76 Animals That Start with J

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

J is one of the least used letters in the alphabet, but there are still lots of incredible animal species that start with it. Every letter of the alphabet has lots of unique creatures, some of which aren’t known by the general population.

So, what animals start with J? This article will cover as many J species as possible, including everything from tiny frogs to large predators.

List of Animals That Start with J

Here are 76 animal species that start with the letter J.

1. Jabiru

Jabiru flying
  • Scientific Name: Jabiru mycteria
  • Habitat: Savannas, lagoons, and marshes of South America and southern North America
  • Size: 4 to 5 feet tall, 8 to 12 foot wingspan
  • Diet: Fish, mollusks, amphibians

Jabirus are the largest flying birds in the Americas. During their mating seasons, they weave large nests in trees that can be as big as 10 feet across. You may find up to six nests next to each other, some of which could belong to other species. These birds find most of their food in the wild, but they will seek out land animals and carrion during dry seasons. The red patches on their necks are featherless.

2. Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey fish
  • Scientific Name: Rocio octofasciata
  • Habitat: Slow-moving freshwater in Mexico and Central America
  • Size: 7 to 8 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, worms, crustaceans, small fish

Despite the beautiful scales of the Jack Dempsey fish, these sea creatures are aggressive with strong facial expressions. Thus, their personalities are why they’re named after 1920s boxer Jack Dempsey. Their scales may change colors slightly if their mood or water conditions suddenly change. Unusual color changes are a sign of illness. After laying their eggs, these fish protect their offspring until they hatch. Then, they raise the fry until they’re juveniles.

3. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell terrier outside
  • Scientific Name: Canis familiaris
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 13 to 18 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic dog food

Despite their small size, Jack Russell terriers are full of energy. They were bred as working dogs that could hunt alongside hounds. Jack Russells would squeeze into the dens of foxes and similar animals to scare the creatures out so hunters could capture them. If they’re not used as hunting dogs, Jack Russells need an owner that can devote lots of time to walks and playtime. They’re affectionate, but they tend to be loud and dominant toward other dogs without proper training.

4. Jack Snipe

Jack snipe wading in water
  • Scientific Name: Lymnocryptes minimus
  • Habitat: Marshes, bogs, and meadows of Africa, Europe, and Asia
  • Size: 7.1 to 9.8 inches long
  • Diet: Worms, insect larvae, snails, aquatic plants

The speckled feathers of Jack snipes are used to help them blend into their surroundings. They wade through the water and stick their beak in the substrate to locate prey. When males want to attract a female, they will perform a dance while making sounds that resemble a galloping horse. Females lay three to four eggs at a time, and they hide them on land.

5. Jack-Knifefish

Jack-knifefish underwater
  • Scientific Name: Equetus lanceolatus
  • Habitat: The western Atlantic Ocean
  • Size: 5 to 9 inches long
  • Diet: Worms, crustaceans, small fish

These fish stay close to the eastern coasts of North and South America, rarely going deeper than 200 feet. They can be bred in captivity, and luckily, the aquarium trade hasn’t harmed their wild population. When they’re scared, they’re more likely to hide than fight. However, they can be a threat to smaller fish in aquariums since they’ll try to eat them. They’re nocturnal and rarely adventure out into direct sunlight.

6. Jackal Buzzard

Jackal buzzard spreading wings
  • Scientific Name: Buteo rufofuscus
  • Habitat: Open habitats of southern Africa
  • Size: 18 to 22 inches long, 4.5 foot wingspan
  • Diet: Rodents, snakes, lizards, small birds

When protecting their territory, jackal buzzards will circle the air. While flying, they make sharp, loud sounds, similar to barking. They’re especially territorial during their breeding season, and they will attack any creatures that come near their nest. They build large nests out of sticks, and breeding pairs reuse the same nest every year. Females can lay up to three eggs, but the chick that hatches first will usually kill the younger siblings.

7. Jackson’s Chameleon

Jackson's chameleon on branch
  • Scientific Name: Trioceros jacksonii
  • Habitat: Forests of Kenya and Tanzania
  • Size: 9 to 13 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, spiders, centipedes, beetles

Jackson’s chameleons are known for the three large horns on their face, which they can use to fight or joust with if they feel threatened. Yet, only the males have horns. Like other chameleons, they have binocular-like eyes that allow them to zoom in. These lizards are one of the only reptiles that have live births instead of laying eggs. They keep themselves hydrated by drinking the dew off leaves. They are often kept as pets, but they do best living alone to avoid aggression.

8. Jackson’s Francolin

Jackson's francolin in the field
  • Scientific Name: Pternistis jacksoni
  • Habitat: Forests and grasslands of Kenya and Uganda
  • Size: About 19 inches long
  • Diet: Plants, seeds, insects

Jackson’s francolins, also known as Jackson’s spurfowl, are part of the pheasant family. They have a beautiful pattern of brown and silver feathers, along with bright red beaks and legs. They closely resemble scaly francolins, but they have a thin line of red skin around their eyes. They live in pairs or small groups, and they’re not fearful of humans. They make loud, rough vocalizations.

9. Jackson’s Hornbill

Jackson's hornbill in tree
  • Scientific Name: Tockus jacksoni
  • Habitat: Woodlands and savannas of Kenya and Uganda
  • Size: About 13.7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, worms

It’s easy to distinguish male and female Jackson’s hornbills because females have black bills and males have bright orange bills. They usually travel in pairs or small groups, and they’re especially drawn to dry areas. They look very similar to the Von der Decken’s hornbill, but Jackson’s hornbills have white spots on their black wings. Their calls sound like deep clucks.

