S for Animal: 30 Sensational Animals That Start With S

Hundreds of thousands of species coexist on this planet with us. And thousands of those animals have names that start with the letter ‘S.’

If you are looking for animals that start with S, you are in the right place. I’ve pulled together a lengthy list to showcase the ‘s for animal’ spirit.

S for animal: List of animals that start with the letter S

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s a great place to get started.

  • Snow Leopard
  • Sloth
  • Serval
  • Skunk
  • Sea Turtle
  • Shark
  • Sea Lion
  • Starfish
  • Seahorse
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Snowy Owl
  • Stork
  • Sparrow
  • Snake
  • Salamander
  • Skink
  • Swordfish
  • Sperm Whale
  • Spider Monkey
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Sun Bear
  • Snowshoe Hare
  • Spoonbill
  • Springbok
  • Squirrel
  • Scorpion
  • Silverfish
  • Shrimp
  • Stonefish
  • Salamander
  • Sandpiper
  • Screech Owl
  • Sea Urchin
  • Silver Fox
  • Sablefish
  • Sunfish
  • Scallop
  • Sawfish

Animals that start with S

Need a list of ‘S is for animal?’ Here’s a closer look at some of the animals that start with the letter S.

1. Snow Leopard

Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are highly elusive and majestic big cats native to the mountainous regions of Central and South Asia. With their distinctive pale gray fur patterned with black rosettes and spots, they are often referred to as the “ghosts of the mountains.” Snow leopards possess long, thick fur, which acts as insulation against the extreme cold temperatures of their high-altitude habitats.

Unfortunately, snow leopards are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The World Wildlife Fund estimates that there are only 4,000 to 6,500 individuals left in the wild due to various threats. The main factors contributing to their decline include poaching for their fur and body parts, habitat loss, and retaliatory killings by local communities due to livestock predation.

2. Sloth

Sloths are best known for moving in slow motion. A slow metabolism and low-energy diet contribute to their leisurely pace, allowing them to conserve energy and spend most of their lives hanging upside down from tree branches.

Sloths predominantly inhabit the lush rainforests of Central and South America, where they thrive in the canopies of tall trees. They are specially adapted to an arboreal lifestyle, with long, strong limbs and specialized claws that enable them to navigate their treetop homes with ease.

3. Serval

Servals (Leptailurus serval) are medium-sized wild cats native to the grasslands and wetlands of Africa. With a striking appearance, servals are instantly recognizable. The cats typically have yellow fur with black spots and stripes, providing excellent camouflage in their grassland habitat. Servals are known for their exceptional jumping ability, and can jump more than 9 feet in the air!

Servals primarily inhabit the savannas, marshes, and grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa. They have a preference for areas with dense vegetation near water sources.

4. Skunk

You’ll usually smell a skunk before you see a skunk. If you are unlucky enough to surprise a skunk, you might be on the receiving end of a nasty surprise. Personally, I’ve never been on the receiving end and I hope I never am.

Skunks are adaptable creatures found in a variety of habitats across North and South America, from forests to grasslands, and even suburban areas.

5. Sea Turtle

Sea turtles are magnificent marine reptiles that have been roaming the oceans for millions of years. They are well-adapted for life in the water, with powerful flippers that allow them to swim gracefully through the ocean currents.

Sea turtles are found in oceans around the world, occupying a range of habitats from tropical to temperate waters. They are known to undertake long migrations, returning to the same nesting beaches where they were born to lay their eggs.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists several sea turtle species as endangered or critically endangered. Threats to sea turtles include habitat destruction, pollution, entanglement in fishing gear, and poaching.

6. Shark

Sharks are magnificent apex predators that have dominated the world’s oceans for millions of years. Their bodies are specially designed for aquatic life, featuring streamlined forms, powerful tails, and a cartilaginous skeleton that allows for flexibility and swift movement in the water.

A shark sighting might strike fear into your heart. But unlike Jaws suggested, a shark attack is rather unlikely. In 2022, the International Shark Attack File reported only 57 unprovoked attacks. When you consider that millions, or even billions, of people, take a dip in the ocean each year, it’s clear that the odds of an attack are slim.

7. Sea Lion

Sea lions are charismatic marine mammals known for their playful nature and distinctive physical characteristics. These highly social creatures possess sleek bodies with powerful flippers and a thick layer of blubber to help regulate body temperature in cold waters.

