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From Chucklings to Joeys, Baby Animal Names Are Too Cute

Almost nothing in nature is cuter than a baby animal, but some of the terms used for baby animals are almost as cute as the babies themselves.

An opossum with her joeys. (Photo via Shutterstock)

For example, a baby porcupine is called a porcupette. And baby platypuses and echidnas are called puggles, but some people think baby platypuses should be called platypups.

Some names for baby animals just seem to make sense. One example: Baby goats are called kids. Sometimes, the word for a baby animal may sound like what that baby itself sounds like. Baby partridges, a type of bird, are called cheepers. And some names are harder to explain. Baby llamas and alpacas are called crias, and a baby hare is a leveret.

Closer to home, we see plenty of baby animals that have names that range from too cute to downright unusual. Here are a few.


Baby woodchucks are often called pups or kits, but we think everyone can agree that the cutest name for a baby woodchuck is a chuckling. No joke. Baby woodchucks are actually sometimes referred to as chucklings, and it doesn’t get much cuter than that.

Mice and rats

Baby mice and rats are referred to as pups, but they are also sometimes called pinkies. This term is likely a reference to their coloring at birth. Because they have little to no fur, their pink skin is visible early in life.


Like all marsupials, baby opossums are called joeys. The majority of the world’s marsupials live in Australia, and the term joey originates from an aboriginal term meaning small animal.


The most common term for baby swans is cygnets, which is derived from an Old French term meaning little. A lesser-known term for young swans is flappers, which is pretty darn cute and appropriate for a baby bird learning to fly.


You probably know that a baby frog is called a tadpole, but did you know another name for a baby frog is polliwog? Tadpoles are great, but we think you’ll agree that polliwog is a much more fun word to say.


In their larval form, mosquitoes are called wrigglers. At this stage, they live in water. The term wriggler is appropriate because of their behavior. The wrigglers are typically just below the water’s surface, but when the water is disturbed, these soon-to-be mosquitoes wriggle further under the surface to escape. As pupae, mosquitoes are referred to as tumblers.


Some names for baby animals aren’t as original are others. For example, baby snakes are called snakelets, just like baby pigs are called piglets. Although the term is pretty straightforward, we think it has a cute ring to it.


Like snakes, the term for baby owls simply adds a suffix to the word owl. Just like that, owlet becomes a cute name for an adorable baby animal. Which do you think is a cuter name? Owlet or snakelet?

Doves and pigeons

Young doves and pigeons are often referred to as squabs, but another term for the baby birds is squeakers. Maybe it has something to do with the sounds they make when they are young?


Baby ants are called antlings, which is right up there with owlets and snakelets when it comes to how adding a suffix to a word is enough to make it adorable.


Not to be outdone by antlings, baby spiders are called spiderlings. Which do you think are cuter? Six-legged antlings or eight-legged spiderlings?

Hawks and falcons

To be honest, we can’t decide if the term for baby hawks and falcons is cute or just different. They are called eyas, which is definitely unusual. For the uninitiated, eyas is pronounced eye-es. The term applies only to hawks and falcons that have not yet learned to fly.


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