10. Jackson’s Widowbird

Jackson's widowbird clinging to tall grass
  • Scientific Name: Euplectes jacksoni
  • Habitat: Tropical grasslands of Kenya and Tanzania
  • Size: 6 to 11 inches long
  • Diet: Grass seeds, grass, insects

Male Jackson’s widowbirds that are ready to breed have black feathers with a long, flowing tail. When it’s not a breeding season, the males shed their tails and change to a brown pattern similar to the females. To attract females during their mating season, males will jump in the air. Their population is near threatened because of habitat loss.

11. Jacky Winter

Jacky winter bird sitting on branch
  • Scientific Name: Microeca fascinans
  • Habitat: Woodlands and farmlands of Australia
  • Size: 4.7 to 5.5 inches
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, worms

Jacky winters hunt by hopping around and plucking prey off the ground. Sometimes, they will also wait on a perch and capture flying insects. They will keep returning to the same perch for a while. Their call sounds like they’re saying “Peter” repeatedly. They usually make the most noise around sunset. Males and females look almost identical, so males attract females with songs instead of pretty colors.

12. Jacobin Cuckoo

Jacobin cuckoo in tree
  • Scientific Name: Clamator jacobinus
  • Habitat: Dry, wooded areas of Africa and Asia
  • Size: 12.2 to 13.7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, eggs, berries

Jacobin cuckoos are popular birds in Indian poetry, where they’re known as “chātaka.” In Indian mythology, the birds are believed to have beaks on top of their heads so they can drink rainwater. During the mating season, the birds chase each other to attract a mate. When eggs are laid, the birds put them in the nest of a similar species, and the young cuckoos get raised by other birds. Sometimes, the other eggs in the nest will crack when Jacobin cuckoos drop their eggs.

13. Jaguar

Jaguar stalking prey
  • Scientific Name: Panthera onca
  • Habitat: Tropical forests of Central and South America
  • Size: 120 to 250 pounds
  • Diet: Capybaras, deer, tapirs, tortoises, iguanas

Jaguars are the largest felines on the American continents, and they’re the third biggest in the world. Many people mistake them for leopards, but the main difference is that jaguars have spots inside their large spots. Their teeth are stronger than most big cats, so they can bite through crocodile scales and tortoise shells. They’re opportunistic hunters that will eat almost anything they can get their paws on. Unlike other cats, they’re excellent swimmers and often live near bodies of water.

14. Jaguarundi

Two jaguarundi cats
  • Scientific Name: Herpailurus yagouaroundi
  • Habitat: Dense scrublands of Mexico, Central America, and South America
  • Size: 8 to 15 pounds
  • Diet: Small mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, frogs

Jaguarundi cats aren’t much bigger than domesticated cats, but their heads and tails have some otter features. These felines are also excellent swimmers, and they may even hunt during the day. They can jump 6.5 feet in the air to capture flying animals. Also, these cats can run up to 40 miles per hour to catch prey or escape predators. They make at least 13 unique sounds that they use to communicate with each other, including chirping, whistling, and purring.

15. Jalisco Mud Turtle

Jalisco mud turtle on the shore
  • Scientific Name: Kinosternon chimalhuaca
  • Habitat: Streams and ponds of Mexico
  • Size: 4 to 5 inches long
  • Diet: Worms, fish, snails, plant material

Jalisco mud turtles only live in Mexico, specifically in Colima and Jalisco. They spend most of their time along the coasts of freshwater. Their brown coloring with orange speckles helps them blend into the mud and sand on the shore. The Vallarta mud turtle used to be considered the same species, but they’re smaller with a light spot on their heads.

16. Jamaican Boa

Jamaican boa close-up
  • Scientific Name: Chilabothrus subflavus
  • Habitat: Woodlands of Jamaica
  • Size: 4 to 7.5 feet long
  • Diet: Mice, rats, eggs, birds, bats

Jamaican boas are the largest native predators on the island of Jamaica. They can climb, so they often wait for prey on tree branches and cave crevices. They can snatch birds and bats in mid-air from their hiding places. They’re nonvenomous, but a bite would still be painful. Yet, these snakes are docile and unlikely to attack unless provoked. Unfortunately, Jamaican boa populations are decreasing because many people kill them out of fear, even though they’re great for pest control.

17. Jamaican Crow

Jamaican crow with blurred background
  • Scientific Name: Corvus jamaicensis
  • Habitat: Woodlands of Jamaica
  • Size: 13.7 to 14.9 inches long
  • Diet: Fruit, insects

This is the only crow species in Jamaica, so it’s unlikely to be mistaken for other birds. Jamaican crows spend most of their time in trees, picking off the fruit and eating it. They may search for invertebrates under loose bark. They have short wings, so they don’t fly often, and when they do, it looks labored. They may fly to chase away other birds.

18. Jamaican Fruit Bat

Jamaican fruit bat covered in pollen
  • Scientific Name: Artibeus jamaicensis
  • Habitat: Forests of Mexico, Central America, and northern South America
  • Size: 3.1 to 3.5 inches
  • Diet: Fruit, flowers, nectar, pollen, leaves

Jamaican fruit bats are a type of leaf-nosed bat, meaning they have a leaf-shaped snout. Their snout is suspected to help with echolocation, but they usually rely on their sight and smell to find food instead. They’re attracted to bright-colored, good-smelling fruits like figs. When they find a good piece of fruit, they carry it back to their roost rather than eating it right away.

