89 Animals That Start with N

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

The world is full of animals. Some are recognizable while others aren’t known by many people. Yet, every species has its own distinctive behaviors that make animal lovers want to learn more.

Under every letter of the alphabet, there’s a long list of animals of every shape and size. So, let’s take a look at some incredible species that begin with the letter N.

List of Animals That Start with N

Here are 89 animal species that start with the letter N.

1. Nacunda Nighthawk

Nacunda nighthawk perched on branch
  • Scientific Name: Chordeiles nacunda
  • Habitat: Savannas, grasslands, and river edges across South America
  • Size: 11 to 13 inches long
  • Diet: Flying insects

Nacunda nighthawks are one of the largest nighthawk species in the world. The pattern on their brown feathers helps them blend into trees and leaf litter, even in broad daylight. They’re so well-camouflaged that they sometimes build nests on the ground. They hunt at dawn and dusk by scooping up insects while in mid-air. They often fly up in the air and dive directly down, which causes a loud booming sound.

2. Naked Mole Rat

Naked mole rat in hole
  • Scientific Name: Heterocephalus glaber
  • Habitat: Underground in dry areas of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya
  • Size: 3 to 5 inches long
  • Diet: Roots, tubers

These unique rodents aren’t considered rats or moles. They’re almost blind, so they spend most of their time in underground burrows with about 75 other mole rats. Each colony of naked mole rats has a queen, and she’s the only female allowed to breed. They’re one of the few cold-blooded mammals, meaning their body temperature changes based on their surroundings. They don’t need much oxygen in their environment to survive, and they can live for up to 18 minutes without any oxygen.

3. Naked-Faced Barbet

Naked-faced barbet on tree branch
  • Scientific Name: Gymnobucco calvus
  • Habitat: Forests of western Africa
  • Size: Up to 7 inches long
  • Diet: Fruits, nectar, arthropods

Naked-faced barbets lack fluffy feathers on their face. Most of their body is brown, but the exposed skin on their faces is dark gray or gray-blue. They usually spend time alone or in small groups of the same species. They mostly eat fruits whole, and they will regurgitate any indigestible parts later. They have heavy bills with fringed bristles to help them break into food with harder exteriors.

4. Namaqua Dove

Namaqua dove
  • Scientific Name: Oena capensis
  • Habitat: Dry, open habitats of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Size: About 8.6 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds of grasses, sedges, and weeds

Namaqua doves spend a lot of time on the ground searching for seeds. They usually travel solo or in pairs, but they sometimes form larger flocks near watering holes. After breeding, the male and female take turns caring for the eggs. The female guards the stick nest from night until early morning, and then the male takes over from the morning to late afternoon. They usually only lay two eggs at a time.

5. Nanday Parakeet

Nanday parakeet perched on branch
  • Scientific Name: Aratinga nenday
  • Habitat: Open habitats of central South America
  • Size: 11 to 12 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, nuts, fruits, flowers

Nanday parakeets, also known as black-hooded parakeets, are sometimes kept as pets because of their outgoing personalities. They’re talkative birds, and they can learn some words and phrases. In the wild, they eat a variety of plants, so they’re an agricultural pest in some areas. Even though these birds are native to South America, several populations have appeared in North America after domesticated ones were released.

6. Nankeen Kestrel

Nankeen kestrel diving
  • Scientific Name: Falco cenchroides
  • Habitat: Open woodlands and grasslands across Australia
  • Size: 11 to 14 inches long
  • Diet: Small mammals, reptiles, small birds, insects

Nankeen kestrels hunt by hovering in the air while searching for prey. When they locate a target, they will dive down to snatch the creature. They may also wait on a nearby perch before ambushing prey. During the breeding season, these birds will build nests wherever they can, such as in caves, on ledges, and even on the ground. The female does most of the care for the eggs and chicks, but the male will bring food to the nest.

7. Narcondam Hornbill

Narcondam hornbill perched on fence
  • Scientific Name: Rhyticeros narcondami
  • Habitat: Forests of the Andaman Islands
  • Size: Up to 26 inches long
  • Diet: Fruits, invertebrates

Narcondam hornbills are mostly fruit-eaters, so they help disperse the seeds of figs and similar plants. There are currently less than 200 of these birds in existence, and they all live on the Narcondam Island of the Andaman Island chain. Males and females have different colored feathers on their heads. Males have rust-colored feathers while females have black feathers.

8. Narrow-Billed Woodcreeper

Narrow-billed woodcreeper on tree
  • Scientific Name: Lepidocolaptes angustirostris
  • Habitat: Dry forests and savannas of eastern South America
  • Size: About 7.8 inches long
  • Diet: Invertebrates

Narrow-billed woodcreepers have curved, sharp beaks that help them pick out invertebrates from under tree bark. They build their nests in existing wood cavities in the trees, and they lay two to three eggs in the nest at a time. They can be found in a variety of dry habitats if trees are present, including open woodlands, wooded savannas, and agricultural spaces.

9. Narrow-Lined Puffer

Narrow-lined puffer swimming
  • Scientific Name: Arothron manilensis
  • Habitat: Temperate waters of the Western and Central Pacific
  • Size: Up to 12.2 inches long
  • Diet: Squid, shrimp, krill, clams

Narrow-lined puffers have elongated bodies with smooth skin. They have beak-like teeth that help them break through prey with hard exteriors. In the wild, they like to stay near coastal reefs and sea grass beds so they have plenty of places to hide. Like other puffers, they’re commonly kept in captivity, but they need a lot of space to roam. A minimum of 125 gallons is ideal for them.

10. Narwhal

Narwhal swimming upside-down
  • Scientific Name: Monodon monoceros
  • Habitat: Arctic waters near Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia
  • Size: 1,800 to 3,500 pounds
  • Diet: Halibut, cod, squid, crustaceans

Scientists haven’t been able to study narwhals well because they only live in Arctic waters and don’t survive long in captivity. Their famous tusks, which can grow up to 10 feet long, are sharp organs that they use to sense changes in their environment. They may also rub their tusks together as a form of communication. Most female narwhals don’t have a tusk. Narwhals often change color as they age, starting speckled blue-gray, then turning blue-black, then speckled gray, and finally, almost all white.

