Animals that start with h
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18 Animals That Start With H With Pictures and Facts

There are a surprising number of animals that start with H. In fact, if you think about it, you can probably come up with quite a few examples. But what are they? And why do they start with H? This article will explore some of the most common animals that start with H and provide a few interesting facts about each one.

18 Animals beginning with H  

1. Horned Frog

Horned Frog
Photo: Megophrys nasuta, Long-nosed horned frog. Credit: Rushen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Scientific names: Megophrys, Ceratophrys, and Pelobatrachus
Conservation status: Least concern
Fun fact: Ceratophrys frogs have an incredible bite force out of all frog species

The horned frog is first on our list of animals that start with H. Unsurprisingly, a Horned frog refers to frogs that have a hornlike appearance. There are various species of horned frogs, including the Asian, South American, and Rough horned frogs. These species are from different genera like Megophrys, Ceratophrys, and Pelobatrachus. 

The South American horned frog, also known as the Pacman frog, can live up to 6 years in captivity. However, it only lives a maximum of 4 years in the wild. There are up to eight species of the Pacman frog. 

Another genus of horned frogs is the rough-horned frog. It is endemic to Northern Borneo and Malaysia's Sabah and Sarawak provinces. You are more likely to find it in tropical lowland forests and rivers. Last, the genus Megophrys is endemic to Indonesia. 

Horned frogs have elongated eyebrows that look like pointy little horns. Their diet includes insects, small mammals, fish, small reptiles, and other frogs. Genus Ceratophrys have strong bite force and sticky tongues6, enabling them to tackle their prey successfully.

2. Honey Badger

Honey Badget
Photo Credit: Derek Keats (CC BY 2.0)

Scientific name:  Mellivora capensis
Conservation status: Least concern
Fun fact: honey badgers have an anal pouch that you can turn inside out

The honey badgers are next on our list of animals, beginning with H. They are native to the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and Southwest Asia. Honey badgers don't share a similar body structure with the remainder of the badger family. They share similar anatomic structures with the weasel family. They have thick but loose skin hanging off their body. 

You can recognize Honey Badgers by their small, flat head and short snout. Adult honey badgers grow to a maximum of 28cm and a full body length of  77cm16. Sexual dimorphism exists in their species. The male honey badger is larger than its female counterpart. These solitary creatures have an unusually short dental structure. 

Honey badgers are noteworthy for their digging skills, strength, and savagery. They eat bee larvae, honey, berries, roots, and bulbs, as well as insects, lizards, rodents, frogs, and turtles. Their long claws allow them to dig deep into the earth, attack their prey, and defend themselves from predators.

3. Honey buzzard

European Honey Buzzard
Photo: European Honey Buzzard, Credit: Bernard DUPONT (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Scientific name: Pernis apivorus
Conservation status: Least concern
Fun fact: crest honey buzzards are predators of cicadas13

Other animals that start with h are the honey buzzards. They are birds of prey split into four species. The species are the European honey buzzard, Crested honey buzzard, Barred honey buzzard, and Philippine honey buzzard. 

A Honey Buzzard is a large bird with various forms of plumages, making recognition a tad bit difficult. A honey buzzard can grow to a maximum length of 60cm and weigh up to 1,100g. Also, its wingspan ranges from 135cm to 150cm.

The honey buzzard is a migratory bird. The crested honey buzzard is endemic to South and Southeast Asia. It migrates to Siberia and Japan during summer and to Southeast Asia and the Indian continent during winter. 

Also, the European honey buzzard is a bird that migrates to tropical regions of Africa during the European winter seasons15. Honey buzzards prefer forest lowlands, hilly regions, woodlands, and exotic plantations. 

They are specialist feeders- meaning they mainly feed on a particular meal. The European honey buzzard feeds on larvae, wasps, and hornets. However, they can also eat small mammals, reptiles, and birds. The crested honey buzzard mainly feeds on the larvae of social honey bees (another animal that starts with h) and wasps, parts of honeycombs, and honey. It also eats tiny insects, small birds, frogs, and reptiles.

