What other animals that start with D besides dogs and deer do you know? Discover more creatures and their unique traits, behaviors, habitats, diets, and conservation status. From dragonflies to dugongs, prepare to deepen your appreciation for the diversity of this part of the animal kingdom.
The Deer head Chihuahua has a unique head shape resembling a deer but is a dog breed. They have a longer muzzle and expressive eyes and weigh between 3.3 and 6.6 pounds. These little dogs have a lifespan of 13 to 16 years.
Moreover, these dogs are charming and spirited; owners must keep them on a high-quality diet and exercise regularly. They generally get along with families and other pets but may be cautious around strangers.
Owners must train them early and send them for regular vet check-ups as they may be susceptible to heart problems, hydrocephalus, and patellar luxation.
Related Read: Dog Facts.
Although it is only two inches in size, Desert Rain Frogs reside in the sandy regions of Namibia and South Africa. Its plump, round body has smooth skin ranging from yellow to dark brown. It also acts as a water tank.
As the sun sets in the desert, this animal that starts with D emerges from its burrow to hunt. Its diet consists of small invertebrates like beetles and spiders. Its nocturnal habits help it conserve water in the arid environment.
To protect themselves, they can puff up their bodies and let out an unexpected squeaky sound to scare off predators.
Related Read: Frog Facts.
The Desert Locust is infamous for its migratory pest behavior, which causes significant damage, especially in their habitats in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia arid regions.
Adult locusts can grow up to 2.5 inches in size and transform from solitary individuals to social groups under specific conditions.
Moreover, they change color from pink during their juvenile stage to striking yellow and black during adulthood.
Billions of locusts can consume as much food as 35,000 people daily. They eat leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, and crops at an amount equivalent to their body weight daily, causing significant agricultural damage when they gather in swarms.
These insects can travel up to 93 miles daily with the wind behind them.
Female Desert Locusts lay their eggs in damp soil, with each female producing between 80 and 160 eggs. These insects reproduce quickly, forming large swarms.
However, desert locusts play a crucial role in their ecosystem as a food source for birds, reptiles, and insects. They are also an essential component of the food chain, and their existence is vital to maintaining the balance of the ecosystem.
Related read: Grasshopper Facts.
Despite their name, Dutch Rabbits are actually from England. This breed has existed since the 19th century and is known for the white blaze on its face, white chest, front paws, and colored saddles and hindquarters.
They are small, typically weighing 3.5 to 5.5 pounds, but they are energetic and enjoy moving around, playing, and exploring. They also love companionship, whether it's with humans or other rabbits.
If you want to take care of one, provide them with frequent exercise to maintain optimum health and well-being. Additionally, they thrive in spacious and clean environments and are not picky eaters, requiring a diet rich in hay, pellets, vegetables, and occasional treats.
Read more: Other types of rabbits.
A trip to Africa or the Arabian peninsula's sun-baked plains reveals the habitat of the first wild donkeys. These members of the horse family are among the earliest domesticated animals and are known for their strength3.
They stand 3.5 to 5 feet tall and can carry up to 20% of their body weight. Their sturdy bodies and ability to navigate different terrains have made them a reliable partner to humans for centuries.
Moreover, their large ears are good for listening out for danger and helping them stay cool in the blazing heat. Their digestive systems also squeeze out every last drop of moisture from their food, a vital advantage in their natural habitat compared to their horse relatives.
Additionally, donkeys are social creatures that produce various sounds, including their famous bray, which they use to express themselves. They form tight-knit communities and can show sadness when separated from their friends.
Part of the canine family, Dingoes are crucial to Australia's ecosystem for being the country's most formidable land predators. These lean and agile creatures have pale yellow or ginger-red fur with occasional black, tan, or pure white markings, allowing them to blend in with the Australian outback.
Besides barking, these animals that start with D communicate through howls, growls, chortles, and soft snuffs, setting them apart from other canine species.
While they are primarily solitary creatures, they can display pack behavior when necessary, such as hunting larger prey or surviving harsh conditions. They mainly feed on small prey like rabbits, rodents, birds, and lizards, which helps to control their populations.
