16 Delightful Animals That Start With D

By Kevin Myers | 2023 Update

There are millions of animal species on the planet that we are unaware of. Some of these animal species have been extinct for hundreds and thousands of years, such as the Dodo bird and the dinosaurs. If you’re looking to learn more about animals that start with the letter D, you have come to the right place. Read on to get all the details and fun facts about these animals found around the globe.

Animals That Start With D

1. Dog

Dogs are domesticated mammals that are the closest living relative of the modern wolf. The dog evolved from the Grey Wolf into more than 400 distinct breeds. Dogs are one of the two most widespread and popular domestic animals in the world other than the cat. Their loyalty, compassion, and friendliness are some of the many reasons for their popularity.

Dogs were the first species to be domesticated by hunter-gatherers over 15,000 years ago before the development of agriculture. They have lived with humans and served as a protector, friend, and a hunting companion. 

Fun fact: Dogs have wet noses to help absorb scent chemicals.

2. Deer 

Deer are animals with antlers and hooves that are a type of ruminant mammal. There are about 60 species of deer. They originally lived in the northern hemisphere and are native to Europe, Asia, North America, and South America. Deer are herbivorous animals whose primary diet consists of plant matter. An adult deer measures between 31 to 40 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 300 lbs. 

Fun fact: Palaeontologists have found deer as part of the artwork in the caves.

3. Dormouse

The dormouse is a type of rodent resembling a mouse found in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are nocturnal animals named for their long, dormant hibernation period of six months or longer. They live in deciduous woodland and overgrown hedgerows and feed on flowers from oak, hawthorn, sycamore, willow, honeysuckle, and bramble trees. In summer, they eat caterpillars, aphids, and wasp galls before fattening up on blackberries and hazelnuts to prepare for hibernation. They can live up to five years, which is a long time for a small rodent.

Fun fact: The hazel dormouse is an ancient, native species. It has been present in Britain since at least the last Ice Age which is more than 10,000 years ago.

4. Dolphin

Dolphins are marine mammals with about 40 different species. Every species varies in size, weight, behavior, appearance, and color. Dolphins are warm-blooded with smooth skin, flippers, and a dorsal fin. They are found worldwide, mostly in shallow seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, mostly eating fish and squid.

They are small-toothed cetaceans, easily recognizable by their curved mouths which give them a permanent smile. Dolphins are considered one of the world’s most intelligent animals and have several cognitive abilities that set them apart.

Fun fact: Dolphins only sleep with half of their brain.

5. Darwin’s Fox

Darwin’s Fox is a small and endangered canid found in Chile that occurs in at least two distinct populations. One population is found in the forests of Chiloé Island, while the second population is on the coastal range in mainland Chile. It has dark grey fur with reddish areas on the head and muzzle. Besides humans who persecute the fox, because they believe it is a killer of livestock, foxes are killed by pumas and birds of prey. Scientists estimate the total population of Darwin’s foxes to be less than 1,000 individuals, and IUCN classifies the species as Endangered.

Fun fact: The fox gets its common name from naturalist Charles Darwin who first collected it in 1834.

6. Duck

Duck is the common name for one of the water birds belonging to the biological family Anatidae which also includes geese and swans. There are over 130 species of duck worldwide, which can be found in almost every environment where there is water. The natural diet of ducks is aquatic vegetation along with seeds, insects, worms, and water snails. Their legs are placed rearward rather than forward, which results in ducks having a distinctive waddling gait. Ducks have two unique features that make them good swimmers—webbed feet and waterproof feathers.

Fun fact: Ducks can live up to 20 years, depending on the species and level of care.

7. Dingo

The dingo is legendary as Australia’s wild dog, though it also occurs in Southeast Asia. It is an ancient breed of domestic dog introduced to Australia, probably by Asian seafarers, about 4,000 years ago. They are carnivores and hunt many kinds of animals, mainly at night. Dingoes vary in color and have pricked ears, a long, narrow torso, and a relatively large head. They possess a lean, hardy body adapted for speed, agility, and stamina.

Fun fact: The Dingo is the largest carnivore in Australia.

8. Dove

Doves belong to the bird family Columbidae which also includes pigeons. Their features include thick and round bodies, short necks, and thin peaks, but they are generally of small size. Doves exist in every part of the world, excluding the Antarctic. They usually inhabit savannas, grasslands, temperate woodlands, deserts, mangrove forests, and barren sands. These birds have a lifespan of approximately 1.5 years.

Fun fact: Doves are one of the few species of birds that drink by sucking up their water instead of taking a bill full of water and letting it trickle down their throat. It can suck up its total daily requirement in less than 20 seconds.

9. Donkey

The domestic donkey is a hoofed mammal belonging to the horse family Equidae. Donkeys were first domesticated around 6,000 years ago in North Africa and Egypt for meat and milk. A donkey’s territorial instinct is so strong that in many regions around the world, they are used to guard herds of sheep and goats against dogs, foxes, coyotes, and wolves. Donkeys are herbivorous mammals that have evolved to consume sparse fibrous vegetation.

Fun fact: A donkey is much stronger than a horse of the same size.

10. Dragonfish

Dragonfish is a species that includes a variety of small fishes that have similar characteristics. They comprise five to six different specific species. The dragon fish is a big-mouth fish and has a fearsome reputation in the deep sea waters across Southeast Asia. Dragonfish emit poison that is incredibly dangerous and deadly to their predators. The Asian Arowana, another name for the dragonfish, is believed by the Chinese to bring good luck and prosperity due to its red color and coin-like scales.

Fun fact: Dragonfish is the only known creature to have chlorophyll in their eyes.

