animals that start with m

33 Animals That Start With M With Pictures And Facts

You can find these animals that start with "M" in different habitats, including oceans, forests, deserts, and jungles, providing a glimpse into the Earth's diverse ecosystems. Studying these animals can teach us about their unique characteristics, behaviors, habitats, and diets. 

Additionally, there are many intriguing hidden curiosities about these creatures. The following sections take us on a journey to appreciate these animals beginning with M. Whether you are an animal enthusiast, a studious researcher, or a casual reader fascinated by wildlife, you will enjoy these interesting facts.

33 Animals that Start with M

1. Monkeys

monkey
Photo by Juan Rumimpunu on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Did you know monkeys are social animals? They live in groups comprising a few individuals to over a hundred members. They are also social primates that groom, play, and share food among the group. 

Monkeys live on different continents, including Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Over 260 species of monkeys fall under two main groups: Old World monkeys from Africa and Asia, such as baboons and macaques, and New World monkeys from Central America and other regions, like the capuchins and spider monkeys.

Old World monkeys are colorful and have close-set nostrils, while New World monkeys have wide-set, side-facing nostrils and prehensile tails. Despite their physical differences, all monkeys possess high levels of intelligence and agility.

Read more: learn about the different types of monkeys, and explore our monkey facts.

2. Meerkats

meerkat
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Meerkats are social animals that live in groups called mobs or clans. They exhibit cooperative behavior and work together to forage for food and ensure the group's safety. Meerkats use a variety of vocalizations and alarm calls to communicate with each other and warn of potential dangers such as predators like eagles or snakes.

Meerkats are members of the mongoose family and live primarily in the arid landscapes of Southern Africa, including Namibia and South Africa. They stand on their hind legs and watch for unexpected intruders. Moreover, these social animals live in intricate burrow systems that can house mobs or clans of up to 50 members5.

Read more: Meerkat facts.

3. Moose

moose
Photo by Richard Lee on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Moose are highly skilled swimmers. Despite their large size and bulky appearance, they can swim long distances. Their powerful legs enable them to paddle through lakes and rivers with ease. Additionally, moose can dive underwater to feed on aquatic plants such as water lilies and pondweed. 

The moose is the largest member of the deer family, living in North America, Europe, and Asia. They possess broad, palmate antlers that reach up to six feet long. Moose can easily navigate diverse environments, such as dense forests and tranquil rivers.

Moreover, they can dive up to 18 feet to feed on aquatic plants. Their diet also includes leaves, twigs, and bark. Despite their size, they can also run 35 miles per hour when necessary and usually trot at 20 miles per hour.

Read more: Moose facts.

4. Mice

mice
Photo by Giuseppe Martini on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Mice have an exceptional sense of smell. They can detect odors and navigate their environment effortlessly. They can also differentiate between different scents and use their sense of smell to communicate. 

These common animals become active at night and engage in various activities. They have soft fur, which can be white, brown, or grey. Mice can thrive in different environments, including rural areas and urban centers.

Additionally, mice have complex social structures and unique communication styles2, using high-pitched sounds to communicate in a language beyond the human auditory range. Female mice can also deliver up to 12 babies every three weeks. Mice also share genetic similarities with humans, offering insights into genetics, biology, and behavior.

Read more: Mouse facts.

5. Macaws

macaw
Photo by Levente Balogh on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Macaws have brightly colored feathers and exceptional vocal abilities. These brilliant birds can imitate human speech and even recognize the meaning of certain words. Moreover, some macaws have developed a vocabulary of up to 50 words.

Native to Central South America, macaws are big birds, typically blue, red, yellow, and green, making them stand out from other parrots. The Hyacinth Macaw, for instance, can grow up to 100 cm, the largest among the macaw family. Moreover, macaws are clever social creatures, often seen chattering in pairs or groups. Their loud calls mark their territory.

Read more: Macaw facts.

6. Manatees

manatees
Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Manatees are sometimes called "sea cows" due to their large size and herbivorous diet. These ocean animals spend significant time feeding on aquatic plants, consuming up to 10% of their body weight daily. 

There is only one species of manatee. These strange-looking creatures follow a laid-back lifestyle of consuming food, resting, and gliding through water. Their slow metabolism requires a warm environment; water temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit can pose a health risk. Manatees also use their large, flexible upper lip to forage and communicate with others.

