When thinking of animals that start with R, the rhino is a popular species that comes to mind. But, can you think of any living in North America? From mammals with incredible memories to reptiles with impressive camouflage abilities, every species has unique traits and characteristics that help them survive in the wild. Read on to learn interesting facts and where you can find 23 animals starting with R.
Animals that start with R
Find out how many of these animals starting with R you already knew about and see if they live in the wild near you.
1. River otter
Scientific name: Lontra canadensis
River otters live throughout most of Canada and the U.S. in riparian zones, such as along streams, ponds, rivers, lakes, and marshes. These otters are well adapted to hunting in the water for fish, crayfish, small turtles, mussels, clams, and frogs. They can dive up to 60 feet deep and hold their breath for up to 8 minutes by closing their nostrils while swimming.
2. Ringed seal
Scientific name: Phoca hispida
Ringed seals get their name from the small light-colored ring patterns scattered throughout the darker hairs on their backs. They live in the arctic regions, including Canada and Alaska, and are Alaska’s smallest and most abundant seals. You’ll find them living under solid sea ice with breathing holes. Seals are able to hold their breath for a long time and have adapted to living life mostly in the water.
3. Red finch
Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Red finches are tiny songbirds with beautiful songs filled with chirps, trills, and rolling warbles. They live in forests, shrublands, dry deserts, and suburban areas throughout North America. You’ll find their nests in various locations, including trees, rock ledges, dense bushes, and hanging planters.
4. Ringed kingfisher
Scientific name: Megaceryle torquata
Ringed kingfishers are known for their bright white collar around their neck, rust-colored breast, and blue wings. You can also identify them by the “tchak, tchak” sound they make while swooping along rivers and water bodies to catch fish. With wingspans of 2 feet or more, they are the largest kingfisher species native to North America and particularly common in southern Texas.
5. Roseate spoonbill
Scientific name: Ajaja ajaja
Roseate spoonbills are large, distinctive birds with red legs, black feet, orange tail feathers, and pink and white plumage. They are named after their long spatula-shaped beak that lets them easily scoop food out of the water. You can find them from the U.S. Gulf Coast down to the tip of South America.
6. Red knee tarantula
Scientific name: Brachypelma smithi
The red knee tarantula has a long lifespan, with females living up to 30 years old. They are ambush predators with a top speed of up to 18 mph. You can find them in scrubland and semi-desert habitats of the Pacific Mountains of Mexico. They dig burrows instead of spinning webs and live mostly underground.
7. Rainbow trout
Scientific name: Oncorhynchus mykiss
Rainbow trout are native to the cold-water tributaries of North America but have been introduced to other water bodies such as the Great Lakes. These large fish can grow up to 45 inches long and weigh up to 55 pounds. Unlike most salmon species, they can spawn more than once in a lifetime.
8. Red-eared slider
Scientific name: Trachemys scripta elegans
Red-eared sliders are turtles known for the red stripe behind each ear. Although they have a top speed of 12 mph, they spend most of their time basking in the sun to warm their bodies.
They are native to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. However, populations can be found in Canada and other U.S. states such as California, Hawaii, and New Jersey.
Scientific name: Rangifer tarandus
Also known as caribou, reindeer can be found from Alaska to Maine in North America. They have large antlers and their stomach has four chambers with bacteria that allow them to eat different food types. This includes birches, willows, grasses, mushrooms, fish, bird eggs, and small rodents.
10. Red wolf
Scientific name: Canis lupus rufus
Red wolves get their name from their reddish-tawny coat. They are smaller, thinner cousins of gray wolves and an endangered species in the wild. The majority of their population can be found in wetlands, forests, swamps, and bush-lands of northeastern North Carolina.
11. Red fox
Scientific name: Vulpes vulpes
Red foxes are around 3 feet long and 2 feet tall with red fur and fluffy white-tipped tails. You can find them throughout the U.S., from Alaska to Florida. However, they are rare in the southwest. These foxes prefer living in open areas of wetlands, woodlands, brushy fields, and rural and suburban neighborhoods.
