31 Animals That Start With M

Many animals of the world start with M. Whether you are looking for a quick list or a deeper dive into the animals that start with M, you are in the right place. I will share a quick list, then give you more information about the animals starting with M.

31 Animals That Start With M: A List

  1. Manatee
  2. Monarch Butterfly
  3. Meerkat
  4. Man of War Jellyfish
  5. Manta Ray
  6. Mole
  7. Mouse
  8. Moose
  9. Mink
  10. Moray Eel
  11. Monkfish
  12. Muntjac
  13. Magpie
  14. Millipede
  15. Macaroni Penguin
  16. Macaw
  17. Marmot
  18. Markhor
  19. Minnow
  20. Mosquito
  21. Mountain Lion
  22. Musk Ox
  23. Musk Deer
  24. Marten
  25. Mockingbird
  26. Monitor Lizard
  27. Monkey
  28. Moorhen
  29. Murrelet
  30. Mullet
  31. Mongoose

30 Animals That Start With M: A Closer Look

Want to take a closer look at the animals that start with M? You’ll find what you are looking for below.


The manatee, often referred to as “sea cows,” kick off this list of animals that start with M. They are enchanting marine mammals known for their gentle demeanor. These large herbivores are predominantly found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, and coastal waters of tropical and subtropical regions. Manatees possess a streamlined, barrel-shaped body, with forelimbs adapted into flippers and a horizontally flattened tail used for propulsion. Their rough, wrinkled skin is often dotted with algae, lending them a distinct appearance.

These captivating creatures are highly adapted to an aquatic lifestyle. In the winter, their preference for warm waters makes them frequent visitors to freshwater springs during colder months. Despite their hefty size, manatees are remarkably gentle, peacefully grazing on aquatic vegetation to meet their dietary needs. They are known for their slow movements and can often be seen basking near the water’s surface.

Unfortunately, manatees face numerous threats, including boat collisions and habitat loss, which have led to their vulnerable conservation status.

Monarch Butterfly

The monarch butterfly, scientifically known as Danaus plexippus, is an iconic insect with vibrant orange and black wings. These butterflies undertake a long-distance migration, covering thousands of miles between their breeding grounds in North America and wintering grounds in Mexico.

Monarchs are easily recognizable by their striking coloration and the intricate patterns on their wings. I love to spot them in the fall along Florida’s Gulf Coast.


The meerkat (Suricata suricatta) is a charming and sociable small mammal. These endearing creatures are native to the arid regions of southwestern Africa, where they inhabit open grasslands, deserts, and scrublands. Meerkats boast a slender, nimble body. They have a distinctive dark-ringed eye patch that aids in reducing glare from the sun. This allows them to spot predators and potential prey more effectively.

Living in close-knit communities, meerkats are highly social animals, often forming colonies that include several families. They display cooperative behaviors. Different members take on specific roles, such as sentinels watching for predators while others forage for food.

One of the meerkat’s most intriguing behaviors is their practice of “mobbing” potential threats. Mobbing happens when they gather together and vocalize loudly to intimidate predators. This fascinating display of cooperation and communication ensures the colony’s safety.

Man of War Jellyfish

The man of war jellyfish (Physalia physalis) is a mesmerizing yet perilous marine creature found in warm ocean waters around the world. Despite its name, the man of war is not a single jellyfish but a colonial organism comprising several specialized individuals known as zooids. These zooids work together, each with a unique function, creating a floating, translucent, and balloon-like structure that can measure up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) in length.

Inhabiting open ocean waters, the man of war jellyfish is known for its stunning blue, pink, and purple hues, which serve as a warning to potential predators of its potent stinging abilities. Beneath its ethereal appearance lies a powerful defense mechanism – long, venomous tentacles that can extend up to 165 feet (50 meters).

The man of war’s sting is not only painful but can be dangerous to humans, often requiring immediate medical attention. It is essential to admire these creatures from a safe distance, respecting their natural habitats.

Manta Ray

The manta ray is renowned for its grace and elegance in the world’s oceans. These gentle giants boast a unique, flat body structure, with “wings” that can span up to 29 feet (9 meters) in width, making them one of the largest species of rays in existence. Despite their size, manta rays are harmless to humans, as they are filter feeders, consuming vast quantities of plankton and small fish by swimming with their mouths wide open.

Manta rays prefer warm tropical and subtropical waters, often found in both open ocean habitats and coastal reef environments. They are highly migratory animals, traveling long distances to follow seasonal food sources and reproductive opportunities. One of the most captivating aspects of manta rays is their acrobatic behavior, often leaping out of the water and performing stunning barrel rolls, possibly as a way to rid themselves of parasites.