Read more: Dingo Facts.
The smallest crocodile species in Sub-Saharan Africa is the Dwarf Crocodile. These crocs inhabit the swamps and slow-moving rivers of the region and are well-adapted to survive in the wild.
With their tough, armored skin and powerful jaws, they are primarily active at night and spend most of the daytime in burrows or pools1. Despite its size, it can take on larger prey and eats crustaceans, small fish, amphibians, insects, mammals, and birds.
Interestingly, this crocodile is one of the few species that uses tools. For instance, It uses sticks and branches as bait to trick birds looking for nesting materials.
Regarding reproduction, female dwarf crocodiles lay a clutch of 10 to 20 eggs, which they carefully hide inside a mound of vegetation. The vegetation generates heat, acting as a natural incubator for the eggs.
The mother crocodile guards the eggs throughout their incubation and helps the babies reach the water when they hatch. This level of parental care is rare among reptiles.
Related Read: Crocodile Facts.
The Amazon River basin is home to the Discus Fish, a vibrant sea creature ranging from fiery red to electric blue. These freshwater fish can reach eight inches long.
Moreover, these animals are also known for their social behavior, often sticking together in schools to protect against predators.
During breeding times, these fish become territorial and fiercely defend their eggs. They perform a courtship dance before the female lays her eggs, which is as complex as their social dynamics.
Their unique parenting style involves both parents secreting a skin mucus that their fry feeds on in the first days of life, a nurturing act distinguishing them from other aquatic species.
Because of their appearance and behavior, they earned the title “King of the Aquarium.”
The Darwin's frog is a unique amphibian found in the forests of Chile and Argentina. They have a sharp snout and slender body, sporting a blend of green and brown hues, often peppered with small white spots.
This peculiar amphibian is named after the naturalist Charles Darwin, who discovered the species during his voyage on the HMS Beagle in Chile.
Unlike other frog species, the male takes on the task of guarding the eggs after the female lays them. Instead of placing the eggs in a pond or stream, the male frog swallows them and keeps them in his vocal sac, a temporary nursery for the developing tadpoles.
During this time, the male frog abstains from eating to protect and nourish his offspring. After six weeks, the tadpoles undergo a fascinating transformation inside the male's vocal sac and emerge as fully developed froglets.
Related Read: Types of Amphibians.
The warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans are home to the Dugongs, often called the sea cows. This marine mammal moves elegantly in its underwater habitat, thanks to its torpedo-shaped body.
Surprisingly, Dugongs are genetically similar to elephants despite their resemblance to dolphins4. Their snout is specifically adapted for grazing in seagrass beds, and they graze carefully along the seabed, which helps to encourage the growth of seagrass.
This behavior creates a habitat supporting marine life and ecosystem. However, Dugongs face numerous threats in their natural habitats, resulting in their IUCN classification as vulnerable. These threats include habitat destruction, hunting, and accidental ensnarement in fishing equipment.
Despite being dubbed one of the ugliest animals, these animals that start with D are famously linked with mermaid mythology.
Dragonflies are fascinating insects known for their striking wings and complex compound eyes, essential for their hunting activities.
They use their wings to capture food sources like flies, mosquitoes, and other dragonflies. As formidable prey in nature, they have a whopping hunting success rate of 97%. That is significantly higher than lions!
Moreover, the life cycle of dragonflies is equally impressive. They spend most of their lives as nymphs underwater, feeding on insects and small fish. This stage can last up to two years, after which the nymphs emerge as fully grown adults and take to the air, where they live for only six months.
Dragonflies are also known for their vibrant colors, ranging from blue and green to yellow and red. These colors are influenced by various factors such as age, species, and temperature and can also help camouflage the insects in their surroundings.
Apart from their beauty, dragonflies indicate the health of wetlands thanks to their sensitivity to changes in water quality and pollution.
Related Read: Dragonfly Facts.
Desert Ghost Ball Pythons live in different parts of Africa, such as Senegal, Uganda, and Sudan. Its distinct skin features a mix of soft pastel and cream hues, giving it an almost ghostly look, resulting from a recessive gene from both parent pythons.
