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12 of the Most Active Animals in the World

From the spectacular metabolisms of shrews to the joyful antics of dolphins, the animal kingdom is filled with incredible examples of highly active animals observed in the wild. These animals’ agile movements, remarkable social interactions, and enthusiastic behavior make them fascinating to watch. 

Let’s examine some of these species in this article, learning about the active lifestyle that they bring to their natural habitats. 

12 Active animals

From dolphins to beavers, this list includes 12 animals that are known for their activity and social interactions in various environments. 

1. Dolphins

Short-beaked common dolphin
Short-beaked common dolphin | image by Gregory Smith via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Delphinus delphis

Dolphins are incredibly active and intelligent creatures. They live in dynamic social groups known as pods and exhibit altruistic behavior towards their own and other species. These animals use both vocalizations and nonverbal cues to communicate, and they have even shown evidence of culture by employing tools and passing on knowledge to their offspring. 

In addition to their playful nature and diverse social interactions, they can also display complex aggression. Dolphins are incredibly interactive creatures, constantly engaging with their surroundings to showcase their impressive energy and cognitive skills.

2. Goats

A mother goat with her babies
A mother goat with her babies | Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Capra aegagrus hircus

Goats are active and social animals, typically found in herds, exhibiting diurnal behavior and grazing most of the day. You’ll often see the males engage in head-butting contests to establish dominance in their hierarchical behavior. Strong relationships can develop between humans and domesticated goats in particular, and these animals exhibit a herd mentality. 

They also have unique nutritional needs, which they inherit or learn through feeding preferences. Goats are dynamic creatures that interact with their environment and companions through their activity, social nature, and complex dietary needs.

3. Sea Otters

Sea Otter floats in the ocean
Sea Otter floats in the ocean | image by Mike’s Birds via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Enhydra lutris

Sea otters are highly active aquatic mammals, spending 15 to 55% of their time foraging and diving for 50 to 90 seconds. They exhibit social behavior by forming single-sex groups called rafts, sometimes consisting of more than 2000 individuals. Sea otters also have some remarkable behaviors that set them apart from other animals. 

For example, they cleverly use rocks as tools to crack open shells and enjoy a tasty meal. Additionally, these clever otters have a clever trick up their sleeves – they wrap themselves in kelp to prevent themselves from drifting away.

This, along with their vocal interactions and self-sustaining lifestyle, underscores their active, playful nature and complex social interactions.

4. Cockatiels 


Scientific Name: Nymphicus hollandicus

Cockatiels are highly active birds that thrive on social interaction and play. Insufficient engagement might result in feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction because they like playing with toys and requesting attention from their owners.

As pets, spending time together satisfies their socialization needs and strengthens their bond with their owner. In the wild, cockatiels frequently travel, forage in flocks, and form pair bonds as sociable animals. 

5. Shrew

Eurasian shrew
Eurasian shrew | image by WWalas via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific Name: Sorex araneus

Shrews, like the common shrew, are highly active mammals that stay busy day and night, taking short breaks in between. These tiny creatures are always hungry due to their super-fast metabolism.

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Shrews may not be known for their playful nature, but they can be quite aggressive, fearlessly taking on creatures much larger than themselves. Their life cycle is fast and short, with multiple litters raised each year and young ones reaching adulthood in just 4 to 6 weeks.

6. Ants

Black ant
Black ant

Scientific Name: Lasius niger

Ants are fascinating creatures that live in highly organized colonies, with different castes assigned specific roles. These include workers, soldiers, drones, and queens. In tropical settings, ants are active all year round, however, certain species exhibit dormancy in cooler areas. 

Their social interactions are intricate, encompassing communication and problem-solving, reflecting elements of human society. Even though they aren’t usually playful, ants are diligent and persistently active, playing their parts in the colony and showing determination in using resources.

7. Dogs

English bulldog with ball
English bulldog with ball | Image by Alain Audet from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Canis lupus familiaris

Dogs, the descendants of wolves, are incredibly active and sociable creatures. Dogs are famous for their lively and spirited personalities, always ready for fun and adventure.

They love to engage in various activities, such as playing, running, and exploring the world around them. Social interactions among these animals are fascinating, as they have evolved over thousands of years of living alongside humans. 

These interactions often reflect the societal norms that humans follow, making them quite complex and intriguing. Dogs’ adaptability to human behavior and intuitive understanding of human emotions highlight their unique active and social nature, reinforcing their title as “man’s best friend”.

8. Squirrel

For Squirrel
For Squirrel

Scientific Name: Sciurus niger

Squirrels are known for their lively and playful nature, with agile movements, frequent jumping, and climbing that reflect their high energy levels. These active animals engage in complex social interactions, particularly when obtaining food or defending their territory. 

They use vocalizations and tail signals to communicate, showcasing their sociable nature. Their playful nature also shines through in their chase games and mock fights, making them a captivating symbol of activity in the animal kingdom.

9. Honeybees

European honeybee
European Honeybee | image by Insects Unlocked via Flickr

Scientific Name: Apis mellifera

Honeybees are highly active creatures known for their well-structured social interactions. These colonies, with their queen, drones, and worker bees, showcase an intricate division of labor, highlighting their remarkable social coordination. 

They tirelessly search for food, construct and mend their hive, and protect it from any unwanted visitors. Their dances, a playful form of communication, convey information about food sources. Honeybees are also known for their tireless work ethic, which highlights their active nature.

10. Arctic Terns

Arctic tern
Arctic tern

Scientific Name: Sterna paradisaea

Arctic Terns are active birds known for their impressive migration skills. They hold the record for the longest known journey in the animal kingdom, traveling up to 70,900 km round trip from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back. 

These animals exhibit lively social behavior, residing in lively colonies where they build their nests. While typically peaceful, they’re known to protect their nests fiercely. These terns are known for their impressive aerial acrobatics while hunting, intricate mating dances, and playful swooping to surprise other birds. 

11. Donkey

African wild ass
African wild ass | image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Equus asinus

Donkeys are highly active animals renowned for their intelligence, cautiousness, friendliness, playfulness, and eagerness to learn. They’re territorial and display social behaviors within their herds.

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Foals, in particular, are quite lively and can frequently be seen indulging in vigorous behaviors such as running and jumping. They’re also active day and night, showcasing their energetic nature.

12. Beavers

American Beaver on grass
American Beaver on grass | image by Marie Hale via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Castor canadensis

As lively semi-aquatic rodents, beavers are famous for their diligence and impressive construction abilities. They’re primarily active at night and during the twilight hours and exhibit extraordinary social relations within their family groups.

Beavers’ lively and energetic behavior shines through as they diligently construct dams and lodges. The young ones eagerly help their parents with these tasks, demonstrating a strong bond of family teamwork. 

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About Louise Robles

Louise writes about a wide variety of topics including wildlife, animals, and nature. She's developed a growing interest in animal biology and categorization due to her fascination with how they interact with one another and with their surroundings.