11. Nashville Warbler

Nashville warbler perched on dead flower
  • Scientific Name: Leiothlypis ruficapilla
  • Habitat: Shrubby habitats across North America
  • Size: 4.3 to 5.1 inches long
  • Diet: Insects

Nashville warblers usually forage for food in low trees and bushes, alongside a mixed flock of birds. They pick insects off the tips of leaves and twigs. As they feed, they regularly flick their tails. During their breeding season, they form monogamous pairs, and the females build nests on the ground near foliage. The male usually provides food for the female as she incubates the eggs, but some pairs take turns incubating.

12. Nassau Grouper

Nassau grouper up close
  • Scientific Name: Epinephelus striatus
  • Habitat: Tropical and subtropical reefs of western North Atlantic
  • Size: 15 to 24 inches long
  • Diet: Other fish

Juvenile Nassau groupers feed on invertebrates like shrimp and crabs while adults only feed on other fish. These fish will hide among coral and then ambush small fish when they swim by. Their mouth creates a suction, allowing them to swallow fish whole. They mostly feed in the daytime. These fish are usually solitary, but at their spawning sites, there can be up to 500 of them in one place.

13. Natal Dwarf Puddle Frog

Natal dwarf puddle frog in damp habitat
  • Scientific Name: Phrynobatrachus natalensis
  • Habitat: Moist forests across Africa
  • Size: 1 to 1.2 inches long
  • Diet: Termites, spiders, beetles, flies

Natal dwarf puddle frogs can survive in a variety of African habitats, as long as enough moisture is present. They’re also willing to eat a wide variety of invertebrates, depending on what’s available. They’re distinguished by their warty skin, and they usually have a light-colored line down their backs. These frogs gather to breed during the rainy season, and once the eggs are laid, they float in the water.

14. Natal Midlands Dwarf Chameleon

Natal midlands dwarf chameleon climbing on branch
  • Scientific Name: Bradypodion thamnobates
  • Habitat: Woodlands of South Africa
  • Size: Up to 3 inches long
  • Diet: Flies, maggots, crickets, grasshoppers

These small chameleons are only native to the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. So, they’re sometimes called by their extended name, KwaZulu-Natal midlands dwarf chameleon. Their scales usually display a mix of colors, including green, yellow, white, and brown. They’re currently an endangered species, and one reason is that locals sometimes capture them for folk medicine.

15. Natterjack Toad

Natterjack toad close-up
  • Scientific Name: Epidalea calamita
  • Habitat: Fields and grasslands across Europe
  • Size: 2 to 3 inches long
  • Diet: Woodlice, worms, spiders, beetles

Natterjack toads are common toads in Europe, and they can be distinguished from other species because they have a yellow line down their back. These amphibians are most common at night, and they move around by crawling instead of hopping. They make raspy calls that can be heard up to three miles away. These small toads can produce up to 7,500 eggs in one clutch, which they lay in shallow ponds.

16. Nebelung

Nebelung cat lying down
  • Scientific Name: Felis catus
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 7 to 14 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic cat food

Nebelungs are a rare cat breed that originated in the United States. However, the breed name means “creature of the mist” in German, describing their beautiful gray-blue coats. They’re often described as Russian Blues with longer coats. Their thick fur requires a lot of brushing to avoid matting. They’re easygoing, but they don’t handle changes in their routines well.

17. Nelore

Group of Nelore cattle
  • Scientific Name: Bos taurus indicus
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 990 to 1,100 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, grains, soy

Nelore is a cattle species that originated in India. Today, they’re commonly used for meat production worldwide because they’re easy to raise. They’re highly adaptable, so they’re not easily bothered by changes in their environment, such as extreme heat and insects. These mammals have a lot more sweat glands than other cattle, which assists with their hardiness. They feed less frequently than other breeds, making them less likely to experience bloat.

18. Nene

Two Nene geese
  • Scientific Name: Branta sandvicensis
  • Habitat: Across the Hawaiian Islands
  • Size: 1.7 to 2.2 feet long
  • Diet: Leaves, seeds, fruits, flowers

Nenes are also known as Hawaiian geese, and they’re descended from Canadian geese. They’re the rarest goose species in the world, with less than 2,500 birds remaining. Their name is similar to the soft call these birds make. In Hawaii, you might see lots of signs that say “nene crossing.” If you see one of these birds, you should keep a distance because they’re listed as endangered. They’re also Hawaii’s state bird.

19. Neon Damselfish

Neon damselfish on black background
  • Scientific Name: Pomacentrus coelestis
  • Habitat: Tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific
  • Size: Up to 3.5 inches long
  • Diet: Crustaceans, plankton, algae

Neon damselfish usually gather near other fish of their species in coral reefs. They have blue bodies and yellow tails, even as juveniles. When the sun hits their scales, they look like they’re lit up. These fish can be found anywhere from 3 to 65 feet below the water’s surface. Even though they’re seen in schools in the wild, they seem to do better alone when kept in captivity because they can act aggressively.

20. Neon Goby

Neon goby on coral
  • Scientific Name: Elacatinus oceanops
  • Habitat: Coral reefs of the Gulf Coast and western Atlantic
  • Size: About 2 inches long
  • Diet: Parasites from larger fish

Neon gobies are a type of cleaner goby, so they primarily eat parasites off larger fish. They may even enter the mouths of other fish to search for parasites. They’re usually seen near coral so they can clean the mucus off the surface. Since these fish are small and docile, they’re often kept as pets, even by new fish keepers. In captivity, they don’t need to be fed as often if there are other fish in the tank that they can clean.

21. Neon Tetra

Neon tetra by green plant
  • Scientific Name: Paracheirodon innesi
  • Habitat: The western and northern Amazon Basin
  • Size: Up to 1.5 inches long
  • Diet: Algae, crustaceans, larvae, plant material

Neon tetras are commonly kept by fish keepers because of their beautiful coloring and small size. However, they’re schooling fish, so they should be kept with at least six of their kind. Their colors may alter slightly depending on their environment. If they’re in a dark area, their colors become duller, but in well-lit spaces, they’re more vibrant. They may also change colors to help them hide or find a mate.

22. Neotropic Cormorant

Neotropic cormorant stretching out wings
  • Scientific Name: Phalacrocorax brasilianus
  • Habitat: Near shallow waters from southern United States to central South America
  • Size: About 25 inches long
  • Diet: Fish, shrimp, frogs, insect larvae

Like other cormorant species, these birds dive underwater to catch fish. They may even plunge into the water from midair if they’re less than two feet above the surface. When they’re done swimming, they come to the shore and sit with their wings extended so their feathers can dry. Some people call these birds “pig ducks” because their calls sometimes sound like grunting pigs.

