Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Huddle of Hippopotami?

Ever wonder how they come up with the group names for animals?

I found this web site that has a fairly extensive list and became intrigued by this question.

We're all familiar with some of the more common but still interesting group names such as - a gaggle of geese, a kettle of hawks, a pride of lions and a pod of whales.

But have you heard of - an aurora of polar bears, a business of ferrets, a shoal of bass or a congress of baboons? Ok, the last one is not uncommon. Sorry.


A few of the more nefarious crews in my opinion are - a sneak of weasels, a gang of elk, a band of gorillas and a mob of kangaroos. You don't want to see these guys getting together. The animal kingdom is wild enough without it being bullied by some kind of underground mammal Mafia.


These ones seem to describe some characteristic of the animals themselves - a wisdom of owls, a wriggle of worms and one of my favorites - an ambush of tigers. Oh yeah, watch out for these killers!

It seems that at some point though the namer people got a little lazy. For example, how hard did they really have to work to come up with - a flight of swallows, a cloud of knats or a stench of skunks?

But the reason I wrote this in the first place was because of the rash of bunny killings we experienced in our back yard this spring. After several days of finding decapitated bunny bodies scattered around our pond we finally caught our culprit red-handed, er red-beaked rather. Now I know first hand why they are referred to as a murder of crows.

And not to pass judgment, but does this guy look innocent to you?

14 comments:

Linda said...

We do have crows in OK and I don't like them any better than the MN ones. At least I haven't caught them murdering poor defenseless bunnies. Interesting web site you found. You know what's really scary? A 'trampling of teenagers'.

Rick said...

That's not a crow, it's a raven.

Harmonica Man said...

linda - We definitely have those here.

rick - Even more fitting. According to the web site, they would be called either a conspiracy or an unkindness of ravens. Both describe how they act around my house.

Mooselet said...

Are you sure the decapatated bunnies aren't a message from that mob of 'roos - a la The Godfather? Do you owe Skippy a favour?

I love that someone came up with one for unicorns!

Mom said...

And to think I put out dried pieces of bread and peanuts in the shell for the 3 Ravens that come to the yard everyday!!!!!

dad said...

I saw two rabbits in your yard with horns growing out of their heads because of a virus. If ravens eat any rabbits with virus horns, does it turn them into horney birds?

Ashley said...

If ravens/crows decapitated bunnies in my yard you would be able to hear the screams from my children all the way in MN!

Did you have to dispose of the bodies or did you ask your teenagers to do it?

Chanakin said...

Thank you for giving me the first link to put in my newly-cleaned Favorites folder.

I get the feeling a lot of these terms were from the old country.

baboons: congress
owls: parliament

Harmonica Man said...

mooselet - Could be, but they still have a bit of work to do in the intimidation department. Finding a bunny head in my bed just didn't send much of a message.

mom - Nevermore!

dad - Yeah, horny birds that breed like rabbits.

ashley - Didn't have to have anyone clean them up. The ravens/crows kept coming back and nibbling on them until they were all gone. I know, ewww.

chanakin - Like I said, a congress of baboons. These days it couldn't make more sense.

Yellow Mama said...

I think, a sneak of weasels is my favorite

yellojkt said...

That means "Band of Brothers" was a bunch of gorilla siblings?

Wendy Boucher said...

I love collective nouns. It's fun to make them up.

What should the collective term for bloggers be? A boredom of bloggers? No, too negative. But I do prefer alliterative choices. Any ideas?

Harmonica Man said...

wendy - How bout a web of bloggers?

Linda said...

A blather of bloggers.