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Animal Identification Challenges

Simple Quizzes to Help You Learn to Identify Animals

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You can test your animal identification skills in this series of little quizzes aimed at helping you to become familiar with a variety of animal species.

Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, or Chickadee?

In today's animal identification challenge, we have a little grey and white bird with a splash of orange on its flanks. This little bird is about 6.5 inches in length with a 9.75 inch wingspan. It is common in mature deciduous forests in the US, east of the Mississippi River. The adult has a black forehead, pale cream feathers around the eye, and a blue-gray crest and upper body. It has a splash of rusty orange feathers on its flanks just beneath its wing.

Marine Iguana, Galapagos Land Iguana, or Komodo Dragon?

Photo © Dennis Hinaris / iStockphoto.
In this animal identification challenge, we have a rather unique reptile. This creature is the largest of all lizards. Adults of the species can grow to lengths of 3 m and can weigh as much as 165 kg. It is the top carnivore in the ecosystem it inhabits and feeds on carion as well as a variety of large mammals such as deer, wild boar, horses, and water buffalo. Its mouth is equipped with a long, yellow, deeply-forked tongue and sharp serrated teeth.

Bobcat, Leopard, or Mountain Lion?

Photo © Ecliptic Blue / Shutterstock.
In this animal identification challenge, I'd like you to identify this member of the cat family (Family Felidae). This solitary cat has the most extensive historical range of any wild land mammal in the Western Hemisphere. It once roamed North America from coast to coast and was found as far north as Canada's Yukon Territory and as far south as the Andes of South America.

Moose, Caribou, or Mule Deer?

Photo © Paul Tessier / iStockphoto.
In this animal identification challenge, I'd like you to identify this member of the deer family (Family Cervidae). The animal pictured here inhabits the boreal forests and tundra of North America, Siberia, and Europe. Depending on habitat and season, this animal's thick coat of fur may vary in color from nearly white to dark brown. Both males and females of this species grow antlers (males grow larger antlers than females).

A Mystery Auk

Photo courtesy Shutterstock.
The animal in this identification challenge is a member of the Family Alcidae, a group of birds that includes puffins, murres, auklets. The Family Alcidae is commonly referred to as auks. The bird pictured here has a year-round range that extends along North America's Pacific coast from Alaska to California. It builds nests in burrows and rock cavities and is often found on small islands where it enjoys safety from predators.

Black or White Rhinoceros?

Photo © Debbie Page Photography / Shutterstock.
I know, I know, the rhinoceros in this picture is neither black nor white but some shade of brown with a bit of gray around its nose and ears. In fact, its true color may well be obscured, since it looks as if this rhino has been rolling around in the dirt. Anyway, the point is that common names often make a muddle of animal identification efforts. In the case of white and black rhinoceroses, the two species are not easily distinguished by their color, but instead by other physical characteristics.

Can You Identify This Artiodactyl?

Photo © Andresr / Shutterstock.
I present you with one of the most distinctive bums in the animal kingdom. This lovely creature belongs to a group of mammals known as the even-toed ungulates (Order Artiodactyla). They inhabit the tropical forests of northeastern Zaire and normally reside between 500m and 1,000m in elevation. Their hindquarters display the stripes of a zebra yet their head resembles that of a giraffe. Can you identify the species to which these even-toed hoofed mammals belong?

African or Asian Elephant?

Photo © Robert Churchill / iStockphoto.
Elephants (Order Proboscidea) form a group of mammals that consists of only one family, the Family Elephantidea. The Family Elephantidea, in turn, consists of two genera, each of which contain a single species of elephant—the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Here we have a picture of an elephant, it is your task to determine which of the two elephant species it belongs to.
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