23. Neotropical Otter

Neotropical otter on the shore
  • Scientific Name: Lontra longicaudis
  • Habitat: Near rivers from Mexico to central South America
  • Size: 11 to 33 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, crustaceans, mollusks

Neotropical otters may look cute and cuddly, but they have strong jaws to help them tear apart crustaceans and mollusks. They are shy and tend to spend most of their time alone. They create dens near a river’s shore so they have a place to retreat to when they’re done hunting. They use scent marking to communicate with other otters, but they may also use a variety of sounds, such as whistles, screeches, and hums.

24. New Caledonian Crow

New Caledonian Crow on tree branch
  • Scientific Name: Corvus moneduloides
  • Habitat: Primary forests on the islands of New Caledonia
  • Size: 15.7 to 16.9 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, mollusks, eggs, nuts, seeds

New Caledonia crows are one of the most intelligent bird species because they’ve been observed combining items to make tools. To test these birds’ skills, researchers created puzzle boxes with food inside, and several crows figured out how to get the food, even during more challenging setups. Their wedge-shaped bills help them use tools easier. If they capture food with a hard exterior, they may drop it onto rocks below them to crack it.

25. New England Cottontail

New England cottontail eating out of paws
  • Scientific Name: Sylvilagus transitionalis
  • Habitat: Forests and grasslands of the northeastern United States
  • Size: 14 to 17 inches long
  • Diet: Grasses, clovers, sedges, shoots, stems, leaves

New England cottontails are the only rabbit native to their region. Their population is decreasing because the number of safe forests for them to hide in is also decreasing. They usually build a cozy nest that’s lined with grass and fur, and then they rarely travel further than 16 feet from their nest. In the summer, they eat a wide variety of green plants, but when plants are scarce in the winter, they adjust to eating woody plants instead.

26. New Guinea Crocodile

New Guinea Crocodile submerged in water
  • Scientific Name: Crocodylus novaeguineae
  • Habitat: Freshwater of New Guinea
  • Size: 8.9 to 11 feet long, about 440 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles

Like other crocodile species, New Guinea crocodiles spend a lot of their time underwater. They can stay underwater for up to an hour if needed. Their dark scales help them blend into their surroundings so they can ambush prey. They may also eat creatures they dig up from the bottom of a swamp or lake. Young New Guinea crocodiles seem to be able to communicate with each other before they hatch, which is why they often hatch in sync. Adults will growl or roar to scare away other large crocodiles.

27. New Guinea Singing Dog

New Guinea Singing Dog face
  • Scientific Name: Canis dingo hallstromi
  • Habitat: Mountains and forests of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea
  • Size: 20 to 31 pounds
  • Diet: Small mammals, small reptiles, birds

New Guinea singing dogs might look like your average domesticated dog, but they’re not recommended as pets. They have an extremely high prey drive and a strong desire to run off and explore. Their joints are more flexible than other canines, allowing them to climb and jump like a cat. They’re called “singing dogs” because they have a distinct howl that sounds like a mix of a yodel and a humpback whale’s song.

28. New Holland Honeyeater

New Holland Honeyeater perched on plant
  • Scientific Name: Phylidonyris novaehollandiae
  • Habitat: Forests, woodlands, and gardens of southern Australia
  • Size: About 7.1 inches long
  • Diet: Nectar, fruits

These birds have slender beaks and long tongues, allowing them to obtain nectar from deep flowers. They’re active birds that rarely sit still for more than a few seconds. Groups of them will often stick near each other as they dart from flower to flower to find the best food. They make lots of soft chattering sounds, but if they sense danger, they’ll let out a loud alarm call, and the birds around them will often join in.

29. New Zealand Bellbird

New Zealand bellbird by pink flowers
  • Scientific Name: Anthornis melanura
  • Habitat: Forests with dense vegetation in New Zealand
  • Size: 6.6 to 7.9 inches long
  • Diet: Nectar, insects, spiders, fruit

These birds have unique yellow-green feathers with dark coloring around their face, wings, and tails. Males have a purple tint on the dark spots of their feathers. These birds primarily eat nectar, but females eat insects during the breeding season because it’s good for the chicks. When these birds feed on nectar, they help pollinate many native plants, including fuchsia, mistletoe, and kowhai.

30. New Zealand Falcon

New Zealand falcon calling from high branch
  • Scientific Name: Falco novaeseelandiae
  • Habitat: Pine forests of New Zealand
  • Size: 15.7 to 19.6 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, birds, reptiles, small mammals

These falcons are adaptable to a variety of different areas across New Zealand. They have short, rounded wings that make it easy for them to maneuver in the sky. They also have long legs and toes so they can scoop up prey in mid-flight. They can also hunt by watching from a perch and ambushing prey that passes. Sometimes these birds swallow small stones after feeding, which is thought to help with digestion.

31. New Zealand Fur Seal

New Zealand fur seal on rock
  • Scientific Name: Arctocephalus forsteri
  • Habitat: Rocky shores near New Zealand
  • Size: 66 to 330 pounds
  • Diet: Squid, fish

New Zealand fur seals’ hunting behaviors closely mimic the movements of their prey. During the day, these seals hunt deep underwater, but then they hunt closer to the surface at night because that’s where prey is more plentiful. Whenever they’re not hunting, they hang out in groups on rocky shores. These groups are very noisy during the breeding season because the seals make sounds to attract mates, threaten other seals, and call for lost pups.

32. New Zealand Sea Lion

Young New Zealand sea lion on the shore
  • Scientific Name: Phocarctos hookeri
  • Habitat: Coastal habitats of New Zealand
  • Size: 200 to 900 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, cephalopods, crustaceans

The New Zealand sea lion, also known as the Hooker’s sea lion, is the rarest sea lion species, with only 12,000 individuals remaining. These sea lions spend a lot of their time on sandy shores, but their behaviors change during the breeding season. Once the females give birth to their pups, they travel further inland to keep their pups safe from the weather, parasites, and aggressive male sea lions. They may even travel to forests.

33. Newfoundland

Newfoundland dog laying in flowers
  • Scientific Name: Canis familiaris
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 99 to 150 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic dog food

Newfoundland dogs are gentle giants with thick, fluffy coats. As the name implies, they originated in Newfoundland and Labrador. They’re part of the working group, and they served many roles in history. They’re excellent swimmers because of their water-resistant coats and partially-webbed feet, so they helped guide small boats back to land. They were also great at pulling carts and other heavy objects.