4. Horseshoe crab

Horseshoe crab
Photo: Xiphosura or Horseshoe Crab. Credit: annie! via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Scientific name: Limulidae
Conservation status: endangered
Fun fact: their eyes are highly sensitive to light at night10

Next on our list of animals beginning with h is the horseshoe crab. Horseshoe crabs are not true crabs. They are from the subphylum chelicerata, closely related to the arachnid species. You can locate the four species of horseshoe crabs in the south and southeast Asia, the Atlantic coast of the United States, and the southeast Gulf of Mexico.

This crab has a protective outer cover, known as the carapace or shell. It has up to 10 eyes, which include two compound eyes, a pair of median eyes that allow them to see ultraviolet light and visible light, a pair of ventral eyes, a pineal eye, and a pair of rudimentary lateral eyes.

Also, the female horseshoe crab is bigger than its male counterpart. For instance, the largest species, the Chinese female horseshoe crab, weighs about 4 kg and has a length of 79cm.

Horseshoe crabs prefer brackish and marine waters. You will find them in shallow marine waters with sandy or muddy beds.

Unfortunately, the species, which is thought to have remained largely unchanged for hundreds of millions of years, is experiencing a sharp decline in its population because of habitat loss and over-harvesting. An interesting feature of a female horseshoe crab is its ability to produce up to 60,000 eggs, a few batches at a time.  

5. Horn shark

Horn shark
Photo Credit: Ed Bierman (CC BY 2.0)

Scientific name: Heterodontus francisci
Conservation status: Data deficient
Fun fact: they have the strongest bite force out of all the small shark species

One of the animals that start with h is the horn shark. Horn sharks are endemic to the continental shelves of the eastern Pacific Ocean. You will see these types of sharks in the coastal waters of California, Baja California, and the Gulf of California. They usually swim at a maximum depth of 36 ft. However, they move deeper to the depth of 98ft.

This shark is more active during the night or in dark environments and becomes inactive as soon as it glimpses a beam of light. However, it becomes active as soon as its surroundings go dark. Scientists believe external conditions control its daily activity behavior instead of its internal physiological cycle1.

Their diet contains bivalves, gastropods, sea urchins, crabs, and shrimps. They also eat peanut worms, sea stars, and polychaete worms. They can break the hard shells of their prey because of their incredible bite force3.

Fortunately, horn sharks are not aggressive animals but will bite humans that harass them. Despite their small appearance, their fins are strong enough to inflict damage.

6. Howler Monkey

Howler Monkey
Photo: Brown Howler, Credit: Peter Schoen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Scientific name: Alouatta
Conservation status: Endangered 
Fun fact: the howler monkey is the only new world monkey with three photoreceptor cells

Animals beginning with the letter h include the howler monkey. They are the biggest members of the New World monkeys, with 15 species and seven subspecies of howler monkeys. These types of monkeys have wide, round noses sitting on short snouts. They use their wide noses to smell and locate food. Also, they are trichromats - they can see multiple colors like the human eye11.

An adult howler monkey has a maximum length of 36 inches, and the measurement doesn’t include its long tail. However, the male monkey is about 2 kg bigger than its female counterpart. It can live for no longer than 20 years. 

Moving on to their diet, the howler monkey mainly feeds on leaves. But they also eat fruits, buds, flowers, and eggs. Recently, researchers found a group of howlers eating chicken and bird eggs. They believe the species evolved from folivores (leaf-eating herbivores) to egg-eating.

The howler species are not solitary animals. They live in groups of 6 to 16 animals; only the mantled howler monkey lives in groups of 15 to 20. 

Also, they are loud communicators. Their enlarged hyoid bone allows them to communicate with loud, guttural growls and howls. As you can already tell, they got their name from their vocalization behaviors. Unfortunately, the Alouatta species constantly experience a wide and consistent range of habitat loss because of deforestation and habitat fragmentation4.

