Collective names for mammals

Plains zebra (Equus quagga)
Many people are aware of the collective names for the mammals of Africa such as a dazzle of zebras and a herd of elephants. However, what people don’t realise (or at least I didn’t) is that for certain groups there are quite specific terms, for example a zeal of zebras. There are of course many more which can be read in Beat about the bush: Mammals and birds. Which one is yours?

Collective nouns in the English language originated from France. It soon became a hunting tradition of the late Middle Ages to name groups of animals in such an artistic fashion. The first book to be published in English on the subject was the book of St Albans. Printed in 1486 it was subsequently reprinted many times in the 16th Century. A recommended modern day read is James Lipton’s Exaltation of Larks

Vote for the fact you find most fascinating

An implausibility of wildebeest

An obstinacy of buffalo

A zeal of zebra

A crash of rhinoceros

A shrewdness of monkeys

A business of mongoose

A skulk of jackals

A kindle of leverets (baby hares)

A parade of elephants