By Montana Grant

Posted: July 29, 2023

“The Montana hunter steadied for the shot as the “sleuth” came closer. The group of bears would soon be in range!” Groups of critters have a different noun to describe the gathering. A story can become confusing unless you do your homework.

Humans gather in gangs, crowds, posses, or tribes. A single human is a person, man, woman, child, or some relation to one another. Adjectives may enhance their special names as dirty, big, fat, or some other descriptive word.

In the animal world, groups of critters are often given unusual names that describe behaviors, or other characteristics.

If you are being approached by a group of turkeys, they would be called a posse, drove, or rafter. I always just called them a flock, but that is not specific to just turkeys.

Birds often have unusual names based on behaviors or religious beliefs. Native peoples revered many species such as Crows and Ravens. Since Crows feast on carcasses, they were known as a “Murder” of Crows. A group of Ravens was known as an “unkindness” of Ravens since they are known as tricksters.

If a crash of rhinos was stampeding your way, the name is in the outcome. A bunch of squirrels is called a scurry since that is what they do. Groups of otters are called a romp because they do.

A group of buffalo is called a “gang” or an “obstinacy” of bison. Obstinance relates to stubbornness which if you ever had a buffalo blocking the road fits them perfectly. A bunch of elk is also known as a “gang”.

A “Prickle” of porcupines is obvious. Rarely do you see a group of porcupines, usually just a “Prick”. A “passel” or “drift” of Pigs is a crowd.

Deer together, hang out in a “park”, and are known as a “herd”. Fish swim in schools, other birds are in coveys, flocks, broods, or bouquets, depending on what they are doing together. Adjectives may be useful.

So, if you dial 911 during an emergency, make sure that you get the names right. “I would like to report that I was assaulted by a sleuth and ran into a gang. There were murderous and unkind birds in the posse. One prickle was especially rude. HELP!”

The Gangs all here!

Montana Grant

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