It’s a rare person who doesn’t enjoy spending time in nature. The great outdoors provides us with seemingly limitless ways to relax and enjoy the world around us. We can enjoy the fantastic taste of wild berries one minute and the relaxing songs of the birds the next. But it’s really the visual element that tends to linger most strongly in our minds.
The natural world holds a wealth of different colors and we can find countless examples of brown things around us. The next time you’re spending time outdoors, keep your eyes peeled for these beautiful examples of a very earthy color.
List of Brown Things
Here’s our extensive list of things that are brown in nature:
Dirt is quite literally as plain as the earth beneath our feet. Dirt’s rich brown color is due to its high carbon content. Carbon is also the main component of life.
2. Dead Leaves
When leaves die they lose the rich green hue we’re familiar with. Loss of water and chlorophyll leave leaves dry and brown. This eventually leads to decomposition and a return to the carbon present within the soil.
Acorns are the seeds of oak trees and their relatives. They’re also a rich brown treat for squirrels and other animals. The distinctive color of an acorn comes from its high tannin content.
Elk are among the largest cervids in North America. Male elk are especially easy to spot thanks to their large antlers. They’re typically covered in grayish to reddish brown fur. Its mane is usually colored with a darker shade of brown.
Owls come in a variety of different colors. But brown owls, particularly the tawny owl, define most people’s idea of the bird. It has rich brown feathers which help it blend into the background when resting amid the trees.
Mud is dirt with some added moisture. However, it’s distinct in many ways from standard dirt. Animals can dig into the darker mud in ways that they might not be able to with dry soil.
Clay is another variant of soil. However, it has a lighter tone thanks to an abundance of clay minerals. It can be easily shaped and dried. In fact, the earliest known human writing was done on clay tablets.
8. Brown Bears
The appropriately named brown bear lives in the wilderness of both America and Europe. As their name suggests, the bear’s fur will typically have a deep brown color. However, on rare occasions the brown bear might have fur ranging from black to a darker cream color.
9. Northern Raccoons
These mischievous animals are easily recognized by black bands around their eyes. While they may also have white patches, most of their fur is a grayish or orangish brown. Any raccoon’s fur can vary between these two colors. But brown raccoons are generally found in the northern extremes of the United States.
10. Brown-Hooded Kingfishers
This normally blue-colored bird is well known for its talents as a fisher. But it’s less well known that one subspecies of kingfisher has brown coloring. The brown-hooded kingfisher does have his cousin’s blue markings on his tail and wing. But the rest of his body is a light tanned brown.
Logs are normally produced by humans who’ve cut down trees. However, it’s quite common for them to be left behind in a forest. This is often seen when people need to clear nature trails. The dark brown logs can serve as homes and sources of food for the animals and insects within a forest.
We normally think of water as clear. But natural streams, rivers, creeks and especially floodplains can carry a lot of soil. By distributing soil and other material the water can keep natural regions healthy. Brown creek water is transporting nutrient-rich soil to the rest of its surroundings.
Silt is the light brown material normally found on the bottom of rivers or creeks. It’s differentiated from normal dirt floating in water by the fact that it’s more granular and has higher levels of quartz and feldspar.
Rocks can come in a variety of different colors. But if you see a brown rock then you’re typically viewing the results of long-term oxidation.
15. Brown Centipede
You might have to squint to see this centipede since it’s only about an inch long. But the brown centipede’s chestnut brown coloring lives up to the name.
16. Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs
Stink bugs use their spotted brown carapace to blend in with forested surroundings. In fact, the brown marmorated stink bug is even named after its rich brown color.
Beetles can be found in a number of different forms and colors. But many of those found in forests, such as the brown spruce longhorn beetle, have brown carapaces and antenna.
Caterpillars often have brighter color schemes to help scare away potential predators. But some, such as woolly bear caterpillars, have brown coloring.
Moths can be nearly as brightly colored as butterflies. However, in general, they’re typically found in earth tones. Brown moths are particularly common and can use their coloring to blend in with trees.
These semiaquatic mammals have rich brown fur with occasional darker brown patches. They’re also especially notable for their size. Beavers are the second-largest rodents in the world.
Coypu, also known as nutria, have plump bodies and brown fur. These features makes them look a lot like beavers. But their white whiskers, orange teeth and slim tail make their distinct identity more obvious. To keep its size up a coypu will eat about 25% of its body weight every day.
22. Brown Garden Snail
The brown garden snail is known for two different reasons. The first is their potential danger to plants. It can easily over-consume and damage home gardens. The second well known trait comes from its name. The brown garden snail’s moniker comes from its chestnut brown shell. The shell typically has a brown base with light brown markings.