34. Nguni Cattle

Nguni cow in field
  • Scientific Name: Bos taurus
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 700 to 1,550 pounds
  • Diet: Grasses

Nguni cattle originated in southern Africa, and they usually have speckled fur. They have a good temperament and they’re also adaptable to many different environments. They can handle intense weather conditions, and they have a natural immunity to ticks. They don’t produce much milk, so they’re more commonly raised for meat instead. They have low maintenance costs because they forage for themselves throughout the day, and they’re not picky eaters.

35. Nicaraguan Grackle

Group of Nicaraguan grackles
  • Scientific Name: Quiscalus nicaraguensis
  • Habitat: Open, moist areas of Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica
  • Size: 9.4 to 11.4 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, insects

Nicaraguan grackles usually gather in small groups to feed. They search for seeds and insects on the ground, and they often look underneath stones and debris when foraging. They build their nests in areas surrounded by vegetation so they stay hidden. The female incubates the eggs by herself, but once the eggs hatch, both parents feed the chicks. These birds communicate using a variety of sounds, including whistles, whines, and nasally calls.

36. Nicobar Pigeon

Nicobar pigeon perched in tree
  • Scientific Name: Caloenas nicobarica
  • Habitat: Forests of southeastern Asia
  • Size: Up to 16 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, grains, berries, insects

Nicobar pigeons are believed to be the only living relatives of dodo birds. They eat almost any seeds they can find because they have an extremely strong gizzard stone. They’re able to grind up nuts that humans would need a hammer to crush. If they sense a predator approaching, they may make a grunting sound to scare them away. These birds are strong fliers, but they prefer to stay on the ground when foraging for food.

37. Night Snake

Night snake blending into rock
  • Scientific Name: Hypsiglena torquata
  • Habitat: Rocky areas of the United States and Canada
  • Size: 12 to 26 inches long
  • Diet: Lizards, frogs, insects

Night snakes can deliver a poisonous bite, but it only harms the small animals that they prey on. They’re also timid snakes that are only active at night, so they’re unlikely to approach humans. These snakes have fangs in the back of their mouths rather than the front. Their faces closely resemble rattlesnakes, but they lack a rattle on the end of their tails.

38. Nile Crocodile

Nile crocodile up close
  • Scientific Name: Crocodylus niloticus
  • Habitat: Swamps, rivers, and marshes of sub-Saharan Africa
  • Size: 500 to 1,700 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, zebras, small hippos, other crocodiles, carrion

Nile crocodiles usually only seek out fish, but they will hunt any type of meat that becomes available, including other Nile crocodiles. Thus, crocodile parents are extra protective over their young. Both the male and female stay near the nest to protect the babies from predators. The females also have a special pouch in their throat where they can hide their young if needed. These crocodiles can bite five times harder than a lion and swim up to 22 miles per hour.

39. Nile Lechwe

Nile lechwe in grasslands
  • Scientific Name: Kobus megaceros
  • Habitat: Floodplains of the Nile River Valley
  • Size: 190 to 260 pounds
  • Diet: Grasses, aquatic plants, wild rice

These mammals sometimes gather in groups of hundreds. Both males and females are considered social and vocal among other lechwes. Their calls sound like croaks or snorts. The females and their calves have unique calls to communicate with each other. Since their habitat experiences seasonal flooding, these antelope can swim, and they often dine on aquatic vegetation.

40. Nile Valley Sunbird

Nile valley sunbird on branch
  • Scientific Name: Hedydipna metallica
  • Habitat: Arid scrub and gardens of northeastern Africa and southwestern Asia
  • Size: 3.5 to 6.7 inches long
  • Diet: Nectar

Male Nile Valley sunbirds have glossy green feathers on their backs and bright yellow undersides while females are brown with pale yellow bellies. Both sexes have curved, narrow bills to help them eat nectar from flowers. Males have more vibrant plumage during the mating season, so they use their beautiful coloring to attract a mate. They make buzzing calls when communicating with each other.

41. Nilgai

Nilgai in grassy habitat
  • Scientific Name: Boselaphus tragocamelus
  • Habitat: Dry, grassy areas of India
  • Size: Up to 700 pounds
  • Diet: Grass, woody plants

Nilgai are the biggest antelope species in Asia and one of the oldest antelope species in the world. They have been hunted and used for meat for at least 8,000 years. Even though these mammals are native to India, a few captive ones in Texas escaped and created a small feral population. In some areas, these creatures are considered pests, but some individuals of the Hindu religion believe they’re a sacred species, so they won’t kill or eat them.

42. Nilgiri Pipit

Nilgiri pipit on paved ground
  • Scientific Name: Anthus nilghiriensis
  • Habitat: Open grasslands in the southern Western Ghats
  • Size: 5 to 5.5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, snails, worms, grass seeds

Nilgiri pipits are native to high elevations in India. Their feathers have a richer brown color than other pipits of their region. They’re usually found at elevations between 3,300 and 4,900 feet, but they can be found in even higher habitats. When they feel threatened, they’ll fly into low bushes or trees to hide. They build their nests out of grass, and they lay beautiful speckled eggs.

43. Nilgiri Tahr

Nilgiri tahr resting on rock
  • Scientific Name: Nilgiritragus hylocrius
  • Habitat: Open montane grasslands of the Western Ghats
  • Size: 180 to 220 pounds
  • Diet: Grasses, shrubs, leaves

Even though these mammals look like wild goats, they’re more closely related to sheep. They live in herds that can include anywhere from 6 to 150 tahrs. Whenever the herd rests, at least one individual stays away to keep an eye out for predators. They have great eyesight, so if a tahr spots a predator in the distance, they will produce a snort or whistle as a warning call.

44. Nilgiri Wood Pigeon

Nilgiri wood pigeon on rock
  • Scientific Name: Columba elphinstonii
  • Habitat: Moist forests of the Western Ghats
  • Size: 13.7 to 15.7 inches
  • Diet: Fruits, seeds, flowers, invertebrates

Most of a Nilgiri wood pigeon’s diet consists of fruits. They pick fruits off tree branches and search the ground for fallen fruits. They’ve also been observed eating soil, likely as a way to add minerals to their diet and improve digestion. During each breeding season, the females lay a single egg. Once the young birds are old enough to look after themselves, they explore on their own and establish a new area nearby to live in.

