Collective nouns are one of the most charming and endearing things to research and no, i’m not exaggerating.
In case you’re not aware, ‘collective nouns’ is a fancy linguistic term that basically just means the name for a group of animals. Think flock of hens, herd of cattle or pack of wolves. “But those are boring!” I hear you cry and you know what? You’re right. The most well known collective nouns are a bit dull, that’s why i want to show you some of my favorite collective nouns from around the animal kingdom. Let’s get started!
Collective nouns for mammals
Starting off our list, let’s look at some great mammalian examples.
More often that not, there are various options for an animal’s collective nouns. A great example of this is bats which, when seen in a group, can be referred to in several ways. You could see a colony of bats, a cloud of bats or, my personal favorite, a cauldron of bats. I think the reason i love this one in particular is the way it ties into the witchy association of bats.
A raft of otters and a cackle of hyenas show another common naming convention for collective nouns. Some are based on what the animals do. Otters float around in groups holding hands forming an adorable raft and hyenas are infamous for their unsettling cackle (and for being played by Whoopi Goldberg).
In a similar vein you might happen across a bloat of hippos or even a prickle of porcupines. These collective nouns are more focused on the appearance of the animal, quite an apt way of naming them in all fairness!
A stench of skunks feels a little mean, albeit fair. A gang of weasels taps into the mischievous and shockingly vicious nature of the seemingly cute animal.
A wisdom of wombats seems to point to some deep rooted intelligence and knowledge (and i mean DEEP).
Finishing off our mammal section, we have a tower of giraffes. I feel this one needs no explanation.
Collective nouns for non-mammals
Now for the rest of the animal kingdom. Mammals have some interesting, fitting and often hilarious collective nouns but that doesn’t mean you should overlook birds, insects and fish.
An army of ants or caterpillars, for example, offers up some charming imagery of tiny insects marching off to war.
A float or bask of crocodiles fits the bone chilling yet awesome stillness of a crocodile stalking prey.
A paddling of ducks floating across a pond is almost too cute to bear and so we must swiftly move on.
Flies are given far too much credit, being referred to as a business when in groups. Personally i think we should stick with swarm!
A plague of locusts invokes imagery of biblical punishment and yet a flock of lice is perhaps the most thought of all.
Owls are wise, dignified and experts at what they do. That’s what makes it so surprising that a group of them is a parliament.
Parrots can either be a company or pandemonium, which i like to pretend depends on how good their manager is.
Animal-Club provides animal parties or animal handling workshops. You will be able to see, learn and interact with many wonderful animals with the help of our presenters. Our mobile zoo has many friendly animals such as rabbits, tarantulas, geckos, vinegaroons and more, perfect for an animal party. We can also come over to your school for an animal school visit or arrange for an animal workshop with us where the children can learn about looking after animals and animal behaviour, and have fun too.