe them. However, they sometimes thump their feet against the ground like a rabbit if they want to warn other pademelons of threats. They like to dig intricate tunnels across the forest to make it safe and easy for them to get from one feeding location to another.

82. Dwarf Crocodile

Dwarf crocodile close-up
  • Scientific Name: Osteolaemus tetraspis
  • Habitat: Rainforest swamps of Western Africa
  • Size: 40 to 70 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, crustaceans, frogs

Dwarf crocodiles are the smallest species of crocodile in the world. Unlike other crocodiles, they have a short, broad snout and strong, armored scales. These reptiles usually spend their time alone as they hunt along the water’s shore. They create burrows in the river banks when they want to rest. They have sharp teeth that are always regrowing and being replaced so their bites will stay as strong as possible.

83. Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf gourami swimming
  • Scientific Name: Trichogaster Ialius
  • Habitat: Vegetated waters of India, West Bengal, Assam, and Bangladesh
  • Size: 2.4 to 3.4 inches long
  • Diet: Small insects, larvae

Dwarf gouramis are beautiful fish with shimmery scales, and they’re often kept as pets. They are peaceful and shy, but they prefer to be kept with other fish of the same species. These fish breathe air, so they have a lung-like organ that allows them to breathe when they reach the water’s surface. Males are usually larger than females with brighter coloring. The species gets its name because it’s one of the smallest gourami species.

84. Dwarf Hamster

Dwarf hamster in mossy hide
  • Scientific Name: Cricetulus barabensis
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 0.7 to 0.8 ounces
  • Diet: Domestic hamster food

Dwarf hamsters can be found in the wild in some areas of Asia and Europe, but they’re more commonly kept as pets. They’re not the most interactive pets because they’re nocturnal and prefer to play with their toys at night. Hamsters can get stressed easily, so they may squeal, squeak, or scream to indicate that they’re uncomfortable. One of their most distinct features is their pouch-like cheeks that they can store food in.

85. Dyeing Poison Dart Frog

Dyeing poison dart frog
  • Scientific Name: Dendrobates tinctorius
  • Habitat: Tropical forests of Northeastern South America
  • Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Diet: Small insects, small spiders

These amphibians are a species of poison dart frog with bright blue and yellow patterns. The dyeing in the frog’s skin has toxic alkaloid poisons, so the bright colors warn predators not to eat it. If an animal eats one of these poison dart frogs, they could become paralyzed or die. These frogs seek out toxic insects, so when they eat them, they absorb toxins from the tiny critters. It’s suspected that’s what causes these frogs to be so poisonous.

A World Full of Incredible Animals!

This list is only the beginning of animals that start with the letter D. There are more animals than we can ever imagine in this world, from the largest mammal to the tiniest bug. If there are this many animal species that fall under one letter, imagine how many are in the whole alphabet!