45. Nine-Banded Armadillo

Nine-banded armadillo walking in grassy area
  • Scientific Name: Dasypus novemcinctus
  • Habitat: Woodlands and grasslands of the southeastern United States
  • Size: 5.5 to 14 pounds
  • Diet: Insects, berries, bird eggs

Nine-banded armadillos are the only armadillo species found in the United States. The name is deceiving because these critters can have anywhere from seven to eleven bands on their bodies. These armadillos are experiencing an increase in population because humans have killed off the majority of their natural predators. Thus, these armadillos are starting to appear in some of the northern states too.

46. Nocturnal Curassow

Nocturnal curassow perched on branch
  • Scientific Name: Nothocrax urumutum
  • Habitat: Forests of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela
  • Size: 1.6 to 1.9 feet long
  • Diet: Vegetable matter

Despite its name, this species can be active both during the day and night. However, these birds only sing at night, especially if the sky is clear. Their song is a booming sound with three notes. During the breeding season, these birds create large woven nests from sticks and leaves, which are usually placed high in the trees. They only lay about two eggs per clutch.

47. Noisy Friarbird

Noisy friarbird clinging to plant
  • Scientific Name: Philemon corniculatus
  • Habitat: Dry forests and woodlands of eastern Australia
  • Size: 12 to 14 inches long
  • Diet: Nectar, insects, fruits

Noisy friarbirds live up to their name because they’re constantly chattering. They make deep honking sounds that sometimes sound like human words, such as “four o’clock” and “tobacco.” Some humans consider them pests because they will eat commercially-grown fruit if it’s available. They can also act aggressively, swooping at creatures that get too close to their nests. These unique birds can be distinguished by their featherless heads and the bump on their beaks.

48. Noisy Pitta

Colorful noisy pitta
  • Scientific Name: Pitta versicolor
  • Habitat: Tropical and subtropical rainforests of eastern coastal Australia
  • Size: 7.5 to 8.3 inches long
  • Diet: Snails, insects, worms, spiders

Even though these birds have vibrant coloring, they can still be hard to spot when foraging on forest floors. They got their name because they’re loud birds that are repetitive throughout the morning and midday. Some people believe that their calls sound like they’re saying “walk to work.” These birds search for food along the forest floor, and if the food has a hard exterior, they will break it against a hard surface.

49. North American River Otter

Group of North American river otters
  • Scientific Name: Lontra canadensis
  • Habitat: Ponds, marshes, lakes, and rivers of Canada and the United States
  • Size: 11 to 30 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, frogs, crayfish, insects, small mammals

With webbed feet for fast swimming and sharp claws for catching slippery prey, these otters are well-adapted to their semi-aquatic lifestyle. They can even stay underwater for up to eight minutes at a time. On land, they can run up to 15 miles per hour, but they can move even faster when sliding. They have lots of ways to communicate with each other, including sounds, touch, body language, and scent glands.

50. Northern Alligator Lizard

Wild northern alligator lizard
  • Scientific Name: Elgaria coerulea
  • Habitat: Woodlands and grasslands of the western United States
  • Size: 3 to 4 inches long
  • Diet: Crickets, mealworms, spiders, baby mice

These lizards resemble alligators because of their scale patterns and short legs. They’re one of the few lizard species that experience live births instead of laying eggs. They have many predators, so their brown scales help them blend into their surroundings. If a predator attacks them, they can also lose their tails and regrow them, but the tail may not grow back as long. These reptiles are shy and prefer to stay hidden as much as possible.

51. Northern Banded Newt

Northern banded newt swimming
  • Scientific Name: Ommatotriton ophryticus
  • Habitat: Forests with bodies of water in Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and southern Russia
  • Size: 6.5 to 6.75 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, crustaceans, mollusks

Like many newt species, these amphibians have a terrestrial form and an aquatic form. During their terrestrial phase, they have reddish skin, but during their aquatic phase, their skin is olive-colored with black spots. They usually transition to their aquatic forms during the breeding season, and males develop large crests in the process. These amphibians breed in the water, and they only hibernate on land.

52. Northern Barred Frog

Northern barred frog on log
  • Scientific Name: Mixophyes schevilli
  • Habitat: Tropical rainforests of northern Queensland, Australia
  • Size: Up to 4 inches long
  • Diet: Insects

Northern barred frogs live in dense rainforest areas of Australia. Their brown, leaf-like bodies help them blend into the leaf litter on the forest floor. The females usually lay their eggs on muddy water banks, so the tadpoles drop into the water when they hatch. The offspring remain in the tadpole stage for at least a year before turning into full-grown frogs.

53. Northern Beardless Tyrannulet

Northern beardless tyrannulet on branch
  • Scientific Name: Camptostoma imberbe
  • Habitat: Dense woodlands from southwestern United States through Central America
  • Size: 4 to 5.5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, spiders, seeds, berries

These birds are called “beardless” because they don’t have bristles around their bills as other flycatchers do. They will catch insects in midair, but they’re more commonly seen picking their prey from trees as they hop between branches. If they’re irritated, they may raise the feathers on the back of their head. These birds are almost always solitary outside of their breeding season.

54. Northern Brown Bandicoot

Northern brown bandicoot on forest floor
  • Scientific Name: Isoodon macrourus
  • Habitat: Woodlands, shrublands, and tropical forests of northern and eastern Australia
  • Size: Up to 18.5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, worms, fruits

Northern brown bandicoots are the largest bandicoot species in Australia. They are nocturnal and spend most of their time alone. They search for food on the ground, but they often dig to search for more invertebrates. They may mark their territories with scent to deter intruders. After birth, female bandicoots keep their young in their pouches for about 55 days before the babies can go off on their own.

55. Northern Cardinal

Male northern cardinal perched on branch
  • Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis
  • Habitat: Open woodlands and gardens of Mexico and the eastern United States
  • Size: 8.2 to 9.3 inches long
  • Diet: Seeds, insects, fruits

Male northern cardinals are bright red while females are mostly brown with hints of red on their wings, tails, and beaks. Males and females make different sounds, but humans cannot easily tell the difference. Their songs are learned from other birds, so their sounds may differ depending on where they live. Males are territorial and may let out a loud whistle when defending their territory. When searching for food, these birds dig in the ground using their strong beaks.