11. Dragonfly

Dragonflies were some of the first winged insects to evolve 300 million years ago. About 3,000 extant species of true dragonflies are known. Living on every continent but Antarctica, these insects are instantly recognizable by their large bodies, four long, horizontal wings, and the way they hover and zip around. Dragonflies can reach speeds of up to 35 miles an hour. Their wings are thin and sheer, with small veins that crisscross to add strength.

Fun fact: Since dragonflies hunt other flying insects, they can move and rotate each of their four wings independently of one another.

12. Dipper

Known in Welsh as a ‘bird of the torrent,’ the dipper is the only songbird in the world that can swim underwater. They are named for their bobbing or dipping movements. The dipper is a short-tailed, plump bird with a low, whirring flight. It is remarkable in its method of walking into and under water in search of food. Dippers feed on aquatic invertebrates, including nymphs, larvae, and small fish such as minnows. 

Fun fact: Dippers have a nasal flap that allows them to close their nostrils underwater and extra eyelids, called nictitating membranes, to help them see underwater.

13. Dung Beetle

Dung beetles are a group of insects that primarily use the dung of mammals for feeding and nesting. These beetles represent a small group of insects, with roughly 5000 described species. Dung beetles live in many habitats, including deserts, grasslands and savannas, farmlands, and native and planted forests. They are found on all continents except Antarctica.

Fun fact: Some dung beetles can bury dung 250 times their own mass in one night.

14. Discus

Discus fish are some of the most beautiful freshwater fish known for their spectacular colors and large, circular shape. The fish’s common name is derived from its flattened shape. Discus originates in the mixed tropical waters of the Brazilian Amazon River of South America. Discus are generally calm, peaceful fish, but they can be aggressive toward one another, especially when attempting to pair off and spawn. 

Fun fact: Discus fish can change their body color.

15. Dinosaur

Jaroslav Moravcik / Shutterstock.com

Dinosaurs were reptiles that lived on Earth about 245 million years ago. They evolved into diverse shapes and sizes and were able to survive in a variety of ecosystems. One of the reasons for their success is that they had straight back legs perpendicular to their bodies. This allowed them to use less energy to move than other reptiles that have a sprawling stance similar to lizards and crocodiles. Dinosaur fossils have been found on all seven continents. There are roughly 700 known species of extinct dinosaurs.

Fun fact: Dinosaur skulls had large holes or “windows” that made their skulls lighter.

16. Dodo

The Dodo is an extinct flightless bird of Mauritius, 500 miles from the Eastern coast of Madagascar. Dodos were large birds, approximately three feet tall, with downy grey feathers and a white plume for a tail. They were first spotted in the 1500s by Portuguese sailors but disappeared by 1681. Over-harvesting of the birds, combined with habitat loss and a losing competition with newly introduced animals were some of the reasons for their extinction. Dodos were omnivores, meaning they ate both plants and other animals. 

Fun fact: These massive birds could reach a body weight of more than 20 kilograms.

Here’s a full list of animals that start with D:

  • Dachsador
  • Dachshund
  • Dachshund Mix
  • Daeodon
  • Dalmadoodle
  • Dalmador
  • Dalmatian
  • Dalmatian Mix
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Daniff
  • Danios
  • Danish Swedish Farmdog
  • Dapple Dachshund
  • Dark-Eyed Junco
  • Dark-Eyed Junco
  • Darkling Beetle
  • Darwin’s fox
  • Darwin’s Frog
  • Daug
  • De Brazza’s Monkey
  • De Kay’s Brown Snake
  • Death Adder
  • Death’s Head Cockroach
  • Deathwatch Beetle
  • Decorator Crab
  • Deer
  • Deer Head Chihuahua
  • Deer Tick
  • Deinocheirus
  • Deinosuchus
  • Desert Ghost Ball Python
  • Desert Kingsnake
  • Desert Locust
  • Desert Rain Frog
  • Desert Tortoise
  • Desert Wolf
  • Desmostylus
  • Deutsche Bracke
  • Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle
  • Devon Rex
  • Dhole
  • Diamond Python
  • Diamondback Moth
  • Dickcissel
  • Dickinsonia
  • Dik-Dik
  • Dilophosaurus
  • Dimetrodon
  • Diminutive Woodrat
  • Dingo
  • Dinocrocuta
  • Dinofelis
  • Dinopithecus
  • Dinosaur Shrimp
  • Dinosaurs
  • Diplodocus
  • Diprotodon
  • Dire Wolf
  • Disco Clam
  • Discus
  • Diving Bell Spider (Water Spider)
  • Diving Duck
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Dobsonfly
  • Dodo
  • Doedicurus
  • Dog
  • Dog Tick
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Dogue De Bordeaux
  • Dolphin
  • Donkey
  • Dorgi
  • Dorkie
  • Dorking Chicken
  • Dormouse
  • Double Doodle
  • Douc
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Doxiepoo
  • Doxle
  • Draco Volans Lizard
  • Dragon Eel
  • Dragon Snake (Javan Tubercle Snake, Javan Mudsnake)
  • Dragonfish
  • Dragonfly
  • Dreadnoughtus
  • Drever
  • Dromornis stirtoni
  • Drum Fish
  • Dubia Cockroach
  • Duck
  • Dugong
  • Dumeril’s Boa
  • Dung Beetle
  • Dungeness Crab
  • Dunker
  • Dunkleosteus
  • Dunnock
  • Dusky Dolphin
  • Dusky Shark
  • Dutch Rabbit
  • Dutch Shepherd
  • Dwarf Boa
  • Dwarf Crocodile
  • Dwarf Hamster

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