23. Beaver Dam
If you see a collection of brown sticks and mud accumulating in a river or stream then you might be witnessing the start of a beaver dam. Beavers build their dams to provide protection from predators. The combination of brown mud and sticks provides excellent camouflage for beavers.
Sand is typically light brown and much more granular than dirt. People often assume that sand isn’t compatible with agriculture. But some plants can grow in sand.
25. Northern Cardinal Eggs
The northern cardinal has bright red coloring. But the bird’s eggs are a tanned brown with some darker patches. It’s notable that the females who lay these eggs have brown plumage not seen in males of the species.
26. Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill cranes look fairly similar to herons. But adult sandhill cranes are notable for brown feathers that range from light tan to darker shades.
27. Sandhill Crane Eggs
A sandhill crane egg is even browner than its parent’s plumage. The eggs have a reddish-brown base that’s vaguely reminiscent of a blood moon. It further accents the color scheme with darker brown splotches.
The term sparrow encompasses a wide range of small brown birds. They’re also typically known among birders as “LBJs”, or “little brown jobs”. This nickname comes from the fact that it’s difficult to properly differentiate between small brown birds by sight.
29. Cattleya Orchids
These orchids come in a variety of different colors. But the brown flowers are perhaps the most beautiful. It’s important to appreciate the flower while it’s blooming because the event only happens once in its entire lifetime.
30. Antler Orchids
These orchids really do look like they have brown antlers with a yellow backside. You’ll typically only find it in consistently hot climates. But you’re in for a visual treat when you do.
The autumnal brown of these flowers is typically only seen in environments that combine shade and moistness. They’re often better known for their affectionate nickname – Charlie Browns.
32. Cope’s Giant Salamander
An adult cope’s giant salamander is a mottled brown and tan which offers superb camouflage with its typical wetland environment. But this salamander also has an aquatic adult phase where the tan areas are light enough to border on yellow.
33. Coastal Giant Salamander
Coastal giant salamanders are among the largest salamanders in North America. They can reach a length of about 14 inches. They have coloring which ranges from a marbled tan to deep brown.
34. Southern Torrent Salamander
If you see a salamander’s brown head poke out of a cold stream, followed by a yellow and brown striped body, then you might have found a southern torrent salamander. These small animals prefer cold bodies of water. But they’re far more tolerant of dry forests than most of their cousins.
35. Rough Skinned Newt
The rough skinned newt has skin that’s quite different than the average salamander. Unlike most of its cousins, the rough skinned newt has dry granular skin. This salamander can also deliver a powerful neurotoxin through touch. Thankfully, its brown skinned and orange bellied appearance is distinctive enough for humans to avoid it.
Ensatina usually have brown bodies. But the painted ensatina can also have white, black or even yellow stripes on its back and tail. You might find an ensatina under logs, rotting wood and other woody debris.
37. Clouded Salamander
The clouded salamander’s favorite tree is the Douglas fir and it’ll often hide under the tree’s loose bark. When it’s young this salamander typically has brass colored skin. But its coloring fades to a duller brown by the time it reaches adulthood.
38. California Slender Salamander
The California slender salamander typically has a brown body with reddish-brown stripes. If you see something that looks like a striped worm wiggling through bark and debris it might be one of these slender and slim legged salamanders.
39. Lesser White-Toothed Shrew
The lesser white-toothed shrew is found in shrub and gardens all over Europe, Asia and Africa. This tiny shrew feeds on insects, worms, snails and other smaller animal groups. As the name suggests, they have white teeth instead of red-tipped teeth like other shrews.
40. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer
The Columbian black-tailed deer is easily differentiated from other deer by its distinctive black tail. The deer’s coat is also a darker shade of brown than most other types of deer. The animal’s smaller size helps it navigate dense forest surroundings.
Moose are the largest members of the cervidae family. They typically have dark brown fur. Though its huge antlers are a lighter shade of brown.
42. Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn sheep are able to move with remarkable speed and agility over rocky terrain thanks to rubber-like pads on their feet. While they’re mostly brown, the sheep also have a distinctive white patch on their rump.
43. Common Horse-Chestnut Tree
Most trees have a natural brown color to their bark. The common horse-chestnut has a large brown trunk with compounded green leaves and white coned flowers. It’s especially notable for its shiny brown nuts. While neither horses nor humans can eat the nuts, they do contain aescin which can treat hemorrhoids.
44. Little Brown Myotis
You’ll typically see the little brown myotis bat in forests. However, this bat is also easily tempted by people’s attics. If you find a bat living in your home then there’s a very good chance that it’s a little brown myotis.
45. Big Brown Bat
The big brown bat lives up to both parts of its name. It boasts an impressive wingspan of about 14 inches. And its large body is covered in deep brown fur.