56. Northern Cassowary

Northern cassowary in enclosure
  • Scientific Name: Casuarius unappendiculatus
  • Habitat: Coastal swamps and rainforests of northern New Guinea
  • Size: 66 to 82 pounds
  • Diet: Fruits, rodents, frogs, reptiles, small birds

Despite being large and colorful, northern cassowaries are shy and solitary. They will grunt and hiss when communicating with other birds. They will eat almost anything they can find, including carrion and feces. During the breeding season, males build well-camouflaged nests for the females. After a female lays the eggs, she will leave the male to raise the chicks alone while she searches for another mate. These birds are one of only three cassowary species.

57. Northern Corroboree Frog

Northern corroboree frog on moss
  • Scientific Name: Pseudophryne pengilleyi
  • Habitat: Moist areas across the Southern Tablelands of Australia
  • Size: 2.5 to 3 inches long
  • Diet: Ants, other small invertebrates

Corroboree frogs are poisonous, so they have vibrantly-colored skin to warn other animals. Most poisonous frogs are toxic because of the foods they eat, but these frogs develop their poison naturally. Their poison can be deadly to mammals if ingested. These frogs don’t start breeding until they’re four years old, and in the winter, they hibernate under any objects they can find.

58. Northern Dusky Salamander

Northern dusky salamander close-up
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus fuscus
  • Habitat: Near freshwater across eastern North America
  • Size: 2.5 to 4.5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, crustaceans, spiders, worms, snails

Northern dusky salamanders are a species of lungless salamander. Instead of breathing using lungs, they absorb oxygen through their skin. They’re most active at night, but they will hunt during the day if the area is shaded enough. They’re tolerant to a variety of altitudes because they can be found at sea level and in the mountains. During the mating season, these salamanders lay their eggs under moss and logs rather than in water like other salamanders.

59. Northern Elephant Seal

Northern elephant seal on the beach
  • Scientific Name: Mirounga angustirostris
  • Habitat: Across the eastern and central North Pacific Ocean
  • Size: 1,000 to 5,000 pounds
  • Diet: Squid, fish, rays, sharks

Northern elephant seals have large noses that they can inflate when vocally threatening each other. They spend about nine months of the year out in the ocean, only coming up for breath for a few seconds at a time. Then, they come to beaches to molt and breed. They’re often seen on the shore in California and northern Mexico. These seals can dive up to 2,500 feet below the water’s surface and stay underwater for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.

60. Northern Flicker

Northern flicker on tree stump
  • Scientific Name: Colaptes auratus
  • Habitat: Woodlands and open fields across North America
  • Size: 12 to 14 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, fruits, seeds

Northern flickers are a woodpecker species, but instead of pecking at trees, they find their food by foraging on the ground. They can use their slightly curved beaks to dig in the dirt and soil. They primarily eat ants and beetles. However, they may drum on trees to communicate with other woodpeckers. Sometimes these birds migrate, but other times they stay in the same area year-round. It all depends on where they live.

61. Northern Fur Seal

Northern fur seal resting on rock
  • Scientific Name: Callorhinus ursinus
  • Habitat: Open ocean or sandy areas of the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea
  • Size: 120 to 600 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, squid

These are the largest seals of the fur seal family. They have dense fur with a thick undercoat to protect them from frigid temperatures. Since they have so much fur, they don’t need blubber to protect them as other seals do. Males are aggressive toward other males, and they may push and bite each other to death. During their mating season, males also fast for 40 days because they don’t leave the breeding site. They may lose up to 20% of their body weight.

62. Northern Giant Petrel

Northern giant petrel up close
  • Scientific Name: Macronectes halli
  • Habitat: Open Subantarctic waters
  • Size: 6 to 12 pounds, 4.9 to 6.9 foot wingspan
  • Diet: Carrion, fish, squid, krill

Northern giant petrels mostly feed on the carrion of penguins, seals, and whales, but they will eat whatever they can find. They sometimes follow fishing boats so they can eat the discarded fish. They can also be highly aggressive and will kill other birds if needed, especially chicks and injured penguins. During the breeding season, females seek out living prey instead of carrion for the health of the chicks.

63. Northern Gray-Cheeked Salamander

Northern Gray-Cheeked Salamander
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon montanus
  • Habitat: Temperate forests on mountains in the eastern United States
  • Size: 3.5 to 5 inches long
  • Diet: Worms, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, insects

Northern gray-cheeked salamanders usually hide under moss, rocks, or logs to keep their bodies moist. They prefer to live in high-elevation forests of 2,500 feet or more. To attract a female, a male will nudge her and then circle around her in a way that looks like he’s dancing. These salamanders can release a sticky skin secretion to deter predators.

64. Northern Harrier

Northern harrier flying
  • Scientific Name: Circus Hudsonius
  • Habitat: Wide-open habitats of North America
  • Size: 16 to 20 inches long
  • Diet: Birds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians

Northern harriers are medium-sized hawks of North America, but they’re often described as having owl-like faces. They can fly up to 25 miles per hour, but they prefer to fly slowly and close to the ground so they can locate prey easier. If they’re not flying, they’re usually perched somewhere as they check out their surroundings. When these birds are young, they like to pounce on objects playfully to practice hunting techniques.

65. Northern Jacana

Northern Jacana walking in grass
  • Scientific Name: Jacana spinosa
  • Habitat: Marshes and overgrown ponds from Mexico to Panama
  • Size: 8 to 9.5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, small fish, worms, snails, mollusks

Northern jacanas have long legs so they can wade in the water and pick insects off aquatic plants. They live in small groups that usually include one female and her several mates. The female lays eggs throughout the colony’s territory, and the males look after the young birds. If an intruder enters the territory, both the males and females will let out an alarm call before chasing the threat away.

66. Northern Leaf-Tailed Gecko

Northern leaf-tailed gecko close-up
  • Scientific Name: Saltuarius cornutus
  • Habitat: Rainforests of Queensland, Australia
  • Size: Up to 9 inches long
  • Diet: Large insects, spiders

Northern leaf-tailed geckos have flat bodies and brown scales to help them blend into the trees they climb on. If a predator approaches these reptiles, they will arch their backs and wag their tails in the air. The goal is to direct the attention away from the gecko’s head because they can drop their tail and grow a new one. Each female lays one to two eggs at a time, but females may lay their eggs in a communal nest, keeping up to 14 eggs in one spot.

67. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern leopard frog in pond
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates pipiens
  • Habitat: Near marshes, streams, and rivers in northern North America
  • Size: Up to 4.5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, worms, spiders, slugs

Northern leopard frogs generally search for food on land, but they like to stay close to bodies of water. If they sense danger, they will dive into the water to protect themselves. As tadpoles, they mostly eat algae, but as adults, they will eat any creatures that can fit in their mouths. Sometimes, they’ll even eat smaller frogs. They hibernate at the bottom of well-oxygenated bodies of water that don’t fully freeze.

