Animals that start with N

1. Narwhal

Taxonomy: The Narwhal, or Monodon monoceros, is a medium-sized toothed whale that is native to Arctic waters.

Short description: The Narwhal is known for its long, spiraled tusk that can grow up to 10 feet long. They are social animals that travel in groups called pods and feed on fish and squid.

Fun fact: The Narwhal’s tusk is actually a long tooth that protrudes from the upper left jaw of males. It is used for fighting, jousting, and as a sensory organ.

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2. Nile Crocodile

Taxonomy: The Nile Crocodile, or Crocodylus niloticus, is a large aquatic reptile found throughout much of Africa.

Short description: The Nile Crocodile is one of the largest crocodile species in the world, with males reaching lengths of up to 20 feet. They are carnivorous and primarily feed on fish, reptiles, and mammals.

Fun fact: Nile Crocodiles have a reputation for being man-eaters and are responsible for hundreds of human fatalities in Africa each year.

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3. Nutria

Taxonomy: The Nutria, or Myocastor coypus, is a large, semi-aquatic rodent that is native to South America.Short description:Nutrias are large rodents that can grow up to 2 feet in length and weigh up to 20 pounds. They have webbed feet and a long, cylindrical tail that helps them swim in water. Nutrias are herbivores and primarily feed on aquatic plants.

Fun fact: Nutrias are also known as “river rats” due to their appearance and habitat. They were introduced to North America in the early 1900s for their fur, but have since become an invasive species and are now considered pests in some areas.

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4. Numbat

Taxonomy: The Numbat, or Myrmecobius fasciatus, is a small marsupial that is native to Western Australia.

Short description: Numbats are small, insectivorous marsupials that have long, sticky tongues that they use to catch termites. They have distinctive striped markings on their backs and are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.

Fun fact: Numbats are the only marsupial species that are exclusively insectivorous. They are also known as “banded anteaters” due to their diet.

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5. Nene

Taxonomy: The Nene, or Branta sandvicensis, is a species of goose that is native to Hawaii.

Short description: Nenes are medium-sized geese that are primarily brown in color with black heads and bills. They are herbivores and feed on a variety of grasses and plants. Nenes are considered an endangered species due to habitat loss and hunting.

Fun fact: Nenes are the state bird of Hawaii and were once considered sacred by the native Hawaiian people. They are also one of the rarest geese species in the world.

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6. Newt

Taxonomy: The Newt, or Salamandridae, is a family of small, salamander-like amphibians found throughout the world.

Short description: Newts are small amphibians that have a lizard-like appearance. They have smooth, moist skin and are known for their bright colors, which serve as a warning to predators. Newts are carnivorous and primarily feed on insects and other small invertebrates.

Fun fact: Newts are unique in that they have the ability to regenerate their limbs and even their spinal cords. This makes them a popular subject of research in the field of regenerative medicine.

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7. Nighthawk

Taxonomy: The Nighthawk, or Chordeiles minor, is a species of nocturnal bird that is found throughout the Americas.

Short description: Nighthawks are medium-sized birds with long, pointed wings and short legs. They are primarily brown in color with intricate patterns on their feathers that provide excellent camouflage. Nighthawks are nocturnal and feed on insects, which they catch in flight.

Fun fact: Despite their name, Nighthawks are not hawks at all. They are part of the family Caprimulgidae, which also includes whip-poor-wills and nightjars.

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8. Nightingale

Taxonomy: The Nightingale, or Luscinia megarhynchos, is a species of small, passerine bird that is found throughout Europe and Asia.

Short description: Nightingales are small, unassuming birds that are primarily brown in color with intricate patterns on their feathers. They have a distinctive, melodious song that is often heard at night, hence their name. Nightingales are omnivorous and feed on a variety of insects and small invertebrates.

Fun fact: Nightingales are often referenced in literature and poetry due to their beautiful singing. They have been featured in works by William Shakespeare, John Keats, and Alfred Lord Tennyson, among others.

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9. Nyala

Taxonomy: The Nyala, or Tragelaphus angasii, is a species of antelope that is found in Southern Africa.

Short description: Nyala are medium-sized antelopes with a distinctive shaggy coat and spiral horns that are found in both males and females. Males have more pronounced horns and darker coats than females. They are primarily herbivorous and feed on a variety of grasses and leaves.

Fun fact: Nyala are unique among antelopes in that they exhibit a behavior known as “pronking.” Pronking involves leaping into the air with all four legs extended and is thought to be a way of signaling dominance or excitement.

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10. Nurse Shark

Taxonomy: The Nurse Shark, or Ginglymostoma cirratum, is a species of shark that is found in warm coastal waters around the world.