46. Blue-Winged Teal Duck
The blue-winged teal duck, as the name suggests, shows prominent blue feathers on the underside of its wings. Adult males have spotted brown and white feathers. But females and young males are almost entirely covered in brown feathers.
47. Ruddy Duck
Male ruddy ducks have a chestnut brown back with black crown and blue bill. Females have a darker dusky brown coloring. The species’ most notable trait can be seen during mating season. Males will slap bills against their chest in an ever increasing tempo. Ruddy ducks are also far better divers than most other ducks. However, they’re quite ungainly on land.
48. Greater White-Fronted Goose
The greater white-fronted goose has tanned-brown feathers over its head and back. Its underside fades into grayish-white feathers. These birds are usually noticed when they give out a distinctive call that almost sounds like human laughter.
Wolverines have a base color of blackish brown with paler brown stripes along their sides. Lighter brown markings along the wolverine’s head can make it look like it’s wearing a mask. Most people think the wolverine is vicious and overly aggressive. However, this is usually only true if it’s been trapped.
50. River Otter
River otters have slick fur that ranges from dark to lighter brown. They’re most famous for their playful personality. They may even try to convince domestic animals such as dogs to play with them.
51. Deer Mouse
Deer mice have one of the single largest distributions within their genus. Their name makes many people assume they have deer-like characteristics. However, the only property they share with deer is a tannish-brown color to their fur.
52. Bushy-Tailed Woodrat
Bushy-tailed woodrats are rodents, but not true rats. They’re often better known as packrats due to their habit of stealing shiny things from humans to store in their nests. They have dark-brownish bodies which fade to white at their belly and extremities.
53. Norway Rat
This rat is notable for its impressive size. The rat can grow up to ten inches in length. It’s especially drawn to human activity and will often make nests inside homes, stores and even sewers. The Norway rat’s fur ranges from a grizzled-brown to rusty-brown.
54. Water Vole
The water vole is rare among voles for its love of water. It’s a strong enough swimmer that it can even swim against the current in smaller streams. The water vole typically has dark brown fur with darker areas that can transition into black.
55. Common Muskrat
The common muskrat is an unusually large rodent that’s also an excellent swimmer. It can even stay underwater for as long as 20 minutes. Common muskrats have dark-brown hair along the sides of their faces. This transitions into a more grayish brown on the rest of the muskrat’s body.
56. Black Bear
Despite their name, black bears are especially notable for their wide variety of colors. They have a more diverse range of coloration than any other North American mammal. In western states with open forests and meadows their fur can be brown, cinnamon or even blond.
57. Ring-Tailed Cat
Despite the name, the ring-tailed cat isn’t a feline – it’s a member of the raccoon family. At only about 12 inches, these tiny animals are smaller than both true cats and raccoons. Their tails feature bands of black and tan-brown fur and can be the same length as the body. The rest of its body is colored a similar tan-brown except for a black mask of fur around the eyes.
58. Fisher Cat
The fisher cat is actually a member of the weasel rather than the feline family. People have assumed another relationship with cats as well. Many people insist that fishers hunt house cats. But multiple studies have found that this is extraordinarily rare. Fishers look vaguely like a mix between weasels, foxes and cats. Their fur is typically light brown, with dark brown or even black markings on its legs and tail.
Cougars, also known as mountain lions, are one of the more solitary big cats. Unlike true lions, they usually prefer to live alone rather than in a pride. Their fur color can vary by individual. However, it’s usually tannish-brown with white and black highlights.
60. Canada Lynx
The Canada lynx sits midway between the two extremes of big cat sociability. They’re more social than the cougar but more solitary than a lion. They tend to be solitary. However, the cats may work together as a group in some instances. It’s especially common when they see an advantage from hunting strategies that entail covering a larger range. The Canada lynx is typically covered in grayish-brown fur in winter. But during the summer their coloring changes to a more reddish-brown.
Coyotes are close relatives of dogs and wolves. All three are members of the canis family. Coyotes are even genetically similar enough to dogs that they can produce hybrids known as coydogs. A coyote will generally show a wide range of variations in fur color. But brown fur will usually be present to some extent.
62. Gray Wolf
The gray wolf isn’t just the largest member of the canis family in North America. It’s the largest living member of the family in the entire world. Despite the wolf’s name, it’s not always entirely gray. Many gray wolves have light brown fur on their legs, flanks and belly.
63. Kit Fox
The kit fox is one of the world’s smallest canids. It typically weighs about 5.5 lbs and only measures about 20 inches in length. The kit fox has an easily recognized pattern to its fur. The upper side of the fox is typically brownish-gray. The color brightens to rusty-brown on the fox’s legs. The inside of the fox’s legs are a bright white.
