Can You Identify the Animal From Its Claws?

ANIMALS

Jonnathan Chadwick

7 Min Quiz

Image: Chris Arneil / Moment Open / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Every animal on Earth that has arms and legs either has claws or nails. Primates, for example, have nails. Birds, on the other hand, have claws. All birds have claws called talons, and they're used for hunting, climbing and fighting. All reptiles have claws, but they're rarely used for hunting or fighting. Have you seen how short an alligator's arms are? Their claws are used for walking and nothing more. 

All felines use their claws for hunting and fighting, and if you're familiar with house cats or kittens, you know that feline claws are some of the sharpest on Earth. Canine claws are nowhere close to as sharp as a feline's, but if you're familiar with dogs, you know their claws are strong enough to dig up dirt or rip up a couch. Some animals, including dogs, even have dewclaws that never come in contact with the ground and can't be used. Some animals are equipped with a "toilet claw" or "grooming claw," which is used for grooming.

Needless to say, there are a lot of different claws out there. They're some of the most useful tools in the world, and a lot of animals would be extinct without them. They're used for everything from digging to fighting. Some animals use their claws to crack coconuts. Some animals use their claws like a pistol. Take a look at these claws and see if you can identify what animals they belong to.

These claws belong to the national animal of America. What is it?

The American bald eagle has several talons used to pluck fish out of the water or defend their territory against other birds. Female bald eagles have longer talons than their male counterparts, and the bird has been on the official seal of the United States since 1782.

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Can you name this bear that has the second-biggest claws of any bear?

Grizzly bear claws have often been compared to Swiss Army knives and they can grow up to four inches long. Grizzlies use the claws to hook salmon, shred tree bark, build shelter and dig for rodents and insects.

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This claw can snap shut with 100 pounds of pressure. What animal is it?

You don't want to get your finger stuck in a lobster claw because it can cause significant damage. The claw isn't sharp enough to chop your finger off, but it's strong enough to crush and damage the bone. One claw is for pinching and one is for crushing.

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Can you name this animal that looks like a small bear but is actually a mustelid?

Wolverines are built for cold weather and their claws are built like ice-climbing boots. The claws don't retract and wolverines use them for everything from climbing to digging. Because of this, they're not the sharpest claws, but are incredibly strong.

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What Australian marsupial uses these claws to climb and groom?

A koala's claws are specially made for climbing and are long, sharp and curved. They also have grooming claws on their hind legs used to keep clean. The koala depends on its claws and they're specialized to help koalas thrive among eucalyptus trees in particular.

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Can you name the bird that grows these claws, also known as the deadliest bird in the world?

These birds can reach six feet tall and weigh more than 100 pounds, making them a rather dangerous bird. They've been dubbed the most dangerous birds in the world and have been known to fight humans who threaten them.

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No bird has bigger claws in proportion to its body than this bird. What is it?

The harpy eagle is three feet long, weighs about 10 pounds and has four-inch long claws. To put that in perspective, a grizzly bear is more than six feet long, weighs about 700 pounds and has four-inch long claws.

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Do you know this majestic bird that is one of the most widespread in the country?

The great horned owl is most known for its feather tufts that resemble horns, and you've probably seen an image of this owl in a storybook or two. It takes 28 pounds of force to open the great horned owl's clenched talons when it decides to use them.

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What territorial reptile is this?

Almost all reptiles that have legs also have claws. Some geckos even have claws that retract like a cat's claws. Although alligators are considered apex predators in some parts, they don't use these claws to do any hunting or eating.

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Do you know this common house pet has some of the sharpest claws on the planet?

Kittens have some of the sharpest claws on the planet. They're so sharp that many pet owners declaw or dull their cat's claws as they grow older. Cats and kittens love to scratch and will regularly scratch things for a variety of reasons.

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What's the name of this riverside rodent known for chomping down trees and building dams?

Beavers are known for building dams, and their claws are some of the most unique on Earth. Instead of fighting and hunting, the claws are made specifically for digging and building. They're dense and heavy, allowing beavers to dig vigorously.