19. Jamaican Giant Anole

Green Jamaican giant anole close-up
  • Scientific Name: Anolis garmani
  • Habitat: Forests of Jamaica
  • Size: 8 to 12 inches long
  • Diet: Worms, insects, spiders

Jamaican giant anoles are native to Jamaica, but they were mistakenly introduced to Florida when being sold as pets. They’re usually bright green, and like other anoles, they can puff out their necks to seem intimidating. When extended, the flap of their neck (the dewlap) is usually yellow. They can also communicate by bobbing their heads up and down or biting each other. Most of the time, these lizards are found in tree canopies.

20. Jamaican Oriole

Jamaican oriole in tree
  • Scientific Name: Icterus leucopteryx
  • Habitat: Tropical forests of Jamaica
  • Size: About 8.2 inches long
  • Diet: Nectar, fruit, insects

Jamaican orioles are closely related to orioles on the North American mainland, but they have dull yellow feathers instead of vibrant orange ones. They have a fast, whistling call that sounds like they’re saying “cheat you” repeatedly. They don’t migrate, so they spend their whole lives in the same area. Like other orioles, they’re most attracted to fruit that’s a similar color to them, such as bananas, but they will eat almost any fruit they find.

21. Jambu Fruit Dove

Jambu fruit dove perched in tree
  • Scientific Name: Ptilinopus jambu
  • Habitat: Forests of the Malay Peninsula through Sumatra
  • Size: 9.1 to 10.6 inches
  • Diet: Fruit

Hence the name, Jambu fruit doves only eat fruit. They’ll pick it directly off treats or find fruit that fell onto the ground. They’re shy birds that spend most of their time alone or in pairs. If they sense a threat, they can turn their green backs forward to make them look like leaves. Males will announce their territories by raising their wings and cooing. If that doesn’t scare intruders away, they will aggressively peck at them. These birds’ feathers easily detach, making it hard for predators to catch them.

22. Jameson’s Firefinch

Jameson's firefinch perched on branch
  • Scientific Name: Lagonosticta rhodopareia
  • Habitat: Wooded areas of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Size: 4 to 4.5 inches
  • Diet: Grass, seeds, insects

Both males and females of this species have brown feathers, but males have red tints, especially around their faces and bellies. The red is so pale on some of them that it looks pink. These birds usually live along the edge of forests, but they’ll flock anywhere they can find food. They’re rarely seen alone because they tend to travel in pairs or groups. They make short trill sounds when communicating with each other.

23. James’s Flamingo

James's flamingo wading in water
  • Scientific Name: Phoenicoparrus jamesi
  • Habitat: Andean plateaus of Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina
  • Size: About 3 feet tall
  • Diet: Microscopic algae

James’s flamingos are the rarest flamingo species. They were thought to be extinct for many years until a small flock was found in the 1950s. Today, they live in large colonies that can consist of thousands of birds. They spend most of their time wading in the water so they can feed, drink, and clean themselves. They have fine hairs in their bills to help them filter algae out of water. Like other flamingos, they rest on one leg to conserve energy and maintain their body temperature.

24. Jandaya Parakeet

Colorful Jandaya parakeet close-up
  • Scientific Name: Aratinga jandaya
  • Habitat: Woodlands of Brazil
  • Size: About 12 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, nuts, fruit

Jandaya parakeets, also known as Jenday conures, are often kept as pets. They can be noisy companions and learn to mimic human words. In the wild, they’re social and friendly toward other birds, but in captivity, they may be aggressive if they don’t have enough personal space. They like to build their nests up to 50 feet off the ground. They prefer staying near deciduous trees, which lose their leaves in the winter.

25. Jansen’s Wrasse

Jansen's wrasse at coral reef
  • Scientific Name: Thalassoma jansenii
  • Habitat: Coral reefs in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean
  • Size: 7 to 8 inches long
  • Diet: Benthic invertebrates

Jansen’s wrasses go through color changes throughout their lives, but their scales usually include black, white, and yellow. They can be found near coral reefs up to 50 feet deep, and they usually feed off the sea floor. They may also feed off other fish to keep them clean. They’re social fish that swim around the coral reefs in groups. These fish can change sexes, so females may change to males if there are no males nearby.

26. Japan Surgeonfish

Japan surgeonfish at sea floor
  • Scientific Name: Acanthurus japonicus
  • Habitat: Shallow reefs by Green Island near Taiwan
  • Size: About 8.2 inches long
  • Diet: Algae, detritus, small crustaceans

Japan surgeonfish are also known as white-faced surgeonfish, gold rim tang, and powder brown tang. These fish are only found naturally near Green Island, which is a popular diving location that’s 21 miles from southeastern Taiwan. They like tropical waters no deeper than 65 feet. In captivity, these fish are generally peaceful but can act aggressively if not given enough space.

27. Japanese Beetle

Japanese beetles eating leaf
  • Scientific Name: Popillia japonica
  • Habitat: Across Asia and North America
  • Size: 1/3 to 1/2 inch long
  • Diet: Leaves, flowers, fruit

Japanese beetles are native to eastern Asia, but they are now an invasive species in the United States. They were accidentally shipped to America with iris bulbs. In Japan, they have enough predators to keep them under control, but in North America, they damage many plants. These critters only live up to 45 days, but they lay 60 eggs in their short lives. They like to be out in the sunlight, so they will retreat to underground nests at night.

28. Japanese Brown Frog

Japanese brown frog blending in
  • Scientific Name: Rana japonica
  • Habitat: Grasslands, rivers, and swamps of Japan
  • Size: 1.9 to 2.1 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, spiders

Japanese brown frogs breed from January to March, laying clutches of 500 to 3,000 eggs. Once they lay eggs in shallow water, they will crawl under mud and become dormant until May. If two of these frogs with recessive genes breed, they may produce translucent offspring. They only live in Japan, and they will gather anywhere with freshwater, including flooded properties.