64. Horned Lizard
This unusual-looking reptile is a grayish-brown color in order to blend in with desert surroundings. Horned lizards also have an especially unique adaptation that helps them escape predators at the last minute. If a predator bites a horned lizard’s head or gets close to doing so, the lizard will shoot blood from its eyes into the predator’s mouth. Canine and feline predators find the taste incredibly unpleasant, and they will almost always spit the lizard out.
65. Russet Potato
The russet potato is also sometimes called the Idaho potato. It’s meaty and versatile and is suitable for many different uses. They are commonly used to make french fries and mashed potatoes, and they’re very commonly used for baked potatoes, too. There are many different varieties of russet potatoes out there. One of the most common is the Russet Burbank, the top variety used by McDonald’s.
66. Eastern American Toad
These small, cute amphibians can be found in most of the Eastern U.S. They can alter their color slightly depending on their environment and their stress levels. The toad tadpoles are highly toxic to predators. In some cases, fish have died after eating just one. In most cases, fish populations have learned to avoid eating toad tadpoles. These toads eat a variety of pests at night, making them a helpful natural means of pest control. And contrary to popular belief, toads actually do not cause warts if you touch them. Their characteristic bumpy skin is not contagious.
67. Thoroughbred Horse
The thoroughbred is commonly bred for racing in America and across the world. Thoroughbreds come in a range of colors, but many are some shade of brown. Plenty of thoroughbreds are dark bay, meaning they have dark brown bodies and black legs, mane, and tail. Many are also chestnut, or a reddish brown. Thoroughbreds have been bred for speed and stamina over hundreds of years, and the first thoroughbreds came from Arabians. Most histories of the breed mention the three most famous founding sires – the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian, and the Byerly Turk. Of the three, the Darley Arabian is thought to be the most influential ancestor. Roughly 90% of thoroughbreds alive today are his direct descendants.
68. Piping Plover
These little shorebirds are frequently protected by conservation efforts, as continued beach development drastically reduces the size of their habitats. Piping plovers have bodies that are mostly a pale taupe brown, and their undersides are white. They have a very distinctive ring around their necks, along with black and orange beaks and bright orange legs. Piping plovers have a somewhat unusual distribution across the United States. The Atlantic Coast population lives near the shore in the eastern U.S. and mid-Atlantic regions, while the Northern Great Plains population inhabits the plains in the U.S. and Canada. There are a few isolated populations around the Great Lakes, and all populations spend the winter around the Gulf coast, parts of Mexico, and the Caribbean.
69. Crested Gecko
Like leopard geckos, crested geckos are some of the most personable lizards, and they make great pets. They are originally from an island called New Caledonia. Crested geckos come in a range of color morphs, but wild populations are typically a greenish brown that lets them blend in with their surroundings. Like many species of geckos, crested geckos can “drop” or lose their tail when very scared. But unlike many gecko species, they cannot regrow their tails once they drop them. Many crested lizards have a single crest that goes down the center of the back. Crested geckos actually have two crests extending down either side of the back. Their crests typically aren’t too prominent, and they have a somewhat fringed appearance.
70. Indiana Bat
You might be used to seeing large groups of bats flying about at night. But the Indiana bat isn’t one you’d commonly see. Indiana bats are endangered, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a special focus on restoring their population levels. The name might make you think these bats primarily live in Indiana, but their range actually covers most of the eastern half of the United States. The Indiana bat got its name from the first identified specimen discovered in an Indiana cave in 1904.
71. Kiwi Bird
You might have heard of New Zealanders called “kiwis.” That nickname comes from the world-famous kiwi bird, an unusual creature that lives only in New Zealand. These unusual birds cannot fly, and their brown feathers are somewhat hairlike. Kiwis also stand out based on their egg size. Their eggs sometimes reach 20% of their body size. Their extra-long beaks serve a surprising purpose, too. Kiwis have nostrils at the end of their beaks, so they can smell predators as soon as possible (and sometimes even before they can see them). Kiwi birds are sometimes called “honorary mammals” because of their hair-like feathers and the fact that their nostrils are at the end of the beak instead of at the top. New Zealand doesn’t have many native mammals, so the kiwi likely evolved similarly to how mammals evolved in other locations.
72. Carolina Wren
These little, roundish birds are known for their cheerful song. Carolina wrens are usually a red-chestnut brown with buff-colored chests and bellies. Though they’re small and don’t look threatening, Carolina wrens are extremely defensive when they need to be. If they believe an intruder is coming, they will loudly sing to chase it off. If needed, they will fly at intruders to chase them away. These birds like dense vegetation like thickets, and they also tend to be comfortable in relatively close proximity to people. It isn’t uncommon for them to nest in garages or lawns.