Regrettably, these magnificent creatures face threats from human activities, including accidental entanglement in fishing gear and boat strikes


The mole is a small mammal belonging to the Talpidae family. These elusive creatures are well-adapted to their underground lifestyle, possessing cylindrical bodies, powerful forelimbs, and sharp, spade-like claws designed for digging. Their velvety fur is often dark in color, providing effective camouflage in their subterranean habitats.

Moles prefer a range of habitats, from grasslands and farmlands to woodlands and gardens. Their exceptional digging abilities allow them to create elaborate tunnel systems underground, where they hunt for insects, worms, and other invertebrates as their primary food source.

One of the most unique features of moles is their specialized bone structure that enables them to rotate their forelimbs independently, allowing them to tunnel efficiently through the soil. Despite their elusive nature, moles play essential roles in their ecosystems by aerating the soil and controlling insect populations.


The mouse is an adaptable small mammal that has found its way into nearly every corner of the world. These unassuming creatures typically have a compact body, rounded ears, and a slender, hairless tail, making them easily distinguishable from their larger rodent relatives like rats. Their fur color can vary greatly, with shades ranging from brown and gray to white, depending on the species and environment they inhabit.

Mice are incredibly versatile when it comes to habitat preferences, thriving in a wide range of ecosystems, including forests, grasslands, farmlands, and urban areas. Their adaptability is one of the key factors contributing to their success. Mice possess a rapid reproduction rates, making them prolific breeders and resilient in the face of environmental changes.


The moose (Alces alces) is an iconic species of deer native to North America. These majestic creatures are distinguishable by their massive size. Male moose, also known as bulls, boast imposing antlers that can span up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) across, used primarily for mating displays and territorial defense. Their fur varies in color, ranging from dark brown to reddish-brown, and they have a long, overhanging snout, called a “bell.”

Moose inhabit a variety of environments, including boreal and mixed-coniferous forests, swamps, and wetlands. As strong swimmers, you can often spot them foraging in aquatic habitats for aquatic plants and shrubs.

Males reach heights of up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) at the shoulder and weigh as much as 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms). Despite their imposing size, moose are agile and capable of running at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour).


The mink (Neovison vision) is a sleek and agile semi-aquatic mammal native to North America and parts of Europe. These captivating creatures have long, slender bodies covered in dense, water-resistant fur, typically displaying a rich brown or dark-colored coat with a distinctive white chin patch. Their lithe bodies and webbed feet make them superb swimmers, allowing them to effortlessly navigate through water in search of prey.

Minks prefer a diverse range of aquatic habitats, including freshwater rivers, lakes, and wetlands. They are opportunistic predators, hunting various aquatic animals, such as fish, frogs, and small mammals, as well as birds and insects. Unfortunately, unregulated trapping and habitat destruction have negatively impacted some mink populations, leading to concerns about their conservation status in certain regions.

Moray Eel

The moray eel, belonging to the Muraenidae family, is a mysterious marine predator found in oceans around the world. These elongated creatures have snake-like bodies with scaleless, thick skin and rows of sharp teeth that they use to capture and subdue their prey. Moray eels have a unique feature called pharyngeal jaws, which allow them to grasp and pull prey further into their mouths for consumption.

Moray eels live in tropical and subtropical marine environments, often residing in rocky crevices and coral reefs. Their secretive nature and nocturnal habits make them elusive to human observers during the day, but they emerge at night to hunt for small fish, crustaceans, and other marine creatures.

One of the most intriguing facts about moray eels is their ability to open and close their mouths rapidly, creating a threatening display to deter potential predators or intruders. Despite their fearsome appearance, moray eels are generally not harmful to humans, although they can bite if provoked or cornered.


The monkfish, belonging to the Lophius genus, is a captivating deep-sea fish known for its peculiar appearance and unique hunting strategy. These fish have large, flattened heads with wide, toothy mouths that can expand significantly to engulf prey. Their bodies are robust and tapered, often featuring mottled colors to help them blend into their seafloor habitats.

Monkfish primarily live in the Atlantic Ocean and parts of the Mediterranean Sea, inhabiting sandy or muddy ocean floors at depths ranging from 100 to 2,000 feet (30 to 600 meters). Their preference for deep waters and elusive nature has earned them the nickname “anglerfish,” as they employ a lure-like appendage on their heads to attract unsuspecting prey close enough for capture.


The muntjac is a fascinating group of small deer known for their elegance and shy nature. These deer have a compact build with short legs, making them well-suited for navigating through dense vegetation. Muntjacs have reddish-brown to dark brown fur, with males sporting short, unbranched antlers that they shed annually.