7. Manta Rays

manta ray
Photo by Wang John on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Manta rays are among the largest rays in the world. They can reach up to 23 feet widths and weigh over 3,000 pounds. Despite their size, they do not threaten humans as they lack teeth and stingers. Manta rays swim effortlessly through their flat and broad bodies. Additionally, they often jump out of the water and perform impressive flips.

Moreover, manta rays are filter feeders3, mainly eating tiny plankton. They open their giant mouths while feeding, allowing water to flow in and their microscopic meals. Their gill rakers, a natural water filter, capture the food and let the water flow.

Read more: Manta Ray facts.

8. Magpies

magpie
Photo by Natasha Miller on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Magpies, probably one of the more well-known animals that start with M, are brilliant birds with black and white plumage. For example, they can solve complex problems and recognize themselves in mirrors, a trait shared by only a few select animals6.

As social birds, magpies often form tight-knit family groups. During the breeding season, they mob predators to protect their nests. 

Magpies are members of the Corvidae family, along with crows and jays. The creatures typically live in the Northern Hemisphere, mainly in Europe, Asia, and western North America. They tend to frequent open areas with light tree coverage and urban parks, but they can make homes in suburban neighborhoods. They eat berries, nuts, and small rodents. 

9. Mallards

mallard
Photo by Håkon Helberg on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Mallards have green heads, yellow bills, and colorful feathers. They also thrive in various habitats, including urban parks, suburban ponds, marshes, lakes, and estuaries.

These ducks eat aquatic plants, small insects or worms, and sometimes grains. Mallards also migrate to warmer climates during the winter.

Read more: Duck facts.

10. Marmosets

marmoset
Photo by Paulo Infante on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Marmosets are small primates native to South America that observe a unique cooperative breeding system where parents and sometimes even older siblings actively raise the young. Fathers carry the babies on their backs, grooming and providing them with food. This cooperative parenting helps young marmosets survive and strengthens their social bonds.

Marmosets have big, bright eyes and long snouts and are usually not much bigger than a squirrel, with an average size of 20 cm. Their ears also have tufts of hair around them. Despite their small size, marmosets have adapted well to their environment7.

Read more: Finger Monkey facts.

11. Mynah Birds

mynah bird
Photo by viswaprem anbarasapandian on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Mynah birds are tremendous mimics, able to copy human speech, other bird calls, and mechanical noises like car alarms or ringing phones. Some mynah birds have even learned hundreds of different sounds. 

Mynah birds are a member of the starling family and are native to southern Asia, particularly India. They have glossy black bodies, yellow beaks, and eye patches; their wings show white flashes when they fly. Moreover, they eat fruits, insects, worms, and occasionally small reptiles or amphibians like tiny frogs. They thrive in open spaces with trees, such as forests and urban parks.

12. Mandrills

mandrill
Photo by Jessy Hoffmann on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Mandrills are primates with red and blue skin on their faces; they are among the most colorful mammals in the animal kingdom. Moreover, their colors can change depending on their mood or social status. 

As the largest species of monkey, males can weigh up to 60 pounds, twice that of females. The mandrill's blue and red faces and buttocks are crucial in social communication and social dominance1.

13. Mollusks

mollusk
Photo by Diana Roberts on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Mollusks, a family of animals that start with m, including snails, clams, and octopuses, have adapted to every environment on Earth, from ocean trenches to mountaintops. Some mollusks can survive in extreme conditions, such as hydrothermal vents and freezing temperatures. With over 100,000 known species, mollusks come in various shapes, sizes, and colors.

Moreover, these creatures are known for their soft bodies, often covered by a protective shell.

Read more: Snail facts and Octopus facts.

14. Mountain Lions

mountain lion
Photo by Zach Key on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Mountain lions can leap up to 40 feet horizontally in a single bound. Their powerful hind legs and muscular bodies allow them to navigate mountainous habitats.

Moreover, mountain lions can easily climb and swim. They have adapted to forests, deserts, mountains, and humid and frosty conditions. As carnivorous hunters, these felines prefer to hunt deer8. However, they won't turn down smaller prey like coyotes, raccoons, and rodents.

Read more: Lion facts.

15. Mules

mule
Photo by mariohagen on Pixabay

Fun Fact: Mules cross between a male donkey and a female horse, resulting in a species inheriting both parents' best qualities. They are valuable pack animals, able to carry heavy loads and navigate challenging terrains. They are also commonly used in agriculture, transportation, and recreational activities such as hiking and trail riding. Moreover, mules are intelligent and sure-footed.

