Two hyenas side by side one looks like it's laughing.

Fun Animal Group Names to Make You Cackle

A school of fish, a pack of wolves, and a flock of geese are familiar names for animal gatherings. But did you know there are many fun and unexpected names for animal gatherings?

While a group of birds is often referred to as a flock, crows in a group are called a murder! There’s also a clutch of chickens, a cast of hawks, and a tribe of sparrows, but they’re all birds. 

It stands to reason that other animals would have unique names as well. We decided to explore a few and find out why they are called by these sometimes strange monikers.

A Cauldron of Bats

Greater mouse-eared bat, Myotis myotis, in the nature cave habitat, Cesky kras, Czech Rep. Underground animal sitting on stone. Wildlife scene from grey rock tunnel. Night bat, winter hibernate.
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If you’ve witnessed a group of bats in flight you’ve seen the amazing synergy they have as they swirl through the night sky with elegance and precision. A Cauldron of Bats is inspired by these movements in the darkness.

The imagery conjured by a Cauldron of Bats reflects common associations with darkness, magic, and mystery.

A Gang or an Obstinacy of Buffalo

Herd of buffalo.
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Buffaloes are easily identified by their big, shaggy heads. These hard-headed animals know what they want and what they will tolerate. 

From absent-minded tourists who try to capture an Instagram-worthy picture to the herds that continue to roam in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho despite human encroachment, these enormous creatures are stubborn, and even aggressive when needed. It seems that “gang” and “obstinancy” are fitting names.

A Clowder of Cats

Pair of cats.
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Have you ever tried to herd a group of cats? I haven’t. But I can’t imagine that it’s easy. Getting one to cooperate is a big enough challenge. 

In 1801, clowder became an official part of English and was a variation of “clutter.” Maybe it’s just me, but a group of cats and the word clutter seem to go hand in hand. 

While we’re talking about cats, do you know what a group of kittens is called? A kindle, from the word “kindelen”, means to give birth to, and “kindel” meaning offspring.

An Army of Caterpillars

An army of caterpillars eating a cabbage leaf.
Image Credit: Elena_Gr/Shutterstock.

These invaders eat nonstop, devouring all plants in their path and leaving only a trail of destruction. 

A group of caterpillars is called an army. This term reflects the presence of caterpillars in significant quantities, often stemming from their collective hatching and shared consumption of plants. Their deliberate marching movements further reinforce ‘army’ as the best word choice.

A Convocation of Eagles

Four Bald Eagles.
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A convocation of eagles isn't a graduation event with flowing black gowns and tasseled caps (unless you’re from my school, where the eagle was our mascot).

Eagles have long stirred human admiration across civilizations and continents. In ancient Rome, they symbolized the power of the Empire. In the United States, the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) holds the esteemed position of our national bird.

A Parade of Elephants

Herd of elephants.
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Have you ever watched a group of elephants, whether on a safari or at a zoo? Their majestic demeanor is often on full display. Moving in single file, sometimes with a calf holding onto its mother's tail, they maintain a protective formation.

Parade comes from the French word meaning display or show. Elephants certainly put on a display to make it known they are present.

A Business of Ferrets

4 Ferrets.
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Everyone enjoys the energy of ferrets. They're curious, active, and so adorable. But do you know what they are called?

The male is a hob, the female is a jill. A ferret less than one year old is known as a kit. A spayed female is known as a sprite, a neutered male is called a gib, and a vasectomized male is known as a hoblet. Phew! So many names. But in a group, ferrets are known as a business of ferrets. This comes from their constant activity – busyness.

A Flamboyance of Flamingos

pink flamingos in sun.
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Easily recognizable by their unique pink appearance, flamingos live in some of the saltiest places on earth. You’ll find them gathered in lagoons, lakes, and estuaries. Flamingos are typically found in groups, sometimes numbering in the thousands, and during courtship, onlookers can catch their dance moves as they put on quite the flamboyant show for prospective partners.

An Army of Frogs

5 frogs on branch.
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Children are typically familiar with frogs and make it a game to capture them as they hop between land and water. During the breeding season frogs gather in huge groups referred to as a colony or an army of frogs thanks to the sheer numbers in the group.

A Tower of Giraffes

A young giraffe and his mother in field.
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Animal groups are often named for their appearance or traits. It stands to reason that a gathering of giraffes is simply called a tower to reflect their long necks, which typically reach six feet!

A Bloat of Hippopotamuses

Hippo pod resting.
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Hippopotamuses are social creatures that typically live in groups of 10-30. Since they’re in a group, they needed a cool name.

Looking at hippos, you will see they have barrel-shaped bodies that appear to be swollen or…bloated…with air or gas. In fact, male hippos tip the scales at 8,000 lbs with thick layers of fat that help them float and give them a bloated appearance.

A Cackle of Hyenas

Spotted hyena in morning light.
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Hyenas are often portrayed as villains in children’s cartoons like The Lion King. They are the most common large carnivore in Africa, with excellent hearing and night vision. When gathered together, their noises fill the air, especially when feeding. Sounding similar to laughter, cackle is the ideal name for a group of hyenas.

A Smack of Jellyfish

jellyfish in ocean.
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When you think of a smack, what do you think of? Probably a slap and pain as a form of punishment. That’s what the sting of a jellyfish will feel like if you get caught in a group of jellyfish, commonly known as a smack of jellyfish.

A Conspiracy of Lemurs

Lemur family.
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Lemurs, found solely in Madagascar, are fascinating creatures with fluffy bodies and long tails. They're skilled jumpers, able to leap up to six times their size! With over 30 different types, ranging from small to large, they live in groups known as conspiracies.

These social groups support each other and sometimes join forces to fend off threats. Lemurs' teamwork helps them thrive in their jungle habitats, demonstrating their adaptability and resilience.

A Prickle of Porcupines

Mother and baby porcupine.
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They aren’t cuddly, but they are cute. Even a baby porcupine is called a porcupette! How cute is that?

Porcupines are known for their quills, which serve as their primary means of defense and protection. These sharp spindles give the name to a group of porcupines: a prickle. But they are solitary creatures, so don’t expect to find a prickle unless you stumble upon a family group.

What Do You Call a Group of Pugs?

Pair of pugs.
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Pugs are my favorite dog. Most of know that a group of dogs is called a pack of dogs, but if the cute and adorable pug wasn’t cute enough, a group of them is commonly called a grumble of pugs. The name likely stems from their frequent nasal sounds that include snoring and…grumbling, of course.

Author: Todd Rowley

Title: Copywriter

Expertise: social services, transportation, mental health

Todd Rowley is a copywriter and content writer. He’s an unabashed introvert, an only child with a curious spirit, and a lover of the Oxford comma. Originally educated as a Child and Youth Worker - spending more than 25 years in the field - he also dabbled in Religious Education and Communications Studies.