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Animals That Start With Z

Cape Mountain Zebra
Credit: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE - Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra), CC BY-SA 2.0,

Welcome to animals that start with Z.

It may not seem like many animals start with the letter Z, but there are surprising ones.

You can read the entire article or jump to any section.

Overview of Animals That Start With Z

1. Zamurito

Zamurito - animals that start with z
Zamurito., The aquarium catfish website.
Retrieved from
Scientific NameCalophysus macropterus
Where it LivesAmazon & Oronico basins
What it EatsDead matter, small fish
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: Zamuritos bite and tear the flesh of other fishes in an aquarium.

Zamuritos are also known as vulture catfishes due to their eating of dead and decaying matter. They reach about 16 inches (40 cm) in length. These fishes are good at adapting and surviving in many different environments, making them good aquarium pets. However, their tankmates should be chosen carefully as zamuritos are an aggressive species.

2. Zapata Rail

Zapata Rail - animals that start with z
Zapata rail. Image by Sergey Uryadnikov via Shutterstock
Scientific NameMustelirallus cerverai
Where it LivesCuba
What it EatsInsects, plant matter
Conservation StatusCritically endangered

Fun Fact: Zapata rails have short wings that cannot fly for long.

Zapata rails can only be found in the Zapata swamps in southern Cuba. These birds have brown bodies, red eyes, and red legs and grow to around 11 inches (29 cm) long. The already small population of Zapata rails is further threatened due to habitat destruction and predation by non-indigenous mammals and catfish.

3. Zapata Wren

zapata wren
Zapata wren. Francesco Veronesi from Italy, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Scientific NameFerminia cerverai
Where it LivesCuba
What it EatsInsects, spider, lizards, berries
Conservation StatusEndangered

Fun Fact: The Zapata Wren is famous for its strange-sounding song.

Zapata wrens, similarly to Zapata rails, can only be found in the Zapata swamps of southern Cuba. These birds are mostly brown with black stripes and a grayish belly, and they grow up to 6 inches (16 cm) long and measure about six inches in length. They have a loud and musical call. Unfortunately, they are threatened due to habitat destruction and predation.

4. Zebra

Zebras. Image by minka2507 via Pixabay
Scientific NameEquus zebra
Where it LivesSub-Saharan Africa
What it EatsGrasses, leaves, bark
Conservation StatusNear threatened

Fun Fact: No two Zebras can have the same pattern of stripes.

Zebras are one of the most recognizable animals with their distinctive black and white-striped fur. There are three living subspecies of zebra, all endemic to Sub-Saharan Africa. At least five subspecies of zebra are now extinct, including the quagga, which was hunted to extinction in the late 19th century. These mammals can reach speeds of 40 miles/h (65 km/h), necessary for them to run away from predators in the open African savannah.

5. Zebra Duiker

Zebra Duiker
Zebra duiker. Image from “The Conservation Atlas of Tropical Forests: Africa” (1992)” via Flickr
Scientific NameCephalophus zebra
Where it LivesMidwestern Africa
What it EatsFruit, foliage, seeds
Conservation StatusVulnerable

Fun Fact: The Zebra duiker is thought to have been one of the earliest duiker species to have evolved.

Zebra duikers have black stripes on their brown and tan coats, reminiscent of zebras’ coats. These mammals are endemic to the West African rainforest and are nocturnal in the wild. The stripes on the duiker’s back may prevent easy detection by predators.

6. Zebra Finch

zebra finch
Zebra finch. Johann Alexi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Scientific NameTaeniopygia spp.
Where it LivesAustralia, Indonesia
What it EatsSeeds, fruits
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: These tiny birds are capable of composing entirely new songs.

Zebra finches include two species, the Sunda zebra finch, located on the Sunda Island of Indonesia, and the Australian zebra finch, located in arid regions of Australia. These birds reach only 4 inches (10 cm) in length. The birds are grey with black-and-white tails, and the males have spotted brown feathers near their wings. They typically exhibit lifelong monogamous bonding.

7. Zebrafish

Zebrafish. Image by isoft via iStockPhoto
Scientific NameDanio rerio
Where it LivesSouth Asia freshwater
What it EatsInsects, larvae, phytoplankton
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: Zebrafish can repair their hearts.

