Animals That Start With The Letter V

A fun way to learn about animals is to run through the alphabet and see how many we can find beginning with each letter! You may think by the time we get down to the letter V the opportunities begin to wane but take heart! The letter V gives us a chance to find inspiration amid some lesser-known creatures, all of them fascinating in their own right. For instance, did you know that there is a vagrant shrew, a variegated squirrel, or a vampire squid!? Let’s go! and remember, V also stands for varied, vibrant, and very valid!

Vampire bat

Scientific name: Desmodontinae

Vampire bat
A vampire bat
Author: Ltshears CC BY-SA 3.0

The diverse vampire bat family eats a very varied diet including nectar, insects, pollen, and meat! There are only three species that exclusively consume blood. Vampire bats can walk, jump, and even run by using an impressive jumping maneuver where the forelimbs instead of the hindlimbs are employed to propel forward. The front teeth of a vampire bat are specialized for cutting whereas the back teeth are much smaller than in other bats. The inferior colliculus is part of the bat’s brain that processes sound waves and is incredibly well-adapted to detecting the breathing sounds of sleeping prey.

Vampire squid

Scientific name: Vampyroteuthis infernalis

Vampire squid
A vampire squid
Public domain

The phenomenal-looking vampire squid can reach a maximum total length of around 30 cm (1 ft). Its thick body can be solid black or pale reddish, it can vary depending on location and the degree of light they’re seen in. A webbing of skin connects its eight arms, each lined with rows of fleshy spines or cirri; the inner side of this “cloak” is black.

Volcano rabbit

Scientific name: Romerolagus diazi

Volcano rabbit
A volcano rabbit
Author: dispale CC-BY-2.0

The volcano rabbit is a small mammal that lives in the mountains of Mexico. It is the world’s second-smallest rabbit, The only rabbit smaller is the pygmy rabbit! The volcano rabbit has short legs, round ears, and a very dense fur coat.  It can live an average of 7 to 9 years and favors groups of 2 to 5 rabbits in underground nests and runways among grass tussocks. These burrows can be as long as 5 m and as deep as 40 cm.


Scientific name: Microtus

A vole
Author Needsmoreritalin CC-BY-3.0

Voles tend to eat mostly small plants but don’t mistake them for vegetarians! Similar to shrews, they are known to consume dead animals and, like their relatives, rats, and mice, they are lucky enough to be able to eat many nuts and fruits to supplement their diet.  In addition, voles target plants more than most other small animals.


Scientific name: Cathartes aura

 A vulture
GNU free documentation license

Vultures are large birds of prey who scavenge mostly on carrion. There are 23 species of vulture (including Condors. Old-world vultures include 16 living species native to Europe, Africa, and Asia. New world vultures are only found in North and South America and consist of seven identified species, all belonging to the same family genus

Vervet monkey

Scientific name: Chlorocebus pygerythrus

A vervet monkey
A vervet monkey
Author: Wegmann CC-BY-3.0

These charming monkeys are mostly herbivorous. They have black faces and grey bodies and their sizes can range from about 40 cm (16 in) for females, to about 50 cm (20 in) for males. The five distinct subspecies can be found mostly throughout South and East Africa, as well as some of the eastern countries. Vervets were introduced to Florida, St Kitts, Cape Verde, and Barbados.

Vanikoro flying fox

Scientific name: Pteropus tuberculatus

Vanikoro flying fox
 A Vanikoro flying fox
Author: Vauxford CC-BY-4.0

The Vanikoro flying fox is also known locally as the baseline, It is not, in fact, a fox but is a species of bat in the family Pteropodidae. Named after the Vanikoro island group where it is found, the Vanikoro flying fox also frequents the southern Soloman islands. This fascinating species were identified from just a few specimens before 1930 but was listed as extinct during the 1990s when no more were found. 

Virginia Opossum

Scientific name:  Didelphis virginiana

Virginia Opossum
 A Virginia opossum
Author: Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren  CC-BY-2.0

The charming Virginia opossum can vary remarkably in size, with larger specimens found to the north of the opossum’s range and smaller specimens in more tropical climes. They measure 33–55 cm (13–22 in) long from their snout to the base of the tail, with the tail adding an important 25–54 cm (9.8–21.3 in).

