Can You Pick the Right "A" Animal for Each Question?


By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Sure, as a kid you were probably asked to name animals that started with "a" (and other letters). How many did you think of back then? Sure, there's the alligator, the armadillo, the ant and the lovable aardvark. Not to mention the ... um, the  ... It gets difficult pretty quick, doesn't it?

Don't worry -- we're not going to make you rattle off a list. Instead, we'll give you a clue, and you pick the right "A" animal from a choice of four. Sounds easy, right? Trust us, it might get difficult. For example, do you know the difference between an African penguin and an auk? Or which "a" animal is also known as the Mexican salamander and the Mexican walking fish? 

Our quiz encompasses creatures from all seven continents (it helps that we're including several animals whose name begins with "Arctic," like the Arctic fox and Arctic hare) and all kinds of habitats. Some are commonly known, but others are quite rare -- and, sadly, endangered. And just for you dog lovers, we've got a short "man's best friend" round, in which you can show off how well you know the Affenpinscher from the Airedale. 

Are you ready, animal lovers? We're crossing our fingers that you'll get an "A" on our quiz!

We love these for their industrious work habits ... and hate them for spoiling picnics.

Of course, it's the humble ant. The black or "pavement" kind are common, but watch out for the red, biting type.


It eats mostly ants and termites, but shouldn't be confused with the anteater.

The Dutch-Afrikaans people, who gave the aardvark its name, settled mostly in South Africa, near the Cape. That's why the aardvark is sometimes called the "Cape anteater," though it's not biologically related to the anteater.


This bird was the star, or villain, of Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

If you've ever heard someone refer to a burden as "an albatross around my neck," that's a reference to Coleridge's poem. In it, a sailor shoots an albatross and is forced to wear it around his neck as a punishment.


In America, these are found mostly in Louisiana and Florida.

Alligators are freshwater animals, often found in swamps. For this reason, they're found in largest numbers in the swamps of Florida and Louisiana.


This is the only kind of snake that lives in England.

England is not known for its snakes. The only type that lives in the wild there is the common adder. In Thomas Hardy's "Return of the Native," the hero's mother dies after being bitten by one, though actual deaths from adder bites are rare.


Nicki Minaj used the name of this animal as a song title.

The anaconda is a type of South American snake. Minaj's "Anaconda" is a raunchy rap that samples Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" (and shares its, uh, thematic concerns).


This African "ground pig" is the last living member of its order.

When we say "order," we mean its taxonomic order, tubulidentata. The aardvark doesn't belong to any "fraternal order" that we know of!


This endangered species, similar to water buffalo, is found in Indonesia.

You can be forgiven for not being familiar with this species. Similar to deer, antelope and water buffalo, they are found only in small numbers in Indonesia.


This "poor venomous fool" might have helped Cleopatra in her suicide.

"Asp" was a common term in older times for any venomous snake. The phrase "poor venomous fool" is from Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra," though it's not certain that she used snake venom to effect her death.


This animal is valued for its soft hair.

If you've traveled in South America, you might have bought clothing knitted from alpaca hair. The animals closely resemble llamas, and are mistaken for them.


Outside zoos, these only live in the U.S. and China.

China's alligators are found along the Yangtze River. In the U.S., they live throughout the Southeast. Other countries only have them in zoos.


Like the llamas, they spit when threatened.

Alpacas are a South American animal, like the llama. They spit when frightened, or sometimes to display dominance.


This animal's nose is long and cylindrical, like the nozzle of a canister vacuum.

The anteater looks as though it might literally vacuum up the ants and termites it eats. It is biologically related to the sloth, but is often confused with the aardvark, which is not as close a relative.


Its name means "earth wolf" in Afrikaans.

The aardwolf is related to the civet. A small, striped animal, it resembles a hyena.


These animals graze in herds, mostly in Africa.

Though you may immediately get an image of a horned, deer-like creature when you hear the name "antelope," the name is a broad definition. It's any member of the bovidae family that is not a sheep, goat or cow.


This species is also known as the polar rabbit.

The Arctic hare has thick white fur, like most polar mammals. It can run up to 40 mph, which might also help it keep warm!


Its name means "little armored one."

"Armadillo" is a Spanish word, pronounced "arm-a-dee-o." The animal's armor is a series of overlapping tough plates called "scutes."


This shore wader is known for its upwardly curved bill.

The avocet's bill is curved, which isn't uncommon in birds. But the avocet's bill curves upward, not down. This helps them catch food in shallow water, by moving their bills sideways as though panning for gold.


Unsurprisingly, this has snow-white fur for camouflage.

Though valued for its fur, the Arctic fox is protected from hunting in many countries. Its population numbers remain high.


Like bees, these have a queen, drones and workers.

Ant colonies are highly socially evolved, like those of bees and wasps. They have queens, male drones and sterile female workers.


This is the largest land animal.

To be specific, it's the African bush elephant which is the largest land animal. The blue whale, in the aquatic world, is larger.


You can find these living in the Himalayas, among other places.

The Asian black bear is also found in eastern Russia, northern India, the Koreas and parts of Japan. It's identifiable by a white V-shaped mark on its chest.


These are more widely found in Canada than the United States.

The American black bear is named for North America, not the U.S. They favor the northern latitudes, though they can be found as far south as Mexico.


These are strong swimmers, with some similarities to penguins.

Though arctic terns have similar habitat, they are very unlike the auk. Auks spend most of their lives in the ocean, only going ashore to nest and breed.


These animals, found chiefly in South America, resemble guinea pigs.

The agouti has several other names, depending on the part of Latin America it's found in. They are small, furred animals with short tails, resembling ground squirrels as well as guinea pigs.


You're more likely to see these at a pet store than anywhere else.

Angelfish are popular among aquarium keepers. They're showy fish, with striped silver skin.


These are smaller than their African counterparts, especially the ears.

The Asian elephant is found in southern parts of the continent. It is an endangered species, partly due to poaching.


These are often farmed for their fur.

The American mink can and does live in the wild. But like the sable and the fox, many are raised on farms for their fur, used in coats, or just collars and cuffs.


This animal has the colorful nickname "Mexican walking fish."

The axolotl is also called the Mexican salamander. It's an amphibian, as you might guess, and was once a staple food in the Mayan diet.


From its name, you might think this animal quite agreeable!

The aye-aye is a lemur-like animal found on Madagascar. The origin of the name is unknown. Almost literally: One theory is that it comes from the Malagasy words "heh-heh", meaning "I don't know."


The African cousin to this animal is found in much larger numbers.

Asiatic lions are a threatened species, mostly found in India. Iran has tried to restore an Asiatic lion population there, but without success so far.


Man's best friend round, part 1: Which of these dogs would do best in cold weather?

Of course, it's the malamute. This dog is a close cousin to the Siberian husky, which is similarly adapted for cold weather.


Man's best friend round, part 2: Which of these dogs originated in Australia?

Surprise! The Australian shepherd was actually developed in America, though there is Australian cattle dog blood in its heritage. The Austrian shorthaired pointer is, of course, Austrian; the Affenpinscher is German.


Man's best friend round, part 3: This little black dog is sometimes called the monkey terrier.

Affenpinschers have wiry black coats and bright black eyes. In 2013, an Affenpinscher named Banana Joe became the first of the breed to win the Westminster Dog Show.


Bonus question: In what kind of habitat would you find the Arctic Monkeys?

The Arctic Monkeys are a band, not a kind of animal. Sorry -- we'll go to our room and think about what we've done!


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