Short description: The Nurse Shark is a relatively small species of shark, typically reaching a length of 7-9 feet. They have a distinctive appearance, with a broad head, barbels around their mouth, and a pattern of dark spots on their grayish-brown skin. Nurse sharks are bottom-dwelling and primarily feed on crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish.

Fun fact: Nurse sharks are known for their docile and non-aggressive nature. They are often encountered by scuba divers and snorkelers and are generally considered to be harmless. However, they do have strong jaws and can deliver a painful bite if provoked.

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11. Northern Gannet

Taxonomy: The Northern Gannet, or Morus bassanus, is a species of seabird that is found in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Short description:The Northern Gannet is a large seabird with a wingspan of up to 6 feet. They have a distinctive white body with black wingtips and a yellowish head. They are known for their impressive diving ability, diving from heights of up to 100 feet into the ocean to catch fish.

Fun fact: Northern Gannets are highly social birds and are known for their elaborate courtship displays. Males will present females with gifts of seaweed or feathers and engage in ritualized displays of head-bobbing and bill-touching.

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12. Northern Fur Seal

Taxonomy: The Northern Fur Seal, or Callorhinus ursinus, is a species of marine mammal that is found in the northern Pacific Ocean.

Short description: The Northern Fur Seal is a medium-sized seal with a thick fur coat that protects them from the cold ocean waters. They are highly social animals and can be found in large groups on rocky shorelines during their breeding season. They primarily feed on fish and squid.

Fun fact: Male Northern Fur Seals are known for their impressive vocalizations during the breeding season. They produce a variety of grunts, growls, and bellows that can be heard from a distance of up to a mile away.

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13. Northern Pike

Taxonomy: The Northern Pike, or Esox lucius, is a species of freshwater fish that is found in the northern hemisphere.

Short description:The Northern Pike is a long, predatory fish with a slender body and a distinctive greenish-gray color. They are known for their sharp teeth and are apex predators in the freshwater ecosystems where they live. Northern Pike primarily feed on fish, but will also consume small mammals and waterfowl.

Fun fact: Northern Pike are highly sought after by anglers for their challenging fight and their delicious, white meat. They are also known for their ability to jump out of the water when hooked, making them a thrilling catch for fishermen.

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14. Northern Red Salamander

Taxonomy: The Northern Red Salamander, or Pseudotriton ruber, is a species of salamander that is found in eastern North America.

Short description: The Northern Red Salamander is a small amphibian with a distinct red or orange coloration on its skin. They have a slender body and long tail and can grow up to 6 inches in length. They are primarily found in forested areas near streams or other bodies of water.

Fun fact: Northern Red Salamanders are unique among amphibians in that they are able to detach and regrow their tails. This is a defense mechanism that allows them to escape predators and survive attacks.

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15. North American Porcupine

Taxonomy: The North American Porcupine, or Erethizon dorsatum, is a large rodent species found throughout North America.

Short description: The North American Porcupine is a slow-moving, herbivorous mammal covered in sharp quills that provide them with protection against predators. They are primarily nocturnal and arboreal, spending most of their time in trees eating leaves, bark, and twigs.

Fun fact: The quills of the North American Porcupine are coated in a natural antibiotic that helps to prevent infections if they are accidentally lodged in an animal’s skin. The quills also have microscopic backward-facing barbs that make them difficult to remove once they are embedded.

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16. Nubian Ibex

Taxonomy: The Nubian Ibex, or Capra nubiana, is a species of wild goat found in the deserts and mountains of the Middle East and North Africa.

Short description: The Nubian Ibex is a large, agile goat with long, curved horns and a thick, shaggy coat that provides insulation from the extreme temperatures of their arid habitat. They are able to climb steep, rocky terrain with ease and are capable of jumping up to 12 feet in a single bound.

Fun fact: The horns of the Nubian Ibex can grow up to 4 feet in length and are used in head-to-head combat between males during breeding season. The horns also act as a valuable resource for local people who use them to make tools and decorative objects.

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17. Nilgai

Taxonomy: The Nilgai, or Boselaphus tragocamelus, is a large antelope species native to the Indian subcontinent.

Short description: The Nilgai is a large, sturdy antelope with a short, smooth coat that ranges in color from gray to blue-gray. Males have a distinctive white throat patch, while females have a more subdued coloring. They are primarily herbivores, feeding on a variety of grasses, leaves, and fruits.

Fun fact: The Nilgai is known for its ability to run at high speeds over long distances, and can outrun many predators. They are also able to jump up to 7 feet in height, which allows them to clear obstacles such as fences and walls.

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18. Night Monkey

Taxonomy: The Night Monkey, also known as the Owl Monkey or the Douroucouli, belongs to the genus Aotus, a group of nocturnal primates found in Central and South America.