29. Japanese Bullhead Shark

Japanese bullhead shark resting on rocks
  • Scientific Name: Heterodontus japonicus
  • Habitat: Northwestern Pacific Ocean
  • Size: Up to 3.9 feet long
  • Diet: Small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, sea urchins

Japanese bullhead sharks are most commonly seen in the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Japan, Korea, and China. They can be found up to 121 feet below the surface. These sharks are docile and unlikely to harm humans, despite the scary reputation sharks have. The only thing that’s dangerous about them is how sharp their dorsal spines can be. They use their fins to push them along the sea floor, making it look like they’re walking as they search for food.

30. Japanese Bush Warbler

Japanese bush warbler sideways on tree
  • Scientific Name: Horornis diphone
  • Habitat: Forests of Japan and the northern Philippines
  • Size: 5.5 to 6.5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, fruit

Japanese bush warblers are only native to Japan and the Philippines, but they’ve been introduced to Hawaii. They’re shy birds that blend in well to their surroundings, so they’re tricky to spot. You’re more likely to hear them than see them since they make a series of loud whistles and warbles. The feces of these birds have an enzyme in them that humans use for skin care, specifically for clearing up skin and removing wrinkles. The enzyme may also remove stains from clothing.

31. Japanese Chin

White and tan Japanese Chin
  • Scientific Name: Canis familiaris
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 7 to 12 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic dog food

Japanese Chins were bred as companion dogs, and they used to be common gifts for royalty. Sadly, royalty once bred them to be as small as possible, which sometimes involved feeding less to stunt their growth. Today, they’re a healthier size, but their squished faces make them prone to breathing problems. Despite the name, they actually originated in China. Many Japanese Chins have a silly habit of spinning in circles when they get excited.

32. Japanese Common Toad

Japanese common toad sitting on rock
  • Scientific Name: Bufo japonicus
  • Habitat: Forests, swamps, and marshes of Japan
  • Size: 3.1 to 7 inches
  • Diet: Insects, worms, beetles

Japanese common toads like being near water, but they spend almost their whole lives on land. The only time they swim is when they’re tadpoles and during the mating season. There are usually more males than females at breeding sites, so females may mate with more than one male. Females can lay up to 14,000 eggs at a time. These toads will eat almost any small invertebrates, including ones with chemical contents that are unappealing to other creatures. So, they have less competition for food.

33. Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrel

Japanese dwarf flying squirrel eating
  • Scientific Name: Pteromys momonga
  • Habitat: Forests of Japan
  • Size: 5.5 to 9 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, fruit, leaves, bark

These adorable rodents can glide up to 328 feet at a time by extending the flaps of skin between their front and rear legs. They will sometimes hang upside-down on branches when eating to reach certain food. They’re nocturnal, so they spend the daylight hours hidden. When babies are born, their skin is translucent, so you can see their organs. Then, after a week, their skin darkens and they grow fur.

34. Japanese Fire Belly Newt

Japanese fire belly newt swimming
  • Scientific Name: Cynops pyrrhogaster
  • Habitat: Aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats of Japan
  • Size: 3.5 to 5.5 inches long
  • Diet: Worms, insect larvae

Japanese fire belly newts have dark, rough skin on their backs and smooth red or orange skin on their bellies. Because of their unique appearances, they’re often kept as pets. In the wild, they’re poisonous, but they can be bred to lose their toxicity in captivity. If animals eat wild fire belly newts, they can experience death by suffocation within six hours. There’s no known cure for the toxin.

35. Japanese Giant Salamander

Japanese giant salamander underwater
  • Scientific Name: Andrias japonicus
  • Habitat: Fast-flowing freshwater of Japan
  • Size: Up to 5 feet long and 55 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, insects, snails, crayfish

Japanese giant salamanders are the second-largest amphibian species, after the Chines giant salamander. They are mostly aquatic, and they prefer cold, fast-flowing water because it’s rich in oxygen. Their skin is wrinkly with patches of brown and gray to help them blend into the substrate. Their eyes are so small that they’re hard to notice at first, so they rely on their other senses when hunting. If prey is scarce, they can survive for weeks without eating.

36. Japanese Grosbeak

Japanese grosbeak perched on branch
  • Scientific Name: Eophona personata
  • Habitat: Forests of eastern Asia
  • Size: 7 to 9 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, berries, insects

Unlike most bird species, male and female Japanese grosbeaks look the same. These birds have strong beaks so they can break open the exteriors of seeds. They prefer the ripe seeds of fruit over anything else. Once a male finds a mate, he will follow her wherever she goes and bring her resources while she incubates the eggs and looks after the chicks. These birds aren’t territorial during the mating season.

37. Japanese Littleneck

Japanese littleneck clams
  • Scientific Name: Venerupis philippinarum
  • Habitat: Sand, mud, or gravel in ocean shores of North America, Europe, and Asia
  • Size: 1.5 to 3 inches
  • Diet: Plankton, algae, organic matter

Japanese littlenecks are clams that bury themselves in the substrate of high intertidal zones. They usually have a white or gray exterior with brown patches. They originated in Japan but were accidentally introduced to North America when they ended up on a shipment with Pacific oysters. In most areas of the world, these clams are harvested by humans and used for food.

