“Packs” and “Pups”: Terminology

It’s interesting that the English language has so many different names for groups of animals and animal babies. Coyotes in a group are referred to as packs, routs, bands or trains of coyotes. Baby coyotes are referred to as pups or whelps. I thought I would list just a few other animals that most of us see pretty often in our area. The collective nouns often refer to the animal’s home, but these are often used synonymously for referring to the group.

  • bats:  a cloud or colony of bats, their babies are called pups
  • butterflies: a swarm or rabble or kaleidoscope or flutter or rainbow of butterflies
  • crows: a murder, muster, hover, horde, parcel or parliament of crows, the baby is a chick
  • ducks: a raft, paddling or bunch of ducks on water; a team, brace, bed, flight or flock of ducks in flight
  • foxes: a skulk, cloud, troop, leash, earth or company of foxes, the baby is a kit
  • frogs: army, knot or colony of frogs; frog babies are called tadpoles, polliwogs, or froglets
  • geese: a gaggle or flock of geese. In the air they are called a skein, team or wedge of geese; in water they are referred to as a plump of geese
  • hawks: an aerie, cast, kettle, boil (two or more) of hawks, the hawk baby is an eyas. A hawk male is called a tiercel, the female is called a hen
  • herons: a scattering, seige or sedge of herons
  • humans: clan, crowd, family, community, gag, mob, tribe, country, etc., depending on how we want to divide them up: there are lots of nuances.
  • hummingbirds: a charm of hummingbirds, the baby is called a chick
  • moles: a labor of moles, the baby is a pup
  • opossum male is a jack, the female is a jill and the baby a joey. They are marsupials, the same as kangaroos whose baby’s also are called joeys
  • owls:  a parliament, study, stare or wisdom of owls; a baby owl is an owlet or fledgling (once it has flown)
  • raccoons: a nursery or gaze of raccoons, the baby is a cub
  • rats: a horde or mischief of rats, the baby is called a pup, pinkie, or kitten
  • ravens: an unkindness of ravens
  • skunks:  a surfeit of skunks; a baby skunk is a kit
  • snakes: a bed, nest, pit, slither, knot of snakes; a baby is a brook, snakelet, neonate, hatchling
  • pelicans: a squadron, pod or scoop of pelicans
  • quail: a bevy, drift or covey of quail
  • squirrels: a dray (its sleeping quarters) or scurry of squirrels, babies are pups, kits, or kittens (female is called a doe)
  • turtles: a bale, dole, nest or turn of turtles
  • woodpeckers: a descent of woodpeckers

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