This list of Animals That Start With W covers various species, such as the water buffalo, the wallaby, and the weasel. Each animal has distinct characteristics and behaviors that make them interesting objects of study.
Let us help you deepen your appreciation for the members of this section of the animal kingdom.
Fun Fact: Wallabies can leap up to 10 feet in a single bound, which is handy for traversing thick vegetation and rocky terrain.
These nocturnal creatures eat grass, leaves, fruits, and seeds; their digestive system resembles cattle. Moreover, wallabies gather in groups called mobs. Many wallabies exist, from red-necked wallabies to swamp wallabies and rock wallabies. Like kangaroos, females have pouches to carry their young, also called joeys.
Fun Fact: Wolves are social animals that live in packs, comprised of a dominant male and female and their offspring and other family members. Members follow the decisions of the dominant pair.
Wolves communicate through vocalizations, body language, and scent markings. They work together to hunt, raise their young, and defend their territory. Due to their strong sense of community and cooperation, wolves are among the most intelligent animals in the animal kingdom4. Explore more about this animal that starts with W through the links below.
Fun Fact: Walruses have the animal kingdom's largest canine teeth, which can grow up to 3 feet long.
These tusks help the walrus haul itself out of the water, break through the ice, and even protect against predators. Both male and female walruses have tusks, typically larger in males.
Moreover, the walrus can dive nearly 90 meters underwater, using its sensitive whiskers to detect invertebrates.
Related Read: Walrus Facts.
Fun Fact: Weasels are flexible enough to fit through tight spaces slightly larger than their bodies1.
This physical trait helps them pursue their prey–rodents, birds, and rabbits–through narrow crevices or underground burrows. Moreover, weasels are nocturnal predators that eat 40% of their body weight daily.
Related Read: Weasel Facts.
Fun Fact: Wombats kick their enemy using their powerful hind legs, which can be strong enough to break bones or crush skulls.
Wombats live across various landscapes in Australia. They are stout and medium-sized nocturnal animals. Moreover, a wombat has a uniquely cartilaginous rear end that works like a shield while escaping predators.
During a getaway, the wombat runs into its burrow headfirst and blocks the entrance with its tough backside. For an in-depth guide to this burrowing animal that starts with W, click the link below.
Related Read: Wombat Facts.
Fun Fact: Female wolf spiders carry their egg sacs wherever they go; they attach them to the spinnerets at the end of their abdomen. Once the spiderlings hatch, they climb onto their mother's back, staying there until they are mature enough to venture outside.
The wolf spider lives in forests and fields worldwide and is named for its hunting habits, similar to a wolf. Unlike other spiders, wolf spiders actively hunt their prey and do not rely on webs. According to a study by Harland & Jackson, wolf spiders track and hunt their prey using their keen vision.
Related Read: Spider Facts.
Fun Fact: The white tiger is not a distinct tiger species or subspecies. Instead, it is a rare color variation of the Bengal tiger caused by a recessive gene.
As their name indicates, they have white fur and blue eyes. Only about 200 white tigers exist in the world. Their bright white fur hinders their hunting ability since it prevents their camouflage. Hence, people keep these rare animals that start with W in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, where they receive protection and care.
Related Read: Tiger Facts.
Fun Fact: The West Highland Terrier, also called the Westie, was initially bred to hunt foxes and rodents. Despite their size, these dogs possess a strong hunting instinct and a keen sense of smell.
Today, people recognize them for their friendly and pleasant personalities and fluffy white coats. The West Highland Terrier originates from the challenging landscapes of Scotland's West Highlands. Moreover, its double-layered coat can withstand the harsh climates of Scotland.
If you keep one as a pet, groom it regularly to maintain its distinct appearance.
Fun Fact: Water buffaloes are expert swimmers who can paddle through rivers, lakes, and marshes with muscular bodies and strong legs. They spend most of their time underwater to keep cool and ward off biting insects.
The water buffalo, commonly referred to as the Asian Buffalo, is a semi-aquatic mammal that lives in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and China. They are well-suited to living in marshy and swampy landscapes. Besides their massive size, water buffalo have horns that can grow up to six feet (two meters).