38. Japanese Macaque

Japanese macaque in hot spring
  • Scientific Name: Macaca fuscata
  • Habitat: Mountains and forests of Japan
  • Size: 15 to 30 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, seeds, leaves, flowers

Japanese macaques are the only primates other than humans that live far north in snowy mountains. Thus, they’re nicknamed “snow monkeys,” and they have thick coats of fur to protect themselves. The only parts of their bodies not covered in fur are their faces and red rumps. They’re excellent swimmers, and they may seek out natural hot springs to warm up. They live in groups of up to 30, which are led by a dominant male.

39. Japanese Marten

Japanese Marten in the snow
  • Scientific Name: Martes melampus
  • Habitat: Boreal forests in Japan
  • Size: 2.2 pounds and 1.5 feet long
  • Diet: Fish, frogs, small birds, small mammals

Japanese martens spend most of their time alone, and both males and females are protective of their territories. The size of their territories vary based on how much food is available. They prefer to eat meat, but they will eat fruit and seeds if they can’t find anything better. When they feed on plants, they help with seed dispersal. They’re nocturnal, so they seek shelter in a dark den during the day.

40. Japanese Paradise Flycatcher

Japanese paradise flycatcher among branches
  • Scientific Name: Terpsiphone atrocaudata
  • Habitat: Forests of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines
  • Size: 7.1 to 8.3 inches long
  • Diet: Insects

Males can be distinguished by their long, black tails. Females are duller with shorter tales, but both sexes have beautiful blue beaks and rings around their eyes. During the mating season, females will be attracted to males based on their tail length. These birds perch on branches high in canopies and hunt insects in mid-flight. They build cup-shaped nests, and both parents share responsibilities for the eggs and chicks.

41. Japanese Quail

Japanese quail sitting down
  • Scientific Name: Coturnix japonica
  • Habitat: Open areas of eastern Asia
  • Size: 4.5 to 7.8 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, insects, insect larvae

Japanese quails were thought to be a subspecies of the common quail until 1983. Like other quails, they’re not great at flying, but they can travel up to 621 miles when migrating. They’re more likely to run from a threat than fly away. These quails flock in groups of 100 so they can protect each other. They have 28 different calls to communicate, and male and female sounds are slightly different. To keep themselves protected from parasites, they take dust baths several times a day.

42. Japanese Rat Snake

Japanese rat snake swimming
  • Scientific Name: Elaphe climacophora
  • Habitat: Forests, fields, and urban areas of Japan
  • Size: 3.2 to 6.5 feet long
  • Diet: Rodents, frogs, lizards

Japanese rat snakes are also called “blue general” snakes because some have beautiful blue scales mixed with their other colored scales. These snakes can swim and climb, so they can be found in a variety of habitats. When hunting, they may climb trees to steal eggs from bird nests. These rat snakes are timid and nonvenomous, so bites are rare. If you find an albino version of this snake, it’s a sign of good luck.

43. Japanese Robin

Japanese robin calling
  • Scientific Name: Erithacus akahige
  • Habitat: Natural habitats from the Kuril and Sakhalin Islands through Japan
  • Size: 5.5 to 5.9 inches
  • Diet: Insects, worms, fruit

Male Japanese robins can be distinguished by the red/orange feathers covering their heads. Then, females are mostly brown and gray with a hint of red/orange on their faces. These birds start off their calls with a loud, consistent note, but then they gradually tone it down. They sing the most while building nests and incubating eggs. They do not mate for life, so it’s common for them to find a new partner during every mating season.

44. Japanese Serow

Japanese serow face
  • Scientific Name: Capricornis crispus
  • Habitat: Open grasslands and forests of Japan
  • Size: 66 to 110 pounds
  • Diet: Leaves, plant shoots, acorns

Japanese serows have strong senses, especially sight, sound, and smell. Thus, they’re quick to retreat when they sense danger. They can run up mountains and jump between cliffs as needed. Hunters compare the agility of these mammals to ninjas. Japanese serows only travel solo, in mating pairs, or with their families. They’re territorial and will use a sweet-sour gland secretion to mark their territory.

45. Japanese Spitz

Japanese Spitz face
  • Scientific Name: Canis familiaris
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 11 to 20 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic dog food

Japan dog breeders bred several Spitz breeds together in the 1920s and 1930s to create the Japanese Spitz. These dogs are bred for their fluffy appearance rather than a specific role. Today, they’re mostly companion dogs. They’re highly affectionate, playful, and intelligent, but they’re also prone to separation anxiety. They aren’t afraid to bark at strangers, and you can expect their beautiful long hair to get everywhere if you have one of these adorable pups.

46. Japanese Squirrel

Japanese squirrel eating seed
  • Scientific Name: Sciurus lis
  • Habitat: Forests of Japan
  • Size: 7 to 9 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, fruit, buds, flowers, fungi

Japanese squirrels are the only squirrels native to mainland Japan that can’t glide or fly. Like other squirrels, they hoard food by burying it in the ground to save for winter. They have a great memory and sense of smell so they can find the food again in months when resources are scarce. If they leave food behind too long, it might grow into a plant. About one fourth of the squirrel’s food gets stolen after they bury it. If they suspect another animal is watching them, they may pretend to bury something to confuse the thief.

47. Japanese Striped Loach

Japanese striped loach in aquarium
  • Scientific Name: Cobitis biwae
  • Habitat: Freshwater of Shikoku and Honshu
  • Size: About 5.5 inches long
  • Diet: Worms, insect larvae, detritus

The Japanese striped loach is only native to two Japanese islands: Shikoku and Honshu. However, it has become an invasive species in Lake Chuzenji. These fish prefer moving water, and they stay close to the substrate so they can feed on bottom-dwelling creatures. They are sometimes kept in aquariums because their feeding habits help keep the substrate clean. It’s rare for them to be used as food.

