Zoological word puzzle experiment

This is an experiment to see which is smarter: phone a friend or ask the audience?

The challenge: name an animal, the name of which consists of two words, each of which is themselves an animal, but neither of which refers to the animal itself.

For instance, Tiger Moth does not count, because it is itself a moth.

Dragonfly, although not technically a fly, is disqualified because dragons are mythological.

For some reasons my siblings and I have been obsessed with this challenge for several years, before a friend recently came up with a valid answer. We were sure there must be at least one such animal, but couldn’t think what it was.

So now I am curious: can the collective wisdom of the Internet solve this in less time than it took my real world family and friends?

Comments (37)

  1. Michael Hansen says:

    ask the audience first and if you get into troble phone a friend

    then your find well tell his frind about the problem

    plus the audience  allso now about your problem

    then you dont have a problem any more

    but for cats it is not a problem , becourse the cat can not share the problem with you

    some times it will hide , and somtimes it is just glued to the chair you sit in

    and the most instresting stuff is that when you sit down to wacth a movie on you television

    the cat keep moving in front of the tv , so you can not see the dam movie

    so the the cat is musch viser that humans

    allway bugging you

  2. ShawnHargreaves says:

    > The gread tit.

    But that's a kind of Tit…

  3. Banjobeni says:

    Fail, I admit it. Thought it to be the other way around.

    In German, the Giant Anteater is called "Ameisenbär" which translates to "Ant Bear" in English. And since it is neither an ant (obviously) nor a bear (zoologically), it would qualify.


  4. james says:

    Snakefly… most definitely not a snake, and not a fly either.

  5. MikeBMcL says:

    Zebra mussel – is neither a zebra nor (in fact) a mussel: en.wikipedia.org/…/Zebra_mussel

  6. Paul says:

    Raccoon Dog – I think it's vaguely related to a dog, but might be enough apart to not be considered a dog

  7. Spyn Doctor says:

    Antlion (the larva of which is also known as "doodlebug"),


  8. Eric says:

    I love this thread .. keep them coming ..

  9. Don D says:

    Mosquito hawk, aka Crane fly (which is kind of there itself).

  10. Matt Enright says:

    Elephant Shrew

    "The elephant shrews are unrelated to the shrews"

    <a rel="nofollow" target="_new" href="en.wikipedia.org/…/a>

  11. Matt Enright says:

    Bah, never know for sure if a comment will need HTML or if it will detect links:


  12. Chad says:

    What about the fruit bat.  It is neither a fruit nor a wooden stick used to hit baseballs…

  13. Owen says:

    Honorable mention, despite being mythological and a Claw not being an animal: Claw Shrimp. Live real deep. Big as a man.


  14. PiersH says:

    Tiger Sponge

  15. ShawnHargreaves says:

    Amazing!  This confirms what I have suspected for some time now: my readers are Very Clever Indeed ™

    (actually it's kinda embarrassing how quickly y'all came up with so many great examples of what I struggled with for so long 🙂

    The rationalization for "fruit bat" made me laugh. Afraid I have to disqualify that one, though, on the grounds that if this was allowed, we would also have to include "elephant seal" (which is not an elephant, and not married to Heidi Klum).

    Interestingly, nobody has yet come up with the same answer my friend did, so the game is still afoot…

  16. spongman says:

    a half-life reference, perhaps?

  17. Grant Kot says:

    Nursehound is a species of catshark. It would work if you think of humans (nurse) as animals.

  18. Michael Hansen says:

    one bet more

    homo sapiens

  19. Dan Brown says:

    A dogfish is neither a dog nor a fish (sharks being mammals)

  20. Vark says:

    Kangaroo Rat. Although they are a member of Rodentia (same as squirrels, mice, and yes, rats) that's as far down the tree that kangaroo rats and common rats share.

  21. Daniel Armstrong says:

    Mine was going to be dogfish, but i was beaten to it 🙁

    It's not a dog or a fish. (en.wikipedia.org/…/Squalidae)

  22. ShawnHargreaves says:

    I don't think dogfish counts – it's a type of shark, and sharks are fish, right?

  23. Cha'kwaina says:

    A shark is a fish, member of the chondrichthyes class i.e. boneless FISH.

  24. Fred says:

    Sharks are definitely fish, dolphins are mammals though, maybe you got them mixed up?

  25. ShawnHargreaves says:

    My friend's answer: the Wolf Eel (en.wikipedia.org/…/Wolf_eel) which is not actually an eel.

  26. Antidamage says:


  27. ShawnHargreaves says:

    Unfortunately I don't think Jellyfish or Pitbull count, because "jelly" and "pit" are not animals in themselves…

  28. Adman says:

    I came up with kangaroo rat, which aren't technically rats.  I see someone else got it earlier, but just adding my voice.

  29. Morten says:

    I was imediately thinking of antlion as well. Played too much Final Fantasy. 😛 I'm not sure that technically makes one "smart" hehe.

    Also a lot of animals (like kangaroo rat I guess) are named after animal families they aren't techinically a part of, but which I guess people figured they were when they were named. I don't know if these really count? 🙂

  30. Ben says:

    Mantis shrip.

  31. Levi says:

    Camel Spiders.  It's not actually a spider, it's a solpugid.

  32. Levi says:

    Camel Spiders.  It's not actually a spider, it's a solpugid.