Muntjacs are versatile when it comes to habitat preferences, inhabiting various forested environments, including tropical rainforests, deciduous woodlands, and montane forests. They live in Asia, with different species occupying different regions. Despite their small size, muntjacs are agile and capable of leaping great distances when startled, using this swift evasion tactic to avoid predators.


The magpie (Pica pica) is a highly intelligent bird species renowned for its striking black and white plumage. These medium-sized birds have glossy black feathers covering their bodies, with a distinct white patch on their wings and belly, making them easily recognizable. Their long, graduated tail feathers add to their elegant appearance.

Magpies are adaptable birds, found in a wide range of habitats, including woodlands, parks, gardens, and urban areas. They are highly sociable and often seen in small groups or pairs. Magpies have remarkable cognitive abilities, as they are known to use tools and demonstrate problem-solving skills, such as recognizing their reflection in mirrors. Furthermore, they have a penchant for collecting shiny objects, a behavior that has led to several myths and folklore surrounding these birds.


The millipede, belonging to the Diplopoda class, is a fascinating arthropod known for its numerous legs and unique body structure. Contrary to its name, millipedes do not have a thousand legs, but they possess two pairs of legs on each body segment, which gives them a distinctive appearance. These creatures are typically small, ranging from a few millimeters to a few centimeters in length, with elongated, cylindrical bodies.

Millipedes usually live in terrestrial habitats, such as forests, woodlands, and gardens. They thrive in moist environments, as their soft exoskeleton requires high humidity to prevent dehydration. Millipedes play crucial roles in ecosystems, as they primarily feed on decaying plant matter, aiding in the breakdown and recycling of organic materials.

Macaroni Penguin

The macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) is a delightful and charismatic species of penguin found in the Southern Ocean. These endearing birds have distinctive bright orange-yellow crests on their heads, which earned them their unique name, resembling the fashionable hats once worn by 18th-century “macaroni” men. Apart from their eye-catching crests, macaroni penguins have sleek black and white plumage, with a white face and throat and a black back.

Macaroni penguins prefer to inhabit subantarctic and Antarctic regions, where they often form large colonies on steep, rocky cliffs. They are highly social birds and known for their boisterous and animated behavior, especially during their courtship displays and nesting rituals.

One of the most unique facts about macaroni penguins is their remarkable adaptability to varying environmental conditions. They can dive to great depths, reaching up to 328 feet (100 meters), in search of food, such as krill, small fish, and squid. Macaroni penguins are also skilled swimmers, using their powerful flippers and streamlined bodies to navigate through the icy waters of the Southern Ocean.


The macaw, belonging to the Ara genus, is a dazzling and colorful parrot species renowned for its vibrant plumage and intelligence. These medium to large-sized birds have strong, curved beaks that they use to crack open nuts and seeds, and their long, graceful tails add to their majestic appearance. Macaws have distinctive facial feather patterns and brilliant hues, including shades of red, blue, green, and yellow.

Macaws live in tropical rainforests and woodlands of Central and South America, with some species also inhabiting parts of Mexico and the Caribbean. They are highly social birds, often seen in pairs or flocks, and have excellent vocal abilities, enabling them to mimic various sounds and even human speech.


The marmot, belonging to the Marmota genus, is a charming and social rodent known for its stout build and distinctive appearance. These medium-sized mammals have sturdy bodies, short legs, and rounded ears, with dense fur ranging in colors from brown and gray to shades of yellow and white.

Marmots prefer high-altitude habitats, often inhabiting mountainous regions, alpine meadows, and rocky slopes. They are well-adapted to colder climates, hibernating for several months during winter to conserve energy and avoid harsh weather conditions. Marmots are social creatures, living in colonies or family groups and often engaging in playful interactions with one another.


The markhor, scientifically known as Capra falconeri, is an elusive wild goat species native to the mountainous regions of Central Asia. These impressive creatures have large, spiraled horns that can reach lengths of up to 5 feet (1.5 meters), making them one of the most remarkable and distinctive features of the species. Markhors also have a thick, shaggy coat, typically varying in color from light brown to gray, providing excellent camouflage in their rocky habitats.

Markhors are specially adapted to survive in rugged and steep terrain, thriving in alpine forests, rocky slopes, and high-altitude plateaus. Their agility and sure-footedness allow them to scale cliffs and navigate challenging landscapes with ease.


The minnow, belonging to the Cyprinidae family, is a small and diverse group of freshwater fish known for their slender bodies and remarkable adaptability. Minnows typically have streamlined shapes, with scales that can vary in color from silvery to gold or olive. Their small size, ranging from a few centimeters to a few inches, makes them popular inhabitants of various aquatic ecosystems.