Short description: The Night Monkey is a small primate with large, round eyes that are adapted to night vision. They have thick, soft fur that ranges in color from gray to brown, and a prehensile tail that they use to cling to branches while moving through the forest at night. They feed primarily on fruit, insects, and small vertebrates.

Fun fact: The Night Monkey is the only nocturnal monkey species in the world. They are also unique among primates in that they mate for life and are monogamous, with both parents caring for their offspring.

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19. North American River Otter

Taxonomy: The North American River Otter, or Lontra canadensis, is a semiaquatic mammal species found throughout North America.

Short description: The North American River Otter is a sleek, streamlined mammal that spends much of its time in the water. They have dense, waterproof fur that keeps them warm and dry, and webbed feet that make them excellent swimmers. They are also skilled on land, and can run, slide, and play with ease. They primarily feed on fish and other aquatic prey.

Fun fact: The North American River Otter is known for its playful behavior, and can often be seen sliding down muddy banks or playing with objects like rocks and sticks. They also use their sense of touch to locate prey in murky water, using their sensitive whiskers to feel for movements and vibrations.

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20. North American Beaver

Taxonomy: The North American Beaver, or Castor canadensis, is a large, semiaquatic rodent species found throughout North America.

Short description: The North American Beaver is a large, stout-bodied rodent that is well adapted for life in and around the water. They have dense, waterproof fur, webbed hind feet, and a flattened, scaly tail that they use as a rudder while swimming. They are known for their ability to build dams and lodges, which they use for protection and as a home. They primarily feed on the bark and leaves of trees.

Fun fact: The North American Beaver is famous for its dam-building behavior, which can have a significant impact on the ecosystem around it. Their dams create new wetland habitats, provide water storage for times of drought, and even help to filter pollutants out of the water.

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21. Nutcracker

Taxonomy: The Nutcracker is a bird species belonging to the family Corvidae, which includes crows, jays, and magpies. There are three different species of nutcrackers: the Clark’s Nutcracker, the Spotted Nutcracker, and the Eurasian Nutcracker.

Short description: The Nutcracker is a medium-sized bird with a distinctive bill that is used to crack open nuts and seeds. They have short, strong legs and feet that are adapted for perching and walking on the ground. Their plumage is typically a mix of gray, black, and white, with a long, pointed tail. They are found in mountainous regions throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

Fun fact: The Nutcracker is known for its remarkable memory, and can remember the locations of thousands of individual caches of food that it has hidden throughout its territory. This allows them to survive during times of scarcity, and also plays an important role in seed dispersal.

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22. Natterjack Toad

Taxonomy: The Natterjack Toad, or Epidalea calamita, is a toad species that belongs to the family Bufonidae. It is a small, robust toad that is native to parts of Europe and western Asia.

Short description: The Natterjack Toad is a small toad species, measuring around 2-3 inches in length. They have a distinctive yellow stripe running down their back, as well as bright green eyes. They are typically found in sandy habitats, such as dunes and heathlands, and have adapted to live in these areas by developing a specialized “burrowing” behavior, which helps them avoid predators and regulate their body temperature.

Fun fact: The Natterjack Toad is known for its distinctive call, which sounds like a loud “rattle.” They are also one of the fastest-moving toad species, and can run at speeds of up to 6 miles per hour.

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23. Neotropical Otter

Taxonomy: The Neotropical Otter, or Lontra longicaudis, is a species of otter that belongs to the family Mustelidae. It is found throughout much of Central and South America, including Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.

Short description: The Neotropical Otter is a medium-sized otter species, measuring up to 4 feet in length. It has a sleek, streamlined body and webbed feet, which help it to swim efficiently in the water. They are typically dark brown in color, with a lighter-colored belly. They are found in a variety of aquatic habitats, including rivers, streams, and lakes.

Fun fact: The Neotropical Otter is known for its playful and social behavior, and can often be seen playing with objects, such as rocks or sticks, or with other members of their group. They are also known to use “latrines,” which are communal areas used for defecation and scent marking.

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24. Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle

Taxonomy: The Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle, or Chitra indica, is a species of softshell turtle that belongs to the family Trionychidae. It is found in parts of Southeast Asia, including India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Short description: The Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle is a large, flat turtle species, measuring up to 3 feet in length. It has a soft, leathery shell, which allows it to move quickly and efficiently through the water. They are typically gray or brown in color, with a narrow, pointed head that helps them to hunt prey.

Fun fact: The Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle is known for its unique feeding behavior, which involves using its long, snorkel-like nose to breathe while remaining completely submerged in the water. They are also an important part of local ecosystems, as they help to control populations of fish and other aquatic animals.

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25. Northern Bobwhite Quail

Taxonomy: The Northern Bobwhite Quail, or Colinus virginianus, is a species of small ground-dwelling bird that belongs to the family Odontophoridae. It is found throughout much of North America, including the United States, Mexico, and parts of Canada.

