animals that start with d

There might not be a lot of animals’ names that start with the letter D, but if anything, that makes them even more unique. How many can you name? Can you even name anything more than Deer, Duck, and Dolphin? Here is a list of all the animals that start with the letter D.


Dassie is a local name, and even though more people may know it as a Hyrax, we decided to consider it under animals that start with the letter D for its local name. Found all over the African continent due to their highly adaptable nature, Hyraxes are furry, rotund herbivores with short tails.

You will be socked as well as surprised to know that this African animal whose name starts with D is the closest relative to the Elephant. There are 5 extant species of Dassies; Rock Hyrax, Yellow-spotted rock Hyrax, Western tree Hyrax, and Eastern tree hyrax.


The term deer shared by a wide group of hoofed ruminant animals under the Cervidae family, but it can be classified into two main categories; Cervinae, including species like Elk, Muntjac, Chital and Fallow Deer and Caprolinae including Reindeer, Moose and Roe deer. Deer are present in one form or another around the world. Almost all male deer species have antlers which they use to defend and fight their dominance and herd. Reindeers are the only deer species where even females have antlers.


Also known as Asian or Indian wild dog, Dholes are wild canines native to Central, South and South-east Asia. They were historically also present in North America and Europe thousands of years ago. They are currently endangered, with less than 2,500 adults living in the wild. Dholes live in a wide range of habitat, but they are mostly roaming around mountainous regions. They are more social and less focused on hierarchical dominance like their larger relatives, wolves.


We have another wild canine species on the list. The Dingo is an amazing wild dog native to Australia found in light ginger and tan, black and tan or whitish cream colors. The Dingo can’t be traced further back than 3500 years, which means that they migrated with human travelers from Sulawesi. Dingos are considered more of a feral animal than a wild one. While domestication is not encouraged, there have been instances, and Dingos, in general, live very close to urban areas of Australia.


Discus, which is also known as its genus classification Symphysodon is a type of Cichlid fish as one can tell from its laterally pressed body. It is classified through unique shapes, colors, and behaviors, which also make it a popular aquarium fish. They are found in the Amazon Basin in South America and are very social so that they will most likely be found in groups. The only time they become solitary is to give birth, and to raise infants as in a group, they can quickly be cannibalized.


Dodo is perhaps the only extinct animal in our whole website and not just the list of animals that start with D. Still; Dodo is a significant animal because it has become a symbol of eco-terrorism and the importance of conservation of animals. They were giant flightless birds compared to an ostrich, albatross, and vulture, but it is more common to a pigeon, unusually the crowned pigeon. Dodos were natives to Mauritius Islands and are a national emblem of the country to this day.

Dodos were hunted to extinction by people as well as the dogs, cats, and rats, which humans introduced to the dodos’ ecology. Conceived as dumb, Dodos were easy to hunt and very much defenseless, especially during infancy. They were declared extinct in 1681 just 175 years after their discovery.


We finally come to perhaps the most popular animals ever; Dogs as in domestic dogs are domesticated sub-species in the canine family. They come in different breeds, Size, Shape, and are used by humans for many purposes, hunting, protection, herding, carrying loads, police, and military assistance. Dogs in typical households serve primarily as social and emotional support. Presently they are also professionally recognized as having psychological therapy disabled assistance.

Diet is a significant factor where domesticated dogs defer from their wild relatives. They can survive on a starch-rich diet. Dogs are certainly are one of the most adorable animals that start with D.


Dolphins are highly-intelligent aquatic mammals within the infra-order Odontoceti, which include Killer whales. Dolphins have stream-lined body and flippers, which allows them to travel as much as 55km/h underwater. They eat mostly fish and squid over other prey. Killer Whales feast upon seals, penguins and are known even to attack other dolphins. Dolphins are the only animals after primates who show exceptional intelligence, which includes self-awareness.


We have already discussed much the donkey in Animal names starting with A as it is also known as Ass. We don’t think we have to repeat it by describing it all over again on our list of animals that start with the letter D.

Dove/Pigeon (Columbidae)

Dove, as well as pigeons, is actually from the same family of Columbidae. They are seeds, fruits, and plant feeding birds with stout bodies, short necks, and slender bills. There are over 42 genera and 310 species of Pigeons and Doves in this world. Instead of the species that have adapted to urban human settlements, the other species are being threatened or endangered by extinction.

The Dodo, as well as the passenger pigeon, were also considered part of the Columbidae family, which are unfortunately extinct due to human involvement.


