Animals with Whiskers – Top 20 Animals with Whiskers


Whiskers, also known as vibrissae, are hair-like sensory organs that grow on the front of an animal’s face. Whiskers aren’t ordinary facial hairs, but they also have a purpose. The whiskers on an animal’s face allow them to detect environmental changes. They are also used in communication with other animals to mark.

There are a great number of animal species that have whiskers. But why do only cats come to people’s minds when we talk about animals with whiskers? 

Want to know more about the whiskers animals?

Whiskers animals include cats, dogs, rats, and rabbits. Yet there are many other animals you should know about.

Related Article: 11 Best Cat Breeds for Kids

So, here is a list of 20 Animals with Whiskers:







Sea lion


Mountain lions






Whiskered Auklets

Whales and Dolphins


Etruscan Shrew



Animals with Whiskers:

Many animals have sensitive whiskers on various body parts (face, paws, legs, cheeks, above eyes) that aid in navigation, exploration, hunting, locomotion, and social touch. Let's discuss how these whisker animals use their whiskers for survival reasons and to perform other functions.

1 Seals

Seals are marine mammals with up to 1500 or even more finely tuned whiskers. These whiskers are by their nose and above their eyes, and they help them to hunt successfully even in poor visual conditions.
Unlike other animals, Seals mostly have wavy and irregular whiskers that are very stiff and don't taper. Through their whiskers, they can detect the disturbances caused by other moving creatures and hunt underwater.
Seals rhythmically whisk their highly sensitive whiskers back and forth in the water to sense any vibration caused by the slightest water movements of swimming prey.
Seals can detect fish from over 320 feet away and identify its size and the direction it swam away.
Which animal has the longest whiskers?
"The Antarctic fur seal has the longest whiskers with a length of 48cm of an individual whisker".

2 Rats

Rabbits have whiskers on their mouth, cheeks, nose, and above the eyes. Rabbits' whiskers are the same length as the width of their bodies.
Rabbit whiskers are sensory tools that they use to navigate their burrows. Whiskers help rabbits measure the circumference of burrows and openings in the dark.
Through their whiskers, rabbits can determine whether a hole is big enough to pass through it or whether rabbits will be stuck in it.
The long whiskers over rabbit eyelids protect their eyes. These whiskers over their eyes function like extra eyelashes that block debris from getting into their eyes.

3 Rabbits

Rabbits have whiskers on their mouth, cheeks, nose, and above the eyes. Rabbits' whiskers are the same length as the width of their bodies.
Rabbit whiskers are sensory tools that they use to navigate their burrows. Whiskers help rabbits measure the circumference of burrows and openings in the dark.
Through their whiskers, rabbits can determine whether a hole is big enough to pass through it or whether rabbits will be stuck in it.
The long whiskers over rabbit eyelids protect their eyes. These whiskers over their eyes function like extra eyelashes that block debris from getting into their eyes.

4 Fox

Fox whiskers are not only on their face but also on their legs. A Fox has four major groups of whiskers on the head, above its eyes, on its cheeks, under the snout, and on the muzzle (mystacial vibrissae).
The whiskers on the muzzle have an average length of 3 – 4 inches, whereas everywhere else on the head has a shorter length of whiskers.
On the other hand, the average length of whiskers on fox forelimbs is 1.5 inches long. These whiskers help them move through the tall grass with minimal visibility.
These whiskers act as a GPS for foxes and help them navigate the environment.

5 Manatees

Manatees are another specie of marine animals with whiskers, also known as sea cows. Manatees have facial whiskers that help them to navigate through the environment.
But besides facial whiskers, Manatees have tiny tactile hairs distributed sparsely all over their body, known as vibrissae or Whiskers.
A Manatee has approximately 1500 hairs on each side of its body. Manatee Whiskers help them detect the movements of other animals in the shallow, murky waters where they live.
These whiskers are also helpful in sensing tidal flows, changes in the seabed, and current water changes.
Manatee's whiskers are small but are very sensitive. With the help of these whiskers, Manatees can identify their targets and choose between them.