7. Hawaiian crow

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Scientific name: Corvus hawaiiensis
Conservation status: Extinct in the wild
Fun fact: there are no species of this crow alive in the wild environment, and Hawiaans believed they were a family guardian spirit.

This crow is an extinct species in the wild. The remaining members of the species are captive. Researchers identified the Hawaiin crow as a generalist species9, meaning it eats whatever is available across seasons. Hawaiian crows are omnivores and opportunistic feeders. They eat fruits, flower nectar, plants, invertebrates, and passerine eggs.

You’ll find these animals that start with h in the western and southeastern regions. These small birds had strong-flying and resourceful skills. Many factors contributed to the extinction of the crow. The factors included habitat degradation, deforestation, overhunting, and a small population. The crow's predators included rats and Asian mongooses. 

8. Humpback whales

Humpback whales
Photo by Mike Doherty on Unspla

Scientific name: Megaptera novaeangliae
Conservation status: Least concern 
Fun fact: they migrate up to 16,000 km annually

We next have the humpback whale from our list of animals beginning with h. We can find humpback whales in almost every coastal area around the world. You will see them in the North Atlantic and North Pacific coastal waters. Other places you’d see a humpback whale include the Indian Ocean and the tropical waters of central and south America.

The humpback whale is a baleen whale that weighs a staggering 40 metric tons- 40,000kg. Adult humpbacks are 49 ft long, but female humpbacks are 1.5 m longer than male whales. Their unique feature that sets it apart from other large whales is the bumps that grow on the front edge of their flippers. It earned them the name, humpback whale.   

The hump on its head is 10 cm thick at the base and grows up to 6.5 cm. Also, the hump has about 10,000 sensory nerves called tubercles14. The humpback whale eats from spring to fall. Its diet includes krill, herring, capelin, sand lances, and Atlantic mackerel. It eats by capturing its prey in a bubble netting as it gulps it into its mouth.  

Whale watching became an established commercial activity because of the humpback’s active surface behaviors, so whale watchers organized touring shows in New England and Hawaii. The humpback whale breeds during the winter because male whales reach their peak testosterone levels and the females reach the peak of their estrous cycle. They give birth every two years.

Related: 20 Wondrous Whale Facts

9. Harbor seal

Harbor seal
Photo by Meg Jerrard on Unsplash

Scientific name: Phoca vitulina
Conservation status: Least concern
Fun fact: female harbor seals live longer than male harbor seals

The Harbor seal is a large semi-aquatic mammal that is easily recognizable because of its v-shaped nose and the colors of its skin. A harbor seal can be any of the colors grey, tan, brown, or silvery-white. But its underbelly has a light color shade. 

Also, no harbor seal has an ear flap. Instead, they have a visible eye canal. An adult harbor seal weighs 168 kg, with a length of about 6 ft. Young harbor seals weigh up to 16 kg. 

Five subspecies of these animals start with h. They are the Eastern Atlantic, Pacific, and Western Atlantic common seals, Insular and Ungava seals. The harbor seal prefers temperate waters and arctic coastal areas of the northern hemisphere. Its various species are in the Pacific Oceans, North Seas, Atlantic, and Baltic marine waters. They prefer staying at places they’re familiar with. 

Harbor seals have a thick layer of vascularized body fat known as blubber under their skin. The blubber helps them regulate their body temperature. An interesting fact about harbor seals is their lifespan. Female harbor seals live ten years longer than males. 

10. Highland cattle

Highland cattle
Photo by Ján Jakub Naništa on Unsplash

Scientific name: Bos (primigenius) taurus
Conservation status: Not at risk
Fun fact: These cattle never go hungry

Animals that start with h include highland cattle. These cattle are a Scottish breed of rustic cattle endemic to the Scottish Highlands. Going back to 1885, people bred these cattle primarily for their beef in England. Farmers refer to a group of these cattle as a fold instead of a herd. 

