These Animals Whose Names Start With the Letter "Y" Could Create Their Own Kingdom

Although there aren't too many animals whose names start with the letter "Y," the list includes furry mammals and aquatic beings.

Kori Williams - Author

Jun. 10 2024, Published 10:02 a.m. ET

A Yorkshire Terrier sitting on a couch.
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The animal kingdom is full of unique species names — probably more than we realize. We see all kinds of creatures every day with names we are used to, like dogs or cats. But considering there are over 8 million animal species on Earth, there's bound to be some you don't recognize.

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As you prepare for your next Scrabble victory, keep these animal names that start with the letter "Y" at the forefront of your mind. We can't guarantee you will win, but you will be tough to beat.

A Yellow-Eyed Penguin sitting on rocks in the waters of New Zealand.
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These animal names start with the letter "Y."

Although "Y" isn't the most commonly used letter in the English alphabet, there are a handful of animal names that start that way. Unsurprisingly, many of them are for the word "yellow," but there is still a wide variety of creatures on the list. Some have wings, others have four legs. There's even a dog on the list.

For this first set of animals, we've got a few birds:

  • Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
  • Yellow-Eyed Penguin
  • Yellowhammer

For one, the Yellowhammer is the smallest at only six inches long, according to The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The Conservation Commission of Missouri says the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker isn't even nine inches long, and the Yellow-Eyed Penguin is the biggest at a little bit longer at about 25 inches, per New Zealand Birds Online.

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A Yellow-Pine Chipmunk sitting on a branch of a tree outdoors.
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Next, there are a few aquatic animals:

  • Yabby (Common)
  • Yacare Caiman

You may not have heard of it before, but Merriam-Webster says the word Yabby refers to any burrowing crayfish fromAustralia. On the other hand, the Yacare Caiman is a reptile that is typically found in the Brazilian Pantanal.

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Of course, no list of animals would be complete without mammals. Here are all the ones whose names start with Y:

  • Yak
  • Yapok
  • Yellow Ground Squirrel
  • Yellow Mongoose
  • Yellow-Backed Duiker
  • Yellow-Bellied Marmot
  • Yellow-Bellied Weasel
  • Yellow-Footed Antechinus
  • Yellow-Footed Rock Wallaby
  • Yellow-Necked Field Mouse
  • Yellow-Nosed Cotton Rat
  • Yellow-Pine Chipmunk
  • Yellow-Throated Marten
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Yucatan Squirrel
A Yorkshire Terrier looking up at the camera sitting in a cardboard box.
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While many of these animals, like the beloved Yorkshire Terrier and Yellow Ground Squirrel, are rather small, there are a few big contenders on this list. Yaks, for example, have been domesticated by humans for thousands of years. How Stuff Works says they are gentle, playful animals.

Although bats are flying mammals, there are only two whose names start with Y:

  • Yellow-Winged Bat
  • Yuma Myotis

According to PBS, the Yellow-Winged Bat is monogamous, unlike other bat species that mate with multiple others throughout their lifetimes. Although the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife states that the Yuma Myotis mating season is in the fall right before they hibernate. Because of this, the births of their pups could be delayed for extended periods.

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A Yellowjacket sitting on yellow flowers outside.
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Finally, there's just one bug on this list: the Yellowjacket. Although they are black and yellow like bees, they are actuallywasps. You might have seen them trying to take people's food in your local park. Ohio University states that they do sting and that can be especially bad if you're allergic, they are mostly just annoying to deal with.

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