Zebrafish are popular aquarium fish due to their interesting striped scales. They are native to rivers in South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. They are also often used by scientists for laboratory experiments because they share about 70% of their genes with those of humans. Zebrafishes give birth to hundreds of offspring and mature quickly.

8. Zebra Mussels

zebra mussel
Zebra mussel. Image by RLS PHOTO via Alamy Stock Photo
Scientific NameDreissena polymorpha
Where it LivesSouthern Russia, Ukraine
What it EatsPlankton
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: Zebra mussels females can lay up to a million eggs annually.

Zebra mussels live in bodies of freshwater worldwide but as an invasive species everywhere except Ukraine and Russia, where they originate from. These mussels usually measure about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. They use their small size to their advantage, as up to 700,000 mussels have been found living in one square meter.

9. Zebra Pleco

zebra pleco
Zebra pleco. Image by Mirko_Rosenau via iStockPhoto
Scientific NameHypancistrus zebra
Where it LivesXingu River in Brazil
What it EatsInsects, larvae, worms
Conservation StatusCritically endangered

Fun Fact: Zebra plecos have four “whiskers” by their mouths that they use to feel around their environment.

Zebra plecos are covered in black and white stripes, hence their name. They are a freshwater catfish species that are sought-after as aquarium fish due to their unique look. They are, however, endemic to the Xingu River of Brazil. These fish prefer warm water and thrive at temperatures of 79–88 °F (26–31 °C). At its largest, an adult zebra pleco will get about 4 inches (10 cm) long.

10. Zebra Seahorse

zebra seahorse
Zebra seahorse. Image by anthonyhealy via iNaturalist
Scientific NameHippocampus zebra
Where it LivesNorthern Australia
What it EatsSmall crustacean, shrimp, larvae
Conservation StatusData deficient

Fun Fact: Male zebra seahorses become pregnant and carry their developing embryo in a pouch.

The zebra seahorse is endemic to coral reefs near Australia. They are characterized by the black and white stripes on their skin. The stripes provide these seahorses with camouflage to protect them from predators. There is currently not enough data available on the number of zebra seahorses alive to determine their conservation status.

11. Zebra Shark

zebra shark
Zebra shark. Makolga3113, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Scientific NameStegostoma tigrinum
Where it LivesTropical Indo-Pacific Ocean
What it EatsMolluscs, crustacean, bony fishes
Conservation StatusEndangered

Fun Fact: Zebra shark females can reproduce without males.

Zebra sharks are characterized by their spots and can be found around coral reefs and sandy flats in tropical oceans. They can live up to thirty years in the wild and somehow find a way to gather near Queensland every summer.

Young Zebra sharks have stripes, but they become pups as they age.

12. Zebu

Zebu. Image by DenisDoukhan via Pixabay
Scientific NameBos taurus indicus
Where it LivesAsia, Africa
What it Eatsgrasses, legumes, hay
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: The Zebu cattle are sacred in many religions, notably Hinduism.

Zebus is a breed of domesticated cattle that originated in South Asia and were domesticated between 6,000 and 7,000 years ago. They are derived from the ancient Indian auroch breed, which became extinct during the Indus Valley civilization age likely due to habitat loss and interbreeding with other cattle species. Zebus are one of the oldest cattle breeds and are easily recognizable by their back hump.

13. Zenaida Dove

zenaida dove
Zenaida dove. Image by Jack Bulmer via Unsplash
Scientific NameZenaida aurita
Where it LivesCaribbean
What it EatsGrain, seeds, insects
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: Young Zenaida doves are developed enough to fly after only two weeks in the nest.

Zenaida doves are tall, brown doves with rounded tail feathers. They breed throughout the Caribbean and at the Yucatán Peninsula. Furthermore, they are the national bird of Anguilla, where they are locally referred to as “turtle doves.” These birds are often hunted by humans as game.

14. Zigzag Eel

zigzag eel
Zig-zag eel. Image by NiAk via Depositphotos
Scientific NameMastacembelus armatus
Where it LivesSouth Asian rivers
What it EatsLarvae, worms, plankton
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: These aggressive fishes are known to attempt jumping out of their aquarium.