Sea lions are primarily found along the coastlines of the Pacific Ocean, from subarctic regions to the tropics. They have a preference for rocky shores, sandy beaches, and offshore islands where they can haul out and rest.

8. Starfish

Starfish, also known as sea stars, are captivating marine invertebrates that showcase a stunning diversity of colors, shapes, and patterns. These unique sea creatures can be found in various marine habitats worldwide, from rocky intertidal zones to the deep ocean floor.

9. Seahorse

Seahorses are enchanting and unique marine creatures that captivate with their intriguing appearance and behavior. These small fish are instantly recognizable by their horse-like heads, elongated snouts, and curled tails, which they use to anchor themselves to seagrasses and coral reefs.

Seahorses exhibit remarkable camouflage abilities. I’ve spotted more than a few anchored in plain sight. It usually takes some luck to make a sighting, especially if you are swimming through a dense seagrass bed.

Some seahorse species are listed as vulnerable or endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The seahorse trade for traditional medicine, curios, and the aquarium industry further adds to their conservation challenges.

10. Scarlet Macaw

The scarlet macaw (Ara macao) is a stunning and charismatic parrot that certainly knows how to make an entrance. This large bird showcases a brilliant combination of red, blue, yellow, and green feathers, with a striking scarlet hue dominating its body. Its long tail feathers, vibrant wings, and strong beak make it an unmistakable sight.

Scarlet macaws are primarily found in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, particularly in the Amazon Basin and the forests of Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. They have a preference for mature forests and areas with abundant fruit-bearing trees, which serve as a crucial food source.

11. Snowy Owl

The snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) is a majestic bird of prey that inhabits the Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia. The bird’s white plumage provides excellent camouflage against snowy landscapes.

Snowy owls boast a wingspan of up to 1.5 meters (5 feet), which allows them to glide effortlessly across their vast territories in search of prey.

12. Salamander

Salamanders, a diverse group of amphibians, can be found in a wide range of habitats worldwide, from moist forests and swamps to mountain streams and underground caves. Some species are strictly aquatic, spending their entire lives in ponds and lakes, while others prefer terrestrial habitats, such as leaf litter and burrows.

Notably, salamanders exhibit a remarkable ability to regenerate lost body parts, including limbs and even portions of their organs.

13. Skink

When I first saw a skink, I mistook it for a salamander. But unlike salamanders, which are amphibians, skinks are a type of lizard.

These sleek reptiles typically have elongated bodies, smooth scales, and well-developed limbs, enabling them to move swiftly across various terrains. Skinks are known for their ability to shed and regrow their tails as a defense mechanism, allowing them to escape from predators.

14. Swordfish

S is for animal… I mean swordfish!

Swordfish impress with their streamlined shape and powerful tails. When you witness a swordfish, it becomes clear that these creatures possess a built-for-speed and agility design, enabling them to swim swiftly through the water. Swordfish have earned a reputation for their exceptional hunting abilities, as they utilize their sharp bills to slash through schools of fish with remarkable precision.

15. Sperm Whale

Sperm whales, reaching up to 65 feet, hold the title for the largest toothed whales. Not only do they possess a massive body, but they also boast the largest brains among all known animals.

They skillfully dive deep into the ocean’s depths in search of their primary food source—giant squid and other deep-sea cephalopods. These expert divers can descend to astonishing depths, reaching over 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) as they actively hunt for prey.

16. Spider Monkey

Spider monkeys, agile primates inhabiting lush rainforests, possess distinctive physical traits and display specific preferences for their habitats. These remarkable creatures have long, slender limbs and prehensile tails, which act as an additional limb to aid in locomotion and grasping branches. With their slender bodies and graceful movements, spider monkeys navigate the rainforest canopy with remarkable dexterity.

17. Sandhill Crane

S is for animal… I mean sandhill crane!

Sandhill cranes, elegant birds that frequent wetland habitats, stand up to four feet tall. The beautiful birds have an elaborate courtship ritual, which includes a mating dance worthy of a Tudor-era ball.

I’ve been lucky enough to spot these beautiful birds in Florida, with a chick in tow.

18. Spoonbill

Spoonbills, elegant birds with pink feathers and distinct spoon-shaped bills, thrive in a range of wetland habitats. These avian marvels gracefully sweep their bills from side to side, capturing small aquatic organisms as they forage in shallow waters. With their adept flying and wading skills, spoonbills effortlessly navigate marshes, swamps, and coastal lagoons, seeking out muddy or sandy areas rich in fish, crustaceans, and insects.