Variegated squirrel

Scientific name: Sciurus variegatoides

Variegated squirrel
 A variegated squirrel
Author: D. Gordon. E Robertson CC BY-3.0

The variegated squirrel is native to Central America, it has an extensive range encompassing Mexico through Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. The environments in which it is found include forests, both dry and evergreen plantations. This squirrel is sometimes considered a crop pest. It is mainly a lowland squirrel, ranging up to an altitude of 1,800 m (5,910 ft).  in Costa Rica it can climb higher!

Vampire crab

Scientific name: Geosesarma

Vampire crab
A vampire crab
Author: Eumeldingens CC BY-3.0

The vampire crab belongs to the Decapoda family. This spectacular crab has 5 pairs of segmented limbs. Possessing a squarish shape, the different areas of the shell are very well-defined and its abdomen is rather broad. The ambulatory legs of this crab are generally long and thin, with broad segments. Vampire crabs often have tubercles along their dorsal carapace, giving a rough texture to their mostly smooth shell.

Viper shark

Scientific name: Trigonognathus kabeyai

Viper shark
A viper shark
Author: Stephen M Kajiura CC BY-3.0

The viper shark possesses a slim cylindrical body and has a relatively flat head. It has a distinctive snout that is blunt and rather short. Most striking are its large oval eyes behind which are remarkable elliptical spiracles. This stunning shark has jaws that are not only long and triangular but can also be projected from its head. It has fang-like teeth which are widely spaced; most anterior teeth are grooved lengthwise.

Volcano snail

Scientific name: Chrysomallon squamiferum

Volcano snail
Author: Chong Chen CC BY_4.0

The volcano snail lives in a fascinating house! Every single layer of its home-from-home shell contributes to the efficiency of the snail’s ability to defend itself but in different ways. There is a layer in the center that withholds mechanical strain and energy when under attack which, amazingly, increases the toughness of the shell. The tough layer is also able to dissipate heat. This incredible composite material is even being studied with a view to military protective applications.

Volpino Italiano

Scientific name: Volpini Italiano

Volpino Italiano
Author: Lily M    CC BY-3.0

The Volpino Italiano is a rather small dog, reaching no more than about 30 cm at the rear. The coat is long and almost appears to stand away from the body! Its color can vary from bright white, to dull creamy champagne white to red!  It is one of many breeds affected by hereditary primary lens luxation, an eye disease that may cause pain or blindness. 


Scientific name: Canis Lupus

Author: Darell Birkett CC BY-3.0

The Vizsla is a Hungarian dog popular because it has been historically trained to work in forests, fields, and even bodies of water. It is a natural hunter endowed with an excellent sense of smell. Renowned for their lively, gentle-mannered, affectionate, and sensitive temperament, they are also brave and with a magnificently-developed instinct to protect. 

Volcano rabbit

Scientific name: Romerolagus diazi

Volcano rabbit
Author: dispale CC BY-2.0

Volcano rabbits differ from many species of rabbits because they emit extremely high-pitched sounds while most rabbits will thump their feet on the ground as a warning when there is danger looming. This alarm-sounding bunny is crepuscular and extremely active even during twilight, dawn, and all times in between. The number of volcano rabbits has been estimated by surveying approximately 150–200 colonies with a total population of 1,200 individual rabbits altogether. 


Scientific name: Viperdae

Author: dfpindia CC BY-4.0

Sometimes called viperids, these impressive creatures have a pair of relatively long hollow fangs. The hollows are useful because they take in venom from glands that sit towards the rear of the upper jaws, just behind the eyes. This venom is then used to inject their targets. The two fangs are at the front of the viper’s mouth on a rather short bone that can actually move back and forth. 

Vlei rat

Scientific name: Otomys irroratus

Vlei rat
Author: JonRichfield CC BY-3.0

The Vlei Rat is a large-sized rat that could single-pawed dispel the undeservedly bad reputation that rats have, simply with its Beatrix Potteresque appearance! With a large head, small ears, and a fairly short tail, it almost looks like a child’s drawing! The dorsal parts are generally grey, brown, or black. 


Scientific name:  Vireonidae

Author: Mdf CC BY-3.0

The males of this pretty species are persistent singers! Songs are usually rather simple, monotonous in some species of the Caribbean littoral and islands, and more complex and perhaps regarded as more pleasing to humans in the Chocó vireo and the peppershrikes. They build a clever cup-shaped nest that hangs from amongst the branches.

