Last Updated on July 8, 2018 by Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani
Introduction to Animals on our Planet
You know our world is enormous and there are so many types of life around us. It might sound shocking but there are approximately 7.7 million species of animals on our planet with only 12% of them formally described. Most of these catalog animals live on land and humankind has still a long way to go to explore the fauna of the oceans completely. With such an abundance of life-forms, it’s not surprising that people tend to confuse certain animals. Let’s be honest some of them look really similar. We hope this article will help clear up some of the confusion of most common animals that like similar.
Most Common Animals Confused for One Another
Rabbits Vs Hares
Both rabbits and hares belong to the same family Leporidae. So it’s no wonder that these cute creatures are the ones that get confused the most. However, if you look at them attentively you’ll easily spot the differences.
Hares are typically faster and larger than their close relatives. Their ears and strong hind legs are also longer and they have bigger feet.
You could also say that hares are braver than rabbits while the latter hide in their warren’s when they feel threatened.
Hares usually try to outrun predators and in most cases, they succeed. To distinguish between hares and rabbits you can also take a look at their fur. You’ll notice that hares have some black marks on their bodies.
Moths Vs Butterflies
Both of these species belong to the order Lepidoptera. Do you think you can easily tell a small grey or brown moth from a beautiful vibrant butterfly? Well, you’d be surprised to know that there are species that look astonishingly alike.
To know for sure which creature is in front of you, pay attention to the antennae. Butterflies have club shape antennae that look like a thin shaft with a bulbous tip. As for moths, their antennae are either serrated or feathery.
Wings can serve as another hint. Moths have tent-like wings which they fold over their abdomen. Butterflies fold their wings vertically.
Sheep Vs Goats
It’s pretty easy to confuse goats and domestic sheep as both species have a lot of common features. Both sheep and goats are cloven-hoofed and have quite unusual eyes with horizontal rectangular pupils.
But take a look at their tails, you will notice that sheep hold them down whereas the tails of goats proudly stand up.
What’s more these animals have different eating habits. Just like cows, sheep are grazers meaning that they move across a pasture and pick the vegetation that is close to the ground. With this method, they don’t have to lift their heads. As for goats these animals are browsers choosing plants growing higher up for their meals.
Goats have even been known to climb trees if they see some especially tempting leaves.
Hedgehogs vs Porcupines
Both of these animals are spiny. These spines are in fact hardened hollow hairs. That’s it. These creatures have nothing else in common. What’s more, even their spines had separate evolutions.
Surprisingly porcupines are rodents. Like all rodents, they have big front teeth which typically look as if they have never been cleaned. On second thought this is probably true. Porcupines use these teeth to munch on vegetation. As for hedgehogs, their snouts and teeth are pointy and they are omnivores – feasting on insects frogs plants and fruits.
These cuties are common in Africa Asia and Europe, but if you see a spiky creature in the wilderness of south or North America, it’s a porcupine.
Llamas Vs Alpacas
These even-toed ungulates belong to the same family Camilla de. To tell the difference, first pay attention to their size. Mature llamas are much larger than alpacas whose weight typically varies between 100 pounds and 170 pounds. As for an adult llama, it can weight as much as 400 pounds.
If it seems that both animals are of the same shape, look at their ears. The ears of alpacas are short and spear-shaped llamas boast long curved ears. Plus a llamas face is longer and mostly hairless and alpaca has a bit of a smushed fluffy face.
Crocodiles Vs Alligators
Both crocodiles and alligators belong to the same order crocodilia. Actually, both species have much in common except for one thing – their salt tolerance. Crocodiles are the lucky owners of special glands which they used to excrete excess salt that’s why they feel absolutely at home in saltwater habitats as well as mangrove swamps situated close to the coasts. As for alligators, their salt glands aren’t so well developed that’s why they mostly live in freshwater.
You should also pay attention to the shape of their heads.
In most cases, although there are some exceptions, alligators have U-shaped snouts and crocodile’s jaws are V-shaped.
Sealions Vs Seals
Both seals and sea lions are fin fitted animals or pinnipeds. However, sea lions flippers are larger and covered with skin. Seals have a thin web flipper and each small toe has a claw.
Seals are generally smaller and are happier in water than on land. You might have noticed that they prefer to crawl on these bellies when they get out of the water. As for sea lions, these creatures can walk.
Sea lions have ears that look like cute little flaps seals don’t have any external ears.
Finally, seals prefer solitude and sea lions love gathering in big companies and hanging out with friends behaving in a pretty noisy way.
Wasps Vs Bees
Hymenoptera is the order to which both bees and wasps belong. Bees are hairy they need this feature to dip into flowers to collect pollen also their rear legs are flat. Bees look more stocky. Wasps have smoother hourglass bodies with tiny waists and their legs are more slender – like supermodels.
As for the attitude of these insects, wasps are more aggressive, especially when protecting their nest these. On the other hand, Bees are calmer and more docile.
Frogs Vs Toads
Both toads and frogs belong to the order Anura but there are some substantial differences between these species. The skin of most frogs is smooth while a toad skin is thick and bumpy.
Frogs legs are long and slender and their eyes are big and bulging. As for toads, their legs are shorter and their eyes are smaller.
If you’re lucky you may notice one more difference. Frogs organize their eggs in a cluster that looks like a bunch of grapes.
Toads lay eggs in a strand.
Dolphins Vs Porpoises
Dolphins and Porpoises both belong to the order Cetacea. To tell them apart, you need to pay attention to their bodies fins and faces. Most dolphins have pointy faces curved dorsal fins and slender bodies. Porpoises have triangular back fins robust bodies and rounded faces.
In addition, Porpoises have spade-shaped teeth and their mouths are smaller. Dolphins teeth are cone-shaped and more prominent.
Turtles Vs Tortoises
Both turtles and tortoises are reptiles and belong to the order Chelonia.
Turtles have webbed feet as they live mostly in water and this makes swimming easier also their shells are lighter and flatter. Tortoises, in turn, prefer the land. Their feet aren’t webbed as this would make it harder for them to move through uneven terrain and dig the ground.
You will always recognize a tortoise thanks to its heavy dome-like shell.
Leopards Vs Jaguars
Both species are speckled and both are in fact big cats. However, your first clue should be where you see the animal. You can fight Jaguars in Central and South America and sometimes in the southwest of the USA. As for leopards, they dwell in Asia and Africa.
Another way to distinguish these big cats is to examine the clusters of dark spots that decorate their fur.
Jaguars have smaller spots.
Leopards are more slender and a bit smaller than Jaguars. They also have longer tails.
24 Animals That Are Often Confused for One Another (Video)
Courtesy: Bright Side
So which pair of animals do you find the hardest to tell apart tell us in the comments below. Also, share your personal experience of directly seeing these animals.
NJMH is working as Deputy Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu (techurdu.net) Forestrypedia (forestrypedia.com), Majestic Pakistan (majesticpakistan.pk), All Pak Notifications (allpaknotifications.com), Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.