Crashes, Cauldrons and Other Animal Collectives

Natural SelectionDecember 03, 2017

There’s something very special about watching a group of animals together. Following their interactions, dynamics and individual characters can be endlessly fascinating. But sometimes the creatures themselves can be upstaged by the collective noun applied to the species.

It’s worth noting at this point that there may be a number used for each species, and with no governing body to decide on which is correct, their popularity and survival is ultimately down to those who choose to use them.

Everyone’s familiar with the wonderfully appropriate Pride of Lions, but here are some of our favourite, lesser known collectives for a few of the creatures often spotted in and around our camps.

Cauldron or Cloud of Bats

Although the sinister connotations entwined with these mesmerising mammals are undoubtedly unfair, the somewhat eerie Cauldron suits the reputation perfectly. Cloud though is extremely well applied to a night sky filled with bats.

Obstinacy of Buffalo

Anyone who’s come face to face with a buffalo having a bad day will insist that this term, which relates to the condition of being obstinate or stubborn is the ideal moniker for these intimidating and seemingly humourless characters.

Journey of Giraffes

There’s something marvellously purposeful about the gentle lope and sway of a giraffe, and it’s encapsulated to a tee with the collective Journey.

Mob of Meerkats

With their intricate group dynamics and assigned duties, meerkats are a well organised bunch. Perhaps more Roman army than Mob, but we find this alliterative collective both amusing and sweet. Good enough for us!

Crash of Rhinos

Elegance is a term rarely used to portray rhinos, and these solid beasts are far better described by the decidedly marvellous Crash. You only need to watch them storm through the undergrowth to understand why.

Dazzle of Zebra

Undeniably eye-catching, never has a gathering of these monochrome marvels been better described than with the term Dazzle. It’s exactly what they do as they make their way through the environment.

Pace of Donkeys

With their oversized ears and velveteen muzzles, there are few characters quite as endearing as the donkey. Guests who arrive in Maun to access our camps may well catch sight of one of these charming equids, and sweeter still is the collective Pace, as they like to stick to their leisurely way of life.

With their oversized ears and velveteen muzzles, there are few characters quite as endearing as the donkey. Guests who arrive in Maun to access our camps may well catch sight of one of these charming equids, and sweeter still is the collective Pace, as they like to stick to their leisurely way of life.

Murder of Crows

Much like bats, crows tend to get a bad rap – they’re enormously intelligent and endlessly fascinating to watch. In numbers though they can appear quite intimidating, an image that’s further enforced by the collective Murder.

Parliament of Owls

The word Parliament evokes both wisdom and experience, and few animals seem to embody these qualities as wholly as owls, making this the perfect moniker for them when they come together.

Bloat of Hippos

Quite graceful in water, but far from it on land with their little legs and rotund physiques, Bloat has to be one of the most entertaining collectives, although Pod is also a term commonly used for a group of them.

Prickle of Porcupines

It would be difficult to come up with a better name for porcupines in their numbers – just ask an over-eager carnivore who’s fancied their chances against one of these spirited and spiky rodentian mammals.

Stand of Flamingos

A flock of flamingos can be a fantastically arresting sight, particularly if you’re fortunate enough to catch them in flight. There’s something suitably unified about the collective term for them Stand.

Deceit of Lapwings

The group name Deceit is one that’s not quickly forgotten – given thanks to the birds’ habit of feigning an injury in order to lure predators away from their nests and the young within it.

Romp of Otters

There’s something inherently mischievous about otters, so the collective Romp couldn’t be better suited to these sleek, carnivorous mammals.