Top 20 animals with funny names

Funny names don’t just stop with you and your chicken pet. Scientist and locals too, love to showcase their humorous side when it’s time to register newcomers into animal kingdom.

From coincidental comic names strapped with true, deep meanings, to those designated purposefully for the sake of humor, this list of 20 animals with funny names will surely evoke your jocular spirit for the rest of the day.

Animals with funny names

1) Slippery dick

We’re not joking when we say that the slippery dick exists. It’s a species of wrasse fish (some brightly colored marine fish), who just like the British pudding referred to as “spotted dick” got its first name by virtue of a clear reference; its slippery and evasive nature – the fish secrets a slippery mucus on its surface which allows it to escape the grip of predators easily. As for the second name, just like the British pudding “spotted dick”, the reference isn’t as clear and direct, and with great certainty, we can say that the reference isn’t related to the vulgar or military meaning of the word, since that meaning never existed when the species were first addressed as “slippery dicks” in 1859.

2) Daddy long leg

Daddy long leg

Daddy long leg is a colloquial name applied to a wide range of unrelated animals which include the cellar spiders (which are true spiders), harvestman (which aren’t spider but arachnids of the Opiliones order) and crane flies (which are members of the true insect family representing the order Tipulidae). The true origin of the name “daddy long leg” still remains a mystery, but there’s a feeling that the name is tied with the fact that the animals in question have noticeably long spindly legs. What’s up with ‘daddy’ though?

3) Naked mole rat

Misnomer alert. The naked mole rat isn’t naked, isn’t a mole and it definitely isn’t a rat. It’s no more than a rodent. Whoever named this species was definitely high on something to be this terrible. We’re pitching for a new name, call them the naked mini walrus, or sand-puppies-trapped-in-a-fetus-skin.

4) Satanic leaf tailed gecko

A species of gecko native to Madagascar. The other names are “eyelash leaf tailed gecko” and “the phantastic leaf tiled gecko”. Okay, so, time to comment. That’s a savage first name and a terrible second name. The gecko is apparently called a leaf tailed because of its flattened tail that looks like the withered leaf of a winter tree. Satanic? Take a good look for yourself. The last name “eyelash” has to do with the sharp conture above the animal’s eyes which takes resembles with an eyelash, and the name ‘phantastic’ is tied with the Latin phantasticus which means imaginary. The satanic leaftailed gecko does indeed look imaginary!

5) Hellbender salamander

Evident from its name, the hellbender is a species of salamander which means it’s an amphibian; more closely related to frogs and toads than to geckos and skinks it so much resembles. The hellbender is actually the fourth largest salamander in the world after the giant Chinese and Japanese salamanders respectively. Now back to the origin of the name. Unfortunately though, there isn’t a clear cut history tied to this one. But there’s one prevailing hypothesis; that the name is derived from the fact that the salamander looks like a creature from hell by virtue of its monstrous, strange and scary appearance. If it’s true, then I’m guessing the scientist who discovered the hellbender isn’t the one who discovered the thorny lizard, because i wonder what he’ll call it.

6) Sperm whale

The sperm whale isn’t labelled ‘sperm’ because it gushes out the milky substance incessantly from its body. All specimens would then have to be males and more than half the harvests of fishermen would be coated in milky souvenier. The name sperm is actually a truncation of the word spermaceti which is a semi-liquid, waxy substance that the whale produces in its head region. That’s where the whale gets its name from.

7) Go away bird

How annoying a bird must be to be called “go away”. I mean, look at the vertical crests on their heads, these birds really look like they’re up to no good. Enough of the imagination and commentary though, go away birds are actually called “go away” because of the raucous calls they make which sound pretty much like ‘go away’. And that’s really about it. Now you must be feeling really stupid?

8) Sea squirt

Lol, these ones have the grand title of the century, but thank God they live in the ocean where the mocking birds can’t see them. Sea squirts got their name from their abilities to, well of course, squirt. [… Out Water] They are properly addressed as tunicates or ascidians.

9) Sarcastic fringehead

Lets start off with a funny fact. Did you know that fringeheads are extremely territorial and that they establish dominance between themselves by kissing each other? Doubting? Search and see for yourself. Anyways, the sarcastic fringehead isn’t as calm and collected as its romantic territoriality suggests. They are truly aggressive underwater creatures that bite really well, which is why they are called Sarcastic; our humor word for today originating from the greek sarkasmos which means to bite or tear. As for the fringehead part, it’s because of the soft appendages that rise at the surface of their heads, needless (for me) as a clothing fringe.

