While cougars and caribou might come to mind when thinking of animals that start with C, there are plenty more living in the wild of North America! From native animals to invasive species that came over on green banana shipments, read on to learn about 22 animals starting with C.
Animals that start with c
Find out interesting facts about 22 North American animals that start with C, including one that sucks blood!
1. Canada lynx
Scientific name: Lynx canadensis
You can find the Canada lynx in forested areas of Canada and the U.S. where their main prey (snowshoe hares) are abundant. Their tufts of ear hairs are extremely sensitive, allowing them to locate prey easily. They are medium-sized wild cats with long hind legs that give them an incredible ability to climb trees.
2. Common loon
Scientific name: Gavia immer
The common loon is a migrating bird that can fly over 1,000 miles from breeding to wintering grounds. They can also dive up to 200 feet underwater to catch fish. You can find them in most of Alaska and Canada and parts of the U.S., including Washington, Montana, Idado, Michigan, and New York.
Scientific name: Felis concolor
Cougars are North America’s largest feline that lives in various habitats, including forests, mountainous regions, and deserts. They are solitary animals and superior hunters that can eat raccoons, deer, and even American crocodiles.
Scientific name: Nasua nasua
Coatis are mammals closely related to raccoons. They have long noses they stick under rocks to search for food. You can find them in Mexico, Central America, South America, and the southwestern U.S. Although they prefer tropical rainforests, they are also known to live in deserts and savannas.
5. Colorado chipmunk
Scientific name: Neotamias quadrivittatus
Colorado chipmunks are excellent climbers but mostly terrestrial, feeding on the ground. You might hear them produce a short bark when they are alarmed to warn others of danger. They are native to forests, woodlands, alpine tundra habitats, and montane shrublands of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona.
6. Common house spider
Scientific name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum
Common house spiders are mostly solitary spiders that make webs in the nooks and corners of homes. They have a similar bulb-shaped abdomen to a black widow spider. However, they are significantly less dangerous and harmless to humans even though they have venom. They live everywhere around the world, except for Antarctica.
7. Cuban cockroach
Scientific name: Panchlora nivea
Cuban cockroaches are bright green with strong wings that fly quite well. Although native to Cuba, they are believed to be introduced to the U.S. by being shipped with green bananas. They prefer tropical climates around the Gulf Coast.
8. Collared peccary
Scientific name: Pecari tajacu
Although the collared peccary looks like a small wild boar, they are not a species of true pig. Their range extends from as far north as Phoenix in the southern U.S. to Argentina. They can thrive in various habitats, including shrublands, swamplands, tropical rainforests, grasslands, and mesquite deserts with prickly pear cacti.
Scientific name: Agkistrodon piscivorus
Cottonmouths are highly venomous pit viper snakes, also known as water moccasins. They are one of the few semi-aquatic snakes worldwide and spend most of their life near the water. You can find them swimming in both saltwater and freshwater areas in the eastern U.S., from southern Illinois to Florida and Texas.
10. Corn snake
Scientific name: Pantherophis guttatus
Corn snakes live throughout most of the southeastern U.S. in swamps, pine woods, hardwood hammocks, and suburban areas. The blotchy patterns on their belly look like Indian corn and the snakes are known to hang out around granaries storing corn to hunt for rats and mice. They are also arboreal and excellent climbers.
Scientific name: Agkistrodon contortrix
Copperheads are responsible for more snakebites in North America than any other American snake. While their bite is very painful, it is rarely fatal to humans. Their wide geographic range extends from southern Massachusetts, Illinois, and Ohio to Georgia, Texas, and northern Mexico. These snakes get their name from their bronze-colored heads.
12. Cookiecutter shark
Scientific name: Isistius brasiliensis
Cookiecutter sharks are known for the cookie-shaped bite they leave on their prey. Although only around 14 to 22 inches long, these sharks have the largest teeth among any shark species, relative to their size. You can find them in oceans throughout the world, including around the Hawaiian Islands.
13. Cooper’s hawk
Scientific name: Accipiter cooperii
You can find Cooper’s hawk in southern Canada, throughout the U.S., and down to northern Central America. They are medium-sized hawks with large heads and black-banded tail feathers. They are also known to have changing eye colors that go from yellow-green to orange then to red as they age.
14. Common raven
Scientific name: Corvus corax
Ravens are solitary birds known for their problem-solving abilities and intelligence. In fact, they have brains larger than most bird species. You can find them in almost every habitat in the western U.S., northern east-coast states, Alaska, and Canada. They prefer open areas such as deserts, tundras, plains, and cliffs.
15. Carolina chickadee
Scientific name: Poecile carolinensis
Carolina chickadees are small birds known for their chickadee-dee-dee call in the wild. They will nest in nest tubes or boxes and enjoy visiting backyard feeders with sunflower seeds, suet, and peanut chips. You can find them living in flocks of up to 8 birds in eastern and south-central U.S. states.
Scientific name: Rangifer tarandus
Caribou are well-known for their large antlers that grow back bigger each year. Both males and females have antlers and can be aggressive towards the same gender. You can find them in North America, from Alaska and Canada to Maine.
17. Cave myotis
Scientific name: Myotis velifer
Cave myotis are bats that inhabit caves, mines, and buildings in groups of over a thousand individuals. The largest populations exist in southwest Kansas and Mexico. They are the larger among bats of the myotis group, with forearms around 1.6 inches and wingspans around 12 inches.
18. Common vampire bat
Scientific name: Desmodus rotundus
The common vampire bat gets their name from their habit of feeding on livestock blood. They have good eyesight to hunt at night and use their razor-sharp teeth to cut open their sleeping prey’s skin before lapping up the blood with their long tongue. You can find them in Mexico, Central America, and Southern America.
19. Channel catfish
Scientific name: Ictalurus punctatus
Channel catfish are the most abundant catfish species in North America, ranging from lower Canada to the eastern and northern U.S. and northern Mexico. They are also the official fish of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. They get their names from the 4 pairs of whiskers surrounding their mouth that act as taste buds.
20. Cobia fish
Scientific name: Rachycentron canadum
The cobia fish is a sleek, beautiful fish with a torpedo-shaped body that can grow almost 7 feet long and 135 pounds. You can find them in tropical and subtropical oceans around the world except for the Pacific Coast of North America. They often breed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North Carolina and the Gulf of Mexico.
21. Common bottlenose dolphin
Scientific name: Tursiops truncatus
Common bottlenose dolphins get their name from their thick, short snouts. They live in warm and temperate seas worldwide, including off the coasts of California, Washington, Oregon, Florida, Massachusetts, and the Gulf of Mexico.
22. Chicken turtle
Scientific name: Deirochelys reticularia
Chicken turtles are freshwater turtles found in the coastal plains, lakes, ponds, marshes, and swamps of the southeastern U.S. states. They get their name “chicken” from the taste of their meat that used to be popular in southern markets.