68. Northern Parula

Northern parula on tree branch
  • Scientific Name: Setophaga americana
  • Habitat: Forests of eastern North America
  • Size: 4.3 to 4.7 inches long
  • Diet: Spiders, insects, insect larvae

Northern parulas spend their time high in tree canopies, so you’re likely to hear their trilling songs before you see them. They are almost always solitary, but they may travel in small mixed-flock groups when migrating. During their mating season, both the males and females look at their young, but the males are more dedicated to the role.

69. Northern Pika

Northern pika on rock
  • Scientific Name: Ochotona hyperborea
  • Habitat: Mountains of northeastern Asia
  • Size: 6 to 8 inches long
  • Diet: Grasses, twigs, stems, leaves

Northern pikas shed their fur twice annually, so they have different coat colors depending on the season. In the summer, they have a reddish-brown coat, and in the winter, they have a grayish-brown coat. These small mammals build underground burrows that have entrances near the most popular feeding sites. When they gather food, they carry it near the entrance of their burrow before eating to make sure they can escape if a predator approaches.

70. Northern Quoll

Northern quoll on large tree
  • Scientific Name: Dasyurus hallucatus
  • Habitat: Rocky areas, woodlands, and rainforests of northern Australia
  • Size: Up to 1.2 pounds
  • Diet: Insects, fruits, nectar, small reptiles, small mammals

These tiny marsupials are often compared to small cats, and some people call them “native cats.” However, they aren’t kept as pets because they can be highly aggressive. They have small thumbs and sharp claws for climbing. They usually keep to themselves and hiss when threatened by other quolls. After giving birth, females develop a “fake pouch,” which is a ridge around the stomach to cover the newborn quoll.

71. Northern Royal Albatross

Northern royal albatross flying
  • Scientific Name: Diomedea sanfordi
  • Habitat: Open ocean near the Chatham Islands
  • Size: 14 to 18 pounds, 8.8 to 10 foot wingspan
  • Diet: Cephalopods, fish, crustaceans

These large birds generally travel solo as they search for food. A lot of their diet consists of dead or dying prey that they scoop from the water’s surface. They spend around 85% of their lives at sea, only coming to the shore of the Chatham Islands to breed. These birds don’t start breeding until they’re about 8 years old, and they regularly live to be in their 40s.

72. Northern Slimy Salamander

Northern slimy salamander on moss
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon glutinosus
  • Habitat: Forests across the eastern United States
  • Size: 4.5 to 6.5 inches long
  • Diet: Ants, beetles, worms

All salamanders feel slimy to the touch, but the northern slimy salamander gets its name because of its unique defense mechanism. If threatened, these amphibians will release a sticky substance that will reduce the jaw movement of predators that touch them. Like other salamanders, they spend most of their time in dark, moist areas, and they’re most active at night. When there’s a drought, they burrow deeper in the ground.

73. Northern Tamandua

Northern tamandua in tree
  • Scientific Name: Tamandua mexicana
  • Habitat: Forests from southern Mexico to central South America
  • Size: 7.1 to 11.9 pounds
  • Diet: Ants, termites

Northern tamanduas are a type of anteater, so they have long, sticky tongues to help them scoop up ants and termites. They have dense, wiry fur to prevent ants from attacking them when they feed off of anthills. They also have long, sharp claws that are perfect for breaking into the nests of their prey. They usually eat about 9,000 ants per day. These mammals are also great climbers because, in addition to their claws, they have a prehensile tail to help them grab onto branches.

74. Northern Two-Lined Salamander

Northern two-lined salamander on rocky surface
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea bislineata
  • Habitat: Near freshwater across the eastern United States
  • Size: 3 to 4.5 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, arachnids, mites, worms

Northern two-lined salamanders spend most of their time near streams. Even in the winter, they hibernate near streams by burrowing deep underground. They’re more tolerant of living near humans than other salamanders are. When it’s time to breed, the female salamanders lay their eggs underneath rocks that are submerged in water. The larvae can take up to three years to develop into salamanders.

75. Northern Viscacha

Group of northern viscachas on rocks
  • Scientific Name: Lagidium peruanum
  • Habitat: The Andes Mountains of Peru
  • Size: 12 to 18 inches long
  • Diet: Grasses, roots, seeds

These unique rodents can be found at high elevations between 985 to 16,400 feet. They usually hang out on large, steep cliffs to put themselves at a lower risk of getting hunted by land animals. They’re almost always seen near rocks so they have somewhere to retreat to when escaping flying predators. For these reasons, their population is stable. These mammals only give birth to one pup at a time.

76. Northern Waterthrush

Northern waterthrush on forest floor
  • Scientific Name: Parkesia noveboracensis
  • Habitat: Wooded wetlands across North America
  • Size: 4.7 to 5.9 inches
  • Diet: Insects, insect larvae, spiders, snails, clams

Northern waterthrushes have long, skinny legs that allow them to wade in shallow water while they forage for food. They use their beaks to search under dead leaves and in wood crevices. They can be territorial toward other birds in their feeding area. During dry seasons, these birds travel to find the wettest part of a swamp. They regularly sing from low perches in dense vegetation.

77. Northwestern Garter Snake

Northwestern garter snake on forest floor
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis ordinoides
  • Habitat: Meadows and forests of northwestern North America
  • Size: 13 to 38 inches long
  • Diet: Slugs, worms, snails, amphibians

These snakes usually have three stripes on their backs, but the colors of those stripes can vary. The stripes can be neutral colors like brown and gray or vibrant colors like red and yellow. One snake can have stripes of several colors. They can produce some venom to kill small prey, but that venom isn’t harmful to humans. If they feel threatened, they may release a foul smell to deter predators.

78. Northwestern Salamander

Northwestern salamander on the ground
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma gracile
  • Habitat: The Pacific Coast of North America
  • Size: 5.5 to 8.7 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, worms, arachnids

Both adults and larvae are slightly poisonous to deter predators. They have glands behind their eyes that can release sticky white poison. When threatened, they’ll also arch their bodies and make ticking sounds. They spend most of their time burrowed in the ground or under rotting logs. However, they have to enter the water during the breeding season so they can attach their eggs to underwater plants.

