While alligators might be one of the first names that come to mind when thinking of animals that start with A, there are plenty more! From species of scorpions to goats, read on to learn about 20 animals you can find in North America starting with the first letter of the alphabet. Some you might know and others may be new to you. Let’s find out!
20 animals that start with A
Animals that start with A exist worldwide, but here are 20 species you can find in North America or the surrounding oceans. Let’s see if you know about all the animals on this list.
1. American toad
Scientific name: Anaxyrus americanus
A common toad species found throughout eastern U.S. states, the American toad is recognizable by their warty, stout bodies. Their skin also contains a poisonous milky fluid they use to defend against predators. Sometimes they will also play dead to avoid being killed by predators.
2. Arizona bark scorpion
Scientific name: Centruroides sculpturatus
One of many animals native to the U.S Sonoran Desert, Arizona bark scorpions have painful and toxic stings that are potentially deadly to humans. Their exoskeleton has layers of wax that make them resistant to water loss and able to adapt to desert conditions. Like most scorpions, they also glow green or blue under UV light.
3. American black bear
Scientific name: Ursus americanus
American black bears are the most common and familiar bears in North America, including being popular wildlife spotting attractions in national parks. While they can grow 5 to 6 feet long, they are the smallest of the three bear species in North America. These bears don’t only eat fish or meat; most of their diet includes berries and roots.
4. Alaskan Hare
Scientific name: Lepus othus
Alaskan hares are one of the largest hare species and live in the harsh tundra habitats of North America. They can grow up to 28 inches and 12 pounds. These hares don’t hibernate. Instead, they survive the cold with their thick fur, low surface area to conserve body heat, and by digging shelters in the snow.
5. Arctic fox
Scientific name: Vulpes lagopus
Arctic foxes are smart and curious animals that live in elaborate dens they burrow. These foxes prefer the cold and can be found in treeless tundra habitats of North America, Europe, and Asia. Their fluffy tails and extremely thick fur help them survive the harsh conditions.
6. American alligator
Scientific name: Alligator mississippiensis
The American alligator, also known as the common alligator or gator, is the largest reptile in North America. They average between 10 to 15 feet long, with half their length being a strong, massive tail. These alligators can be found from North Carolina to the Texas Rio Grande and prefer slow-moving freshwater rivers. However, you’ll also find them in lakes, marshes, and swamps.
7. Alligator snapping turtle
Scientific name: Macrochelys temminckii
Alligator snapping turtles are the largest freshwater turtles in the U.S. and live in the rivers of southeastern states. Males can grow up to 29 inches and 249 pounds. They get their name from the ridges on their shells and their powerful jaws that deliver an alligator-like bite.
8. Alligator gar
Scientific name: Atractosteus spatula
Alligator gars are one of the biggest freshwater fish with large teeth and grow up to 10 feet long. You can find them in southern U.S. states’ rivers, lakes, bayous, swamps, and reservoirs, including the lower Mississippi River Valley. While they don’t venture to open sea, they can tolerate some saltwater. These fish lay toxic eggs as protection against predators.
Scientific name: Thunnus alalunga
Also known as longfin tunas, albacores are fast swimmers with long pectoral fins stretching across their bodies. They are extremely fast animals with a top speed is up to 50 miles per hour! These fish spawn in the Atlantic’s subtropical waters and prefer living in open waters.
Scientific name: Diomedeidae
Albatrosses have the largest wingspan of any bird with lengths up to 11 feet. They are seabirds that hunt mostly for fish, krill, and squid. At least 8 types of albatrosses can be seen on oceans surrounding North America, including the short-tailed albatross along the Pacific coast.
11. American robin
Scientific name: Turdus migratorius
The American robin is North America’s most abundant and widespread songbird in the thrush family. They typically live in shrublands, woodlands, and residential areas. These friendly birds are great for pest control and help the ecosystem by dispersing seeds from their fruit diet.
12. Argentine ant
Scientific name: Linepithema humile
Argentine ants are light to dark brown and live in massive colonies. Although native to Argentina, these ants are common pests in the U.S. and well adapted to urban areas. They are considered invasive because they drive out other ant species in the area. It’s also hard to track their nests since they will follow food trails for extended distances.
Scientific name: Mythimna unipuncta
The armyworm gets their name from their behavior of marching in armies from crop to crop when searching for food. They are a pest for grain crops and will turn into owlet moths. Originally from North, Central and South America, these worms traveled on ships with humans and now exist worldwide.
14. Abert’s squirrel
Scientific name: Sciurus aberti
Abert’s squirrels, also called tassel-eared squirrels, have unique tufts (or tassels) of fur on their ears and large fluffy tails. One of several species of squirrels in North America, you can find them in mountainous areas of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and Wyoming, where they build nests in high pine trees.
15. American beaver
Scientific name: Castor canadensis
The American beaver is an aquatic mammal and the largest rodent in North America. They are strong swimmers making dens near the bank of streams, ponds, or the shore of lakes. Their dens typically have an underwater entrance so they can easily access the water.
16. Atlantic spotted dolphin
Scientific name: Stenella frontalis
Atlantic spotted dolphins have bulky heads and long, narrow beaks. They live in the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean, usually at least 225 miles from the shore. These intelligent mammals can be seen swimming in groups of 5 to 50 individuals.
Scientific name: Dasypodidae
Armadillos are solitary animals from the Americas that live in forests and grasslands. They are well known for their amazing defensive measures. These animals have overlapping plates covering their head, back, legs, and tail like armor, and they will curl up into a ball, exposing only their armor. In fact, their name in Spanish translates to “little armored one.”
18. Alpine chipmunk
Scientific name: Tamias alpinus
Alpine chipmunks are native to the Sierra Nevada’s high elevations. These solitary animals live in burrows under rocks or dens among rocks and can effortlessly climb trees. Their diet consists of seeds and grasses of sedges.
19. Alpine goat
Scientific name: Capra aegagrus hircus
Alpine goats love mountainous habitats with cold climates, such as those on the Rocky Mountains. American alpine goats tend to be larger than the alpines found in Europe. These goats are also popularly domesticated and the most common goats used for cheese, milk, and other dairy products.