Short description: The Northern Bobwhite Quail is a small, stocky bird species, measuring up to 10 inches in length. It has a rounded body, short tail, and a distinctive head plume on the top of its head. They are typically brown or gray in color, with white stripes on their face and neck.

Fun fact: The Northern Bobwhite Quail is known for its distinctive call, which sounds like “bob-white” and is often heard in rural areas of the United States. They are also popular game birds, and are hunted for their meat and as a sport.

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26. Norway Rat

Taxonomy: The Norway Rat, or Rattus norvegicus, is a species of rodent that belongs to the family Muridae. It is also known as the brown rat or sewer rat, and is found in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and North America.

Short description: The Norway Rat is a medium-sized rodent species, measuring up to 10 inches in length. It has a long, scaly tail, small ears, and a pointed snout. They are typically brown or gray in color, with a lighter underbelly.

Fun fact: The Norway Rat is one of the most common and widespread rodent species in the world, and is known for its adaptability and resilience. They are also important research animals, and have been used extensively in scientific studies to investigate a wide range of biological and medical phenomena.

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27. Northern Water Snake

Taxonomy: The Northern Water Snake, or Nerodia sipedon, is a species of non-venomous aquatic snake that belongs to the family Colubridae. It is found throughout much of North America, including the United States and Canada.

Short description: The Northern Water Snake is a medium-sized snake species, measuring up to 4 feet in length. It has a dark-colored, patterned body, with bands of black, brown, or gray and lighter colored stripes. They have a distinctive flattened head and a keeled (ridged) scales.

Fun fact: Despite their name, Northern Water Snakes are not actually venomous and are harmless to humans. They are known for their aquatic lifestyle and can often be found near streams, rivers, and other bodies of water. They are also skilled swimmers and climbers, and can even hunt prey underwater.

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28. Nematode

Taxonomy: Nematodes are a diverse group of roundworms that belong to the phylum Nematoda. They are found in almost every habitat on earth, including soil, water, and even inside other organisms. There are over 25,000 known species of nematodes.

Short description: Nematodes are typically very small, measuring just a few millimeters in length. They have long, cylindrical bodies and no legs. They are known for their ability to survive in extreme environments, including deserts and deep-sea sediments. Many species are parasitic, and can infect plants, animals, and even humans.

Fun fact: Nematodes are the most abundant animals on earth, with an estimated one million individuals per square meter of soil in some habitats. They are also important decomposers, breaking down organic matter and recycling nutrients in ecosystems.

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29. Nutmeg Mannikin

Taxonomy: The Nutmeg Mannikin, or Lonchura punctulata, is a small passerine bird that belongs to the family Estrildidae. It is native to Asia and is found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, gardens, and agricultural areas.

Short description: The Nutmeg Mannikin is a small bird, measuring only about 10 cm in length. It has a brownish-black head and upperparts, with white spots on its wings and back. Its underparts are white, and it has a red beak and legs. The sexes are similar in appearance.

Fun fact: The Nutmeg Mannikin is a popular bird species in the pet trade due to its attractive appearance and ease of care. In its native range, it is considered a pest in some agricultural areas, where it feeds on rice crops.

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30. Nudibranch

Taxonomy: Nudibranchs are a group of soft-bodied, marine gastropod mollusks that belong to the class Gastropoda. They are known for their bright colors and intricate patterns, which make them popular subjects for underwater photographers and divers.

Short description: Nudibranchs come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They have a soft, unsegmented body and no shell. Their gills are exposed on their back, and they move by contracting their body and using their foot as a sort of “anchor”. Nudibranchs are found in all the world’s oceans, from the tropics to the poles.

Fun fact: Nudibranchs are sometimes called “sea slugs”, but they are not related to land slugs or snails. They are carnivorous and feed on a variety of prey, including sponges, hydroids, and other nudibranchs. Some species of nudibranchs are able to incorporate stinging cells from their prey into their own bodies, which provides them with a defense mechanism against predators.

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31. Nilgiri Tahr

Taxonomy: The Nilgiri Tahr, also known as Nilgiritragus hylocrius, belongs to the Bovidae family and is endemic to the Western Ghats in southern India.

Short description: The Nilgiri Tahr is a goat-like mammal with a stocky body and curved horns. They are primarily found in the montane grasslands and shrublands of the Western Ghats, and are known for their sure-footedness on steep slopes. Their fur is usually brown or black in color, and they have a distinctive white patch on their rump.

Fun fact: The Nilgiri Tahr is a highly endangered species, with only about 2,500 individuals left in the wild. Conservation efforts have been put in place to protect their habitat and reduce hunting, but they continue to face threats from habitat loss, poaching, and disease.

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