Minnows are highly adaptable and live in a wide range of freshwater habitats, including rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes. They can thrive in various environmental conditions, and some species even tolerate brackish water and mildly saline environments.

They play crucial roles as prey for larger fish and various waterfowl, and they also contribute to nutrient cycling and the health of aquatic vegetation by feeding on algae and other organic matter.


My least favorite creature on the list!

The mosquito, belonging to the Culicidae family, is a small but notorious insect known for its role as a vector of various diseases. These insects have slender bodies, with long, needle-like mouthparts called proboscis used for feeding on plant nectar and, in the case of female mosquitoes, blood from hosts. Mosquitoes typically have six legs and a pair of wings, allowing them to be efficient flyers.

Mosquitoes live in a wide range of habitats, but they are most commonly associated with wet and humid environments, such as marshes, ponds, and areas with standing water. These aquatic habitats serve as breeding grounds for mosquito larvae.

One of the most unique and concerning facts about mosquitoes is their ability to transmit diseases to humans and animals. Some species of mosquitoes are carriers of viruses, such as malaria, dengue, Zika, and West Nile virus, making them significant public health concerns in many parts of the world.

Mountain Lion

The mountain lion (Puma concolor) is a stealthy big cat native to the Americas. These majestic creatures have slender bodies, short fur, and distinctive round faces with powerful jaws. Mountain lions have keen senses, including exceptional eyesight and acute hearing, making them formidable predators.

Mountain lions are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, deserts, grasslands, and mountains. They have one of the most extensive ranges of any wild terrestrial mammal. It stretches from Canada to South America.

One of the most unique facts about mountain lions is their solitary nature. They are typically solitary animals, except during mating and when raising their young. Mountain lions are skilled stalkers and ambush predators. They rely on stealth and surprise to capture their prey, which includes deer, elk, and smaller mammals.

Musk Ox

The musk ox (Ovibos moschatus) is a sturdy Arctic mammal characterized by its thick, woolly coat and impressive horns. These majestic creatures have a compact, stocky build, with long, shaggy hair that reaches almost to the ground. Both males and females have curved, formidable horns that form a protective circle around their faces.

Musk oxen adapted to thrive in cold, harsh environments and are commonly found in Arctic and subarctic regions. They prefer open tundra landscapes, where they can graze on grasses, sedges, and lichens.

One of the most unique facts about musk oxen is their remarkable defense strategy. When faced with predators, such as wolves or Arctic foxes, they form a defensive circle known as a “musk ox circle” with the adults on the outside and the young in the center, protecting themselves and their offspring from potential threats.

Musk Deer

The musk deer, belonging to the Moschus genus, is a small and enigmatic deer species known for its unique characteristics. These animals have a compact, slender build with long, slender legs, making them well-adapted for navigating through dense forests and rocky terrains. Musk deer are most notable for their elongated canine teeth, called “tusks” or “fangs.” These protrude from the males’ upper jaws. The males use them in territorial displays and mating competitions.

Musk deer typically inhabit mountainous and forested regions in Asia, such as the Himalayas and parts of China and Russia. They are predominantly found at high elevations, often residing in areas with thick undergrowth for cover and access to water sources.

The deer produce a musk, which has been highly valued for centuries in traditional medicine and perfumery. The musk is secreted from a gland located near the males’ genital area, and its potent scent is used as a pheromone during the mating season.


The marten, belonging to the Martes genus, is a small carnivorous mammal renowned for its agility and elusive nature. These creatures have slender bodies with short legs and a bushy tail, typically covered in dense fur that can range in color from dark brown to golden-yellow, depending on the species.

Martens are highly adaptable animals and live in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, and mountainous regions. They are skilled climbers and agile hunters. They use their sharp claws and keen senses to catch prey such as small mammals, birds, and insects.


The mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is a highly versatile songbird native to North and South America. These medium-sized birds have slender bodies with grayish-brown plumage, featuring white patches on their wings and tail.

Mockingbirds are named for their remarkable ability to mimic various sounds. They can imitate the vocalizations of hundreds of different bird species and other sounds they encounter in their surroundings. The sounds include the songs of other birds, insect sounds, and even human-made noises.

Mockingbirds are adaptable birds, commonly found in a wide range of habitats, including urban areas, woodlands, and scrublands. They are known for their resilience and ability to thrive in diverse environments. And make a nice addition to this list of animals that start with M.

Monitor Lizard

Monitor lizards represent a group of large and powerful reptiles known for their impressive size and distinctive features. These lizards have long, muscular bodies with strong limbs and long tails, making them agile climbers and swimmers. Monitor lizards have their forked tongues and keen senses, aiding them in hunting and detecting prey.

