Welcome to our list of Animals That Start With V. From the toughest volcano snails to the world's rarest marine mammals, these animals that start with V will pique your interest.
Coupled with insights into their conservation statuses, we offer a comprehensive look at what makes these animals unique and their roles in our ecosystems. So whether you're a wildlife lover or a curious newcomer, let's look at some of the most exciting animals in the wild.
23 Animals that Start with V
1. Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)
Fun Fact: Vervet monkeys have a remarkable communication system that uses different alarm calls to warn their group about predators like leopards, eagles, and snakes.
The fascinating thing is that they can adjust their alarm calls based on the level of danger they perceive, making different sounds when a predator is far away compared to when it's nearby.
Vervet Monkey lives across the African landscape and tropical jungles. With its distinctive black face encircled by a white mane, this medium-sized primate boasts an olive or silvery-gray coat.
Furthermore, these monkeys have long tails (3 ft long). They live in groups reaching up to 50 members.
They are clever and can self-medicate. They've been known to rub specific types of millipedes over their fur, an innovative way to ward off pesky insects.
2. Vancouver Island Marmot (Marmota vancouverensis)
Fun Fact: The Vancouver Island Marmot is one of the rarest mammals in the world and is living exclusively on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
At its lowest point in the early 2000s, the population of these marmots had declined to only about 30 individuals in the wild. These mammals are one of the largest members of the squirrel family.
Their species name, "vancouverensis," is derived from its primary distribution on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. This charismatic species has a stocky build, short limbs, and a dense fur coat, which ranges in color from chocolate brown to a cinnamon hue. Their biggest threat is habitat loss due to climate change and limited genetic diversity in their natural habitat3. They are Canada's most endangered mammal.
3. Vampire Squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis)
Fun Fact: Vampire squids got their name from their dark coloration and eerie appearance. The squid's body is a deep, velvety black with large, red eyes that add to its haunting appearance.
The Vampire Squid inhabits the deep ocean waters of temperate and tropical oceans4. Despite its name, the Vampire Squid is not a true squid (and is more closely related to an octopus) but represents a distinct cephalopod lineage (Vampyromorphida order). This species has bioluminescent organs called photophores and can invert its webbed arms to form a protective cloak when threatened.
4. Visayan Spotted Deer (Rusa alfredi)
Fun Fact: The Visayan Spotted Deer is one of the rarest and smallest deer species in the world, and it is endemic to the Visayan Islands in the Philippines.
The Visayan Spotted Deer is a critically endangered species of deer found exclusively in the Visayan Islands of the Philippines. Due to habitat loss and hunting, these deer populations have drastically declined, making them highly vulnerable to extinction.
This deer is slender and stands at about 60-75 centimeters (24-30 inches) at the shoulder. The coat of the deer has prominent white spots over a reddish-brown or dark-brown background, giving it its name.
5. Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons)
Fun Fact: The Visayan Warty Pig is a critically endangered species of pig native to the Visayan Islands in the Philippines1. They are also the only pig species that can use tools!
The Visayan Warty Pig is one of the world's rarest and most endangered species. This wild pig has a stocky body with a dark brown or blackish coat and a conspicuous "wart" on its face, a lump of cartilage that grows as the pig matures. Both males and females have these facial warts, but they are more prominent in males. Additionally, the warts are thought to play a role in social interactions and mating displays within their groups.
6. Volcanic Snail (Chrysomallon squamiferum)
Fun Fact: The Volcanic Snail, also known as the Sea Pangolin, is the only animal in the world with iron in its skeleton. As the world's toughest gastropods, they thrive in extreme habitats - underwater volcanic vents.
The Volcanic Snail is a rare and unique species of snail that inhabits the geothermal areas of New Zealand, particularly the hot springs near active volcanoes. These snails have evolved specific adaptations to their acidic and hot habitat, such as a unique shell structure (made of iron sulfide) that helps protect them from corrosive waters and extreme temperatures.
7. Virgin Islands Dwarf Gecko (Sphaerodactylus parthenopion)
Fun Fact: The Virgin Islands Dwarf Gecko is one of the smallest reptiles in the world, and it is native to the tropical Virgin Islands.
The Virgin Islands Dwarf Gecko is a tiny gecko (measuring only about 2 to 3 inches) found exclusively in various islands across the British Virgin Islands Archipelago. These geckos have adapted to thrive in the warm and tropical climate of the region. They have slender bodies, adhesive toe pads, and large eyes that help them climb and move swiftly on various surfaces.
