Quiz about A Medley of Animal Facts
Quiz about A Medley of Animal Facts

A Medley of Animal Facts Trivia Quiz


This quiz will allow you to test your knowledge of some intriguing facts about animals, mostly vertebrates.
This is a renovated/adopted version of an old quiz by author sampras

A multiple-choice quiz by LadyNym. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
LadyNym
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
27,853
Updated
Jul 23 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
472
Last 3 plays: Guest 173 (5/10), Guest 50 (7/10), Guest 51 (3/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Which of these aquatic or semi-aquatic mammals is NOT a pinniped? Hint

harp seal
walrus
otter
sea lion

2. Why would a mammal be classified as an ungulate? Hint

it has a prehensile tail
it chews its cud
it has hooves
it lives on dry land

3. What is the only animal species, besides humans, that can be a vector of leprosy? Hint

hyrax
okapi
tapir
armadillo

4. Many animal species, including primates, dogs and cats, are altricial at birth. What is the meaning of this word?

helpless and underdeveloped
lacking a definite gender

5. One of these equines is a species of wild ass that has never been domesticated, and has also given its name to a kind of siege engine. Which one? Hint

quagga
tarpan
mustang
onager

6. What salient feature is shared by flightless birds such as ostriches, emus, and kiwis, also known as ratites? Hint

the number of toes
the length of their legs
the lack of wings
the shape of their breastbone

7. Crocodylus porosus is one of the smallest crocodile species.

True
False

8. Which of these extinct birds of North America was a fightless sea bird? Hint

great auk
Carolina parakeet
Labrador duck
heath hen

9. Which of these describes Carcharinus leucas, also known as the bull shark? Hint

it is harmless to humans
it is found in rivers and lakes as well as at sea
it is the largest shark species
it has an extremely long lifespan

10. A native of Central and South America, what kind of animal is a tamarin? Hint

a frog
a rodent
a monkey
a turtle


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Which of these aquatic or semi-aquatic mammals is NOT a pinniped?

Answer: otter

Pinnipeds (from the Latin for "fin-footed") are a clade of carnivorous, mostly marine, mammals with a wide distribution. Each of the animals listed as incorrect choices represents one of the three families that comprise the clade. The walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is the only living member of the family Odobenidae, while the harp seal (Pagophilus greenlandicus) belongs to the family Phocidae (the earless seals); all species of sea lion belong to the family Otariidae (the eared seals).

The closest relatives of pinnipeds are found in the superfamily Musteloidea, which includes weasels, raccoons, skunks, and red pandas. Otters, like weasels, are members of the family Mustelidae. Like pinnipeds, they feed largely on fish and invertebrates, and can hold their breath underwater for a relatively long time. However, they have webbed feet rather than flippers, and their primary form of insulation is an extremely thick pelt rather than a layer of blubber.
2. Why would a mammal be classified as an ungulate?

Answer: it has hooves

The clade Ungulata (ungulates) is a diverse group of hoofed mammals; the name "ungulate" comes from the Latin "ungula", meaning "claw" or "hoof". Ungulates can be even-toed (Artiodactyla) or odd-toed (Perissodactyla). Cud-chewing herbivores (Ruminantia) form a suborder of Artiodactyla, which includes bovids, cervids, and giraffids. Non-ruminant artiodactyls include camelids, suids, hippos, and whales. The much smaller order Perissodactyla includes equines, rhinos, and tapirs: horses and their relatives (asses and zebras) have only one weight-bearing toe, while rhinos and tapirs have three.

Though cetaceans have no toes at all, they are generally included in the order Artiodactyla, as they evolved from even-toed ungulates; hippos are their closest relatives.
3. What is the only animal species, besides humans, that can be a vector of leprosy?

Answer: armadillo

Leprosy, or Hansen's disease, is a bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium leprae, which affects the nerves, the skin, the eyes, and the respiratory tract. Though this microorganism can infect other mammal species (such as some monkeys and rodents), armadillos - in particular the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) - can be vectors and natural reservoirs of leprosy, and occasionally infect humans in their home range, which includes the whole of the Americas.

The main reason why armadillos are hospitable to Mycobacterium leprae is their low body temperature (34 °C/93 °F), similar to human skin. It is very likely that armadillos acquired leprosy from Europeans when the latter arrived in the Americas in the late 15th century. These animals are valuable to scientific research into the transmission of leprosy and other diseases.