Female cattle have an average weight of 450 kg and an average height of 105 m, while male cattle have an average height of 125 cm and an average weight of 450 kg. They have different coat colors ranging from reddish-brown, yellow, black, pale silver, and brindle. Also, their coats have two thick layers that help them survive the highlands weather.  

11. Horned viper

Horned viper
Photo Credit: Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Scientific name: Vipera ammodytes
Conservation status: Least concern
Fun fact: humans farm horned vipers to produce antivenom for the bite of other European vipers

The horned viper is deep in our list of animals beginning with H. Horned vipers are some of the most dangerous animals endemic to northern Italy, the Balkans, and some parts of Anatolia. A horned viper is a venomous snake that grows up to 20 inches long. It has irregular scales on its head, but its unique physical feature is its horn. 

The horn sits just above the rostral scale on its snout. It is a soft horn that grows up to 5 mm long. The color pattern of the horned viper varies according to sex. In females, the color pattern is usually not as bright as their male counterparts. Male horned vipers have irregular dark grey, brown, and black markings on their head. Their body comes in different shades of grey, like pink-grey and yellow-brown. 

Adult horned vipers eat small mammals and birds, while the young ones feed on lizards. They are one of the most dangerous snakes in Europe. Their venom is highly dangerous to humans, mice, and birds. However, their venoms help produce antivenom for other European viper snakes.

Related: 25 Surprising and Slippery Snake Facts 

12. Honduran white bat

Honduran white bat
Photo Credit: Charlie Jackson (CC BY 2.0)

Scientific name: Ectophylla alba
Conservation status: Near threatened 
Fun fact: the Honduran bat is one of the two smallest species of bats that feed on a fig tree12.

We have the Honduran white bat on our list of animals, beginning with h. The Honduran white bat, also known as the Caribbean white tent-making bat, is a small, all-white bat. You will find it in Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and western Panama. It weighs a maximum of 6 g, only growing up to 2 inches long. 

Besides its white fur, its other unique feature is its leaf-shaped nose. It also has large, rounded ears but is a tailless bat. The Honduran white bat earned the name tent-making bat because it cuts the side veins of large leaves to form a tent. The leaves used to construct tents only last seven weeks and a half8.

13. Huntsman spiders

Huntsman spider
Photo Credit: Peter Shanks (CC BY 2.0)

Scientific name: Sparassidae
Conservation status: Not extinct
Fun fact: adults don't build webs

There are over 1000 species of the huntsman spider. Many of these species are large, growing up to 12 inches long. Their legs are twisted, allowing them to walk like crabs. Also, most species alternate between colors brown and grey for their upper body, while their lower body is black and white. 

They are furry animals that prefer to live under rocks and tree bark. They are endemic to tropical and temperate regions around the world. A huntsman spider's diet includes insects, small skinks, and geckos. Also, these h animals produce lethal venom known to paralyze their prey.

14. Harris hawks

Harris hawks
Photo Credit: Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Scientific name: Parabuteo unicinctus
Conservation status: Least concern
Fun fact: they hunt in packs 

These animals that start with h are enormous birds with brown plumage, red shoulders, yellow legs, yellow curved bills, and white-tipped tails. It is about 23 inches long, and its wingspan is between 41 and 47 inches. Female Harris hawks are larger than males. The male hawk weighs an average of 701g, while the female weighs about 1,029 g. 

You are more likely to find these h animals in sparse woodland, semi-dessert, marshes, and mangrove areas. It feeds on small animals like birds, lizards, mammals, and large insects. A pack of Harris hawks often take down big prey as a pack with their firm feet and long talons. Hunting in groups of two to six is more successful than lone hunting.