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These are some of the biggest claws on Earth. What animal is this?

The giant armadillo can weigh close to 75 pounds and is about three feet long. With claws close to eight inches long, the armadillo has some of the biggest claws on Earth in proportion to its body size. The claws are mostly used for digging.

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Do you know what tropical animal uses these four-inch claws to slowly move through the forest?

Sloths are known for being peaceful and slow tropical animals, so it is striking to see exactly how big their claws are. Both the two- and three-toed sloths have claws measuring about four inches long, and they're used for hanging and climbing.

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This animal uses its powerful claws to crack open large treenuts. What is it?

Anyone who has held a coconut in their hand knows just how hard it is to break its shell. The coconut crab gets its name from using its claws to break coconuts and eat the flesh. It can take several days, however, for a coconut crab to break a coconut shell.

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Can you name this aerial mammal often seen relaxing upside down?

Bats are found all over the world except for the poles and they are mammals that can fly better than some birds. Their paws have five fingers and only one or two claws.

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Do you know this amphibian that uses claws on its rear legs to attack prey?

The African clawed frog is the only amphibian that has claws used to attack and eat prey as well as climb. The only other "clawed" frog is the wolverine frog, and its claws are made from bone instead of keratin.

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Can you name this animal that has the longest claws in the family, but is named after a different distinguishing feature?

The star-nosed mole is one of the weirder creatures you'll come across and its star-shaped nose is so striking most people don't notice just how long its claws are. These moles can barely see, but because of their snouts, they can detect prey and predator within milliseconds.

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Do you know this aquatic mammal that has webbed feet and sharp claws?

Three species of otter don't have claws or have blunt claws, but all other species have rather sharp claws essential to their lifestyles. The giant otter is found in rivers of South America, and its webbed feet are equipped with sharp claws.

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What's the name of this Australian mammal that is one of the few clawed herbivores in the world?

There are only a dozen or so herbivores in the entire animal kingdom to have claws, and kangaroos use them for defense. A kangaroo can hop and kick at the same time and it can get up to 45 mph as it makes an attack, and it will attack if it's threatened. Males also have bloody fights during mating season.

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This king of the jungle can grow claws an inch and a half in length. What is it?

Lions don't have the longest or sharpest claws in the world, but when sprinting 50 mph, its 450-pound body doesn't need the sharpest claws on Earth to take down almost any prey it wants. It's an apex predator and also uses its claws to fight other lions.

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Can you name this multicolored animal knowing for eating shoots and leaves?

These bears native to central China can grow more than six feet long and weigh more than 200 pounds. Their giant paws are equipped with sharp claws that are used for tearing apart bamboo and climbing trees.

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What 10-foot lizard uses these claws to dig, fight and climb?

This 10-foot long, 200-pound lizard can run faster than 12 mph and is only found on a handful of Indonesian islands. Its claws are sharp and strong enough for climbing, but adults are so big they rarely climb. Adult dragons use their claws for fighting.

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Do you know this animal that spends its days sniffing out ant hills and digging them up with these sharp claws?

An aardvark's claws are specially designed for digging, and if they're running for their lives, they will try to dig and burrow themselves as a first resort. As a last resort, they'll lie on their back and kick their claws toward the enemy.

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Felines have some of the sharpest claws on the planet. Can you name this cat that uses its claws to run up to 75 mph?

Most cats have retractable or protractable claws, but the cheetah's claws are only partly retractable. They are always in use and it allows them to perform insanely agile moves at speeds as high as 75 mph.

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When this sea creature snaps its claws, it can be as loud as a gunshot. What is it?

The pistol shrimp snaps its claw shut with so much power that water displacement creates a "gunshot" sound. The sound doesn't come from the claws snapping shut. It comes from the displacement, which creates a shot of water that stuns prey. These shrimp are so loud they affect military sonar readings.

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This furry creature owes its speed and agility to strong claws used for gripping. What is it?

Rabbits can hop up to 45 mph and are extremely agile when doing so. They depend on their claws for survival skills and they don't hunt. The claws are really strong and are mostly used for digging and defense.