Vancouver Island marmot 

Scientific name: Marmota vancouverensis

Vancouver Island marmot 
Author: Alina Fisher CC BY-4.0

Native to Vancouver Island, Marmota vancouverensis was under threat a couple of decades ago and now thrives at several breeding centers across Canada as well as several sites on Vancouver Island. This species is very unique and happily, there is an ongoing recovery program designed to prevent extinction and restore self-sustaining wild populations. Some great news is that due to the efforts of the innovative recovery program, the marmot count in the wild increased from fewer than 30 wild marmots in 2003, to an estimated 250–300 in 2015!


Scientific name: Phocoena sinus

Author: Paula Olsen  Public Domain

Vaquita’s habitat is the Sea of Cortez, making this the most restricted range of any marine mammal species. Vaquita enjoys shallow, murky waters of less than 150 m (490 ft) depth. They tend to stay close to the shoreline due to the high and diverse food availability. They are commonly mistaken for dolphins because their triangle-shaped dorsal fin sticks out above water!

Vagrant shrew

Scientific name: Sorex vagrans

Vagrant shrew Animals That Start with the Letter V
Author: Garth Harwood CC BY-4.0

Mostly dark brown in color with white or grey underparts, the vagrant shrew has a long tail which is sometimes paler in color underneath, particularly in younger shrews. Although similar in appearance to other shrews found in the same area, it can be distinguished from the montane shrew by its smaller size and shorter tail, and by having fewer friction pads on the hind feet. 

Velvet Asity

Scientific name: Philepitta castanea

Velvet Asity
Author: Frank Vassen CC BY-2.0

This striking forest bird is a member of the Philepittidae family. Madagascar is its native homeland and it favors subtropical or tropical moist lowlands. The male velvet asity has yellow tips to its feathers only when it has just molted for the first time. Ina truly fascinating metamorphosis, these bright feathers give way to completely black plumage. The female on the other hand is a greenish color. Velvet Asities will eat a diet of mostly fruit and berries and skillfully construct a hanging nest complete with a charming roof above the entrance! 

Visayan Spotted Deer

Scientific name: Rusa alfred

Visayan Spotted Deer
Author: D. Gordon E. Robertson   CC BY-3.0

The Visayan spotted deer once had a range that encompassed a shoreline that extended to more than 2,000 m above sea level. Now its regular habitat is mostly areas with copious amounts of low-growing leaves and buds. If places of dense vegetation are in short supply, there is a possibility that it could thrive in places it could graze. They have been known to visit burnt-out forest clearings and make use of floral ash. Sadly, due to the limited range, it has become impossible to garner this deer’s area of preference. 


Scientific name: Lama vicugna

Author:  Papermaker CC BY-4.0

Vicuñas have been protected by laws under Inca rule as well as today. Unfortunately, during the ensuing years, they were mercilessly hunted to the point where they were declared endangered. In 1974, only about 6,000 animals were left. The good news is the vicuña population has recovered to about 350,000. Various groups have reclassified the threat due to the improved situation but the conservation effort continues to protect populations from poaching, habitat loss, and other encroaching issues. 

Verreaux’s Sifaka

Scientific name: Propithecus verreauxi

Verreaux’s Sifaka
Author: JialiangGao CC BY-4.0

If you find yourself in the deciduous forests of Madagascar, you might see this two-toned creature. Being both diurnal and arboreal, the Verreaux (or white) Sifaka can often be found sunbathing in a tree – that is, when he’s not hopping along the ground in his unique forward and sideways motions. The seeming cheerfulness of his ambulatory behavior, however, belies the threat currently facing the species. In 2020, the status of this lithe primate was updated to critically endangered 


List of Animals That Start with the Letter V

  1. Vampire bat
  2. Vampire squid
  3. Volcano rabbit
  4. Vole
  5. Vulture
  6. Vervet monkey
  7. Vanikoro flying fox
  8. Virginia opossum
  9. Variegated squirrel
  10. Vampire crab
  11. Viper shark
  12. Volcano snail
  13. Volpino Italiano
  14. Vizsla
  15. Volcano rabbit
  16. Viper
  17. Vlei rat
  18. Vireo
  19. Vancouver island marmot 
  20. Vaquita
  21. Vagrant shrew
  22. Velvet asity
  23. Visayan Spotted Deer
  24. Verreaux’s Sifaka

Why not have a read of:

Animals That Start With The Letter F

Animals That Start With The Letter Q

Animals That Start With The Letter R