6 Walruses

Walruses are mustached and long-tusked big marine animals having their snout covered with whiskers. A walrus has 400 – 700 whiskers on its snout, and each whisker is usually 30 cm in length.
The mystacial vibrissae of the Walrus are attached to muscles and are used as a detection device in the food search. A walrus doesn't move its whiskers over an object; they extend them in the same position while examining it.
The Walrus whiskers are sensitive to touch and help the Walrus find its favorite meal, a shellfish.
Furthermore, walrus whiskers help them to locate shellfish in deep ocean waters.

7 Sea lion

Seal lions are marine animals that are also known as eared seals. They have thick and long whiskers that are easier to measure than those of smaller animals such as mice.
Sea lions mostly rely on their sense of touch. Seal lions use their super-sensitive whiskers to distinguish between different shapes and sizes, down to differences as small as half a centimeter. A Sea lion sweeps its whiskers over objects to feel their size, shape, and texture.
Sea lions have 38 whiskers on each side of their face, about 30 cm long. They can move their whiskers backward and forward.
Sea lions use their whiskers to aid navigation or detect vibrations from prey in the water. When fish swim around, they leave little waves or waves behind them. Sea lions detect the fish wakes using their whiskers and follow them.

8 Cats

A Cat's whiskers don't cover its entire body and are located above its eyes, on the chin, near the ears, above the upper lip, and on its forelegs. (However, the position and pattern of Whiskers may vary from breed to breed).
But the Cat's facial whiskers are the most prominent of all other animals with whiskers. A cat mostly has 12 whiskers on each side, with 24 whiskers on its muzzle.
Like Rabbits, a Cat's whiskers are also the same length as the width of their bodies. It indicates that larger cat breeds will usually have longer whiskers. The Maine Coon cat has a world record for the longest whiskers among cats, with a length of 19 cm (almost 7.5 inches).
Whiskers guide a cat through daily functions. They aid vision and help a cat navigate its environment, providing additional sensory input, like antennae on insects.

9 Mountain Lion

Mountain Lions, also named Pumas and Cougars, are whisker animals. Their whiskers help them survive in the environment by providing additional sensory input.
A mountain lion's whiskers are usually around 30 cm long and can detect small changes in the air indicating nearby objects or prey. Also, Lion whiskers help them to see in the dark so they can catch or kill their prey.
Moreover, a Mountain Lion has whiskers on its wrists that help position its paw.
It is said that the pattern of a lion's whiskers is so unique that their whiskers can tell lions apart, i.e., like a human fingerprint.

10 Tiger

Tigers do have whiskers on their snout (muzzle) and legs. The Tiger's whiskers perform a great role in their life and make their life easier.
The whiskers on the Tiger's face are about 15cm long and are called "proprioceptors". These proprioceptors help the Tiger navigate the dark and attack the prey.
The proprioceptors can feel changes in the environment, even in the air, and send messages to the Tiger's brain to let them know what's happening. Moreover, these whiskers also help the Tiger find the perfect spot for inflicting a bite.
The whiskers on the Tiger's legs help them hunt and navigate in the dark. Through their whiskers, tigers also can sense danger or any nearby food.

11 Dogs

Dogs also fall under the category of animals with whiskers. They have whiskers on both sides of their muzzle, beneath their chin, above their lips, and also above their eyes.
The Dog's whiskers are sensory equipment, and their purpose is to send sensory messages to the brain of the Dog. These whiskers help the Dog navigate the environment and aid vision.
The whiskers help the Dog detect the shape and size of an object, any change in the air, and the speed of a passing object. So the dog whiskers do the same function as antennas on insects.

12 Horse

The Horse also has tactile sensory hairs that provide them with sensory feedback. The horse whiskers are located around their eyes and on the muzzle.
A horse's vibrissae (whiskers) are a sensory awareness system with nerves and blood supply. These whiskers help the horse determine the safe distance from unfamiliar objects and navigate their surroundings.
The Horse gets information about what's going on in the environment from its whiskers. These whiskers also help the Horse to know where they are, where there is food and water, and where there is danger.