Zigzag eels, otherwise known as leopard spiny eels, are a species of ray-finned, spiny fish. They are caught by fisherman as food in their natural habitats, and they are popular aquarium fish. In aquariums, they won’t typically live alongside small fish as they tend to prey on the small fish, even though they don’t often feed on small fish in the wild. They can grow up to 36 inches (91 cm) in the wild, but no more than 20 inches (51 cm) in captivity.

15. Zigzag Heron

zigzag heron
Zigzag heron. eamonccorbett, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Scientific NameZebrilus undulatus
Where it LivesAmazon
What it Eatsfish, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: These birds are reclusive and stay hidden even while foraging.

Zigzag herons are widespread throughout the Amazon basin in South America. These birds have grey feathers marked with a characteristic white zigzag pattern. They grow to around 12.5 inches (32 cm) in height. The genus name “Zebrilus” is derived from a French word meaning “zebra.”

16. Zokor

Zokor. Avustfel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Scientific NameMyospalax spp. & Eospalax spp.
Where it LivesChina, Kazakhstan, Siberian Russia
What it Eatsroots, bulbs, rhizomes
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: Zokors don’t have external ears.

Zokors are rodents that can be found in some parts of Asia and Eastern Europe. Zokors look like mole rats and have powerful forearms and long claws for digging through the ground. These animals have a heightened sense of smell and extremely sensitive eyes. Their bones are often made into a product called sailonggu, which is used in some Chinese medicines.

17. Zonkey

Zonkey. Image by Paulbr via iStockPhoto
Scientific NameEquus zebra × Equus asinus
Where it LivesAfrica
What it EatsGrass, fruit, vegetables, plants
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: Zonkeys, like all hybrids, are sterile, meaning they cannot produce their offspring.

Zonkeys, otherwise known as zebroids, are hybrid offspring of a zebra and a donkey. A pregnancy more often results when the male is a zebra and the female a donkey, rather than the other way around. Zonkeys have been bred since the 19th century. Zonkeys are often born in captivity when zebras and donkeys live near one another; however, there are a few cases of zonkeys being born in the wild.

18. Zorse

Zorse. Fährtenleser, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Scientific NameEquus zebra × Equus equine
Where it LivesAfrica
What it EatsGrass, fruit, vegetables, plants
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: Although these animals may occur naturally in the wild, this is rare and you are unlikely to find one.

Zorses are another hybrid zebroid born from crossbreeding a zebra and a horse. Zorses are most often bred using horses whose fur is one solid color. White patches on horses do not contain color pigment; therefore, the zorse offspring may have patches of stripes and patches of solid white color. Zorses are muscular animals with nearly 360-degree vision.

19. Zorilla

Zorilla. Colorado State University Libraries, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Scientific NameIctonyx striatus
Where it LivesSub-Saharan Africa
What it EatsSmall rodents, snakes, birds
Conservation StatusLeast concern

Fun Fact: Zorillas are very aggressive and have to hunt often because their stomachs are small, so they need to feed frequently.

Zorillas, otherwise known as striped polecats, resemble a skunk in appearance. However, genetically, they are closer in relation to weasels. Zorillas grow up to around 24–28 inches (60-70 cm) in length, including their tail. The markings on their fur are thought to serve as warnings to potential predators.

20. Zorro

red fox
Zorros. Joanne Redwood, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Scientific Name6 genera, 23 species
Where it LivesWorldwide
What it EatsInsects, reptiles, birds, eggs
Conservation StatusSome species endangered

Fun Fact: The collective noun for zorros is referred to as a leash, skulk, or earth.

Zorro is another name for “fox.” All species of zorro belong to the subfamily Caninae. Zorros live on every continent except Antarctica, with the most common species being the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), which is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. Foxes have a range of vocal calls, including whines, yelps, growls, and barks.

Summary of Animals That Start With Z

YouTube video

Animals Names That Start With Z. Source: Youtube, Uploaded: The Animal Planet Channel

And there we have it; animals that start with Z. We hope you enjoyed exploring this list of animals that start with Z, and have a look at some of the others while you are here!

Full Animal Alphabet:

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