73. Brown Anole
The brown anole at first looks like a nondescript, small brown lizard. However, when the male puffs up his dewlap, it looks like a semicircle of bright orange and yellow. Brown anoles are native to the Bahamas and Cuba, but they have become an invasive species in many parts of the world. In California, they have pushed green anoles out of many parts of their natural habitat, forcing the green anoles to primarily live in trees.
As you can probably tell from the name, the coachwhip’s scale pattern and general shape make it look like a long, braided whip. This snake also has a lovely color pattern. The head is typically black, with the color fading to a tan brown down the body. Coachwhips are common in the southeastern United States. They prefer sandy soils like those found in prairies, sand dunes, and pine forests.
75. Eastern Mud Turtle
As turtles in the wild go, the mud turtle is very small. Most adults just measure between three inches and four inches. These turtles are listed as endangered in New York, as there are only five mud turtle populations in the state. Mud turtles can be found as far north as Long Island and as far south as Florida and Southern Texas. Mud turtle populations sometimes are depleted when wild turtles are collected for the illegal pet trade and when turtles are hit by cars while crossing the street.
76. Freshwater Mussel
You might be familiar with the black-shelled mussels found in the ocean. Freshwater mussels can be found in North America, although most freshwater mussel species are endangered or threatened. These shellfish have a truly unique life cycle. As larvae, they embed themselves into the gills of certain types of fish. They use the gills like a caterpillar uses a cocoon, turning into adult mussels. Once grown, they drop off the gills and find their adult habitat, usually at the bottom of a body of water.
77. Pansy Viola “Velour Frosted Chocolate”
This distinctive pansy variety is a stark contrast to the very bright colors you typically see. This variety features a burst of caramel-brown color with a yellow center. The brown on the leaves seems to fade out toward the edge of the petal, giving it an energetic and unusual look. Though they make a great addition to any garden, these flowers also do very well when grown in containers.
78. Chocolate Diamond
Chocolate diamonds are a beautiful color variant of the diamond. They are also the most common colored diamond, as they make up about 15% of any given mine’s product. You can sometimes find chocolate diamonds in high-end jewelry, but because they’re less reflective than other types, they aren’t very popular for ornamental purposes. A few companies use chocolate diamonds to make jewelry, but the vast majority are used for industrial purposes. One especially notable chocolate diamond is the Golden Jubilee Diamond, the world’s largest cut diamond. The diamond is over 545 carats. It was presented as a gift to a Thai king and is housed in the Thai Grand Palace with other crown jewels.
79. Coal Skink
These small, grayish-brown lizards are very common in North America. They only reach about five to seven inches in length, and adults usually have four pale lines extending down the body. Coal skinks prefer humid habitats, and you can find them in Mississippi, Kansas, Missouri, the Florida panhandle, and Texas. A northern variant of the coal skink can be found in parts of New York and Pennsylvania.
80. Sinaloa Wren
This small bird is built very similarly to the Carolina wren, although its plumage is a bit more dull. The body is a medium brown, and there’s some black banding on the wings and tail. There’s a bit of white on the face, along with the bold white “eyebrow” that many wrens have. The Sinaloa wren can be found in much of western Mexico. Like most wrens, the Sinaloa wren prefers dense, thicketed areas, although it can sometimes be found out in the open as well.
The ocelot is a strikingly-patterned wild cat that’s a lot smaller than lions, tigers, and many of the other big cats. Ocelots are native to a wide range of areas, including the southwestern U.S., Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. Ocelots have a coat patterned similarly to that of a jaguar, and they can occasionally be kept as pets. Unlike some big cats like lions, ocelots are solitary creatures that tend to be more active at night.
82. Chocolate Cosmos
This beautifully named plant has beautiful flowers to match. You might not think a deep brown flower could be beautiful, but these blooms will likely convince you otherwise. And while the chocolate cosmos has flowers that look like chocolate, they smell like chocolate, too. You don’t necessarily need to have a green thumb to grow these velvety flowers, either. They tend to grow quickly and with very little care needed, especially when placed in full sun in warmer climates.
83. Fin Whale
The brownish-gray fin whale is one of the largest whale species in the world. It is second in size only to the blue whale. These whales can reach weights of over 100 tons, and they can reach over 80 feet in length. Despite their size, fin whales are very graceful. They have slender bodies and can reach incredible speeds, leading one naturalist to call them the greyhounds of the sea. The fin whale is relatively easy to identify when it surfaces. It has a proportionally small dorsal fin that sweeps backward.
84. Smoky Quartz
You might not think of quartz when you think of gemstones. However, the distinctive, dark beauty of smoky quartz makes it especially suitable for use in earrings, pendants, and bracelets. The translucent, brownish “smoke” color comes from extra silicon within the quartz crystal itself. Unlike many present-day gemstones, smoky quartz wasn’t especially important throughout history. It was used to make what might be the first sunglasses in history. In the 12th century in China, flat lenses of smoky quartz were used to shield eyes from the sun.