Dragonfly (not to be confused with similar-looking damselflies) is an insect from order Odonata and infra-order Anisoptera. They are recognized for their long bodies, multifaceted eyes, and two pairs of strong and transparent wings that they use for long, quick, and agile flights. They spent the larvae stage of their life in water and spend their adult life close to water bodies. Dragonflies are even known to fly across oceans. It is no wonder why these little insects are the only Arthropods in our list of animals that start with d.


Drongo is a mostly black or dark-grey birds with short legs and a forked tail sometimes having decorations in it. Drongos are insectivores who mostly catch insects in air. They are also known to be tricksters for mimicking sounds of other birds and animals, which they will use to ward off competitors of their food. All 29 species of Drongos are included in a single genus Dicrurus within the Dicruridae family.


Domestic ducks are popular livestock for their meat, eggs, and fine feathers. All ducks under this category are domesticated descendants of the wild Mallard except the Muscovy duck. The domestication of ducks began from as back as 4,000 years ago in Asia. It might have started from Asia, but now around the world, duck is considered a delicacy. They might also be kept as farm animals or pets.


Dugong looks like a medium-sized manatee because they come from the same order of Sirenia. The dugong is the only living member of the Dungonginae sub-family, which used to be historically very diverse. They are found in the Indo-Pacific Oceans of around 40 countries. Without many natural predators, Dugong can live to be very old (oldest recorded being 73).

However, they still are at risk due to their slow reproduction process and predators taking out their young. Dugongs are also susceptible to several diseases. A dugong was also recorded to have died after suffering trauma from being impaled by a stingray barb.


Dunnart is also known scientifically as Sminthopsis are very tiny marsupials that are not larger than the European mouse. So, these narrow-footed creatures may easily be confused as rodents. They have a mostly insectivore diet. There are over 21 species of Dunnarts found all over Australia and New Guinea

Table of Animals That Start With The Letter D

Animal names that start with ‘D’ Phylum Class Scientific Name Life Span
Dassie Chordata Mammalia Hyracoidea


8.5 years in average but they easily grow up to 12 years in the wild
Deer Chordata Mammalia Cervidae


Common species of deer like the white-tailed deer have an average lifespan of 6-14 years. In the wild, the risk of hunting, vehicular collisions, and diseases reduce it to an average of 4.5 years. Mule deer is another deer with a long lifespan of 9-11 years average in the wild.
Dhole Chordata Mammalia Cuon Alpinus Up to 10 years in the wild and over 16 years in captivity
Dingo Chordata Mammalia Canis Lupus Dingo 6 years in wild and 17 years in captivity (though having Dingo as pets is not a good idea)
Discus Chordata Actinopterygii Symphysodon Discus may live anywhere from 1 week to 15 years depending upon the care it is given. It’s average lifespan thus is 10 years
Dodo Chordata Mammalia Raphus Cacullatus Believed to be 21 years for males and 17 for females
Dog Chordata Mammalia Canis Lupus Familiaris Average of 8-12 years; Smaller breeds of dog (Under 20 pounds) tend to live longer (average lifespan: 11 years) than larger dogs (average lifespan: 8 years)
Dolphin Chordata Mammalia Odontoceti


Killer Whales average lifespan in 30 for males and 50 for Females.

Dolphins in captivity live shorter than in the wild like the Bottlenose dolphin, who in captivity lives an average of 12-13 years while in the wild, they are found 30-50 years of age. Freshwater dolphins commonly have a lifespan of 15-20 years

Donkey Chordata Mammalia Equus Africanus Asinus


Average 25-30 years
Dove Chordata Mammalia Columbidae


Average of 10 years for most species. Species like the Spotted dove live for less at an average lifespan of 7.5 years while a speckled pigeon will live for 15-20 years in captivity
Dragonfly Chordata Mammalia Anisoptera


Minimum 6 months
Drongo Chordata Aves Dicrurus The average lifespan of most species is not known or at least published by reliable sources
Duck Chordata Mammalia Anas Platyrhynchos Domesticus Muscovy ducks live from 8 to 12 years, while Pekins only live up to 5 years of age. Smaller breeds of duck generally live longer than larger ones by 2-3 years. Ducks pressured artificially to produce more eggs also have shorter lifespans.
Dugong Chordata Mammalia Dugong Dugon They live well over 70 years, but the average lifespan is around 50 years
Dunnart Chordata Mammalia Sminthopsis The fat-tailed Dunnart will live for 15-18 years in average

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