10) Humuhumunukunukuapu’a

I swear by god, I’m not joking. There’s a triggerfish in the indo-pacific addressed with that name. I’m not even sure if I spelt that correctly. According to Wikipedia, the “ humuhumunukunukuapu’a” name is the Hawaiian way of saying reef triggerfish (also known as the rectangular triggerfish or the wedge tail triggerfish), and the lagoon triggerfish. No offense, people of Hawaii!

11) Japanese chin

Japanese chin sounds like a decent name for an action movie, except that the title isn’t for a Japanese flick but a curious lap dog. The Japanese chin is a species of dog notable for its no nonsense look. Take a look for yourself.

12) Laughing kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra is a kingfisher bird having a big head with a prominent bill fastened to it. Originally, it was referred to as the “laughing jackass” in the 19th century but was later UPGRADED to the “laughing kookaburra” in early 20th century. The name ‘kookaburra’ is a loanword from wiradjuri – guuguubarra which is an onomatopoeic word describing the birds distinct call. Onomatopoeic word simply means a word that resembles the sound that it describes, in this case, the sound of the bird call guuguubarra which sounds like the bird is laughing. Thus, Laughing kookaburra.

13) Pistol shrimp

The pistol shrimp belongs to the family of shrimps called caridea. These are shrimps characterized by asymmetrical or uneven claws. One claw looks almost normal while the other is disproportionately larger and is capable of producing a loud snapping sound. Comparatively, the claw has the features of a pistol and we can say that it even functions like a pistol; capable of killing prey animals. That’s where the pistol shrimp get its funny name from.

14) Fried egg jellyfish

The fried egg jelly fish really should have been named the “sunny side up jelly fish” because it particularly resembles fried egg served sunny side up style. Anyways, that’s where the monstrous sized jellyfish got its name from.

15) Spider monkey

Spider monkey
The spider monkey is a monkey that looks like a spider. How in the world is that even possible (you might say)? Well, take a closer look at the monkey for the secret. Got it? No? Alright, I’ll blow the gaff. The monkey has a disproportionately long limbs and a long prehensile tail. Whenever it hangs upside down from the bow of a tree using its tail, its long arms and legs dangle freely and gives it the impressions of a spider. This sounds silly honestly, who in the naked-mole-rate came up with this?

16) Boops boops

Another species of fish slapped with a comic name. Sea species seem to be taking over the list like the plague! Anyways, the boops boops got its name from the fact that its eyes resembles that of a cow. The term boops boops translates literally as cow-eye in the Greek language.

17) 22 spot ladybird (Britain)

22 spot ladybird
Okay so, individuals of this species aren’t “all ladies” and neither are they birds. They’re insects that belongs to the beetle family. The adapted name in North America is the Ladybugs. There’s a leading theory that claims the lady part has its origin in an allusion to the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. The theory say that the initial bug to be tied with the Virgin Mary was the seven spotted Coccinella septempunctata (ladybug in short) whose seven spots were thought to symbolize the seven sorrows of Mother Mary in Christianity. Another theory states that the ladybird is so called because of its bright red shell which strikes similarity to the red cloak of Mother Mary as seen in Biblical paintings. The 22 spot in front of the name has a clear allusion to the number of spots found on the beetle’s shell. As for the bird part, it could be because of the flight capabilities of the insects who knows? One popular name before the ‘ladybird’ in Britain was the lady cow, with cow referencing to their resemblance in spots to some cow species.

18) Dik – dik

Dik dik
Dik diks are small antelopes that live in the bushlands of eastern and southern Africa. Their name is an onomatopoeic word describing the sound that females make when threatened by predators; a repetitive “dik” sound. Big shout out to leopards and baboons for making Dik-diks a reality!

19) Macaroni penguin

Let’s get this straight, macaroni penguins are ‘macaroni’ because of the yellow crests on their heads. The proper name would be spaghetti if that was the allusion. The name still has reference to the weird crest on their heads, and the story goes back all the way to the 18th century. People at that time used the term ‘macaroni’ to refer to any person marked by excessive ornamentation. While the conspicuous crest on the penguins head wouldn’t be regarded as ‘excessive’ by any standards of the modern day and age, English sailors of the previous centuries for some weird reasons thought it was too much fancy on the penguins head and decided to pin the name macaroni on the poor creature.

20) Aha aha

So basically, the guy who discovered these Australian wasps exclaimed “Aha, a new genus” and a fellow entomologist responded “ha” doubtfully, hence the name. I never knew naming animals could be this easy! Can I call YOUR pet dog “mus, mus”?

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Bunu. M. (2020, October 9). Top 20 animals with funny names. Retrieved from

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