19. Sun Bear

Sun bears, agile forest dwellers with a distinctive golden chest mark, exhibit remarkable physical characteristics and display specific habitat preferences. These compact bears, with short, sleek black fur, possess strong limbs and sharp claws, allowing them to climb trees with ease in search of food.

Found primarily in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, they thrive in a range of habitats, including lowland rainforests, swamps, and mangrove forests.

20. Sandpiper

Sandpipers, with their sleek feathers and streamlined bodies, navigate coastal environments effectively. They effortlessly transition between land and water, traversing sandy beaches, mudflats, and rocky shores in search of food. Their long, slender beaks perfectly adapt to probe the sand or mud and extract small invertebrates like worms, mollusks, and crustaceans.

A sandpiper is one of my favorite types of birds to spot on the beach. But these birds are found all over the world, not just in Florida!

21. Scallop

S is for animal… I mean scallop!

Scallops, a bivalve mollusk, are marine creatures with a circular or fan-shaped shell. They inhabit a variety of marine environments, including shallow coastal waters, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. By actively filter-feeding on plankton and other microscopic organisms, scallops contribute to the ecological balance of their habitats.

My favorite type of scallop to spot in the wild is the bay scallop (Argopecten irradians). Bay scallops have dozens of electric blue eyes, which stare back at you as you swim above them in the seagrass.

22. Sawfish

Sawfish are best known for their rostrum, which is a flattened snout with sharp projections running along both sides. And those rostra can be very long. In fact, sawfish have rostrums up to 8 feet long!

However, due to overfishing, habitat degradation, and incidental capture in fishing gear, sawfish populations have plummeted, pushing them towards the brink of extinction.

23. Snowshoe Hare

Snowshoe hares have large hind feet and a dense fur coat that changes color with the seasons. During the winter, their fur turns pure white, providing excellent camouflage against the snowy landscape, while in the summer, it transitions to a mottled brown or gray to match the forest floor.

These hares primarily feed on a diet of twigs, buds, and bark, which they obtain from shrubs and small trees. By actively selecting habitats with suitable cover and abundant food resources, snowshoe hares are able to thrive in the challenging northern forest ecosystems they call home.

24. Sea Urchin

Sea urchins have round bodies covered with sharp spines designed to protect themselves from predators. These intriguing creatures come in a variety of sizes and colors, ranging from purple and red to green and black, depending on the species.

You can often find sea urchins in rocky areas, coral reefs, and seagrass beds, where they graze on algae and other small organisms.

25. Springbok

Springboks, graceful antelopes with remarkable physical abilities, thrive in the expansive grasslands and savannas of Africa. They primarily feed on a diet of grass and other vegetation, utilizing their browsing and grazing skills to obtain nourishment from various plant sources.

Since springboks live in an arid climate, the species has some interesting adaptations.

26. Squirrel

Squirrels, members of the Sciuridae family, are charismatic and nimble rodents known for their bushy tails and acrobatic antics. These small to medium-sized mammals are found worldwide, inhabiting a variety of environments, from urban parks to dense forests. With their keen sense of agility and adaptability, squirrels have become a familiar sight in both rural and urban landscapes

Personally, I love spotting these little guys around my bird feeder!

Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions about s for animal. We have answers!

Q: How many animals that start with the letter S are there?

There are numerous animals that start with the letter S. While our list highlights 30 animals, there are many more species that can be included

Q: Can I keep these animals as pets?

Keeping some of these animals as pets may be illegal or unethical. Many of them require specific environmental conditions, specialized care, and may pose risks to human safety. It is crucial to research the legal and ethical considerations before considering any wild animal as a pet.

Are all the animals on the list mammals?

No, the list includes a diverse range of animal types. While some animals, such as the snow leopard, sloth, and sea lion, are mammals, there are also reptiles (e.g., sea turtles, skinks), birds (e.g., scarlet macaw, snowy owl), fish (e.g., swordfish, sablefish), and invertebrates (e.g., starfish, scallop) on the list.


When you say ‘s for animal,’ I hope you’ll think of this list. Of course, this post doesn’t cover every animal that starts with S under the sun. But I hope this list was helpful!