This article lists animals that start with P, covering their physical characteristics, behaviors, preferred habitats, and diets. You will also learn fun facts about each creature, from the monochromatic panda to the swift peregrine falcon.
26 Animals Beginning with P
1. Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
Fun Fact: Pandas have a sesamoid bone in their wrist that works like a thumb, helping them grasp bamboo stalks while stripping its leaves, a diet staple. Moreover, this ability allows pandas to consume up to 30 pounds (14 kilograms) of bamboo daily.
Pandas, one of the more famous p animals, are heavy sleepers and can doze off for 10 hours per day. Their name "panda" comes from the Nepalese term "ponya," meaning "bamboo or plant-eating animal”. However, they also occasionally eat small animals and fish.
Related Read: Bear Facts.
2. Penguin (Spheniscidae )
Fun Fact: Penguins might be flightless birds, but are expert swimmers and divers. These birds use their wings as flippers to navigate the water expertly, swimming and catching fish. Moreover, penguins can swim up to 15 miles per hour.
The penguin has adapted to the cold climate of the Southern Hemisphere, particularly Antarctica. Moreover, these well-known animals' black and white coloration helps them blend into the ice, hiding them from predators in the air or water. Do you want to learn more about this famous animal that starts with P? Check our articles below.
3. Pink fairy armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus)
Fun Fact: The pink fairy armadillo is the world’s smallest species, native to Argentina and other regions of South America. Like moles, they spend most of their lives underground.
The pink fairy armadillo can slip underground in seconds thanks to its aerodynamic shape, dorsal shell, and sharp claws. Moreover, they are nocturnal and solitary animals, emerging from their burrows to look for food under cover of darkness.
4. Parrot (Psittaciformes)
Fun Fact: Some parrots, such as the African grey parrot, have demonstrated cognitive abilities on the level of a 4 to 6-year-old child. For instance, these birds can solve puzzles, count objects, and recognize themselves in mirrors.
Parrots live in tropical to subtropical regions, relying on their strong, curved beaks to consume fruits, seeds, and nuts. Some parrots also use sticks to collect food from hidden spaces.
Related Read: Parrot Facts.
5. Peacock (Pavo cristatus)
Fun Fact: Peacocks are males, while females are peahens. During mating season, the male peacock spreads its tail feathers to create a radiant fan shape, attracting the females’ attention.
Relatedly, male peacocks develop distinctive “eyes” on their feathers at approximately six months. Additionally, their feathers become iridescent as they mature and gain their characteristic appearance3. Explore more about this beautiful bird that starts with P by clicking the link below.
6. Puma (Felidae)
Fun Fact: The puma holds the Guinness World Record for having the highest number of animal names. For instance, it has over 40 names in English, including puma, cougar, mountain lion, catamount, and panther. This big cat lives in numerous habitats across North and South America, resulting in various names.
The puma lives in the frosty region of Yukon in the north to the windy peaks of the Andes in South America. Unlike the African lion, the puma emits low-frequency growls or hisses that resemble the vocalizations of a house cat rather than the roaring sounds of their larger feline relatives.
Related Read: Puma Facts.
7. Python (Pythonidae)
Fun Fact: The reticulated python is the world’s longest snake, measuring up to 30 feet. They live in Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Unlike venomous snakes, pythons constrict their prey and use their immense body strength to suffocate them. Additionally, pythons have heat-sensing pits along their jaws. These pits help them detect warm-blooded prey1. They can also survive for a year without food, thanks to their slow metabolism.
Related Read: Python Facts.
8. Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
Fun Fact: Platypuses are one of the five mammals that lay eggs. The other four are species of echidnas.
With its duck-like bill, webbed feet, and beaver-like tail, the platypus is an exceptional creature that defies classification. The platypus is a semi-aquatic mammal native to the freshwater regions of eastern Australia. One of its distinguishing features is its beak, which resembles a duck's bill. This beak detects the slightest electrical signals generated from the muscle movements of its prey, a process known as electroception or electrolocation2.
Related Read: Platypus Facts.
9. Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum)
Fun Fact: When threatened, porcupines can raise and lower their sharp and barbed quills.
However, they can’t shoot their quills at predators. To protect themselves, porcupines will turn their backs to expose their quills. They may also whip their tails at their attackers. These nocturnal animals prefer weaker trees and help maintain forest health, enabling stronger trees to grow.
Related Read: Porcupine Facts.
10. Pigeon (Columba livia)
Fun Fact: Pigeons are intelligent birds trained to carry messages long distances, even during a war. During World War I and II, pigeons delivered critical messages for the military, which helped save numerous lives.
Besides impressive navigational abilities, recent scientific studies indicate that pigeons can recognize themselves in mirrors. Moreover, certain birds can differentiate between various styles of art.
Before moving on to other animals that start with P, here’s a bonus: the parrot snake! Despite being aggressive hunters and their bright colors, parrot snakes have no venom.
Related Read: Pigeon Facts.
11. Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)
Fun Fact: Polar bears can swim long distances for food or to reach ice floes. Polar bears can move through icy waters at up to 6 mph (9.7 kph) with their strong front paws. Moreover, they can swim for hours without tiring, covering over 60 miles (97 km) at a time.
While swimming, polar bears look for seals, their primary food. They have a keen sense of smell, which can detect seals from great distances, even under layers of compressed snow. Click our fact list below for more information on this endangered animal that starts with P.
Related Read: Polar Bear Facts.
12. Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta)
Fun Fact: Fossil evidence suggests that painted turtles have existed for 15 million years. Today, they are one of the most widespread species in North America.
Their name comes from the red and yellow stripes across their neck, legs, and tail. Mainly, the yellow stripe cuts across its face; behind its eyes are large yellow spots, while on its chin are two yellow stripes that meet at the jaw.
Related Read: Turtle Facts.
13. Peacock spider (Maratus volans)
Fun Fact: During the breeding season, the peacock spider engages in a life-or-death ritual. The male must perform an intricate and colorful dance to woo the waiting female. It has a radiant fan attached to its abdomen, which it uses for the performance.
The risk comes in the female’s judgment. If she likes the show, the male peacock spider can mate with her. However, if she disapproves, she eats him. Like many eccentric animals, these spiders are native to Australia.
14. Possum (Didelphidae)
Fun Fact: Possums are native to Australia and brought to North America in the late 1800s. Today, possums live on various continents, adapting to diverse habitats, from forests to urban areas. They are resourceful animals, surviving anywhere due to their scavenging behavior and ability to hang by their tails.
Interestingly, possums consume ticks, potentially effectively controlling pest populations in their natural habitats. Possums also defend themselves from predators by playing dead, commonly known as 'playing possum.' The possum pretends to be sick or dead when threatened, selling the illusion by releasing a decaying odor.
15. Parakeet (Melopsittacus undulatus)
Fun Fact: Parakeets can mimic human speech and sounds and can even learn to associate words with particular actions or objects.
Parakeets grind seeds with their beaks before consuming them. Experts believe this behavior aids digestion and is a sophisticated culinary behavior. Wild parakeets eat primarily seeds and fruits; they also eat ants and other occasional insects. Meanwhile, domesticated parakeets typically eat specially formulated pellets, fresh fruits, and vegetables to ensure proper nutrition.
16. Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
Fun Fact: Pheasants can fly up to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour). With their sturdy, elongated wings, pheasants can fly considerable distances in pursuit of food and habitats4.
Male pheasants mate with multiple females, which lay approximately 10-12 eggs. They incubate their eggs for about a month. Once the chicks hatch, they can feed themselves immediately but stay close to the mother for several weeks.
17. Porpoise (Phocoenidae)
Fun Fact: Porpoises often engage in porpoising, which is the act of swimming and leaping out of the water. They can also reach up to 34 miles per hour (55 kilometers per hour).
Their beaks are also shorter than dolphins’, with flatter spade-shaped teeth. Similarly, porpoises use echolocation to hunt their prey.
18. Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Fun Fact: As the world’s fastest animal, the Peregrine falcon can reach up to 240 miles per hour (386 kilometers per hour) during their hunting dives. They can swoop swiftly on their prey from great heights.
While hunting, the Peregrine falcon flies to considerable heights before tucking its wings and rapidly descending to catch its prey off-guard. It has long, pointed wings and a short tail, which help to differentiate it from other birds of prey.
They can also live in barren deserts or bustling city skylines. Interestingly, these birds return to the same nesting spots every year. They are also monogamous, mating for life with a partner.
19. Pig (Sus scrofa domesticus)
Fun Fact: Pigs are one of the most intelligent domesticated animals in the world. For instance, they can remember things for years and solve puzzles. Moreover, one can even teach to play video games with joysticks.
Next on the list is this domestic animal that starts with P. Despite their reputation, pigs are meticulous about cleanliness. For example, they keep their toilet areas away from their nests or feeding patches. Moreover, their love for mud baths keeps them cool and wards off insects.
20. Perch (Fish)
Fun Fact: Perch–a widespread freshwater fish in North America, Europe, and Asia–can change color to match its surroundings. This adaptive strategy, known as "cryptic coloration," makes it difficult for predators to detect them.
The perch is a freshwater fish known for its carnivorous feeding habits, tackling prey up to half its size. Moreover, they live in slow-moving or still waters, preferring to hide among dense aquatic vegetation. Additionally, perch swim in large schools.
Fun fact: Did you know that when a pelican scoops up fish, it can hold nearly three gallons of water in its pouch? That’s like carrying around a small aquarium for dinner!
Pelicans are one of the most recognizable water birds due to their large body, long beak, and, of course, the expansible throat pouch, which they use as a net while hunting for fish. They inhabit both coastal and inland regions, thriving in areas with warm climates. Interestingly, some pelicans prefer freshwater while others live happily in marine environments, giving these birds greater versatility than most.
