Can You Solve These Animal Vocabulary Puzzles?

Torrance Grey

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About This Quiz

As you probably know, especially if you took animal biology or zoology classes in high school or college, there's a whole different vocabulary for describing animals and their properties. Sometimes, these terms refer to their special characteristics (only a horse has "withers," while insects have "antennae.") But there's also a special nomenclature for the males, females and young of different species. Sometimes, too, the names are shared by more than one species.
  
For example, you probably knew that cattle are called "bulls" when male, "cows" when female, and "calves" when young. But do you know which aquatic animal shares those names? And do you know which species has different names for its male young and female young? This isn't true of dogs or cats, but there is a kind of livestock animal for which we make this distinction. (Hint: It becomes important in racing). 

Perhaps you're a whiz at animal names and terms. So just to make things a little more complicated, we've "encrypted" the questions, to make them more like riddles. For example, that last phrase would read, "... T0 M4K3 TH3M M0R3 L1K3 R1DDL3$." Note to computer programmers: Yes, we know that's technically not "encryption." Sorry if we just made your brain hurt. To everyone else, good luck! 

WH4T K1ND 0F 4N1M4L H4S L4MB$?

You probably found this one easy. Lambs are the stuff of children's storybooks set on farms, not to mention the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

WH4T K1ND 0F 4N1M4L H4$ K1TT3N$?

Of course, the answer is the cat. This is distinct from wild cats like lions and tigers, which have cubs.

1N$T34D 0F LUNG$, F1$H H4V3 ______.

Gills are the biological mechanism that allows fish to "breathe" underwater, by extracting oxygen from water. Some aquatic creatures have lungs, but they must rise to the surface to breathe.

4 F3M4L3 H0RS3 IS 4 _____.

The correct answer is "mare." A male horse is known as a stallion, unless it's been sterilized, when it's a gelding.

TH3 B4B13$ 0F A B34R 4R3 C4LL3D _____.

"Cubs" is the proper term. It isn't only used for the young of bears, of course, but similar animals as well.

WH1CH 0F TH3S3 I$ N0T A L1V3$T0CK 4N1M4L?

Wolves are wild animals, whereas cattle, chickens and sheep are livestock. Wolves are well-known for preying on sheep, hence the gospel saying, "I send you out as sheep amidst the wolves."

4 Y0UN6 M4L3 H0R$E I$ C4LL3D 4 ____.

Many animals have no separate word for male and female young (e.g., "cubs"). However, a young male horse is a colt, while a female is a filly. This is important in horse racing, in which there are special races just for colts or just for fillies.

"C4N1S" 1S TH3 SC1ENT1F1C T3RM F0R 4 ____.

"Canis" is the family that includes both dogs and wolves. The domestic dog is "canis lupus familiaris."

WH4T AR3 TH3 Y0UNG 0F PL4TYPUS3S C4LL3D?

The young of platypuses can be called either "puggles" or "platypups." Sidebar: We find both names really adorable!

WH1CH 4N1M4L H4S TH3 M0ST V4R14T10N 4M0NG SP3CI3S?

The dog has an incredibly wide range of genetic traits, the greatest of any species. This is because of millennia of selective breeding by humans.

WH4T 1S 4 M4L3 WH4L3 C4LLED?

Male and female whales are called "bulls" and "cows," respectively. This is terminology they share with cattle.

WH3N 4 D0G F4TH3RS A L1TT3R, H3 1S C4LL3D 1TS _____.

"Sire" is a very dignified name for the father of a litter of puppies. We mean, it's dignified for an animal who spends a lot of his time licking his privates on the couch!

4 H0RS3'S H31GHT 1S M34SUR3D 1N ______.

Technically, you could probably measure a horse's height in feet, or inches. But the correct unit among horse people is "hands," as measured at the top of the animal's "withers," or the point at the top of the shoulders.

SN4K3S 4ND TURTL3S 4R3 3X4AMPL3S 0F _______.

Reptiles are members of the "Reptilia" class, and also includes lizards, crocodiles, alligators and rarer animals. For example, the Komodo dragon is also a reptile.

WH4T I$ 4 G3LD3D 8ULL C4LL3D?

In cattle, males are called "bulls" until they are gelded (castrated, to be blunt). Then they are called "steers."