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Do you know this neighborhood animal that uses its claws to climb almost any surface it wants?

Squirrels are expert climbers and are capable of doing incredible things while climbing almost any surface because of their claws designed to grip and stabilize. Their ankles can rotate 180 degrees, allowing them to grip and climb the most unique surfaces.

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Do you know this laughing animal that isn't related to a cat or dog but resembles both?

Hyenas are their own family of animal and can be heard laughing hysterically when fighting off others for food. Hyena claws aren't sharp or long and aren't used for hunting. They grab prey with their teeth and use their claws for agility while running.

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Can you name this reptile that is one of the best climbing reptiles in the jungle?

Iguanas are expert climbers and they use their claws mostly for climbing. They will use their tails to fend off attackers, but if that fails, they will resort to swiping with their claws. The claws can get pretty sharp, and pet iguanas commonly get their claws clipped for safety reasons.

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This eagle is found around the world more than any other eagle. Do you know it?

The golden eagle's claws almost rival the harpy eagle's claws and are bigger than the bald eagle's. The golden eagle is one of the most prolific hunters in the world and is found all over the planet. It's illegal to own a golden eagle or any part of a golden eagle in America.

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These talons belong to the fastest bird in the world. Do you know it?

The peregrine falcon isn't the biggest bird in the sky and definitely doesn't have the longest talons, but with the ability to hit speeds of 220 mph, it is one of the deadliest in the sky. The bird has been a symbol of courage for centuries.

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Do you know these claws that belong to the largest bird in the world?

At just two years old, a male ostrich can be nine feet tall. It can kill a human in a single kick and the bird is considered one of the most dangerous in the world. Although it can't fly, it can travel long distances and run close to 45 mph.

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Can you name this animal that almost seems to be half-lion, half-squirrel?

A fossa resembles dogs, cats, hyenas, marsupials and civets, making them one of the most unique animals on the planet. This carnivore can grow up to six feet in length and is an expert hunter and climber.

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Like all primates, this one has fingers and nails, but if you look closely you'll see a claw designed for grooming and scratching. What animal is this?

Primates are some of the only animals out there without claws, so some of them have what's called a grooming or toilet claw. It isn't used for climbing, digging, attacking, defending or eating, and is only used for grooming purposes. It's not as sharp as a claw, but not as flat as a fingernail.

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Do you know what canine sports these claws?

Canines attack with their teeth instead of their claws, unlike felines, so wolves don't use their claws for hunting purposes. They use claws the same way a domesticated dog does. They're rather blunt and ideal for digging.

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Can you name this bird that is known for its facial hair and has rather weak claws?

The bearded vulture is found in Asia and Africa and has a unique diet. It eats bone marrow, but its claws and beak aren't strong enough to crack open bones, so it grabs a bone, flies high in the sky and drops it onto a rock repeatedly until it cracks open.

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Can you name the flightless bird that uses its three-clawed feet to defend and attack?

Emus are very closely related to ostriches, but ostriches have two toes and can grow up to nine feet tall, while emus grow up to six feet tall and have three toes. Both are two of the most dangerous birds in the world, and their attacks are powerful enough to prove fatal for humans.

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Do you know this animal that has sharp claws attached to arms too weak to attack or defend?

Snapping turtles have claws that are about as long and sharp as a dog's and they are very useful for digging, but when it comes to attacking, defending or eating, they're next to useless. The turtle's arms are too weak to swipe its claws with any significant force.

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Can you name this prickly rodent equipped with claws for climbing and stripping tree bark?

A porcupine's claws are strong enough to climb and rip bark from trees, but they're not as sharp as the thousands of quills covering its body. The quills will almost always pierce skin and are the animal's No. 1 line of defense.

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Do you know this striped animal more famous for its stink than its claws?

A skunk has sharp and strong claws used for digging and climbing, but its primary defense tactic is the vicious odor it can spray up to 10 feet with sniper-like accuracy. The odor is so powerful the human nose can smell it 3.5 miles away.

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