48. Japanese Thrush

Japanese thrush by flower
  • Scientific Name: Turdus cardis
  • Habitat: Forests and woodlands of Japan and China
  • Size: 8.2 to 8.6 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, centipedes, worms

Japanese thrushes love shaded or covered areas, so they’re rarely seen out in the open. They spend winters in southern China before migrating to Japan and central China to mate. Males and females both have speckled bellies, but the males have darker feathers. When feeding, they mostly pick invertebrates out of leaf litter on the ground. They raise two broods every mating season, each with two to five chicks.

49. Japanese Tree Frog

Japanese tree frog clinging to plant
  • Scientific Name: Dryophytes japonicus
  • Habitat: River valleys of eastern Asia
  • Size: 1 to 1.7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, beetles, spiders

Japanese tree frogs like to live in a habitat with lots of trees and water. They can cling to almost any surface, even if it’s wet. When they dive into the water, they barely make a sound. They’re nocturnal creatures and opportunistic hunters, so they will capture almost any critters that will fit in their mouths. They breed from May to July, and the females can lay eggs night and day during that time. One female frog can produce up to 1,500 eggs per season.

50. Java Barb

Group of Java barb
  • Scientific Name: Barbonymus gonionotus
  • Habitat: Rivers and streams of Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Java
  • Size: 16 to 23 inches long
  • Diet: Leaves, weeds, zooplankton

Java barbs, also known as silver barbs, prefer still water, but they are found in all types of freshwater and brackish water throughout their range. They’re commonly bred and raised in captivity because they’re easy to care for. They’re great for aquaculture because they control unwanted plants. They can also be captured by humans and used for food or as bait fish.

51. Java Mouse-Deer

Java mouse-deer
  • Scientific Name: Tragulus javanicus
  • Habitat: Tropical forests of Java
  • Size: About 3.6 pounds and 1.7 feet long
  • Diet: Leaves, shrubs, shoots, fungi, fruit

Java mouse-deer are the smallest living hoofed animals. They don’t have any horns like deer, but the males have small, tusk-like teeth that stuck out of their mouths. They use their tusks to defend themselves and compete for mates. Males can mark their territories using a scent gland under their chins. Both sexes travel just under 2,000 feet daily. These creatures are shy, nervous animals that are most active in dim lighting, such as during dusk and dawn.

52. Java Sparrow

Java sparrow on dead branch
  • Scientific Name: Lonchura oryzivora
  • Habitat: Open grasslands of Java and Bali
  • Size: 5.9 to 6.7 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, fruit

Java sparrows are usually calm, but they may be territorial during the breeding season. They breed as soon as the rainy season ends. Mating pairs don’t share a strong bond, so they may mate with a different bird each year. Before they sing, they make clicking sounds with their bills. Most Java sparrows are gray and white with a black head, but some mutations can make them all white.

53. Javan Ferret-Badger

Javan ferret-badger in log
  • Scientific Name: Melogale orientalis
  • Habitat: Grasslands and forests of Indonesia
  • Size: 20 to 23 inches long, 2.2 to 4.5 pounds
  • Diet: Birds, amphibians, small mammals, eggs, fruit

Javan ferret-badgers spend a lot of time underground. They usually take over pre-existing burrows rather than digging their own. Their long, slender bodies make it easy for them to squeeze into crevices and crawl in the undergrowth. They’re nocturnal creatures that will eat anything they can find, which sometimes includes picking up scraps at picnic sites. They don’t seem scared of humans.

54. Javan Frogmouth

Javan frogmouth at night
  • Scientific Name: Batrachostomus javensis
  • Habitat: Tropical forests of Java
  • Size: About 9 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, spiders, worms

Like similar species, Javan frogmouths have patterns of brown, white, and gray feathers that closely resemble tree bark. If they close their eyes and tilt their heads up, they look just like a tree branch. They’re nocturnal, so it’s unlikely that you’ll see them move during daylight. They will pick up invertebrates off the ground or catch them in mid-flight. They build their nests out of moss on low branches, near where they perch.

55. Javan Kingfisher

Javan kingfisher holding snake
  • Scientific Name: Halcyon cyanoventris
  • Habitat: Near water in Java and Bali
  • Size: 9.8 to 10.6 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, fish, shrimp, frogs, snakes

Like other kingfishers, Javan kingfishers are solitary birds that can be highly territorial. They perch near water and wait for prey to come close before striking. Sometimes, they will whack their food against branches to kill or soften it. While they usually hunt near water, they are not as dependent on water as other kingfishers. Their calls sound like high-pitched screams.

56. Javan Leopard

Javan leopard walking
  • Scientific Name: Panthera pardus melas
  • Habitat: Tropical forests of Java
  • Size: 110 to 150 pounds
  • Diet: Barking deer, wild boar, Java mouse-deer, small primates

Javan leopards are an endangered species, with only about 350 remaining. Their population is at risk due to habitat loss and poaching. They’re impressive hunters since they can climb and swim well. They usually hide in trees and wait for animals to pass before they strike. Their spots help them camouflage in the trees. Their hearing is five times better than a human’s, so it’s easy for them to tell if prey is approaching.

57. Javan Munia

Javan munia perched on plant
  • Scientific Name: Lonchura leucogastroides
  • Habitat: Dry shrublands and grasslands of Indonesia
  • Size: 4 to 4.5 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds

Javan munias primarily forage for grass seeds. When they gather in flocks, they sometimes join other munia breeds, especially in areas with lots of food. They are native to several islands of Indonesia, in a variety of habitats with grass. They’ve also been introduced to Malaysia and Singapore. Juveniles have light brown feathers that become darker on their backs as they age.