Related Read: Buffalo Facts.
Fun Fact: Woodpecker skulls work like shock3 absorbers, protecting their brains from the repeated impact of pecking on trees for as many as 20 times per second.
Woodpeckers are found in an array of environments worldwide, from North and South America to Europe, Asia, and Africa. You won't find them in Australasia or Polar Regions, though, as these regions remain the only major ones without native woodpeckers.
Their pecking excavates nesting cavities, roots out insects, and communicates with other woodpeckers through distinctive drumming sounds. Moreover, a woodpecker's drumming helps them mark territories and attract mates. Now and then, their tree cavities also shelter other birds and mammals.
Before moving on to other animals that start with W, here's a bonus: the West Indian Manatee! Also known as a sea cow, it is a large aquatic mammal that moves between fresh and saltwater, eating sea plants.
Related Read: Woodpecker Facts.
Fun Fact: Wildebeest undertake one of the most spectacular migrations of any animal on Earth. Millions of wildebeest travel long distances searching for new grazing lands and water sources. During migration, they disperse seeds, fertilize the soil, and help balance the ecosystem.
Wildebeest, known as gnu, live in eastern and southern Africa. They have sharp, curved horns and are generally peaceful, except during their mating season or when threatened. Interestingly, they are actually a part of the antelope family. They eat fresh, short grasses that appear depending on the season.
Fun Fact: Worms are not insects but annelids, a group of animals that include leeches and marine worms.
Despite their gross-out factor, worms are vital to our ecosystem. They break down organic matter in the ground, converting it into nutrients. Additionally, burrowing helps aerate the soil, enabling water and nutrients to reach plant roots more easily.
Gardeners know the vital role of worms in improving soil quality through their diligent efforts. They transform barren areas into fertile landscapes. Some even start a worm farm for a type of composting called vermicomposting.
Despite their size, gorillas are gentle animals–intelligent, too. Families live together in troops under the leadership of a dominant silverback male, who protects and guides them. He also decides their movement and feeding.
Western gorillas live in the dense forests of Central Africa. They are also endangered species. Moreover, the Western Gorilla is closely related to humans, sharing about 96% of their DNA with people.
Related Read: Gorilla Facts.
Fun Fact: Pound for pound, the wolverine is among the toughest animals on the planet.
Solitary animals, wolverines can take down wild animals, such as caribou and moose, which are much larger than themselves. Their sharp claws and powerful jaws can easily crush bones to access their nutritious marrow.
Besides its muscular body and stout legs, the wolverine has a thick, dark coat that helps it withstand frost, a necessity in the North American forests and the Arctic Circle plains.
Related Read: Wolverine Facts.
Fun Fact: Previously thought extinct, the Wyoming toad has undergone a significant resurgence. This toad species now comprises around 1,800 individuals, most kept in captivity.
Young Wyoming toads start with an omnivorous diet, then turn exclusively carnivorous as adults. One can identify them through the distinctive black marking underneath their bellies.
Fun Fact: Western rat snakes, also called the black rat snake, can climb trees and vertical surfaces using their strong muscles and specialized scales.
These reptile animals that start with W help control pest populations. They hunt rats and mice, benefiting farmers and homeowners. Unlike venomous snakes, they kill their prey by constricting their bodies. During the summer, the female snake lays around 30 eggs, which hatch in the autumn.
Related Read: Snake Facts.
Fun Fact: Wild boars, also know and the Eurasian Wild Pig, have a keen sense of smell that helps them find food buried up to three feet underground, such as tubers, roots, and small animals.
This animal that starts with W came from the forests of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Today, they thrive in North America, where they go by the name "feral pigs."
All wild boar species can be tamed despite their name, and farmers often keep them on their property. However, their digging habits might become a nuisance.
Fun Fact: The water dragon, also known as the Australian water dragon, can spend up to 90% of its time in the water, remaining submerged for long periods and using its nose like snorkels. Their long and muscular tails enable them to navigate the water.