13 Catfish

Catfish also have whiskers that are called barbels. The catfish whiskers are pieces of special skin that are shaped like whiskers (whiskers like appendages).
The catfish barbels are on the side of their mouth and chin. Each catfish barbell (whisker) is loaded with tiny taste buds and special olfactory sensors that help the catfish to taste and smell.
Moreover, the barbels give catfish an advantage over other fishes and their prey. Because Catfish tend to live in dark, murky waters, their vision isn't very useful. And when visibility is low or non-existent, the catfish barbels help them to search out food using their senses of touch and taste.
The catfish whiskers have cells that act like taste buds and help the catfish to taste food.

14 Beavers

The Beavers are nocturnal animals, which means they are more active at night. A beaver's vision is poor, and their whiskers help them survive.
Beavers live in streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds. And the Beaver's transparent eyelids help them to see underwater while keeping their eyes closed.
Beavers have whiskers on their face which are also helpful in narrow passageways and dark waters to detect things around their face and head.

15 Whiskered Auklets

Whiskered Auklets are seabirds with white plumes that sprout out of their head each summer. The distinctive plumes of Whiskered Auklets don't have a single purpose; they serve a dual purpose.
These white plumes on the side of their face, also known as whiskers, play a role in courtship. In addition to it, their whiskers guide them in the dark.
Whiskered anklets whiskers have a sensory function that helps the Auklets feel their way along in the dark and sense the direction.
The whiskered Auklets mostly live in colonies near shallow waters, rocky states, and oceans.

16 Whales and Dolphins

Approximately all pinnipeds have whiskers that help them to detect water movement, and whales and dolphins are no exception. Most whales and dolphins are born with hair-like structures or Whiskers. Thus whales and dolphins fall under the category of animals with whiskers.
The whales have hair-like structures, Vibrissae on their skin, while the calf usually loses its whiskers in early life. The whale whiskers help them to sense their environment.
Just like whales, Dolphins are born with a few whiskers around their snout in the womb. But Dolphins soon lose their whiskers. The dolphin's whiskers work as sensory organs and help them detect electric fields prey use.

17 Otters

An otter has about 120 whiskers on its muzzle. Otters inhabit water spots like rivers, lakes, marshes, ponds, and estuaries. The River otter dens are in uninhibited burrows or empty hollows along the water.
The Otters whiskers are sensitive to touch and help detect movement and vibrations in cloudy and dark water. Otters' whiskers are also helpful in hunting. The otters sense vibrations in the water with the help of their whiskers to detect prey in the water.
The average length of an otter's whisker is about 12 – 17 mm.

18 Etruscan Shrew

Etruscan shrews are nocturnal animals that look for their food at night. Etruscan Shrew is a rare venomous animal that's about 2.2 – 3.3 inches small and weighs about 0.063 ounces.
Etruscan shrews, also known as Savi's white-toothed pygmy shrews, are the world's smallest non-flying mammal.
Etruscan shrews have small eyes and generally poor vision, but their senses of hearing and smell are excellent.
The snout of Etruscan shrews is covered with sensitive long whiskers. Etruscan shrews use their long sensitive whiskers to identify their prey with a single touch.
Etruscan shrews also rely on their whiskers to find the track.

19 Chinchillas

Chinchillas, like Etruscan shrews, too, are nocturnal animals. Chinchillas have poor eyesight, but their strong sense of smell, hearing, touch, and whiskers compensate for their poor eyesight.
Chinchilla has large macro-vibrissae (whiskers) that aid navigation, locomotion, hunting, and exploration. The length of a Chinchilla whisker is about 1/3 of its overall body length.
Chinchillas live in burrows where their eyesight is worse. At this point, a chinchilla's whiskers give them a literal feeling of the environment.
The whiskers are sensitive tactile hairs of Chinchillas that play an important social role, as Chinchillas with big whiskers are typically dominant.

20 Raccoons

Raccoons are well known for their good memory and intelligence. Raccoons are also able to solve puzzles.
Moreover, Raccoons are mischievous animals that don't have thumbs, so they use their powerful claws and paws to open things.
Unlike other animals with whiskers on their muzzle and head, Raccoons have whiskers on their paws, just above their claws. Raccoon's whiskers are stiff and help Raccoons to identify objects.
The whiskers on the raccoon's first paws also allow them to locate different things by touching them. Raccoon's whiskers are sensitive and give them information about things close to them.

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