58. Javan Plover

Javan plover
  • Scientific Name: Charadrius javanicus
  • Habitat: Beaches of Indonesia
  • Size: About 6 inches long
  • Diet: Worms, crustaceans, mollusks

Javan plovers aren’t as well-studied as other plovers. They spend most of their time searching the sandy shores for invertebrates. They make soft peeps that sound like they’re saying “week.” When they’re ready to breed, some Javan plovers will have hints of orange around their eyes and necks. Their population isn’t threatened, but they have experienced habitat loss in recent years.

59. Javan Pond Heron

Javan pond heron on lilypad
  • Scientific Name: Ardeola speciosa
  • Habitat: Shallow freshwater of southeastern Asia
  • Size: About 17.7 inches long
  • Diet: Fish, crabs, insects

Pond herons stand motionless in shallow water with their heads retracted. They may slowly walk toward their prey before striking. They only hunt alone or in dispersed groups. When they’re ready to breed, these birds have vibrant red/brown feathers around their face and neck. Their non-breeding plumage is more of a dull brown. They don’t make many sounds, but they may squawk in mid-flight.

60. Javan Rhinoceros

Javan Rhinoceros walking
  • Scientific Name: Rhinoceros Sondaicus
  • Habitat: Dense rainforests of Java, Indonesia
  • Size: 2,000 to 5,000 pounds
  • Diet: Fruit, grass, leaves

Javan rhinos are critically endangered with only about 60 left. They all live in the Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia, which is near an active volcano. These mammals used to live from India to Vietnam, but all the mainland Javan rhinoceroses passed away or were poached by 2010. These rhinos have smaller horns than other species, and females have more of a nub than a horn on their noses.

61. Javan Rusa

Female Javan rusa face
  • Scientific Name: Rusa timorensis
  • Habitat: Forests and grasslands of Indonesia
  • Size: 150 to 350 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, leaves, fruit

Javan rusas are cautious creatures, so they avoid humans as much as possible. Yet, they’re sociable with each other, so they’re almost always found in groups. If they sense a threat, they will make a honking sound to alert the other Javan rusas in their group. They never need to drink water because they get enough hydration from the plants they eat.

62. Javan Scops Owl

Javan scops owl holding snake
  • Scientific Name: Otus angelinae
  • Habitat: Forests of Indonesia
  • Size: 6 to 7 inches long
  • Diet: Beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, snakes, lizards

Like most owls, Javan scops owls are nocturnal and almost silent when they fly. They rarely make sounds, but when they do, their call sounds like they’re saying “poo-poo.” They may also hiss. These birds have excellent sight and hearing, so they use that to track down hiding prey. They usually go after insects, but they aren’t afraid to capture small reptiles. Most mating pairs only have two offspring a season.

63. Jefferson Salamander

Two Jefferson salamanders
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma jeffersonianum
  • Habitat: Deciduous forests of northeastern United States
  • Size: 4.5 to 7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, worms, slugs

Jefferson salamanders are often confused with blue-spotted salamanders because they both have dark bodies with blue speckles. However, Jefferson salamander speckles are smaller and cover more areas of the body. They’re mole salamanders, so they spend most of their time burrowed underground. They’re rarely seen by humans outside their breeding season. They’re one of the first amphibians to breed each year because as soon as the first warm rain occurs, they move to water to breed.

64. Jerdon’s Babbler

Jerdon's babbler clinging to blade of grass
  • Scientific Name: Chrysomma altirostre
  • Habitat: Reedbeds and grasslands of southern Asia
  • Size: 6.2 to 6.7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, seeds

Jerdon’s babblers are rarely seen. For many years after 1941, people thought the species was extinct because there were no sightings, but the birds were rediscovered in 2014. Yet, their population is declining and considered vulnerable. They make many soft sounds that consist of four to eight notes at a time. When making their calls, they usually perch on a reed. They gather in small flocks of one or two dozen. They may tear leaves apart to find invertebrates hiding.

65. Jerdon’s Baza

Jerdon's baza in tree
  • Scientific Name: Aviceda jerdoni
  • Habitat: Foothills and forests of southeastern Asia
  • Size: 15 to 20 inches long, 43 to 46 inch wingspan
  • Diet: Reptiles, small mammals, large insects

The black crests on Jerdon’s bazas heads usually stand upright. These hawks are most commonly seen in mid-flight because they hide in the canopies when they land. They fly near forests in groups of three to five. The paddle-like wings of these birds help them stand out from similar species. They stay in the same area their whole lives, and they breed almost year-round, besides part of spring.

66. Jerdon’s Bushchat

Male Jerdon's Bushchat
  • Scientific Name: Saxicola jerdoni
  • Habitat: Open areas of southern Asia
  • Size: About 6 inches long
  • Diet: Insects

Jerdon’s bushchats always have white bellies, but males have black feathers on their backs while females have brown feathers. When hunting insects, they wait on a hidden perch and capture them in midair. They like to stay in open areas with tall grass and shrubs to make hunting easier. They sing soft, short songs with a series of descending notes.

67. Jerdon’s Courser

Jerdon's courser in a field
  • Scientific Name: Rhinoptilus bitorquatus
  • Habitat: Scrub forests of India
  • Size: About 10.6 inches long
  • Diet: Insects

Jerdon’s coursers are rare birds that are critically endangered. The first one was discovered in 1848, and another wasn’t seen until 1986. Currently, these birds are only known to live in the Sri Lankamalleswara Wildlife Sanctuary. There are less than 250 adults remaining. They’re nocturnal, and they feed solely on insects. They make two-note whistling sounds as they travel through open areas of scrub forests.