Their coloration can vary, but they often display shades of brown, gray, or olive, with patterns that provide effective camouflage amidst the diverse vegetation of the islands.
Related Read: Gecko Facts
8. Vampire Bat (Desmodontinae)
Fun Fact: Vampire bats are the only bats that feed on blood. They use their sharp teeth to pierce the skin of livestock and other mammals.
Three vampire bat species live across South and Central America: the Common Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus), the Hairy-legged Vampire Bat (Diphylla ecaudata), and the White-winged Vampire Bat (Diaemus youngi). Their distinctive short, conical muzzles set them apart from other bat species with elongated snouts.
Vampire bats use a thermal sensor in their noses to locate blood-rich spots on their victims. The bat's bite is typically painless, and its appetite is modest, consuming just a tiny quantity of blood each time. Their saliva has anticoagulant properties, which prevent their prey’s blood from clotting.
Fortunately, they don't suck human blood. They are also very caring towards their kin. If one bat finds itself hungry, another will share its meal.
Related Read: Vampire Bat Facts.
9. Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Fun Fact: Vultures have an incredible sense of smell. Whether buried or hidden beneath vegetation, these scavengers can detect the scent of decaying carcasses from miles away!
These large birds of prey boast bald heads and keen eyesight and are found across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia, with 23 distinct species coloring our globe. They are famously known for their unusual diet of carrion. While their dietary choice might seem grim, it's crucial for our environment.
Left unchecked, rotting meat can spread harmful diseases. Their highly acidic stomachs can safely digest decomposing meat2. An exception in the vulture family is the Bearded Vulture, with its peculiar penchant for bones.
10. Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
Fun Fact: Did you know the Virginia opossum is North America's only marsupial? While most marsupials are found in Australia, this unique creature can be found in the United States and Canada.
The Virginia opossum is known for its distinctive appearance, hairless tail, pointy snout, and beady eyes. Notably the only marsupial in North America, this creature prefers the silent hours of the night, maintaining a solitary existence.
These marsupials eat insects, small rodents, plants, fruits, and carrion. Furthermore, they have a robust immune system that makes them resistant to rabies.
They are also widely known for their extraordinary skill of playing dead. This comatose-like state, an involuntary biological response, is not a conscious act but an instinctive trick designed to confound predators.
Related Read: Opossum Facts
11. Viper (Viperidae)
Fun Fact: Some viper species have specialized infrared heat-sensing pits on their heads, called "pit organs," which enable them to detect the body heat of their prey, even in total darkness.
Vipers are a family of venomous snakes known for their potent venom and distinct appearance. This makes them one of the most dangerous species in the animal kingdom. They are distributed throughout various regions across the world, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
They have long, hinged fangs that can deliver a deep, penetrating bite, which makes them a top-tier predator. One viper species packs a venomous punch potent enough to cause severe symptoms or even death. Many viper species are adapted to various habitats, from deserts and grasslands to forests and mountains.
Some well-known examples of vipers include Russell's viper (Daboia russelii) in Asia and the rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp.) in the Americas.
12. Vizsla (Dog breed)
Fun Fact: Did you know that Vizslas are not only known for their stunning appearance but also their incredible sense of smell? These energetic and affectionate dogs have an exceptional olfactory system that detects even the faintest scents.
They have been used as search and rescue dogs and in drug detection and tracking operations. Vizslas are medium-sized dogs that come from Hungary with copper coats. Lovingly referred to as 'Velcro dogs,' these pups have a knack for bonding strongly with their human households.
Furthermore, these dogs are excellent hunters. They're quick learners too. These dogs are perfect for owners who love outdoor activities.
13. Vicuna (Vicugna vicugna)
Fun Fact: Did you know that the vicuna is not only one of the smallest members of the camel family, but it also produces one of the finest and most expensive wools in the world? Its wool is so valuable that it was once reserved exclusively for Incan royalty.
These camels live in the rugged Andean alpine regions. They feast on the sparse, hardy grasses of their high-altitude homes, where many other species would struggle. Their wool, a visual treat of light brown and white, is one of the rarest and most expensive natural fibers in the world, contributing as an exotic entrant to the textile industry.
Vicunas are incredibly friendly and organize themselves into family groups. When threatened, they spit a classic camelid defense mechanism. Today, efforts are being made to protect and conserve the vicuna population, as it was once on the brink of extinction due to overhunting for its prized wool.