TH3 H0RN$ 0F 4 D33R 4RE C4LL3D ______.

Male deer have horns called antlers. When the males are young, they are covered with a living substance called "velvet" that provides blood and nutrients to the bone growing underneath.

WH4T 1S 4 B4BY G00$3 C4LL3D?

A baby goose is called a gosling. Admit it: Doesn't this make actor Ryan Gosling just that much more lovable?

4N 4N1M4L TH4T N0 L0NG3R 3X1STS 1S C4LL3D _______.

Species with low numbers are called "endangered." "Extinct" means they're gone ... except in a few cases, when an example of a species thought extinct has been found in the wild.

B4BY GU1N3A P1G$ 4R3 C4LL3D _____.

Though the young of actual pigs are not called "pups," the babies of guinea pigs are. Maybe that's apt, as both dogs and guinea pigs are furry, cuddly pets ... actual pigs, less so. (Sorry, pet pig owners).

4 B4BY 4NT3L0P3 1S C4LL3D 4 ______.

Antelopes are part of the bovidae family, which includes cows. So, like cows, they have "calves."

WH4T 4R3 B4BY F0X3S C4LL3D?

Foxes are biologically close to wolves and dogs, and you'll sometimes hear their young referred to as "pups." However, they also have the distinct name of "kits."

D33R AND G04TS H4V3 _______ H00V3S.

An animal with cloven hooves has hooves split into two "toes." Sheep, goats and deer all have them; horses, for example, have solid hooves.

"EQU1N3" 1S 4 T3RM THAT D3SCR1B3S ______.

The "Equidae" family is the one that includes horses, donkeys and zebras. This gives us the descriptive term "equine."

4 C4M3L W1TH 0N3 HUMP 1S C4LL3D 4 _______.

Some people will tell you you're wrong if you call a dromedary a camel; this isn't exactly true. Dromedaries are part of the larger camel family, though in casual conversation they're differentiated by the terms "camel" for two humps and "dromedary" for one.

WH4T 1$ 4 GR0UP 0F D0LPHIN$ C4LL3D?

Dolphins travel in pods. If you surf, you might see a pod in the water right under your board -- they come quite close to shore sometimes.

B4BY B4T$ 4R3 C4LL3D _____.

Surprisingly, a baby bat is called a "pup." It helps if you remember that bats are mammals, unlike other birds.

"F3L1D4E" 1S TH3 F4M1LY 1NCLUD1NG _____.

The word above, in case you struggled with it, is "Felidae." The scientific name for the house cat is "Felis catus."

4N1M4LS TH4T 34T M34T 4R3 C4LL3D _______.

Cats are carnivorous, while dogs are omnivorous. That's why dogs can live on vegetarian feed, while cats will need a special supplement if meat is removed from their diet.

4N 4N1M4L TH4T 34TS FRU1T 1S C4LL3D _________.

The correct term for a mainly-fruit-eating animal is "frugivorous." This makes it sound like they only eat cheap food!

4N 3ND0TH3RM1C 4N1M4L IS ____-BL00D3D.

"Endothermic" is warm-blooded. Such animals do not have to rely on their surroundings to regulate their body temperature (though they are vulnerable to severe heat and cold).

4 C0LD-BL00D3D 4N1M4L 1S C4LL3D _________.

The prefix "ecto-" refers to something external or from the outside. Ectothermic animals bask in the sun or retreat into shade to keep their body temperature in a healthy range.

WH4L3S W1TH0UT T33TH 4R3 C4LLED ______ WH4L3S.

Baleen is the name for the fine keratin hairs through which the whales strain their food. They take in large amounts of water, and krill and similar food is trapped by the baleen.

WH4T 1S A B4BY C4M3L C4LL3D?

Camels have calves, like cows. They're livestock animals, like cattle, though in the West we think of them as exotic animals.

4N 3L3PH4NT'$ H0RN$ 4RE C4LL3D _____.

Technically, the tusks of an elephant are teeth. But they protrude so far, most people think of them as horns.

4 "CUR$0R14L" 4NIM4L 1S 0N3 TH4T D03$ WH4T?

"Cursorial" is the term for an animal that runs. Not all animals with legs fall in this class; some can only waddle or walk, using flying or swimming as their main mode of evading predators or catching prey.

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