Not all pelicans are the same. Take, for instance, the difference in hunting techniques between the American white and brown pelican. While American white pelicans work together to drive fish to shallower waters to scoop them up, brown pelicans dive bomb from the air straight into the water to snatch their prey.
Read more: Pelican Facts.
22. Pygmy Marmoset
Fun Fact: Did you know that pygmy marmosets are the tiniest monkeys on earth?
These pint-sized primates boast a unique diet of tree sap and gum. With sharp claws suited to climb trees, they nibble tree bark to release it, consuming half their body weight in gum every day! They're not picky about the type either, rotating between their own hand-picked 'gum trees'.
Socially, they're fascinating, too. Living in tight-knit groups, their world is all about defending territory and family. Surprisingly, it's the dads who do most offspring-carrying, a distinct twist from usual primate norms.
Read more: Finger Monkey (Pygmy Marmoset) Facts.
Fun Fact: pangolins snack on a staggering 70 million insects a year! Sleek and secretive, these nocturnal creatures are the only mammals in the world decked out in protective keratin scales. In danger, they roll into an almost indestructible ball, their sharp-edged scales warding off predators.
But here's the irony: these uniquely armored animals are among the most trafficked animals worldwide. Their meat is a sought-after delicacy, and their scales are coveted for traditional medicine. It's a reminder of why it's vital to protect biodiversity and fight against illegal wildlife trade.
Read more: Pangolin Facts.
24. Prairie Dog
Fun Fact: Did you know that despite their name, these creatures are more similar to squirrels than dogs?
Prairie dogs, known for their sophisticated societal structure and advanced communication skills, are a vibrant addition to the grasslands. Each bustling prairie dog town is a well-organized community, working together to fend off predators and navigate life underground.
Their 'bark,' an advanced language of sorts, intrigues scientists worldwide. It's not just a warning but an informational broadcast about the type, size, and even color of approaching dangers! Their valuable ecological role as grassland engineers also highlights their importance.
25. Patas Monkey
Fun Fact: Fastest primate on land? Meet the Patas Monkey.
These nimble mammals inhabit West and Central Africa and are commonly found in semi-arid areas. Easily recognized by their reddish fur and white mustache-like markings, unlike most primates, they prefer the savannah to the treetops, roaming vast landscapes in search of food.
Their society, a rarity in the primate world, is female-led. Dominant females govern with complex vocalizations and physical signals—an impressive display of their advanced social intelligence.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the word "piranha" is from the Tupi language, native to Brazil, and it means "tooth fish"?
Famous for their sharp teeth and voracious appetite, piranhas are among the most efficient predators in their native freshwater habitats. Originating from South American rivers, they belong to a family of omnivorous fish, Serrasalmidae, which includes around 20 species. With a compact body and a blunt head, they are incredibly adapted for strong, rapid swimming – a key to their survival and hunting.
While often portrayed as dangerous to humans, piranha attacks are actually quite rare and mostly occur when the fish feels threatened or during their mating season when they are more territorial.
Read more: Piranha Facts.
Exploring the vast assortment of animals that start with 'P' opens up a world as fascinating as it is diverse. From the stealthy panther prowling in the jungles to petite parakeets fluttering in the sky, from more common animals to those you might not have heard of, these creatures showcase nature’s creativity and adaptiveness.
Animals starting with 'P' highlight an array of diverse ecosystems, revealing the nuances of evolution and adaptation. Each 'P' animal, unique in its own right, contributes its extraordinary characteristics to our globe, reminding us of the fantastic biodiversity we strive to safeguard.
More A-Z Animals:
- Animals that start with A
- Animals that start with B
- Animals that start with C
- Animals that start with D
- Animals that start with E
- Animals that start with F
- Animals that start with G
- Animals that start with H
- Animals that start with I
- Animals that start with J
- Animals that start with K
- Animals that start with L
- Animals that start with M
- Animals that start with N
- Animals that start with O
- Animals that start with Q
- Animals that start with R
- Animals that start with S
- Animals that start with T
- Animals that start with U
- Animals that start with V
- Animals that start with W
- Animals that start with X
- Animals that start with Y
- Animals that start with Z
Krochmal, A. R., Bakken, G. S., & LaDuc, T. J. (2004). Heat in evolution's kitchen: evolutionary perspectives on the functions and origin of the facial pit of pitvipers (Viperidae: Crotalinae). Journal of Experimental Biology, 207(24), 4231-4238.
Manger, P. R., Pettigrew, J. D., & Körtner, G. (1998). Electroreception and the feeding behaviour of platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus: Monotremata: Mammalia). Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, 353(1372), 1211-1219.
Dakin, R., & Montgomerie, R. (2013). Eye for an eyespot: how iridescent plumage ocelli influence peacock mating success. Behavioral Ecology, 24(5), 1048-1057.
Fuller, R. A., & Garson, P. J. (2000). Pheasants. In S. A. Levin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Biodiversity (pp. 109-120). Academic Press.