SciSun: Family Matters   Leave a comment

Everyone knows a group of fish is called a school; and a group of wolves is a pack; and a group of horses is a herd; and you can save 15% on your car insurance buying online. But did you know a cluster of CaliforniaQuail (Callipepla californica) is named a Covey; a crowd of Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) is a Band; and an crew of Racoons (Procyon lotor) is a Nursery? (For all raccoons. Not just little baby raccoons. Or maybe this refers to raccoons that have overrun a playroom. Because any clique of raccoons is trouble waiting to happen). Nevertheless, here are some surprising group names people have given to animals. We don’t know what group names the animals have given themselves.

There’s a Clowder cats. Not to be confused with a chowder of cats, which isn’t something you’d find on most menus.

A Tribe of goats; not a herd, as they’re often called.

A group of Owls is a Parliament. Maybe that’s why they always look so serious.

Moles dig in the ground, so a group of them is called a labor. We’re not making any of this up.

How about a Romp of otters, which makes a lot of sense if you think about it.

Crows fly around in a Murder, and maybe that’s why crows and ravens – which are group-named an Unkindness – are usually seen around Halloween. This sounds really biased against the ravens and crows, who might actually be pretty fun-loving.

Bears are found in a Sleuth; a Sloth; or a Slought, all very sleepy-sounding descriptions. But they are also known as a Maul. Maybe that last one was named by someone who came upon an angry bear.

A convocation of Eagles. Which is just about as majestic as you can get.

But a group of Hawks is a Kettle or a Boil. Strange, since no one actually eats hawks.

Crickets group in an Orchestra. No surprise there.

Little, harmless hamsters group together in a Horde. That makes it sound like they’re an invading army.

But Army is reserved for a gathering of frogs.

Best of all, though, is a Prickle of porcupines. Which sounds like a really prickly situation.

It's unusual to see more than one porcupine at a time, so a Prickle of Porcupines is rare event.   But one porcupine is usually prickly enough.

It’s unusual to see more than one porcupine at a time, so a Prickle of Porcupines is a rare event. But one porcupine is usually prickly enough.


Humans seem to have a need to name things, and these are just of few of the labels people have decided to place on the species with which we share the earth. With all the changes humans have made to the world, many that make the lives of other animals more difficult, we wonder what names the animals have chosen to call us?’s-name-scientific-names-animals-popular-writing


Michonne Says: The men say a group of marmots is called a scurry. But all marmots call each other by their name, and I don’t know any marmots that are named ‘scurry’. I do know a marmot named ‘Scuddle’, but I don’t think that’s the same thing.

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