79. Norway Lemming

Norway lemming sniffing the air
  • Scientific Name: Lemmus lemmus
  • Habitat: Tundra and alpine areas of northern Fennoscandia
  • Size: 3 to 6.8 inches long
  • Diet: Sedges, grasses, moss

Despite looking so tiny, these mammals are one of the largest lemming species on the planet. They spend their time in underground tunnels. They rarely come up during the summer, but during fall and winter, they need to forage on the surface since they can’t dig into the frozen ground. Despite having large burrows, they’re mostly solitary and will fight each other if an area is overcrowded.

80. Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound in forest
  • Scientific Name: Canis familiaris
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 48 to 55 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic dog food

Norwegian elkhounds are an old European dog breed that made appearances in some ancient Norse artwork. They were initially bred in Norway to hunt large wild animals like elk, moose, and bears. Even when kept as family pets, they’re always alert, so they make great watchdogs. However, that means they can be wary of meeting new pets. They’re great for active families because they like to be kept busy.

81. Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian forest cat perched on log
  • Scientific Name: Felis catus
  • Habitat: Domesticated
  • Size: 9 to 16 pounds
  • Diet: Domestic cat food

Norwegian forest cats are larger and much fluffier than the average house cat. This breed was brought to Norway by the Vikings around 1000 A.D. Their common nickname in Scandinavia is “Skogkatt.” They’re bred to withstand harsh winters, but they’re still very sociable. However, their thick coats are prone to matting, so they need an owner who’s willing to brush them regularly.

82. Nubian Ibex

Nubian ibex resting
  • Scientific Name: Capra nubiana
  • Habitat: Rocky, desert mountains of Egypt, Israel, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Jordan
  • Size: 55 to 160 pounds
  • Diet: Grasses, leaves, herbs, shrubs

Nubian ibexes can withstand dry, hot habitats because their coats reflect sunlight. They spend a lot of time on steep terrain to keep themselves safe from predators. The curled horns on males can reach up to four feet long, and they’re used for defending themselves and impressing females. If threatened, they will rise up on their hind legs to look more intimidating. They usually live in herds of up to 20 ibexes.

83. Nubian Woodpecker

Nubian woodpecker on the ground
  • Scientific Name: Campethera nubica
  • Habitat: Open savannas of eastern Africa
  • Size: About 8.3 inches long
  • Diet: Ants, termites, spiders, beetles

Nubian woodpeckers forage both in trees and on the ground, using their beaks to dig up a variety of invertebrates. They usually forage alone, but if they have a mate, they may communicate with them vocally while doing so. Their calls are shrill ringing sounds, which are often sung in duets. The males have a lot more red feathers on their heads than females do. These birds almost always have striking pink eyes.

84. Nubra Pika

Nubra pika in the grass
  • Scientific Name: Ochotona nubrica
  • Habitat: Scrublands of Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan
  • Size: About 6 inches long
  • Diet: Grasses, sedges, twigs, moss

Not much is known about Nubra pikas, but they’re closely related to rabbits like all pika species. They’re social mammals that live in family groups. They usually only interact with pikas they’re related to. They create underground dens to retreat to if they sense danger. They may also hide behind rocks and scrub plants if their burrow isn’t nearby.

85. Numbat

Numbat sitting on log
  • Scientific Name: Myrmecobius Fasciatus
  • Habitat: Woodlands and grasslands of southwestern Australia
  • Size: 14 to 18 inches long
  • Diet: Termites, ants

Numbats are an endangered species in Australia, with less than 1,000 remaining in the wild. They feed almost exclusively on termites, and they use their long, sticky tongues to grab the insects from underground habitats. They don’t chew their prey before swallowing it. These small marsupials are usually solitary, but they can communicate with each other using soft clicking sounds.

86. Nurse Shark

Nurse shark swimming near ocean floor
  • Scientific Name: Ginglymostoma cirratum
  • Habitat: Tropical and subtropical coastal waters of the Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans
  • Size: 130 to 267 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, squid, octopuses, sea urchins, crustaceans

Nurse sharks are large, peaceful fish that drift along the ocean’s floor. They suck up food from the substrate beneath them as they swim. Even though they’re sometimes found near humans, they rarely bite unless provoked. Some shark species need to swim constantly to breathe, but nurse sharks can pull water into their mouths to oxygenate their gills even when they’re resting in a still position.

87. Nutria

Nutria on grassy shore
  • Scientific Name: Myocastor coypus
  • Habitat: Along stretches of water across South America
  • Size: 14 to 22 pounds
  • Diet: Marsh plants

Nutria are native to South America, but they were brought to other areas like the United States for their fur. They’ve become an invasive species in those areas because each female can give birth to up to 200 nutrias in only a few years. They eat up to 25% of their body weight each day, which can be damaging to wetlands. They have orange front teeth because a mineral in their tooth enamel stains the teeth. These semi-aquatic mammals can stay underwater for up to five minutes at a time.

88. Nuttall’s Woodpecker

Nuttall's woodpecker sitting on tree
  • Scientific Name: Picoides nuttallii
  • Habitat: Wooded canyons of California and Baja California
  • Size: 6.3 to 7.1 inches long
  • Diet: Insects, nuts, seeds, fruits

These woodpeckers are named after Thomas Nuttall, a famous botanist and ornithologist. Males and females of this species look similar, but males have red feathers on top of their heads while females do not. They usually stand vertically on trees while they search for insects in the bark. They’re mostly solitary, but they form monogamous pairs during the breeding season. They create holes in dead trees to build their nests in.

89. Nyala

Nyala at watering hole
  • Scientific Name: Tragelaphus angasii
  • Habitat: Dry savannas and woodlands of southeastern Africa
  • Size: 150 to 276 pounds
  • Diet: Leaves, fruit, flowers, twigs

Nyalas are likely one of the oldest antelope species because they’ve been around for about 6 million years. They’re not territorial, but they will let out a high-pitched call that sounds like a barking dog to warn others of danger. When looking for food, they will sometimes follow baboons and eat the fruits and leaves that the primates leave behind. Male and female Nyalas look so different that they could be mistaken for different species. Males have yellow tips on their horns, but scientists are unsure why.

Animals Around the World

There are animals that start with N in every habitat around the world. Some are massive mammals while others are the tiniest insects. No matter how different each one is, they’re all fascinating to learn about. Luckily, there are just as many creatures under other letters of the alphabet, so there are always more cool facts to uncover.