Can You Identify These Common North American Animals?

ANIMALS

Jonnathan Chadwick

6 Min Quiz

Image: Alina Morozova / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

From the Arctic tundra of Canada to the desert land of Mexico to the tropical forests of the Caribbean, North America has a little bit of something for every animal.

The fiercest jungle cats, most dangerous raptors, and weirdest insects all call North America home, but the really special North American animals are the ones that thrive alongside us humans. The continent is full of animals that expect to eat our food at the beach, live in our attics, swim in our pools, and ride the subway with us. You don't have to be outside for long to realize this is their world and we're just living in it.

It's unknown how many animals the average person sees on a daily basis, but if you count everything from insects to birds, it's a lot. The most common animals are so common we may not even see them. They're like air. We just expect them to surround us but don't really pay attention — unless you have been paying attention. How well do you know the rascals and rodents running around your neighborhood? Here's a list of animals you've seen more times than you can count. Do you think you can identify them based on an image?

This has been the most popular dog breed in America for decades. What is it?

There are several types of retrievers in the world, and the most popular ones in North America are the Labrador and golden retrievers. The Labrador retriever has been voted the most popular dog in America and Canada for close to three decades.

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Can you name this global symbol of America?

You'll find the bald eagle soaring everywhere from Alaska to Florida to Hawaii. It's been prominently featured on official U.S. seals since 1782 and is recognized as the country's national bird. It's also the country's national animal.

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Do you know America's national animal?

Bison, or buffalo, have a long history with the creation of the nation, and they're the continent's largest land animal. Tens of millions of them used to roam the land, but their population dwindled to 500,000, making them nearly threatened today.

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Can you name this furry rodent that represents Canada?

The beaver has been officially recognized as Canada's national animal since 1975, but its importance has been acknowledged on stamps, currency, and seals as early as the 17th century. Its fur has been traded for centuries.

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You might be able to play dead and ward off a grizzly bear, but that won't work with this bear. What is it?

You may have heard to play dead when being attacked by a bear, but that doesn't work if you're facing the American black bear. This predatory and aggressive animal will attack anything that invades its territory.

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Can you name this good luck insect?

These beetles are associated with good luck around the world. The most common species is red with black dots, but there are more than 5,000 species of the beetle, and they come in all colors and patterns.

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Do you know this neighborhood bandit often seen stealing trash?

If you stop and watch one of these rascals clawing through your trash, you'll realize they're not clawing at all. They have some of the most skillful hands in the animal kingdom and are actually named after their hands. Raccoon roughly translates to "animal that uses hands."

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What's the name of this 30-ton marine mammal?

Humpback whales can be seen swimming along the coasts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and their mating calls and songs can be heard for miles. The females are larger than the males, and the biggest ones can span 60 feet and weigh 50 tons.

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Can you name this canine that's smaller than a wolf but bigger than a fox?

Coyotes look like dogs and wolves, but one way to tell the difference among the three is to watch them run. Coyotes run with tails down. Dogs run with tails up, and wolves run with tails extended straight. These canines are found in forests and deserts on both coasts from Alaska to Central America.

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Do you know this giant deer found all over Canada?

At 7 feet tall and 1,500 pounds, the moose is one of the largest animals on the continent. Its antlers can span 6 feet and weigh more than 60 pounds. These beasts can run faster than 30 mph, so it's best not to get too close.

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Do you know this mystical deer found pulling Santa's sleigh?

Only three continents touch the Arctic Circle, and North America is one of them. These deer known for pulling Santa's sleigh can be found all over Canada and Alaska, where they are called caribou. There are several species of reindeer, but they are rarely seen in the lower 48 states.

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What is the largest cat in North America?

The jaguar has been recognized as an "animal of the Americas" since Thomas Jefferson declared so in the 18th century. The cat is native to North and South America and is the largest cat on both continents.

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Do you know this lanky insect that looks like a spider but isn't a spider?

The daddy long-legs spider has several names, and although it's an eight-legged arachnid, it isn't a spider. It eats other spiders. It eats insects, eggs, trash and house pests, and is known for being a beneficial insect to let linger around.

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You may or may not see these nearly invisible creatures floating next to you at the beach. What are they?

With no brain, heart or eyes, there is nothing you can do if you see one of these things floating toward you, except move out of the way. With a body made of transparent jelly, you might not see them. Once they hit you, they'll sting you with millions of venomous cells that can give you a rash but can also be fatal.

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Its stink is worst than its bite. What is it?

Bears run away from the smell of a skunk's spray. Humans can smell it for miles downwind. If you're unfortunate enough to get directly hit with skunk spray, the scent will last for weeks. It's best to stay away from these critters as they'll spray whenever they feel threatened.

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About 30% of American homes contain one of these purring pets. Can you name it?

More than a quarter of homes in the United States have at least one housecat, and about 70 million homeless housecats are roaming the streets, which is more than 100 times the amount of homeless people.

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Its tail is deadlier that its claws. Do you know it?

The American alligator thrives in Florida's Everglades, but you can find this reptile all over the southeastern U.S. There are only two known species of an alligator on Earth: the American alligator and the Chinese alligator. The American gator is slightly larger.

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Can you name this bird known as the "Phantom of the North"?

Both subspecies of great grey owl thrive in North America, and these are the tallest owls in the world. They can grow almost three feet tall with a five-foot wingspan and are only found in the northern hemisphere.

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There are 90 million of these creatures roaming the U.S. What are they?

