10 Strange Names for Groups of Animals

In the English language, when you’re referring to a group of something, the most common way to denote that is to add an ‘S’ to the end of the word, which automatically makes it plural. Sometimes there are even slight changes to the word itself to denote more than one of the subject, like man to men and goose to geese. But sometimes the changes are strange, where a word is used to indicate a group of the original subject that seemingly has no connection to the subject at all. Let’s take a look at some of the strangest group animal names.



lion pride

via whistler1984

The lion pride is perhaps the most well-known name for a group of something that has no reference to the original subject, except perhaps the connection we would make between a lion’s strength and the feeling of pride.


Sleuth (Sloth)

sleuth of bears

via SteFou!

Bears are primarily solitary creatures, so the fact that somebody decided they needed a term for the group of them is strange enough, but the word sleuth or sloth was probably not the one formulating in your mind. The officially correct term is sleuth, but a group of bears is also sometimes called a sloth. Perhaps it is the gentle, easygoing way of bears we often see in nature videos that lent itself to groups being called sloth, but was sleuth a nod to their extraordinary detective skills?



storytelling of crows

via Kelly Colgan Azar

A murder is a widely known name for a group of crows, to the delight of elementary schoolchildren everywhere, but did you know a group of crows is also known as a storytelling? We wonder if that term came about before or after Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic thriller The Birds….



business of ferrets

via USFWS Mountain Prairie

It’s hard to imagine these cute little guys up to anything but mischief and unbridled silliness, but when you get more than one ferret together, it’s called a business. Whatever business is being conducted within a circle of ferrets: sign us up!



bed of eels

via Modern Relics

The word bed usually conjures up images of a cozy place, warm and inviting and ideal for drifting off into a restful sleep…yes, bed is a good word in our language. Except for when you’re referring to a group of eels, which is also called a bed. Not at all what you pictured when we first brought up “bed”, is it?



implausibility of gnus

via appenz

Gnu is a challenging enough word on its own for those that are new to it (sorry), and the strange three-letter name is derived from the word used by the native tribe Khoikhoi of southwestern Africa, which stemmed from the sound of the animal’s call. But how a group of gnus came to be called an implausibility has an explanation we probably wouldn’t believe anyway.



leash of greyhounds

via greyloch

The greyhound is one of the fastest dogs on the planet, whose powerful legs, flexible spine, and slim build allow it to reach speeds of up to 45 mph, making it a popular choice for dog racers. That’s why we think it’s a little ironic that a group of these speed demons is called a leash!



charm of hummingbirds

via Coconino National Forest

Given their diminutive size, beautiful and varied coloring, and their impressive hovering skills, we are not the least bit surprised that a group of hummingbirds is called a charm!



gaze of raccoons

via dbaron

The raccoon is an ubiquitous member of North American forests, and an encounter or at least a sighting is highly likely for campers in these regions. And if you’ve ever gotten up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and had a run-in with a group of raccoon scavenging through your trash, you can probably see why a group is called a gaze.



dazzle of zebras

via Birger Kühnel

Zebras are some of the planet’s most alluring creatures, with incredible markings that seem highly conspicuous, yet camouflage them perfectly in their natural habitat. We have little doubt that their remarkable appearance is what led to a group of zebras being called a dazzle.


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