Animals That Start With an X

From freshwater fish and snakes to small insects, aquatic frogs, and dog breeds, you may be surprised to learn that several species of animals start with an X. Usually, the X is pronounced as a Z or an Sh. Here are some animals that begin with the letter X you’ll find interesting.

Xantus’ Swimming Crab

One of the more interesting and elusive crab species is the Xantus’ Swimming Crab. These are small crustaceans, approximately 3 inches wide, found in the sandy-bottomed waters off the coasts of Southern California and Mexico. These little waders and crawlers sport 2 flattened rear legs, serving as paddles for swimming when avoiding predators. 

Swimming Crabs primarily feast on sand crabs and algae. This species can inhabit waters as deep as 600 feet, distinguishing them from other shoreline crab species.

Xami Hairstreak

Photo of a Xami Hairstreak butterfly on a flower.

Butterflies are attractive broad-winged insects that mainly feed on the nectar of flowering plants. The Xami Hairstreak is one such butterfly with an adult wingspan of approximately 1 inch and 2 tails. 

Its wings sport a yellow-green color with noticeable white streaks toward the end. As for its natural habitat, you’ll find these gorgeous butterflies from the Southwestern United States through Mexico and as far south as Guatemala. 

Given these butterflies’ migration territory, succulent plants’ flowers are their primary food source.

Xavier’s Greenbul

If you are someone who really enjoys songbirds, you’ll love the extremely rare Xavier’s Greenbul. Their feathers are a pale olive-green color that helps them blend into central Africa’s dry and moist tropical forests. 

This small avian makes a chirping bark-like sound rather than a high-pitched trill.


Photo of a Xerus squirrel.

Although squirrels can be found worldwide, Xerus, also known as the Cape Ground Squirrel, is native to South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia, where the climate is dry. 

These bushy-tailed mammals make their homes (burrows) in the savannahs and grasslands of the region. Surprisingly, Xerus are highly social creatures and are even promiscuous, having several partners. 

Females, especially mothers, tend to burrow together with their newborn pups to protect one another and their offspring from predators, such as jackals and monitor lizards. These omnivores graze on plants and small animals during the day.

X-Ray Tetra

photo of two X-Ray Tetra fish swimming.

Anyone who has had a home aquarium is most likely familiar with small fish species known as tetras. The X-ray Tetra stands because of its nearly translucent and shimmering skin. You can see the fish’s bone structure through its skin in adequate daylight – it’s pretty cool! 

The X-ray Tetra’s natural environment is the Amazon River’s coastal waters. Basically, this tiny swimmer lives in freshwater but can tolerate brackish water as well. Tetras eat both a plant and animal-based diet, allowing them to thrive in favorable conditions.


The term Xenops refers to a collection of birds within the genus. Most notable are the Plain Xenops, Slender-billed Xenops, and Streaked Xenops. Each one has a distinctive feather coloration. 

Xenops are small birds that prefer the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. What is noticeable about these tiny birds are their majestic long tails. They are also adept at hunting and digging for all the little insect life the wet forests offer. 

Xeme (Sabine’s Gull)

Photo of a Xeme bird

Did you know that there other species of gulls, not just the very familiar seacoast gulls that try to snatch your beach snacks? The Xeme is one of the animals that starts with an X. It also goes by the name fork-tailed gull due to its attractive white and black tail feathers that are split. Colonies of Xeme nest along the coastal shores of the icy tundra. Like other gulls, these birds feed on scraps discarded from fishing boats, small crabs, and insects.

Xantus Murrelet

Not many get a chance to catch a glimpse of the Xantus Murrelet. These small sea birds spend most of their time entirely at sea on the Pacific islands off the coasts of Southern California and Northern Mexico. 

These animals that start with an X are also called the Guadalupe Murrelet. These birds are unique because they are the only avians that raise their young entirely at sea. Despite the small stature of the Xantus Murrelet, they are known to feed on large predatory fish, such as tuna.

Xantic Sargo

The Xantic Sargo is a silver-skinned fish not commercially harvested for human consumption. However, many anglers love to catch them recreationally. This fish generally doesn’t get larger than 15 inches. 

An interesting fact about Xantic Sargo is that it is nocturnal. This means it is most active at night, hunting and foraging for meals. During the day, it enjoys hovering around coral reefs and kelp beds near the shores of California and Mexico, notably the pelagic zones of the Baja Peninsula.


Photo of a sloth, a part of the Xenarthra family

Are you mesmerized by sloths, those slow-moving animals with Mon-Lisa smiles that seem to nap all day while hanging upside down from tree branches? The Xenarthra family of animals includes anteaters, armadillos, and sloths. 

While anteaters and sloths are slow movers with fur-covered bodies, armadillos can scurry and are coated in a leathery armored outer shell. These are all distantly related. However, they share how they carry their young in a placenta, and their diet mainly consists of ants and plants because they lack significant tooth structure.


Photo of a Xoloitzcuintli dog.

To make life a little easier, let’s shorten the pronunciation of this rare breed to Xolo. It is a Mexican Hairless dog that comes in 3 sizes: Toy at about 12 inches tall, miniature at approximately 16 inches tall, and standard at 20 inches tall. 

Most Xolos are bald with pointy ears, a rat-like tail, and webbed feet. Generally, these dogs make for good companions because they have calm personalities and don’t require much exercise, despite their lean and muscular physiques. They are loyal and will want to follow you wherever you go.

Xanthippe’s Shrew

A shrew is a small mammal, somewhat similar to a mole and about the size of a mouse but with a long pointy nose. Interestingly, this animal is not actually considered a rodent.

While shrews can be found worldwide, the Xanthippe’s Shrew is native to the dry savannas of Kenya and Tanzania. Like moles, shrews have poor eyesight but excellent senses of smell and hearing. 

These shrews are cute at first glance. But beware, as they do have sharp teeth and can be very territorial.

List of Animals That Start With an X

  • Xinjiang Ground-Jay 
  • Xingu River Ray 
  • Xingu Corydoras 
  • Xantus Leaf-Toed Gecko 
  • Xucaneb Robber Frogs 
  • Xenopus 
  • Xuthus swallowtail 
  • Xantus’s Hummingbird 
  • Xanthippe’s Shrew
  • Xoloitzcuintli
  • Xenarthra
  • Xantic Sargo 
  • Xantus Murrelet
  • Xeme (Sabine’s Gull)
  • Xenops
  • X-ray Tetra
  • Xantus’ Swimming Crab
  • Xami Hairstreak
  • Xavier’s Greenbul 
  • Xerus

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