QUIZ: Bringing Up Baby—Infant Names in the Animal Kingdom

Written by Thomson Safaris

Photo: Thomson Safaris guest, Adam Nielson

Almost as soon as we start learning the names of animals, we start learning the names of their young. It’s a natural tendency, reinforced by an entire genre of board-books for toddlers: “this is the cow, and this is her calf; this is the cat, and this is her kitten; this is the mommy, and this is the baby.”

But some animals have pet names for the little ones that you probably don’t know (and might not even be able to guess).

See how well you do when the babies aren’t coming from off the farm, but from the Tanzanian bush:


1. It makes sense that a baby pig is also known as a piglet; it’s less obvious that piglets can also be the young of which small African mammal?

a.) Elephant shrew

b.) Hedgehog

c.) Four-striped mouse

d.) Hyrax


2. Warthog young can also be known as piglets, but they might also be called:

a.) Stots

b.) Foals

c.) Shoats

d.) Sowlings


3. Hatchlings aren’t just for the birds; which two animals also give birth to hatchlings?

a.) Snakes and termites

b.) Turtles and spiders

c.) Crocodiles and termites

d.) Turtles and Crocodiles


4. Which of the following animals DOESN’T give birth to “cubs?”

a.) Aardvark

b.) Cheetah

c.) Bat

d.) Honey badger


5. Which animal’s babies are called “leverets?”

a.) Hares

b.) Servals

c.) Genets

d.) All of the above


6. Owls are far too wise to give their babies an ordinary name; what are newborn owls known as?

a.) Fledglings

b.) Owlets

c.) Chicks

d.) Both a and b


7. If you saw a snake, you might just scream; if you saw a baby snake, you’d yell out that you’ve spotted a:

a.) Snakelet

b.) Neonate

c.) Hatchling

d.) All of the above

8. If you spotted an eya, what (baby) would you be looking at?

a.) A hawk

b.) A genet

c.) An ostrich

d.) An aardvark

9. Which two animals give birth to kits?

a.) Bats and hyraxes

b.) Genets and bat-eared foxes

c.) Rhinos and elephant shrews

d.) Hyenas and civets


10.) There’s one group of animals that have both kittens and pups: mice (and rats). What other name do their babies sometimes go by?

a.) “Pinkies”

b.) “Hoggets”

c.) “Puggles”

d.) “Whelps”

So, how’d you do?

1: B | 2: C | 3: D | 4: C (Bats have pups) | 5: A | 6: D | 7: D | 8: A | 9: B | 10: A