85. Eastern Painted Turtle
Many turtles in the wild are a plain, dull brown in color. And while it’s true that the painted turtle is primarily brown, its unique markings make it one of the most distinctive and beautiful types of wild turtles. Painted turtles usually have two bright yellow spots behind each eye, and their necks and legs feature orange or red spots and stripes. The lower edges of the shell also have some reddish accents that appear to be painted on. These turtles are incredibly picky when it comes to where they live. If the water quality changes in a way they don’t like, they will simply leave and find a new habitat.
Sinhalite is a gemstone that can commonly be found in Sri Lanka. When cut, it looks like peridot. In fact, it was known as “brown peridot” until an investigation in the 1950s revealed that it was actually a separate gemstone type. Many sinhalite stones are a deep brown in color, but they also come in muted yellows and greens and even pink. Interestingly enough, the name comes from an old Sanskrit word for “Ceylon,” which is the former name of Sri Lanka itself.
87. Little Bunting
This species isn’t the most colorful of buntings, but it still has an eye-catching, almost tiger-striped pattern. These birds have patterns made up of dark brown, reddish brown, and white. And while they may look a bit like the sparrows you commonly see in the U.S., these birds primarily live in the European taiga. They spend the winter in southeast Asia and nearby regions.
88. Canyon Towhee
As you may have guessed from the name, the Canyon Towhee lives in and near the canyons of the southwestern United States. They are a plain, grayish taupe in color, and they spend much of their time on the ground foraging. Like chickens, they frequently scratch with both feet while searching for insects and seeds to eat. They tend to nest in brushy areas and can commonly be found in foothills, chaparral, grasslands, and canyons. Pairs often mate for life, and both parents help raise each brood of young.
Axinite is a relatively rare mineral that can sometimes be used for jewelry. Because it’s somewhat rare, it can also be somewhat expensive. Many axinite stones are a rich clove-brown color. It comes in pinkish orange and blue, both of which are rarer and more expensive. All varieties are hard enough to resist scratching and damage, making them great for setting. Part of its beauty as a gemstone comes from a quality called pleochroism. That means that depending on the angle of light that hits the stone, you can see a kaleidoscope of colors.
90. Eastern Fence Lizard
These lizards get their name from the fact that they primarily bask on fenceposts, rocks, and stumps. They are spiny and grayish-brown in color, making it easier for them to blend into their environments and avoid predators. If a predator does chase down a fence lizard, these animals will usually escape by sprinting up a tree or fence post, circling around it to avoid being seen. Like squirrels, they will spiral around a tree trunk until they’ve made it to safety.
This stunning cat can be found in the Amazon rainforest, throughout Mexico, and even in the very southern part of Arizona. It also lives in parts of Paraguay and Argentina. Its broad, irregularly-shaped spots are larger than those found on the leopard. The jaguar has a unique hunting style. When hunting mammals, these big cats bite directly down on the skull, letting their powerful fangs pierce the skull and puncture the brain itself. Most jaguars are a tan brown color with black-ringed, darker brown spots. But they do also come in black, and the black variants are commonly referred to as “black panthers.”
92. Common Shrew
This small, mouse-like animal can often be found in Northern Europe. Interestingly enough, while shrews look a lot like mice, they’re actually not rodents at all. They have sharp, spiky teeth and are closely related to moles and hedgehogs. Common shrews have extremely fast metabolisms, and they eat roughly 150% of their body weight in food per day. They are usually solitary, with each shrew defending its own “home range” of about 10,000 square feet.
93. “Charlie Brown” Boat Orchid
This exquisite flower gets its name from the fact that its flowers look a bit like boats. Boat orchids come in a variety of colors, one of which is the “Charlie Brown” variety. These flowers produce lovely milk-chocolate-colored petals, and their central parts are a combination of soft peach and bright yellow. Though orchids are known for being difficult to grow, a well-cared-for orchid can sometimes live over 10 years. The Charlie Brown variety in particular is a hybrid of two different orchid varieties. It was introduced in 1976. This variety and other boat orchids tend to have relatively small flowers but offer many flowers per plant, so they tend to make full, beautiful displays.
94. Six-Banded Armadillo
The six-banded armadillo is the third-largest existing armadillo. It is typically a deep reddish brown, although some individuals have carapaces that are closer to pale yellow. These animals have incredibly poor eyesight, so they tend to rely on their sense of smell when seeking out prey. Six-banded armadillos are fairly common in South America, where they live in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay, as well as in parts of Suriname.