15. Herring gulls

Herring gull
Photo by Jason Thompson on Unsplash

Scientific name: Larus smithsonianus
Conservation status: Least concern 
Fun fact: male and female herring gull co-parent the young

The herring gull is an enormous bird with a strong, slightly curved bill, a full chest, and a tilted forehead. The species experiences sexual dimorphism, with male herring gulls weighing up to 1600 g. Female herring gulls weigh between 600-900 g, and they are up to 24 in tall. Their wingspan is about 47 to 61 inches wide.

The herring gull feeds on mussels, sea urchins, crabs, squid, capelin, alewife, and smelt. It is native to northern North America, Central America, Hawaii, and the west Indies. However, it prefers to nest near water areas along coasts, islands, and cliffs. 

In the 1930s, they faced the risk of extinction because humans were hunting them for their eggs and feathers. Over time, their population became stable because of the enforcement of protection laws.

16. Harp seal

Harp seal

Scientific name: Pagophilus groenlandicus
Conservation status: Least concern
Fun fact: harp seals have a good sense of direction, coupled with superb eyesight

Harp seals are sexually dimorphic- a male harp seal weighs an average of 135 kg, while their female counterpart weighs an average of 120 kg. A male harp seal grows up to 6.2 ft long, while a female one is about 5.9 ft long. You can distinguish a mature harp seal by its pure black eyes and its silver-grey coat. A seal pup has a yellow-stained coat from amniotic fluid during birth. 

Harp seals are highly migratory and can travel as much as 4,000 km away from their breeding sites. They eat krill, capelin, herring, flatfish, Gadiformes fish, and other invertebrates. However, they get stranded on Atlantic coasts because of dehydration and parasites. 

One of the harp seal’s unique features is its enormous eyes. The large spherical lens in its eyes gives it an impeccable focus, while its mobile pupil allows it to withstand Arctic ice’s glare.

17. Hammerhead sharks

Hammerhead shark
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Scientific name: Sphyrnidae
Conservation status: at risk of extinction 
Fun fact: they are a viviparous species

Next on our list of animals that start with h is the hammerhead shark. Hammerhead sharks got their name from the structure of their heads. They have flattened, rectangular heads. However, some hammerhead sharks have a central notched, rounded head and an unnotched rounded head. Also, they have unusually small oral offices.

Hammerhead sharks weigh up to 700 kg and grow up to 20 ft long. You will find them swimming in schools during the day at Malpelo Island, Galápagos Islands, Banda Islands, and Molokai island. But they prefer to move alone at dusk. They eat fish, squid, crustaceans, and octopuses. There are nine species of hammerhead sharks. However, they're all at risk of going extinct. 

They only reproduce once a year. For reproduction to happen, the male hammerhead shark bites the female aggressively until she agrees to mate with him. A female hammerhead shark gives birth to 12 to 20 pups. They then leave the pups to fend for themselves. 

18. Hummingbirds

Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

Scientific name: Trochilidae
Conservation status: Up to 10 species critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable
Fun fact: hummingbirds have the highest level of metabolism among all animals

Hummingbirds are a species with unique abilities. We refer to these bird species as hummingbirds because of the humming sound they produce. They produce these sounds when they flap their wings at varied intervals. This humming serves as a communication system that allows them to alert other birds to present danger or a female hummingbird2.

For instance, they have the highest metabolism rate among animals during their flights. They need a high metabolism rate to keep up with their fast wings while they are in the air5. Interestingly, their kidneys can control electrolyte levels when they eat nectar with high and zero levels of sodium and chloride7. They also live long despite their high metabolism rates.

Related:  You might also like our compilation of Hummingbird facts

List of other animals that start with h

There are many animals that begin with the letter h. While not exhaustive, here's a bunch more with a fact or two about each.

