The color red is not just there for show; it has many practical uses in nature. It can convey warning or danger. It can impress a mate and signal sexual status. Or it can serve the purpose of mimicry. This article will cover the top 10 different types of red animals that dazzle the eye with their amazing skin, feathers, or hair. While some of the animals on this list may come in a variety of different colors, they need to be strongly associated with red in some way – because their main body color is red in nature, which is often reflected in their name.
#10: Western Red Scorpionfish
This deadly marine fish is one of the most colorful types of red animals in the ocean. The mottled red scales and tassel-like appendages provide camouflage as it lies in wait at the bottom of coral reefs for prey to swim by at night so it can suck them up into its large mouth; this is not a very fast species at all, but it is sneaky. During the day, it hides out in rock crevices to avoid predators. Like their namesake, the scorpionfish are highly toxic creatures; their sharp spines are covered with venomous mucus to neutralize potential threats in the ocean. But this won’t necessarily stop them from being hunted by sharks, rays, and large snappers. The western red scorpionfish kind of resembles another species that lives in the ocean and lies in wait for predators to pass by; the scarlet frogfish (which can actually “walk” or rest on modified fins that function like legs).
#9: Strawberry Poison Dart Frog
Measuring no more than an inch long, the strawberry poison dart frog seems deceptively unassuming. Like the fruit for which it’s named, most populations featured red skin covered with black spots, but blue, green, yellow, and orange color morphs also exist in the wild. These frogs are native to the rainforests throughout Central America. Their highly potent toxin, which is obtained from ingesting mites and ants, can cause convulsions, paralysis, and even death for any creature that tries to prey upon it. Bright skin is a warning to avoid them entirely before it’s too late. The color pattern also plays an important role in the reproductive season. Females will often select mates with the same color pattern as their own.
#8: Blood Red Glider
The blood-red glider is a colorful medium-sized butterfly from central Africa. It makes this list of red animals because the backside of the butterfly is covered by a bright blood red color fringed with black markings, while the lower is covered in a drab olive-colored gray or brown. Scientists have actually tried to split this into two separate species, based on the different flowers they specialize in as adults, as well as the physical appearance of the females.
#7: Siamese Fighting Fish
Clad in bright, extravagant colors and massive fan-like fins, the Siamese fighting fish, also known as bettas, were originally native to the freshwater lakes and rivers of Southeast Asia. They have since become among the most popular aquarium fish in the world. The name of this species comes from the fact that males are incredibly aggressive toward each other. They will flare up their gill covers and nip at the fins of anyone who gets too close to them. While in the wild, the vibrant colors only light up when the fish becomes agitated or distressed, the captive bettas have been selectively bred to show these colors all the time. Many of these fish are orange or red in nature, but owners can also choose from many other different color combinations, including blue, white, yellow, gold, and lavender. They form some of the most beautiful and striking colors in all of nature.
#6: Red Panda
Native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China, the red panda belongs on any list of red animals from around the world just for being utterly cute and adorable. The soft, fuzzy coat is covered with red fur along the back and face, white markings around the eyes and snout, black fur on the legs, and orange rings around the long, bushy tail. These talented acrobats spend the majority of their lives suspended from trees, feeding on bamboo and small animals. While they do have bear-like faces, red pandas are only distantly related to both bears and pandas. These mammals are actually the only living member of their family.
You can read more about the red panda here.
#5: Red Squirrels
Red squirrels are among the most common (and cute) mammals in the world. There are actually several different types of species that exhibit red fur, including the Eurasian red squirrel and the American red squirrel. Eurasian red squirrels tend to have a lighter coat color, a smaller body, and larger ear tufts compared to their American counterpart. However, the intensity of the coat color can range between gray-brown, and orange-red in nature based on the location and the time of year. Both species are fairly active all year round and bury food for the winter to survive. They reproduce and give birth during the spring of every year.
You can read more about red squirrels here.
Among the most common red animals on the planet is the cute and humble ladybug. While many of the 6,000 species in this family are clad in just about every color of the rainbow, including yellow, orange, green, and blue, some of the species you’re probably most familiar with (including the seven-spot ladybird in Europe and the nine-spotted ladybug in North America) have red wing covers with various kinds of black spots, at least in their adult form.
Red adult ladybugs will often develop these bright colors to warn away predators in the mating season – not because they’re deadly, but because they taste bad. When threatened, they will exhibit a behavior called reflex bleeding in which they ooze out a horrible-smelling yellow fluid from the leg joints. It’s strong enough to sometimes cause an allergic reaction in humans, and most predators will definitely think twice before eating one again. Ladybugs are usually considered to be a benefit to people because they consume aphids and other pests just about everywhere they live. But some species do accidentally invade foreign ecosystems and displace local species.
You can read more about the ladybug here.
#3: Scarlet Ibis
These large wading birds, which can be found along the wetlands and coast of South America and the Caribbean, are covered in scarlet plumage except for their black wingtips. Their long, sinewy legs enable them to wade out into the water in search of food, while the long, curved bill helps them probe for prey in the soft mud or beneath plants. While the adults are incredibly vibrant and beautiful, the chicks emerge from the eggs with a dull grayish brown down and only develop scarlet feathers later. The large flocks, which consist of at least 30 members, provide protection and foraging opportunities for the individual.
#2: Northern Cardinal
The northern cardinal is a small but fast-flying songbird that inhabits much of temperate North America (a similar species, known as the vermilion cardinal, can be found in South America as well). They spend much of their time resting in shrubs or trees and foraging near the ground on forest edges. The male member of this species is clad in brilliant crimson plumage and head crest with a black face mask and lower wings thanks to the red and yellow carotenoid pigments it obtains from the seed and grain-heavy diet. The female looks almost like a separate species: she is fawn-colored gray or brown with hints of red and orange around the tail, wings, and head. While very common throughout their entire range, red cardinals are also some of the most spectacular birds in the sky. They are often attracted to bird feeders with sunflower seeds inside of them.
You can read more about the northern cardinal here.
#1: Scarlet Macaw
Scarlet Macaws top the list of red animals for their iconic and colorful plumage. Measuring about 33 inches from beak to tail, they rank among the largest parrots in the entire world. These fast-flying birds are native to the rainforests of Central and South America, where they soar above the floor, unleashing a cacophony of fascinating noises and calls. The typical member of this species is adorned with bright scarlet plumage over much of its body, as well as blue and yellow plumage on the lower wings and a mostly featherless face. Their big, strong beaks help them to crack open the hard nuts that constitute the majority of their diet. A very popular animal in the exotic pet trade, they have the capacity to provide people with entertainment and companionship thanks to their keen intelligence and remarkable vocal abilities. They are known to mate mostly for life.
You can read more about scarlet macaws here.
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