The mule possesses the donkey's exceptional endurance and the horse's swift agility. Mules have a longer lifespan than most equine breeds, living for about 30 to 50 years, attributed to their hardy constitution and hybrid vigor.

16. Marlins

Fun Fact: Did you know that marlins can reach up to 68 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour) in the water? With their sleek bodies and long, pointed bills, marlins are some of the fastest fish in the ocean. 

Their preferred domains are tropical and temperate waters, where they often roam in solitude or small, intimate groups. Sometimes, marlins leap out of the water, especially when caught by fishermen. These formidable fish eat other fish and squid.

17. Musk Oxen

musk oxen
Photo by AkousticPic on Pixabay

Fun Fact: When threatened, musk oxen form a protective circle around their young. The adults face outward and point their sharp horns at the potential threat. This behavior, known as the "musk oxen wall," helps deter predators like wolves and Arctic foxes.

The musk oxen defy the odds in the unforgiving Arctic, surviving and thriving in this brutal landscape. These massive mammals earn their moniker from the distinctive musky aroma males exude during mating season. Moreover, their dense and woolly coat, called qiviut, is one of the warmest animal coats in the world, helping them withstand the frigid Arctic.

18. Moths

moth
Photo by Sonika Agarwal on Unsplash

Fun Fact: While they may look similar, moths outnumber butterflies by a wide margin, with over 160,000 known species worldwide. These winged insects come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, ranging from small and inconspicuous to large and vibrant. Unlike butterflies, moths are primarily nocturnal. Some species also navigate using the moon and stars.

Belonging to the Lepidoptera order, moths share their family tree12. The smallest moth is the Stigmella Maya, whose wingspan barely measures up to 1.2 millimeters. Meanwhile, the Atlas moth has a wingspan of 12 inches.

Read more: Different types of moths and Moth facts.

19. Manta Shrimps

Fun Fact: Manta shrimps have a whopping sixteen types of photoreceptor cells in their eyes, allowing them to perceive a wide range of colors and ultraviolet light.

Manta shrimp are stomatopods that can see polarized and ultraviolet light, helping them live in the deep ocean.

Read more: Shrimp Facts, Types of Shrimp.

20. Mantises

mantis
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Mantises have unique triangular-shaped heads and large compound eyes. They can also camouflage themselves within their surroundings by mimicking twigs, leaves, flowers, and other insects. 

Mantises, also known as praying mantises, belong to the diverse order of Mantodea. This creature has an elongated body, a triangular head, and two big compound eyes. Moreover, the mantis is an ambush predator4, waiting patiently to hunt small insects; however, larger mantises can hunt birds and even small mammals. 

21. Mockingbirds

mockingbird
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Mockingbirds can imitate the songs of other birds, as well as various sounds they hear in their environment, such as car alarms, sirens, and even human voices. Moreover, a mockingbird can imitate up to 200 sounds.

These musical birds belong to the Mimidae family and have appeared in folklore and literature for good reason11. Native to the Americas, these medium-sized birds, measuring 20-30 cm, have grey plumage that might seem subdued at first glance, but they show white underparts and patches on their wings in flight.

22. Moray Eels

moray eel
Photo by Wouter Naert on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Moray eels have a second set of jaws hidden in their throat called pharyngeal jaws. These jaws can shoot forward and grab prey, pulling it into the eel's throat for digestion. Moreover, their jaws help them catch and eat prey that may be too large for their primary jaws10

Moray eels also have an elongated ribbon-like body that flattens toward the tail.

Read more: Eel Facts, Types of Eels.

23. Mudpuppies

Fun Fact: Despite their name, mudpuppies are a type of aquatic salamander, often mistaken for baby amphibians due to their external gills, which they use to breathe underwater. Mudpuppies can also regenerate body parts, including limbs, heart, and brain.

Unlike other amphibians, mudpuppies never shed their external gills, helping them breathe underwater and on land when necessary. The nocturnal mudpuppies rest under rocks or in mud, hidden from predators. Once darkness descends, these creatures emerge to hunt smaller fish, insects, crustaceans, and even tinier amphibians.