12. Rose-breasted grosbeak
Scientific name: Pheucticus ludovicianus
Rose-breasted grosbeaks live in marshes, swamps, and forests by rivers. These migrating birds breed in North America and winter in the Caribbean and Central or South America. For small birds, only 7 to 9 inches long, they can live up to 24 years in captivity.
13. Red-winged blackbird
Scientific name: Agelaius phoeniceus
Native to North America, the red-winged blackbird can be found from Alaska to Central America, depending on the time of year. They live in various habitats, including deciduous forests, wetlands, and fresh or saltwater marshes. These songbirds are highly sociable and will sing to attract mates.
14. Rock crab
Scientific name: Cancer productus
Rock crabs are quick and aggressive predators when they spot prey. However, they’re fast in short bursts and generally don’t move around much. You can find them in coastal waters along the west coast of North America, coasts of Central America, and nearby islands. They are an abundant species, with over half a million pounds of rock crabs fished in California every year.
15. Red squirrel
Scientific name: Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
Red squirrels are among the most common squirrels, and mammals in general, in North America, living in areas with lots of coniferous tree cover. They are known for their impressive memories that allow them to remember the location of 1,000s of nuts they buried to prepare for the winter. Their jumping ability is also notable for their size – around 5 feet vertically and 10 feet horizontally.
16. Ribbon snake
Scientific name: Thamnophis sauritus
Ribbon snakes are a shy non-venomous species that grow as long as 35 inches. They rely on their tremendous speed to catch prey and escape from predators. These snakes are native to the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. Their preferred habitats are high-vegetation areas near ponds, lakes, streams, and marshes.
17. Red diamond rattlesnake
Scientific name: Crotalus ruber
The red diamond rattlesnake is venomous as soon as they are born and belong to the pit viper subfamily. They have heat-sensing organs on each side of their face, triangular heads, and white and black rings on their tails.
The rattles on their tails can be shaken 20 to 100 times per second. You can find them from the southwestern corner of California to most of the Baja peninsula.
18. Rough green snake
Scientific name: Opheodrys aestivus
Rough green snakes rely on their bright green scales to help them blend in with plant life as their main defensive mechanism against predators. You can find them in the southeastern and eastern regions of the U.S. and sometimes as far west as Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico. They prefer habitats such as forests, wetlands, uplands, and any areas with abundant insects.
19. Red-eyed tree frog
Scientific name: Agalychnis callidryas
Red-eyed tree frogs are a spectacular mix of yellow, red, blue, green, and orange. However, they aren’t poisonous and can be kept as pets. In the wild, they live around ponds and rivers in lowland tropical rainforests from southern Mexico to Central America.
20. Ruby-throated hummingbird
Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
Ruby-throated hummingbirds migrate from the Caribbean to spend the summer months in Canada and the U.S. by flying over 1,200 miles non-stop. They prefer nesting in downward sloping limbs of deciduous trees. While they can’t hop or walk, they move around by beating their wings over 50 times per second.
21. Rock vole
Scientific name: Microtus chrotorrhinus
Rock voles are medium-sized burrowing animals that create runways underground where they live in small colonies. These grayish-brown voles prefer moist rocky slopes of northeastern U.S. states and eastern Canada regions.
22. Rafinesque’s big-eared bat
Scientific name: Corynorhinus rafinesquii
Rafinesque’s big-eared bats get their name from their ears measuring over 1-inch long. These medium-sized bats also have two lumps on either side of their nose. They are native to the southeastern U.S. and will roost in various locations, including trees, wells, caves, abandoned buildings, and under bridges.
Scientific name: Bassariscus astutus
Ringtails are interesting-looking mammals that are members of the raccoon family. They have long tails about the same length as their body, with 14 to 16 black and white rings or stripes. You can find them in rocky desert habitats, particularly the Great Basin Desert, Sonoran Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert in the U.S.