This python is a nocturnal creature that employs strategic hunting tactics, waiting for prey to come within reach. It primarily feeds on small mammals and occasionally birds, using its ambush skills to catch them.
In the wild, this species has an average lifespan of around ten years, but under proper care in captivity, it can live up to thirty years.
Related Read: Python Facts.
The next animal that starts with D is another member of the canine family, the Dhole. They live in diverse landscapes across Central, South, and Southeast Asia, looking like a mix between a gray wolf and a red fox.
Despite its resemblance to the man’s best friend, these endangered species avoid human interaction, adding to their mysterious person.
They often form packs ranging in size from 5 to 12 members. The alpha pair are the only ones permitted to breed within the pack, while the remaining pack members follow designated roles, such as tending to and safeguarding the young.
Likewise, dholes depend on their exceptional endurance to pursue prey relentlessly rather than using stealth2, allowing them to outlast their prey. Their teeth are well-equipped for tearing flesh, allowing them to hunt deer and wild boar easily. When needed, they include fruits and vegetables in their primarily carnivorous diet.
The Desert Tortoise is famous for surviving in the hot and dry environments of the United States southwest regions and northern Mexico. To spot them, they have high-domed shells that change from a green tint to a rich brown as they age.
Adult Desert Tortoises measure 10 to 14 inches and weigh 8 to 15 pounds. They can live up to 80 years in the wild and over 100 years in captivity.
They consume a mix of grasses, wildflowers, and cacti when these plants sprout new growth or bear fruit and flowers.
To survive their arid homes, they can store water in their bladder, which allows them to reabsorb the water. They also find refuge in burrows, which protect them against predators and extreme weather conditions.
The Desert Tortoise leads a solitary lifestyle but becomes more social during the breeding season from August to October. Female tortoises lay 4 to 8 eggs during this time. As the next summer ends or fall begins, the hatchlings emerge.
Dung beetles have a distinct appearance with robust, rounded bodies, club-like antennae, and shovel-shaped legs, existing worldwide except in Antarctica. As their name suggests, they eat feces, which they use for sustenance and as a nursery for their offspring.
Because of that, their diet plays a critical ecological role in recycling nutrients into the soil, improving its structure and drainage. These animals that start with D also help control the flies and parasites that breed in feces, making them essential for agriculture and the environment.
These impressive creatures can shape dung into balls, sometimes up to 50 times their body weight. They can even use the Milky Way and other celestial bodies to navigate and ensure they roll their dung balls straight.
Related read: Dung Beetle Facts.
The Dusky Shark is an imposing figure in any oceanic environment. This shark species has a long, slender body with a round snout, sporting a bluish or grayish coloring with a lighter tone on its belly.
These marine wild animals inhabit temperamental waters worldwide. Despite this significant global presence, IUCN deems the Dusky Shark as Endangered. Overfishing and bycatch incidents have significantly impacted their population, prompting urgent remedial strategies to ensure survival.
Related Read: Types of Sharks.
The next animal that starts with D is another beetle species. The Devil's Coach Horse Beetle is a tiny creature stretching nearly 1.1 inches long. Living in humid and damp environments, this species thrives in leaf litter, under stones, and in loose bark. They are mostly black with paler, brownish legs and a set of enormous jaws that are clearly visible.
When threatened, the beetle adopts a scorpion-like posture, raising its abdomen and opening its fierce jaws. Its dark appearance and unique defensive stance have earned it its name, portraying a coach driven by the devil.
The De Kay's Brown Snake has a brown to greyish-brown color with two parallel rows of dark spots running along its back, typically measuring 9 to 15 inches long. It has a lighter-colored belly, usually off-white or light tan, with small dark spots.
Commonly found throughout the Eastern and Central United States, this animal that starts with D dwells in forests, marshes, farmlands, and even suburban regions.
This snake species is most active during dusk and dawn, often hunting for its preferred prey of slugs, snails, and earthworms. Interestingly, instead of laying eggs, the De Kay's Brown Snake gives birth to live young, an uncommon trait among North American snake species.