24. Mudskippers

mudskipper
Photo by 7854 on Pixabay

Fun Fact: Mudskippers can breathe both underwater and on land. Unlike other fish, these animals have evolved specialized gill chambers to remove oxygen from the air. This adaptation helps them survive the muddy, oxygen-depleted environments of mangroves and tidal flats. 

Despite being a fish, mudskippers spend much of its life on land9. They are native to the warm and slightly salty waters of the Indo-Pacific and the Atlantic coast of Africa. Moreover, they breathe through their skin and the lining of their mouth and throat; they only need to stay wet. Instead of swimming, it uses its strong pectoral fins to 'skip' or slide across the mud.

25. Mouflons

mouflon
Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

Fun Fact: Mouflons are wild sheep native to mountainous regions and can leap up to six feet in the air. This impressive skill helps them escape predators and climb higher elevations to find food.

Next in our list of animals that start with M is one you might now have heard of. This sheep species is one of the oldest recorded, first appearing in the Pleistocene epoch. Male and female mouflons have curved horns, though males use them to assert dominance. They also wear a reddish-brown coat with a dark back stripe. When autumn arrives, males show off a light saddle patch.

26. Mongooses

mongoose
Photo by Foto-Rabe on Pixabay

Fun Fact: Mongooses are carnivorous animals that can take down venomous snakes, including cobras, thanks to their resistance to snake venom. They have specialized acetylcholine receptors that prevent the venom from binding to their nerve cells, effectively immunizing them from lethal toxins. Their diet is varied however, and they also are known to eat plants and fruit from time to time.

These fearless animals are native to the African savanna and belong to the extensive Herpestidae family, with 34 diverse species. Likewise, they come in various sizes. For instance, the dwarf mongoose measures only seven inches, while the white-tailed mongoose stretches to 28 inches, about a third larger than the dwarf. 

27. Marsh Frog

marsh frog
Photo by webmaster331 on Pixabay

Fun Fact: Marsh frogs have bright green skin.

They are also the largest native European frogs, though they can live in Saudi Arabia. As carnivores, they eat flies, worms, spiders, and dragonflies. Moreover, they are skilled jumpers and swimmers.

Read more: Frog facts.

28. Macaroni Penguin

macaroni penguin
Photo by Angie Corbett-Kuiper on Unsplash

Fun Fact: Macaroni penguins live in Antarctica and have bright yellow plumes on their heads. 

These penguins are only 61 cm tall and eat krill, small fish, and crustaceans. They are also one of only six penguin species in the world.

Read more: Penguin facts.

29. Masked Palm Civet

Fun Fact: Masked palm civets live across Southeast and South Asia, particularly in India and China. Moreover, they live mostly in trees and rarely ever touch the ground. They are omnivores and can live in the wild for up to ten years.

They also spray a foul stink at predators to drive them off. Additionally, they have the most numbers among all civet species.

30. Mole

mole
Photo by ahmad kanbar on Unsplash.

Fun Fact: Did you know that a mole can dig a tunnel about 90 feet long in one night?

Moles are small animals that are widely known for their digging habits. Boasting cylindrical bodies and velvety fur, these creatures are incredibly adapted to a subterranean lifestyle. Equipped with powerful forelimbs with large paws oriented for efficient digging, they create extensive underground burrows for their homes. Furthermore, they have very small, concealed ears and eyes, and even their tails are short, making navigation in narrow tunnels easier.

Contrary to common assumptions, moles are not rodents but belong to the group of mammals known as insectivores. They primarily feed on worms and small insects which they find in the soil.

Read more: Mole Facts.

31. Malayan Tiger

Malayan Tiger
Photo by Angah hfz on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original)

Fun Fact: Did you know the Malayan Tiger is one of the smallest tiger subspecies? Its vibrant orange coat, paired with bold black stripes, provides perfect camouflage in the jungle.

What sets these tigers apart is their solitude. They eschew company, ruling over their territory alone. Smaller than their kin, these tigers play a crucial role in maintaining our ecosystem's balance by keeping other species' population in check.

Although small and resilient, the Malayan Tiger is and endangered species and classified as "Critically Endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Once abundant, their numbers have plummeted due to human-induced threats like habitat loss, poaching, and declining prey. With barely 250 mature individuals estimated to remain in the wild, urgent and effective coservation efforts are necessary to secure their future and protect the living symbol of the jungle they represent.

Read more: Tiger Facts, Types of Tiger.