14. Vole (Microtus)
Fun Fact: Did you know that Voles are champion diggers? These small, mouse-like rodents are known for their impressive tunneling skills. Voles can create an extensive network of underground burrows, complete with multiple entrances and chambers.
With their cousins, mice, and rats, Voles have short, stocky bodies, stubby tails, and unassuming fur – a palette of browns and grays, sometimes with a whisper of red. They live in various habitats worldwide—from grasslands and forests to mountain ranges. They make an intricate network of burrows.
Voles mainly eat plants, seeds, and occasional insects or small creatures. During winter, they feast on bark roots and bulbs. In the wild, they live only for a year.
15. Vinegaroon (Mastigoproctus giganteus)
Fun Fact: Vinegaroons, also known as whip scorpions, have a unique defense mechanism - when threatened, they can release a mixture of acetic acid (vinegar) and other chemicals from their abdomen, which gives them their common name, "vinegaroon."
Vinegaroons are fascinating arachnids found in arid or semi-arid habitats of North and South America. Despite their common name, "whip scorpions," they are not true scorpions but are relatively closely related to them.
One of the unique adaptations of vinegaroons is their ability to release a defensive spray when threatened. When disturbed, they arch their abdomen and shoot a stream of acetic acid (vinegar) and other substances from their whip-like tail. This spray can irritate potential predators, deterring them from further attack.
16. Velvet Worm (Onychophora)
Fun Fact: Velvet worms, despite their worm-like appearance, are not worms nor insects but belong to a unique group of animals called Onychophora, which is a transitional form between arthropods (such as insects and spiders) and annelids (segmented worms).
Velvet worms are ancient creatures found in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. Velvet worms date back more than 500 million years, making them one of the oldest animal groups on Earth. They possess specialized slime glands on their heads that produce a sticky, silk-like substance.
When hunting, velvet worms shoot this adhesive slime at their prey, trapping insects and other small invertebrates. Once they immobilize the prey, the velvet worm secretes digestive enzymes onto it, breaking down the tissues, and then consumes the liquefied food.
17. Velvet Ant (Mutillidae)
Fun Fact: Velvet ants, also known as cow killers, are not ants but are solitary wasps belonging to the family Mutillidae. Despite their common name, they can deliver an excruciating sting, making them one of North America's most notorious stinging insects.
Velvet ants are found in various regions worldwide, including North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Although they are called velvet "ants," they have a distinctly wasp-like appearance, elongated bodies, and often brightly colored patterns.
Velvet ants are parasitic wasps, and the females do not have wings, unlike the males. Instead, they have a dense covering of fine, velvety hair, which is how they get their common name. The females have a long, flexible stinger to inject venom into their prey or potential threats.
Despite their small size, some species of velvet ants have toxins that can cause intense pain, earning them the nickname "cow killers" because they believe their sting can be powerful enough to kill a cow (which is not true). Their sting is so painful that people say they are one of the most excruciating among all stinging insects in North America.
18. Velvet Crab (Necora puber)
Fun Fact: The Velvet Crab gets its name from the velvety appearance of its shell, which is covered in fine, dense hairs.
The Velvet Crab (Necora puber), also known as the Velvet Swimming Crab or Devil Crab, is the largest swimming crab in British waters (it can span up to a robust 10 cm). They live in the coastal waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean, ranging from Norway in the north to Morocco in the south.
Velvet crabs can withstand a wide range of salinity levels, allowing them to thrive in brackish and fully marine environments. Physically, the Velvet Crab has a compact and flattened body, with its carapace covered in a dense layer of fine hairs, which gives it a velvety texture. Their coloration can vary from greenish-brown to reddish-brown.
19. Variegated Squirrel (Sciurus variegatoides)
Fun Fact: Variegated Squirrels are a highly adaptable species of squirrel known for their impressive jumping abilities, allowing them to traverse between trees and easily navigate their forest habitat.
The Variegated Squirrel is a species of squirrel found in Central America and parts of South America. One of the unique adaptations of the Variegated Squirrel is its exceptional jumping ability. It has strong hind legs and a long, bushy tail that stabilizes, enabling it to leap from tree to tree, covering considerable distances with great agility.
This skill allows the squirrel to efficiently forage for food and escape from predators in the dense forest canopy. Physically, the Variegated Squirrel has a striking appearance with a mixture of gray, brown, black, and red colors.
Related Read: Squirrel Facts
20. Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca)
Fun Fact: The Velvet Scoter is an expert diver, capable of diving up to 40 meters (131 feet) underwater in search of its preferred prey, mollusks and crustaceans.
