Emily Ruth Verona
Weird History: A Murderous Fluffle of Cauldrons
Historically speaking, words are weird. There are a lot of terms floating around out there, especially in the collective noun corner of the animal kingdom, that we don't use all that often. And we should be using some of these terms, because they can be delightful and interesting and add a touch of whimsy to our everyday lives.
Over the centuries, some truly fascinating terminology has sprouted up in relation animal groupings. So, here we are sharing 10 of our favorites. Because Frightful loves weird and we do what we want.
Full disclosure, "a murderous fluffle of cauldrons" is pure nonsense—but it's so much fun to say!
A group of crows is called a murder. This is the one you might already be familiar with as it's been referenced frequently in pop culture. PBS says the term is likely derived from folklore and that crows are often viewed as an omen because they are scavengers, showing up when there are dead bodies around. No wonder horror writers love them.
There are at least ten different terms you can use when referring to a group of rabbits. The most popular one is a colony, which seems to be the standard in the UK. The most whimsical term, however, is definitely a fluffle. This word is used in North America, primarily Canada, to describe a group of wild rabbits. It seems to be a pretty new term and we are not exactly clear on how it originated, but we are immensely happy that it exists.
While most people still call a group of goats a herd, you can also refer to them as a tribe or a trip. Why? It comes from the middle Dutch word "trippen" which means "to skip or hop" and goats do quite a bit of both in their daily lives.
According to Yahoo!, squirrels are pretty solitary animals. You don't see them in groups too often. But if you do see them in a group, that group is called a scurry. If you are referring specifically to a nest of squirrels, you could call them a dray.
Seriously. We are not kidding! A group of bats is sometimes called a cauldron. Because OF COURSE THEY ARE. Other terms include cloud, colony, or camp but cauldron is definitely our favorite. Bats after all, are a horror staple—as are cauldrons in the giant pot context.
A group of bears is called a Sleuth, but you can also call them a sloth. This can get a little confusing as sloths are an entirely different animal. In a strange twist, sloths don't really have a formal common noun, though they are sometimes referred to as a bed.
A group of cats is called a glaring and honestly, even without knowing the background for this one, it makes sense. Cats do a lot of…well…glaring. Albeit, glaring is not the most popular term for a group of cats. According to Yahoo!, the collective noun most frequently used is clowder, but glaring is also acceptable.
A group of resting otters in the water is called a raft which feels appropriate since they hanging out in the water like little furry rafts. If the otters are on land, however, the term changes and they are called a romp—which is a little more fun to say out loud.
According to the BBC, a group of lemurs is called a conspiracy because lemurs are social creatures. They tend to "conspire" together in order to outsmart predators and stay alive. It's honestly a great vibe. Look at them conspiring!
A group of mice or rats is called a mischief, which seems fair since you can often hear them even when you can't see them. They are known for squeezing in through tight spaces and chewing on everything. You can also call a group of mice a nest, but it doesn't hold the same ring to it.
[Image Credit: single crow by Marek Piwnicki, two crows by Alexas Fotos, rabbits by Felix Müller, goats by Lucas Kristoffersson, squirrels by Boys in Bristol Photography, bats by Will Mu, bears by Esteban Arango, cats by Merve, otters by Timothy Wills-DeTone, lemurs by Jennifer Grube, mice by Alexas Fotos]