32. Mexican Free Tailed Bat

Fun Fact: Did you know Mexican free-tailed bats are the speed demons of the mammal world, reaching 99 mph? They fly from the southern U.S to Mexico, following the abundance of insects that comprise their diet. Their taste for pests makes them a farmer's ally.

Mexican free-tailed bats are also social butterflies. They sleep, and stay warm, in noisy colonies of millions. At dusk, they provide a stunning spectacle as they pour out of their roosts to seek their insect prey. It's these quirks that make them a standout in the animal kingdom.

Read more: Bat Facts,

33. Mantella Frogs

Mantella Frog
Photo Credit: Frank Vassen, (CC BY 2.0)

Native to Madagascar, these flamboyant brightly colored frogs don't just sport colors for their wardrobe: they're a warning to predators of the poisonous nature lurking in these little bodies.

Despite ranging just 2.5cm in size, Mantellas pack a punch. Along with their warning colors, these frogs secrete alkaloid toxins from their skin to dissuade would-be predators. Survival is an art they've mastered.

But, there's more to them than meets the eye. Their tiny size lends itself well to a unique feeding habit: they feed solely on ants. This diet contributes to their toxic nature, as the poisonous compounds originate from their prey.

Conclusion

Animals that start with M are a diverse and interesting group of creatures. From majestic mammals like the moose and mountain lion to mischievous primates like the mandrill, there is no shortage of amazing animals to explore.

Whether you're a nature lover, a science enthusiast, or just someone looking to learn something new, taking the time to discover these magnificent creatures is sure to be a rewarding and enlightening experience. So why not start your adventure today and see what amazing animals that start with M you can find?

1

Setchell, J. M., & Dixson, A. F. (2001). Changes in the secondary sexual adornments of male mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) are associated with gain and loss of alpha status. Hormones and Behavior, 39(3), 177-184.

2

Rat Genome Sequencing Project Consortium. Genome sequence of the Brown Norway rat yields insights into mammalian evolution. Nature 428, 493–521 (2004).

3

Ari, C., & D'Agostino, D. P. (2016). Contingency checking and self-directed behaviors in giant manta rays: Do elasmobranchs have self-awareness? Journal of Ethology, 34(2), 167-174. 

4

Wieland, F., Schütte, K., & Blickhan, R. (2013). Mantises exchange angular momentum between three rotating body parts to jump precisely to targets. Journal of Experimental Biology, 216(3), 530-537.

5

Clutton-Brock, T. H., Gaynor, D., McIlrath, G. M., Maccoll, A. D., Kansky, R., Chadwick, P., ... & Skinner, J. D. (1999). Predation, group size and mortality in a cooperative mongoose, Suricata suricatta. Journal of Animal Ecology, 68(4), 672-683.

6

Prior, H., Schwarz, A., & Güntürkün, O. (2008). Mirror-induced behavior in the magpie (Pica pica): Evidence of self-recognition. PLoS Biology, 6(8), e202.

7

Ferrari, S. F., & Ferrari, M. A. L. (1990). Predator avoidance behaviour in the buffy-headed marmoset, Callithrix flaviceps. Primates, 31(3), 323-338.

8

Logan, K. A., & Sweanor, L. L. (2001). Desert Puma: Evolutionary ecology and conservation of an enduring carnivore. Island Press. 

9

Pace, C. M., & Gibb, A. C. (2009). Mudskipper pectoral fin kinematics in aquatic and terrestrial environments. J. Exp Biol, 212(Pt 14):2279-86.

10

Mehta, R. S., & Wainwright, P. C. (2007). Raptorial jaws in the throat help moray eels swallow large prey. Nature, 449(7164), 79-82.

11

Farnsworth, G., G. A. Londono, J. U. Martin, K. C. Derrickson, and R. Breitwisch (2011). Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. 

12

Scoble, M. J. (1995). The Lepidoptera: Form, function, and diversity. Oxford University Press. 

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Chinny Verana, BSc.

Photo by Unknown Wong on Unsplash
Sign Up for Updates
SIGN UP
TRVST
ABOUT
 · 
THE TEAM
 · 
CONTACT
 · 
PRIVACY
 · 
COOKIES
 · 
T&Cs
Copyright © 2023 TRVST LTD. All Rights Reserved
US Flag
100 North Point Center E, Ste 125 #A262, Alpharetta, GA 30022, USA.
UK Flag
7 Bell Yard, London, WC2A 2JR, United Kingdom.
chevron-upchevron-down