The Velvet Scoter is a sea duck species in northern Europe and Asia. It is commonly found in freshwater habitats such as lakes, rivers, and marshes during the breeding season. However, during the winter, these ducks migrate to coastal areas and open waters, including the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and parts of the Atlantic Ocean.
These ducks have dense bones that enable them to achieve buoyancy in the water. They also propel themselves underwater with their strong wings. Their legs are positioned towards the back of their bodies, making them well-suited for swimming and diving.
21. Volcano Rabbit (Romerolagus diazi)
Fun Fact: The Volcano Rabbit is the second smallest rabbit species and is endemic to the high-altitude pine-oak forests surrounding Mexican volcanoes.
The Volcano Rabbit is a rare and elusive rabbit species found only in a limited area of Mexico. It is restricted to the highlands of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, which includes several volcanoes, such as Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. They are also one of the smallest rabbits in the world, with an average length of about 25 to 30 centimeters (approximately 10 to 12 inches) and a weight of around 350 to 700 grams (12 to 25 ounces).
The volcano rabbits' compact size and unique morphology are ideal for their high-altitude habitat. Their short ears and legs help minimize heat loss in the cold mountain environment. Furthermore, they have dense and woolly fur that provides insulation.
Read more: Rabbit Species and Types.
22. Vaquita (Porpoise)
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Vaquita is the world's most endangered marine mammal? This small porpoise is on the brink of extinction, with a population estimated to be less than ten individuals.
The Vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is a small porpoise species living exclusively in the northern Gulf of California, Mexico. It is small and compact, with a rounded body and a distinctive dark ring around its eyes. Its dorsal side is dark gray, while the ventral side is light gray.
This elusive marine mammal is shy and elusive in nature, making it challenging to study and observe in the wild. Unfortunately, the Vaquita has faced significant threats in recent years, primarily due to accidental entanglement in fishing gear, leading to a drastic decline in its population.
Like other porpoises, the Vaquita uses high-frequency clicks to communicate and detect objects underwater. However, its declining population and elusive behavior have made it difficult for researchers to study this remarkable echolocation system in detail.
23. Velvet Belly Lanternshark (Etmopterus spinax)
Fun Fact: The Velvet Belly Lanternshark possesses the ability to produce light through bioluminescence, a remarkable adaptation that allows it to communicate, attract prey, and camouflage itself in the dark depths of the ocean.
The Velvet Belly Lanternshark is a deep-sea shark living in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, ranging from Iceland and Norway in the north to Senegal in the south. Velvet Belly Lanternshark is relatively small, typically measuring between 30 to 60 centimeters (approximately 12 to 24 inches) in length. It has a slender body with a dark brown to black coloration on its upper side and a velvety black belly, from which it gets its common name.
Furthermore, these sharks have bioluminescent capabilities. Specialized light-producing organs, known as photophores, are scattered across its body, emitting a soft glow in the darkness of the deep ocean. The shark uses these bioluminescent patterns to communicate with others of its kind, attract prey, and potentially confuse or deter predators.
Surveying the vast catalogue of 'V'-named animals - from vultures to velvet worms - unveils a world rich in biodiversity. These land, air and sea creatures, both large and small, encapsulate the unique wonder of our environment, each playing their the vital role in the ecological chain.
Safeguarding biodiversity is essential, including these 'V' species, as it forms the bedrock of our planet's health. The very survival of these and other animals hinges on our commitment to environmental protection. Our dedication to preserving wildlife, whether it starts with 'V' or any other letter, is indeed a commitment to our future.
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 P
- 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 W
- Animals that start with X
- Animals that start with Y
- Animals that start with Z
Cabanas, A. J., De Guia, A. P., Vega, R. S. A., & Dimalibot, J. (2022). Occurrence and Distribution of Philippine Warty Pig (Sus philippensis Nehring, 1886) in Mt. Banahaw de Tayabas, Luzon Island, Philippines. The Philippine Journal of Science, 151(5).
Mendoza, M. L. Z., Roggenbuck, M., Vargas, K. M., Hansen, L. H., Brunak, S., Gilbert, M. T. P., & Sicheritz-Pontén, T. (2018). Protective role of the vulture facial skin and gut microbiomes aid adaptation to scavenging. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 60(1).
Heard, D. C. (1977). The behaviour of Vancouver Island marmots, Marmota vancouverensis (T). University of British Columbia.
, H. T., & Robison, B. H. (2012). Vampire squid: detritivores in the oxygen minimum zone. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279(1747), 4559–4567.