There are so many cows in the world that the collective release of gas (via flatulence or belching) is responsible for a significant amount of methane pollution in the world. It's believed that methane pollution is one of the primary factors inducing climate change.

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A swarm of these scavenging birds is called a murder. Do you know what one is called?

Crows are known for their black feathers and nail-scratching caws. There are countless types of crows on Earth, and other popular birds, like ravens and magpies, come from the same genus. The American crow can be found all over North America.

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Do you know this four-inch insect with nearly invisible wings?

Although a dragonfly's wings are usually transparent, they're almost impossible to miss because of their iridescent patterns that shine in the light. They are some of the first flying insects on Earth, dating back 300 million years.

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Can you name this butterfly that migrates from Canada to Mexico every winter?

The average monarch lives for about a month, but a monarch that is born in late summer is a different beast. It can live up to eight months, and as soon as it emerges, it gets ready to migrate thousands of miles south for the winter. It doesn't live long enough to make it back north. It takes four to five generations of the monarch to complete the return trip.

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Do you know the name of this animal that looks like a rabbit but isn't a rabbit?

Hares are bigger than rabbits, and their fur changes color depending on the season. They also usually have more prominent ears. The white-tailed and black-tailed jackrabbits are two of the most common on the continent, mostly found on the west side.

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This is the largest member of the squirrel family. What is it?

Whether cold-weather states will suffer six more grueling weeks of winter all depends on whether this rodent pops out of its hole and sees its shadow. The ritual started in Pennsylvania in the 19th century and it takes place every February.

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Can you name this bird that can dive up to 240 mph?

The Peregrine falcon is the fastest bird in the sky and can be found all over the world except Antarctica. The bird floods North America in wintertime and can be found all over the continent. In summer, it breeds in northern Canada and Alaska.

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Do you know the largest freshwater fish in North America?

These fish can grow 20 feet long and weigh as much as a ton. They're found in major rivers and waterways along North America's east coast from Canada to Mexico, including the Great Lakes and some rivers on the west coast. They're known in the culinary world as the premier source of caviar.

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What is this wild cat that looks like a cross between a jaguar and a house cat?

These nocturnal felines can grow up to 40 pounds and are native to the southern U.S. and Central America. They live in habitats ranging from desert and grasslands and have been kept as pets by dedicated enthusiasts.

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What are these birds, also known as a gaggle when in a pack?

Male geese are technically called gander, and a female is called a goose. The infamous Canadian geese have invaded every section of America and have effectively colonized urban habitats. They're extremely territorial and have become accustomed to taking food from humans.

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Can you name this musical bird that knows how to fly backwards?

The hummingbird is one of the most amazing birds in the world. All it does is eat sugar all day but is one of the smallest birds in the world. They can eat three times their weight and burn it off every day. No animal has a faster metabolism.

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Do you know the most common deer in North America?

White-tailed deer are native to America and can be found roaming from northern Canada to South America. These deer are also known as Virginia deer, and they dominate the landscape east of the Rockies. Black-tailed deer are more widespread west of the Rockies.

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This raptor is one of North America's most common. Do you know it?

The red-tailed hawk is the most popular hawk in North America, and you can see it soaring everywhere from Alaska and Canada to Florida and the Caribbean. They're not that large, and mobs of small birds, like flycatchers, will readily attack them when alone.

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What's the name of this noisy snake?

Rattlesnakes can be seen from Canada to Argentina, but most of them live in the United States and Mexico. They're found on both coasts on the United States but are more widespread in the southwest desert.

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There are about 2 million of these rodents terrorizing the NYC subways. What are they?

Rats are everywhere except Antarctica. The only mammals more widespread are humans, and these rodents live everywhere humans live. The brown rat is the most common in North America and is commonly known as a subway or street rat.

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Can you name this vicious animal that looks like a small bear but isn't a bear?

These territorial animals live in remote areas of the arctic and are widespread through northern Canada and Alaska. You'll rarely see them in the lower 48 states, but you can spot them in some national parks in the Northern Midwest.

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America is home to billions of these birds. What are they?

North America is home to billions and billions of chickens. There are more than 50 billion chickens in the world, making them the most successful bird, but they are raised just to be slaughtered, making them equally unsuccessful. America alone goes through more than 8 billion a year.

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Do you know this predator that hunts other predators?

The great horned owl is exactly as mean as it looks, and it frequently hunts red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, and whatever other bird thinks it's the fiercest in the sky. It is found all over North America and is the most widespread owl on the continent.

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Can you name this sea creature with pinching and crushing claws?

Lobsters can exert a lot of force when crushing their claws, but it's unlikely one will snap your finger. Lobsters grow forever, however, and they can live for 100 years. The largest lobster ever caught was 44 pounds, and a lobster that big would snap your finger.

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What's the name of this insect known for its holy poses?

The praying mantis gets its name from its holy stances, and you can spot these insects in almost every state in America and also all over Mexico and Central America. They're one of the most vicious predators of all insects.

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What's the name of this bird known for stealing food at the beach?

These birds can be found terrorizing beaches all over the world, including the Arctic regions. They will readily steal food from people and are known for traveling in noisy, aggressive packs. They are usually grey, white and black.

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Can you name this common aquarium pet?

These fish are the classic entry-level aquarium pets, and they can live more than 10 years as a pet. They regularly live for more than 25 years in the wild and can even grow as long as 20 inches. The most common ones are orange, but they can be black, white, yellow and more.

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