95. Brown Hyena
The brown hyena is the rarest hyena species, and it’s one of the most distinctive-looking hyenas, too. Its long, dark-brown coat makes it look a little like a wolverine, and it’s larger than most other hyenas. Adults typically weigh just under 100 pounds. While they are mostly brown, adult brown hyenas have a paler ruff of fur around the neck. Brown hyenas are native to parts of southern Africa, where they mostly scavenge for food. They will hunt on occasion, but they are also assertive enough to take freshly-killed prey from lions. Brown hyenas aren’t yet endangered, but they are classified as “near threatened.”
96. Brown Shrike
Like other birds categorized as shrikes, the brown shrike has a relatively dramatic hunting style. It will impale its prey on thorns. This particular variety is native to Asia. It looks a little like a mixture of a chickadee and a sparrow. Most of the body is a plain mouse brown, with a paler belly. A dark stripe goes from the beak to the side of the head, covering each eye. That gives the brown shrike its distinctive “mask.”
97. Rough Earthsnake
As snakes go, the rough earthsnake is fairly plain-looking. It gets its name from its keeled scales that feel rough to the touch. They are small – only about 7 to 10 inches – and they’re a plain, nondescript earth brown. Interestingly enough, these snakes don’t lay eggs. The females give birth to live young. The rough earthsnake has a broad but somewhat patchy range. They can be found on much of the southeastern coastal plain, but they also inhabit parts of the south-central U.S. They live underground and subsist almost entirely on earthworms.
98. Eastern Chipmunk
These instantly recognizable little animals inhabit deciduous forests in most of the eastern United States and Canada. They are a red-brown color with contrasting dark and light stripes on the sides of the body. Very occasionally, an albino or all-black chipmunk appears in the wild. These animals inhabit underground burrows that they tend to disguise well. Most burrows have multiple entrances that are obscured by leaves and sticks. But unlike rabbits and other burrowing animals that live together in groups, chipmunks are almost entirely solitary except for during mating season. They eat a range of different things, including bird eggs, plants, berries, worms, bulbs, and even mushrooms.
99. California Sea Lion
When seen on land, California sea lions may look ungainly. But in the water, they’re incredibly graceful and fast. They can swim at up to 25 miles per hour, which is faster than all other seals and sea lions. And while they do spend a good bit of time on land, California sea lions have several unique adaptations that allow them to spend significant time in the water. They are able to slow their heart rate in order to make inhaled oxygen last longer, and on very deep dives, they can stay underwater for up to 10 minutes at a time. As an interesting tidbit, when you see a picture of a circus “seal” with a ball balanced on its nose, it’s usually a sea lion.
100. Bearded Dragon
Pet bearded dragons come in all sorts of beautiful and bright colors. But many of the ones found in the wilds of Australia are a grayish-brown color. That lets them blend into their surroundings. They spend a good bit of time basking on fenceposts and in trees, and they forage for insects, plants, and even small rodents. The bearded dragon is named for its spiky beard, which it uses to communicate. Bearded dragons can attempt to scare off predators or other lizards by puffing up and darkening their beards. They often also open their mouths and hiss. Sometimes, you may see a bearded dragon make a “waving” motion with an arm. That’s usually meant as a gesture of submission. Wild bearded dragons will do this in the presence of a more dominant lizard, and captive lizards may do this to their owners, too.
101. Pond Slider
These small turtles are common in the wild, and they are also popular as pets. One of the subspecies of the pond slider, the red-eared slider, is one of the most popular types of pet turtle. As the name suggests, the red-eared slider has two patches of bright red, one by each ear. Their carapace (shell) is dark brownish. While the small pond slider is a great pet, many areas have experienced issues with pet owners releasing the turtles into the wild. While released (or escaped) pets might not have an issue surviving in an area where the climate is right, they sometimes carry diseases foreign to wild turtles. In some areas where the issue is especially bad, legislators have placed restrictions on the release of these little turtles.
This strange-looking fish looks like something out of a history book. Since they haven’t undergone many evolutionary changes over time, these fish are sometimes called “primitive fish.” These brownish animals have long protrusions coming out of the face (much like swordfish do) called “nostrums.” Paddlefish have very poor eyesight that isn’t well-developed enough for hunting. Instead, they use electroreceptors on the nostrum to sense the movements of plankton, their primary food source. Most of the fish’s body is equipped with “sensory pores.” The input of the sensory pores and the electroreceptors combined makes these fish excellent hunters.
These venomous snakes have a distinctive banded appearance – usually a light tan body with darker brown bands. The head is a plain reddish-brown or coppery color. Copperheads have triangle-shaped heads. The larger part of the head holds its venom-secreting glands. These hardy snakes can be found in many areas in the eastern half of the United States. Juvenile copperheads are set apart by a couple of interesting and unusual characteristics. For one, they often have tails tipped in bright yellow. An adaptation that makes it easy for them to lure prey. A baby copperhead also has no control over the amount of venom it injects when biting. That means that in many cases, a bite from a baby copperhead can be more lethal than a bite from a full-grown adult.