The Asian Water Dragon is a reptile that often perches on branches near a river. It has a long torso, angular head, and lengthy tail, which makes up two-thirds of its body.
Moreover, its green scales help it blend into the surrounding foliage, while its yellow or white belly reflects the sunlight off the river surface.
Fun Fact: Whale sharks are not whales but are the world's largest fish, with a maximum length of over 40 feet.
These humongous animals that start with W can eat up to 1,500 pounds of food in an hour. Despite their intimidating size, they are gentle creatures; divers often seek close encounters with them.
Fun Fact: The woolly monkey has long, strong limbs and a prehensile tail that works like an extra hand, enabling it to swing from tree to tree in the rainforests of South America.
Besides swinging through the trees, woolly monkeys can hang upside down to reach fruits and leaves. Our last animal starts with W, which got its name from its gray and brown wool-like coat. They can weigh up to 10 kilograms and are impressively agile primates suited to live in trees and the forest canopy.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Walleye fish got its name due to its pearlescent eyes? The distinct glow comes from a reflective layer of pigment in its eyes that helps it see and hunt effectively in low-light conditions.
The Walleye is a freshwater fish predominantly found in the lakes and rivers of the northern United States and Canada. This fish is rather unique due to its striking eyes and its ability to adapt to different water conditions. It is a tough species, often living in various environments ranging from warm, shallow embayments to deep, cool lakes.
What sets the Walleye apart from many other fish is its nocturnal hunting pattern. Its extraordinary night-vision makes it a formidable predator that feeds primarily on other fish. When the sun goes down, the Walleye swims from the deep water towards the shallow areas to capitalize on their superior sight.
Fun Fact: Did you know the ancestors of Welsh Corgis were Swedish cattle dogs brought by Vikings in the 10th century? These small yet mighty pups – favorites of the Queen of England herself – have a royal lineage!
Welsh Corgis, originating from Wales, stand out due to their short stature, elongated bodies, and surprising agility. These traits earned them top-dog status in their cattle herding days for which they were originally bred. Yet it's their combination of sharp intelligence and large-than-life personalities that make these breed truly unique. They're not just cute – they're clever, stubborn problem-solvers with a working breed mentality.
Fun Fact: Did you know a White-tailed Eagle, also known as the sea eagle, has a wingspan stretching up to 2.5 meters? That's wider than most cars, making them Europe's largest bird of prey!
White-tailed Eagles, native to Northern Europe and Asia, command attention with their sheer size and formidable hunting skills. Unlike many other raptors, these birds of prey are often seen near bodies of water— freshwater lakes, seacoasts, and marshes— thanks to their diverse diet including fish, other birds, and small mammals. The unique white plumage at the end of their tails, for which they are named, only develops when they reach maturity at around five years of age.
Although they may appear intimidating with their broad wings and strong grip, White-tailed Eagles are known for their calculated flight movements. They are skilled fliers who can reach speeds up to 50 km/h with silent, patient hunting tactics. Their keen vision allows them to spot meals from miles away.
Read more: Eagle Facts.
Our world boasts an incredible variety of animals whose names start with the letter 'W'. From the regally charming Welsh Corgis to the majestic White-tailed Eagles, to the rhythm of the industrious Woodpeckers, these animals all uniquely contribute to the rich fabric of global biodiversity.
King, C. M., & Powell, R. A. (2007). The Natural History of Weasels and Stoats: Ecology, Behavior, and Management. Oxford University Press.
Rohner, C. A., Armstrong, A. J., Pierce, S. J., Prebble, C. E., Cagua, E. F., Cochran, J. E., ... & Berumen, M. L. (2015). Whale sharks target dense prey patches of sergestid shrimp off Tanzania. Journal of Plankton Research, 37(2), 352-362.
Gorman, G. E. (2014). Woodpeckers of the world: the complete guide. Helm Identification Guides.
Mech, L. D., & Boitani, L. (2003). Wolves: behavior, ecology, and conservation. University of Chicago Press.