Darwin's Fox is a small fox species sporting a dark grey coat with a rusty hue, only reaching around 25 inches long, excluding the bushy tail. Almost half its length, its tail can measure up to 11 inches.
This elusive creature dwells primarily in the dense, temperate rainforests of Chiloé Island, Southern Chile. It hides within the forest undergrowth during the daytime, coming out mostly at night to hunt. Unlike other foxes, it does not resort to scavenging, instead focusing on hunting small animals and birds using its keen senses and swift movements.
Related Read: Fox Facts.
The Death's Head Cockroach derived its name from the striking skull-shaped pattern found on its thorax. The skull-like design gives this creature a macabre feature, unique among other insects.
Native to Central and South America, this cockroach resides in warm and humid environments. True to the cockroach's notorious reputation, the Death's Head Cockroach has a unique survival behavior - it can survive without food for up to a month.
The Dove is a medium-sized bird exhibiting a wide range of colors from white to brown. They have round eyes, which contribute significantly to their innocent appeal. Thanks to their adaptability, these ever-famous bird species can live in various environments, ranging from woods and deserts to urban settings.
Try to observe them while drinking, and you will see their human-like techniques. Unlike other bird species, which need to tilt back their heads to swallow, doves can sip!
Related Read: Dove Facts.
The Dorking, a five-toed domesticated breed of chicken, stands out due to its distinctive recognition features. Tracing back its lineage, they are one of the oldest chicken breeds originally bred by the Romans.
This type of chicken has a rectangular body shape. It stands proudly erect, with its back sloping downwards from the shoulders to the tail, with a height between 12 and 15 inches.
To distinguish them from other breeds, dorkings are docile but active foragers. They also have a fondness for brooding, where the hen incubates the eggs and looks after the chicks once hatched.
Dolphins have a distinct, streamlined shape that is universally recognizable. They typically vary from 6 to 12 feet long and possess a light gray to black color with a lighter underside.
These aquatic mammals predominantly inhabit warm, tropical oceans globally, but certain species can also thrive in cooler waters. Notable for their intelligence, dolphins exhibit unique behaviors such as using complex vocalizations and echolocation, a biological sonar system helpful in communicating and hunting.
Even though they have an IUCN status of Least Concern, dolphins continuously face human-induced threats such as environmental pollution, entanglement in fishing nets, and hunting of their meat and oil.
Related Read: Dolphin Facts.
The Drever is a small to medium-sized dog breed, standing about 11 to 16 inches tall and weighing between 32 and 35 pounds. This breed is known for its stocky body and dense straight furs.
Native to Sweden, Drevers primarily inhabit forested terrains wherein they are bred for hunting deer. Thanks to their powerful sense of smell and keen sense of hearing, Drevers can detect and trail their prey effectively.
D is indeed for diversity when it comes to the world of animals. These species, highlighting varying habitats, physical features, and behaviors, reflect Earth's biodiversity.
By gaining a closer understanding of these fascinating creatures, we deepen our reverence for the richness and resilience of life while simultaneously acknowledging our responsibility to protect them and their habitats.
Eaton, M. J. (2009). Dwarf Crocodile Osteolaemus tetraspis. Crocodiles. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Third Edition, Gland, Switzerland: IUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist Group. pp. 127–132.
Venkataraman, A. B., Arumugam, R., & Sukumar, R. (1995). The foraging ecology of dhole (Cuon alpinus) in Mudumalai Sanctuary, southern India. Journal of Zoology, 237(4), 543-561.
Rossel, S., Marshall, F., Peters, J., Pilgram, T., Adams, M., & O’Connor, D. (2008). Domestication of the donkey: Timing, processes, and indicators. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(10), 3715–3720.
Marsh, H., O'Shea, T. J., & Reynolds, J. E. (2011). Ecology and conservation of the Sirenia: Dugongs and manatees. Cambridge University Press.
Isabela is a determined millennial passionate about continuously seeking out ways to make an impact. With a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering with honors, Isabela’s research expertise and interest in artistic works, coupled with a creative mindset, offers readers a fresh take on different environmental, social, and personal development topics.