  1. Hamsters - Hamsters are well-known for their cute and cuddly appearance, but they are also fascinating creatures. They have pouches in their cheeks that allow them to carry food and bedding back to their burrows. They are also nocturnal, which means they are most active at night. For more, you might like our hamster quotes.
  2. Hagfish - Hagfish are often considered some of the most primitive creatures in the world. They lack a backbone and have a unique defense mechanism where they produce large amounts of slime to protect themselves from predators.
  3. Harpy eagle - The harpy eagle is one of the largest and most powerful birds of prey in the world. It can weigh up to 20 pounds and has a wingspan of up to 7 feet. They are native to the rainforests of Central and South America and are skilled hunters of monkeys, sloths, and other mammals. Incredibly, the harpy eagle has talons as big as a grizzly bear's claws!
  4. Hermit crab - Hermit crabs are known for their habit of using discarded shells as their home. As they grow, they must find larger shells to move into. They are also social creatures that often live in groups, which helps protect them from predators.
  5. Husky - Huskies are a breed of dog that was originally bred for their endurance and ability to work in cold climates. They are famous for their thick, fluffy fur and piercing blue eyes. They are also known for their friendly and outgoing personalities.
  6. Horned beetle - Horned beetles, also known as rhinoceros beetles, have large horns on their heads that they use to fight with other males over mates. They are also known for their impressive strength and can lift objects up to 850 times their own weight.
  7. Hyena - Hyenas are often portrayed as villainous creatures in popular culture, but they are actually fascinating animals. They have incredibly strong jaws and can crack the bones of their prey to access the nutritious marrow inside. They are also highly social and live in groups called clans.
  8. Hawk - Hawks are birds of prey that are known for their keen eyesight and impressive hunting skills. They can spot their prey from great distances and can swoop down to catch prey with lightning-fast speed. There are many different species of hawks, ranging in size from the tiny sharp-shinned hawk to the massive harpy eagle.
  9. Hornet - Hornets are a type of wasp that are known for their painful stings. They are also highly social and live in large colonies. Unlike honeybees, hornets can sting multiple times without dying, making them a formidable opponent.
  10. Horned lizard - Horned lizards, also known as horny toads, are a type of lizard that is native to the Americas. They have a unique defense mechanism where they can shoot blood from their eyes to deter predators. They are also known for their impressive camouflage, which allows them to blend in with their surroundings.
  11. Honey bee - Honey bees are some of the most important insects in the world, playing a crucial role in pollinating crops and other plants. They are also fascinating creatures with complex social hierarchies and the ability to communicate with each other through dance. For more about the fascinating world of bees, you might like our bee facts and rundown on types of bees, from the common to the rare.
  12. Housefly - Houseflies are a common household pest, but they are also fascinating creatures. They have a highly developed sense of smell and can detect food from great distances. They are also incredibly fast, with the ability to fly up to 5 miles per hour.
  13. Hedgehogs - Hedgehogs are adorable creatures that are known for their spiny exterior. They are also skilled climbers and can scale walls and fences with ease. They are also nocturnal and are most active at night.
  14. Hobo spider - The hobo spider is a venomous spider that is found throughout the United States. Despite their reputation, they are actually quite shy and will typically avoid contact with humans if possible. They are also skilled hunters and can catch and eat other spiders that are larger than themselves. However, their venom can be dangerous to humans and can cause a range of symptoms, including swelling, nausea, and headaches.
  15. Hawaiian monk seal - The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest seals in the world, with a population of only around 1,400 individuals. They are also one of the only seal species that are found exclusively in warm, tropical waters. Despite their name, they are not actually true seals but are instead a unique species of seal that is closely related to the Caribbean monk seal, which is now extinct. They are known for their docile and curious nature and are a beloved symbol of Hawaii's natural beauty.
  16. Hartebeest - The hartebeest is a large African antelope that is known for its distinctive appearance, with a sloping back and elongated face. Despite their ungainly appearance, they are actually one of the fasted animals in the region and can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour) when threatened. They are also known for their stamina and can run for long distances without tiring, which helps them to evade predators like lions and hyenas. However, despite their impressive speed and endurance, hartebeest populations are declining due to habitat loss and hunting.

More A-Z Animals:


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Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

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