68. Jeweled Chameleon

Jeweled chameleon on leaf
  • Scientific Name: Furcifer campani
  • Habitat: Central highlands of Madagascar
  • Size: 5 to 7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects

Jeweled chameleons, also known as Campan’s chameleons and Madagascar forest chameleons, only live in a small area of Madagascar. Their population is vulnerable because bushfires have led to habitat loss. These reptiles are ambush predators, so they will stay frozen in one place until prey approaches. Then, they’ll shoot their sticky tongue at the victim to capture their meal. When these chameleons hatch from their eggs, they’re only about 0.9 inches long.

69. John Dory

John dory fish in dark water
  • Scientific Name: Zeus faber
  • Habitat: Open sand and reefs of oceans near Africa, Asia, and Australia
  • Size: About two feet long
  • Diet: Small fish, squids

When John dories are approached by predators, they can confuse them by turning their bodies from side to side, making it look like they’re changing sizes. The dark spot in the middle of their bodies also provides confusion. They can be found anywhere from 15 to 1,200 feet below the ocean’s surface. To reproduce, females scatter their eggs throughout the sea floor, and males release sperm in the same area to fertilize the eggs externally.

70. Jonah Crab

Jonah crab in sandy area
  • Scientific Name: Cancer borealis
  • Habitat: The Atlantic Ocean along the coast of Canada and the United States
  • Size: 6 to 7 inches
  • Diet: Mussels, snail, algae

The preferred temperature of a Jonah crab is whatever temperature they become acclimated to. When water temperatures change, they will relocate to find an ideal spot. Jonah crabs are regularly captured and eaten by humans because their meat, claws, and legs are considered flavorful. The species is named after Jonah from the Bible, who a whale swallowed, because these crabs have bad luck with so many people hunting them.

71. Joro Spider

Joro spider on web
  • Scientific Name: Trichonephila clavata
  • Habitat: Warm, humid areas of southeastern Asia
  • Size: About 3 inches long
  • Diet: Mosquitos, flies, stink bugs, other insects

While this intimidating spider is native to Asia, it has become an invasive species in some areas of the United States, such as Georgia. It’s thought that they traveled across the ocean on cargo ships. They can control insect pests, but people don’t want their large webs all over their properties. They’re venomous, but their bites aren’t dangerous to humans unless the person is allergic to the venom. This breed is named after a Japanese spider demon.

72. Jungle Carpet Python

Jungle carpet python on human hand
  • Scientific Name: Morelia spilota cheynei
  • Habitat: Tropical rainforests of Australia
  • Size: 6 to 8 feet long
  • Diet: Rodents, birds, lizards, frogs, marsupials

These large, nonvenomous snakes spend almost all their time in trees. They only live in a small rainforest region of north-eastern Queensland, Australia. Due to the beautiful carpet-like pattern of their scales, these docile reptiles are sometimes kept as pets. While the color pattern stands out on a solid background, it helps the snakes blend in with the spots of sunlight in the rainforest. Younger carpet pythons are more likely to bite than adults.

73. Jungle Cat

Jungle cat outside
  • Scientific Name: Felis chaus
  • Habitat: Swamps and grasslands of southern Asia
  • Size: 9 to 35 pounds
  • Diet: Small mammals, birds, fish, frogs

Jungle cats look like house cats, but they’re wild animals of Asia. Like other felines, they’re carnivorous and will hunt almost any small animals they can find. It’s hard for prey to escape their claws because they can run up to 20 miles per hour. To mark their territories, they rub their cheeks against objects and leave saliva behind. They’re mostly solitary except during their breeding season. In Ancient Egypt, people would mummify these wild cats and put them in tombs.

74. Jungle Myna

Jungle myna sitting in tree
  • Scientific Name: Acridotheres fuscus
  • Habitat: Tropical forests of southern Asia
  • Size: About 9.1 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, seeds, fruit, nectar

When jungle mynas take fruits and nectar from plants, the tufts of feathers on their face brush against the plant to help pollinate it. They may also perch on large mammals to collect insects from their fur. Thus, they’re beneficial to their environment, so it’s great that their population is thriving. They use holes and crevices to build their nests in, and they lay beautiful turquoise eggs. Both parents work together to care for the eggs and young.

75. Jungle Owlet

Jungle owlet perched on branch
  • Scientific Name: Glaucidium radiatum
  • Habitat: Jungles of the Indian Subcontinent
  • Size: 7.8 to 8.6 inches
  • Diet: Insects, rodents, small birds, lizards

Jungle owlets, also known as barred jungle owlets, make loud trill sounds. They fly in a swift, direct pattern that resembles a small hawk’s movements. When these owlets hunt, they can raise the feathers on their head to help them hear prey better. These small owls are usually only active for an hour before dusk and an hour after sunrise. Instead of building their own nests, these owls lay their eggs in tree cavities.

76. Juniper Titmouse

Juniper titmouse on evergreen
  • Scientific Name: Baeolophus ridgwayi
  • Habitat: Open woods of the western United States
  • Size: About 6 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, nuts, plant material, insects

These birds are very agile because they can hop from tree to tree and even hang upside down to collect food. They can break seeds by prying them open with their beaks or whacking them against trees. They build their nests in tree cavities, especially in old juniper trees. Juniper titmice can be territorial, and they will defend their territories year-round. They will raise their crests to scare other birds away.

An Alphabet Full of Animals!

J may be an uncommon letter, and some animals that start with J are also rare. Yet, that doesn’t mean we should overlook them. Learning about animals under every letter of the alphabet is the perfect way to feel closer to nature.