104. Carolina Allspice
The Carolina allspice plant is a shrub native to the southeastern United States. It has unique, deep brown blooms that have a beautifully pleasing scent. The exact smell of the Carolina allspice plant is hard to describe. Some gardeners describe it as “spicy,” which makes sense based on its name. Other gardeners describe it as being sweet or even chocolatey. This plant can even add visual interest to your garden in the fall and winter months. The leaves turn golden in the fall, and in the winter, the deep brown seed pods can remain on the bush itself.
105. Maned Wolf
This stately and unusual animal isn’t actually a wolf. Though the maned wolf is related to foxes, wolves, and dogs, it’s the only animal in its genus. Maned wolves live in the central part of South America, and they’re classified as being a near-threatened species. Most have bodies that are mostly reddish brown, and their legs are usually dark brown or black. Their pups are between deep brown and black in color. Somewhat surprisingly, the maned wolf isn’t strictly a carnivore, and up to half of its diet is made up of plant matter.
106. Clay-Colored Thrush
This aptly named bird is indeed the color of most clay. These birds are a medium brown with slightly deeper brown flight feathers. They were at one point called clay-colored robins, as they are built similarly and do share some similar calls. The clay-colored thrush lives in the eastern part of Mexico, most of Central America, and some of South America. They can occasionally be found in Texas, too.
107. Kiwi Fruit
While the kiwi fruit has a sweet and bright green interior, it looks fairly nondescript from the outside. The familiar kiwi fruit is covered in thick, light brown skin with a fine fuzz. The little hairs on the skin do have a purpose, though. They help keep moisture inside the fruit, and they also draw in moisture from the outside. The name might make you think that kiwis are native to New Zealand, but that isn’t the case. Kiwis are native to China, but New Zealand was the first country to grow and sell kiwis on an industrial scale. To this day, New Zealand is one of the world’s primary kiwi producers.
108. Collared Peccary
These small, piglike animals are sometimes called javelinas. They are named for the pale “collar” of hair around the neck. Aside from that lighter ring, the collared peccary has a dark brown, almost brindle coat. The collared peccary typically doesn’t go after humans, but it can when it feels threatened. These animals have small tusks that they can use if needed. And much like skunks, they can release a musky and unpleasant scent if they feel threatened.
Outside of North America, caribou are known as “reindeer.” These large animals range in color from a deep seal brown to a pale tan. In some cultures, they are used for meat and even trained to pull sleds. Caribou also have a very unique way of signaling their position in a group’s hierarchy. They have evolved to make a clicking sound when running or walking. The sound comes from the knees as tendons move over bone protrusions. Louder and more frequent clicking sounds indicate that an individual caribou is larger in size, and large size tends to connect to higher positions in a herd’s social hierarchy.
110. Cedar Waxwing
These beautiful little birds have a striking, almost airbrushed appearance. Their bodies are a pale coffee brown, and their bellies are white. The tail has a thin band of very bright yellow at the end, and the face has a distinctive black band over the eyes. Even though most birds travel in flocks, cedar waxwings are especially social. Sometimes, groups will pass a berry around until one of the birds finally eats it. The cedar waxwing is commonly found in the northern United States and Canada, and it winters in the southern U.S. and parts of Mexico.
These large fish are often either dark seal brown or black. And thanks to the sideways carriage of their pectoral fins, cobias look like sharks in profile. Cobia meat is a somewhat gourmet offering, and it can be high priced. However, commercially fishing for cobia isn’t feasible, as these fish are usually solitary. Cobia tend to do well in aquaculture operations, and a huge portion of the world’s cobia production comes from fish farms in China and Taiwan. Given its great flavor and the fact that it thrives in aquaculture, the cobia may become a more common culinary choice in the near future.
112. Pygmy Rattlesnake
These small rattlesnakes are common in parts of the southeastern United States. And while they live in burrows, they don’t make their own. They usually find pre-existing rodent burrows and claim them. The pygmy rattlesnake has a very distinct color pattern. It’s pale gray with patches of black and brown along the back. These snakes have a small, quiet rattle that usually can’t be heard from more than a few feet away. Aggression levels depend on the individual. Some pygmy rattlesnakes will strike violently, while others tend to avoid doing so.
Things That Are Brown in Nature
This might seem like a tremendous amount of brown things. But these examples only scratch the surface of what we can find in the natural world. Brown is the color of the earth beneath our feet. And the more we appreciate that color, the more we can see it in the world around us.