Monitor lizards are highly adaptable and live in a wide range of habitats, from tropical rainforests and savannas to arid deserts. They are prevalent across Africa, Asia, and Australia, with various species occupying different regions.

As skilled predators, they use their sharp teeth and powerful jaws to hunt a variety of prey, including insects, small mammals, birds, and even other reptiles. Some larger monitor lizard species have been observed scavenging on carrion and eggs as well.


Monkeys are intelligent and social mammals known for their agile movements and playful nature. Monkeys come in a variety of sizes, colors, and appearances, with long tails being a common feature. They have well-developed brains, grasping hands, and forward-facing eyes, making them adept at manipulating objects and using tools.

Monkeys are highly adaptable and live in a wide range of habitats, including tropical rainforests, savannas, and mountainous regions. They are prevalent across Asia, Africa, and the Americas, with different species occupying distinct ecological niches. And they live in groups with well-defined hierarchies. Behaviors like social interactions, grooming, and communication play essential roles in maintaining group cohesion.

Can’t have a list of animals that start with M without monkeys!


The moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) is a bird found in various aquatic habitats. These medium-sized birds have dark plumage with distinctive white undertail feathers and a red frontal shield on their foreheads. They also have long legs and lobed toes, which enable them to walk on floating vegetation and swim efficiently.

Moorhens live in wetlands, marshes, lakes, and ponds, where they thrive in both freshwater and brackish water environments. The skilled swimmers and divers use their lobed feet to paddle through the water in search of aquatic vegetation, insects, and small fish.

These birds exhibit secretive nesting behavior. They construct floating nests among dense vegetation near the water’s edge, providing a safe haven for their young chicks.


The murrelet, belonging to the Aethia genus, is a captivating seabird known for its unique behaviors and coastal habitats. These small birds have compact bodies, short wings, and webbed feet, which make them agile swimmers and divers. Murrelets have striking plumage patterns, typically featuring dark backs and white undersides, helping them blend in with the ocean’s surface.

Murrelets live in marine environments, preferring coastal areas and offshore islands for nesting and foraging. They possess incredible diving abilities, plunging underwater to catch small fish and crustaceans.

Many species of murrelets exhibit secretive and well-hidden nesting sites in dense forests, far from the coastline. They often nest high up in old-growth trees, providing a fascinating link between marine and terrestrial ecosystems.


The mullet, belonging to the Mugilidae family, is a group of fish known for their adaptability. These medium-sized fish have elongated bodies with silver or grayish scales, and they have rounded heads and small, upturned mouths.

Mullets are highly versatile and live in a wide range of habitats, including coastal waters, estuaries, and freshwater rivers. They are euryhaline, meaning they can tolerate a wide range of salinities, allowing them to move between saltwater and freshwater environments.

They are opportunistic feeders, using their specialized mouth structure to filter-feed on plankton and detritus near the water’s surface. Additionally, some mullet species regularly jump out of the water. The behavior might be a way to evade predators or adjust their buoyancy.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is a distinctive and widely distributed deer species native to North America. These graceful mammals are recognized by their large, mule-like ears, which can rotate independently to detect sounds from various directions. Mule Deer have a robust, brownish-gray coat with a white rump patch outlined in black. They are known for their impressive antlers, which are typically bifurcated and can grow quite large in mature males.

Mule Deer are adaptable and occupy a range of habitats, including deserts, grasslands, forests, and mountainous regions. They are primarily herbivores, feeding on a diet of grasses, shrubs, and forbs. During the winter, they may resort to browsing on twigs and evergreen vegetation when other food sources become scarce.


The mongoose, belonging to the Herpestidae family, round out this list of animals that start with M. It is a clever and agile carnivorous mammal known for its ability to adapt to various environments. These small to medium-sized animals have sleek bodies, short legs, and sharp claws, allowing them to move swiftly and efficiently. Mongeese also have long, tapering tails and pointed snouts, aiding them in their hunting and foraging activities.

Mongeese are highly adaptable animals that start with M. They live in a wide range of habitats, from grasslands and forests to arid regions. They are prevalent in Africa, Asia, and parts of Southern Europe, where they thrive in diverse ecosystems.

Mongeese have remarkable hunting behaviors. Many species prey on a variety of small animals, including insects, rodents, and even snakes. They even take on venomous snakes, such as cobras, with their quick reflexes and agility.

Final Take on Animals That Start With M

This list of animals that start with M doesn’t include every animal in the world with an M moniker. However, it’s a great sampling of animals that start with M. Which one is your favorite?