Can You Name The Animal From One Notable Characteristic?

Torrance Grey

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

The animal kingdom: It's huge, varied and diverse. It contains some breathtakingly beautiful creatures, some very dangerous ones, and some that are just plain odd! Can you identify the animal by a distinctive characteristic? Find out now!

I have a call that sounds a lot like a laugh.

It's the spotted hyena that has this nickname. Other breeds of hyena include the striped and brown hyenas.

I have a comb -- but no hair!

Roosters, the male of the chicken species, have a rubbery-looking red "comb" atop their heads. This separates them from the females, called hens.

When my dorsal fin cuts the surface, watch out!

It was Steven Spielberg, with "Jaws," who made the dorsal fin the popular -- and chilling -- sign of a shark's presence. However, they often attack from underneath without the fin breaking the surface.

I'm the only mammal that flies!

Bats are indeed mammals. Their furry, warm bodies are responsible for their German name "fledermaus" or "flying mouse."

My ability to change color has made my name a metaphor.

Many types of chameleon can change color to match their background, thus hiding from predators. When relaxed, these lizards are usually green.

Though I don't have a dollar on me, I have a bill.

When early naturalists were first confronted with the platypus, its duck-like bill was one of the things they found hard to believe. Some scientists thought the oddball platypus was some kind of elaborate hoax.

We're known for service to our queen.

Honeybee colonies have a queen, male drones (for mating), and female worker bees. They provide humans with honey -- yay! -- but their sting can be life-threatening to humans with allergies.

My beautiful plumage inspired a network logo.

It's the NBC logo, of course, that's shaped like a peacock. Only the males have the gorgeous feather tail -- peahens are rather plain.

Sadly, I'm best known for being extinct.

The dodo was a flightless bird native to Mauritius. Though it's hardly the only animal to have gone extinct, it's the one most people can name (other than the dinosaurs, who became extinct much earlier).

I'm believed to have a very good memory.

This one isn't a myth. Elephants, which have long lives in general, really do appear to recognize each other after years of separation.

My distinctive horn is made of a substance similar to fingernails.

The rhinoceros is hunted for its horn, which is made of keratin, like human fingernails. Superstitions persist about rhino horns having health benefits when powdered and consumed.

My black-and-white stripes are copied by fashion designers.

A zebra is basically an exotically-colored horse, but much rarer. That's why doctors have a saying: "When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not of zebras."

I'm probably the first animal you think of when you hear the word "antlers."

Only male deer, called stags, have antlers. In youth, the antlers are covered with a short-furred skin called "velvet," which weathers away in maturity.

I am a threat to the cleanliness of cars, statues, and sidewalks everywhere.

Though more than one bird frequents urban areas, it's the pigeon who takes most of the blame for fouling sidewalks, statues and more with its guano. Some people go so far as to call them "sky rates."

I'm known for hibernating, though I'm hardly the only animal who does it.

Most members of the Ursidae family hibernate. This means they go into a state of unconsciousness and slow metabolism, burning stored fat, during cold months when food is hard to find.

I have many quills, but write no books.

The porcupine has an unusual defense mechanism: hairs covered with stiff keratin, called quills. Porcupines are cute, but you'd best keep your distance.

I'm a mammal, yet I lay eggs.

The platypus is one of a group called monotremes, the egg-laying mammals. When the eggs hatch, the platypus nurses its young, called "platypups" or "puggles." (Awww!)

I drink blood -- but usually not human blood.

Vampire bats commonly feed on farm animals. However, since they can spread rabies, they are considered dangerous to humans.

As my name implies, I'm known for sleeping a LOT.

The word "sloth" means "laziness." But the sloth isn't the top sleeper of the animal kingdom -- that's the koala, which sleeps up to 22 hours a day! The sloth weighs in at about 19 hours of sleep each day.

Despite my name, I have a snow-white head and neck.

In adulthood, the bald eagle has a dark body and a white head. Young bald eagles are dark all over.

I'm loved for my anthropomorphic "smile."

It's mainly the bottle-nosed dolphin that always looks like it's smiling. That, and it's friendly "chattering" noise, make it a favorite at water parks.

I'm best known for my odor -- which is a defensive weapon.

In their defense, skunks smell OK on a day-to-day basis. It's just when they're threatened that they release that powerful, sour-smelling spray.

Make way: I'm the largest of the animals, period.

The blue whale can weigh up to 40,000 pounds and measure nearly 100 feet long. Surprisingly, it doesn't eat sharks and smaller whales, but has a simple diet of krill.

I'm the largest of the birds -- unfortunately, I can't fly!

The ostrich, a land bird, does not fly. It is, however, quite a speedy runner.

I am the tallest of the domestic dogs.

Though mastiffs are known for their size and powerful build, the Irish wolfhound is the tallest of dogs. (If you said chihuahua, go to your room, right now.)

I'm the fastest of the land animals.

If a cheetah were a car, it would break the speed limit of many roadways! It reaches speeds of up to 70 mph.

I'm known for my glossy black plumage.

In romantic novels, you'll often see a black-haired character described as "raven-haired." "Crow-haired" would be equally accurate, but for some reason, it never caught on.

My size has made my name a synonym for "a big lug of a man."

Just witness "Moose Mason" of the Archie Comics world -- he's the jock who struggles with his schoolwork.

I have the longest wingspan of any bird.

The wandering albatross has a wingspan of nearly 12 feet across. They can glide for hours -- yes, hours -- at a time, enabled by this virtual parasail.

I'm best known for my super-high metabolism.

Hummingbirds have a very high metabolism, feeding on large amounts of nectar from flowers. At night, they go into a hibernation state called torpor to conserve energy.

I'm not an adventurous eater; I mostly prefer eucalyptus leaves.

Koalas have an unusually limited diet. Range, too -- they're found exclusively in eastern Australia.

I have an adorable tendency to stand on my hind legs.

Meerkats live in desert areas of southern Africa, like the Kalahari desert. They have a way of standing up on their hind legs that makes them look like the gossips and rubberneckers of the desert.

I have a forked tail.

The swallow is a bird which often has a forked tail. A similar bird with an un-forked tail is the martin.

I've become more feared in recent years because I carry Lyme disease.

A member of the arachnid class, ticks can carry a number of diseases. Lyme disease has stolen the headlines in recent years, though, because it affects people in northern climates (e.g. America and Canada) that usually evade parasitic diseases.

I'm the smallest mammal in the world.

This honor (well, sort of) is shared between the two animals. The shrew weighs a little less -- about as much as a dime, if you can believe it!

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