While leprosy is neither as contagious nor as lethal as it was believed to be in the past, it is still a serious condition that can lead to the loss of parts of an affected person's extremities. Fortunately it can now be treated with antibiotics.
4. Many animal species, including primates, dogs and cats, are altricial at birth. What is the meaning of this word?

Answer: helpless and underdeveloped

The word "altricial" comes from the Latin verb "alere", meaning "to nurse" or "to nourish", and applies to animal species whose young need to be fed and taken care of for a long time before they become independent. The opposite is "precocial" (related to the English "precocious"), a term that implies early maturity - referring to species whose offspring are self-sufficient almost immediately after birth.

Some large ungulates such as zebras and wildebeest are extremely precocial. A blue wildebeest calf is able to walk within thirty minutes of birth, and can run quite fast after only a day - which explains the abundance of this species in regions like the Serengeti in East Africa. Some birds, such as the megapodes of Australasia, are also superprecocial, often able to fly as soon as they are hatched from their eggs. Conversely, many other bird and mammal species - including primates - are altricial, and newborns need to be cared for by adults if they are to survive. This is true not only of smaller mammals such as domestic cats or dogs, but also of large mammal species such as giant pandas or polar bears, which are born blind and nearly hairless.
5. One of these equines is a species of wild ass that has never been domesticated, and has also given its name to a kind of siege engine. Which one?

Answer: onager

Also known as Asiatic wild ass or hemione, the onager (Equus hemionus) is a native of the deserts and arid regions of Western and Central Asia, though it is also found in steppes, grasslands, and savannahs. Its name means "wild donkey" in Ancient Greek, while "hemione" means "half-donkey".

The onager's range was considerably wider prior to the 20th century, when poaching and habitat loss reduced it greatly. Five subspecies are recognized, one of which - the Syrian wild ass - is extinct. The onager is a large animal, larger and more horse-like than its closest relative, the African wild ass (which is the ancestor of the domestic donkey); it is characterized by a black, white-bordered dorsal stripe.

Notoriously difficult (if not impossible) to tame, the onager gave its name to a torsion-powered siege engine (a kind of catapult), used by the Romans in the 4th-6th centuries AD. The engine's kicking action when throwing stones or other projectiles into the air was reminiscent of the kicking hooves of these short-tempered animals, native to the eastern regions of the Roman Empire.

A mustang is a free-roaming horse of the US West; the tarpan was also a free-ranging horse of the Russian steppe, which became extinct in the early years of the 20th century. The quagga, on the other hand, was a subspecies of the plains zebra that was hunted to extinction in the late 19th century.
6. What salient feature is shared by flightless birds such as ostriches, emus, and kiwis, also known as ratites?

Answer: the shape of their breastbone

There are many species of flightless birds. However, the members of the diverse group known as ratites have a unique feature: they lack a keel, or carina, the extension of the sternum (breastbone) whose purpose is to provide an anchor to wing muscles. In fact, the name "ratite" comes from the Latin "ratis", meaning "raft" - a vessel without a keel. Because of this anatomical peculiarity, these birds have simplified wing skeletons and underdeveloped breast muscles; their tail and flight feathers are also merely decorative, or else nearly absent. Some flightless birds, such as penguins, are keeled, but their wings are too small for flight. There are no living birds that lack wings altogether: the only completely wingless species were the moas of New Zealand, which became extinct in the 15th century.

Ratites include the world's largest bird species - ostriches, emus, cassowaries, and rheas - as well as the much smaller and shorter-legged kiwis, and the extinct moas and elephant bird (a native of Madagascar).
7. Crocodylus porosus is one of the smallest crocodile species.

Answer: False

Crocodylus porosus, commonly known as the saltwater crocodile ("saltie" in Australia), is by far the largest of all crocodilians and all reptile species, with males growing to a length of 6 m (20 ft), possibly even longer, and reaching weights in excess of 1,000 kg (2,200 lb). As their common name implies, they live in saltwater and brackish habitats in an area of the Indo-Pacific region that goes from India's east coast to northern Australia.

This fearsome apex predator - with the strongest bite of any living animal - is also one of the most dangerous animals as far as humans are concerned. In fact, saltwater crocodiles tend to see people as prey, and act accordingly. Fatal attacks are not uncommon, and - especially in remote areas of these creatures' range - often go unreported. However, as it is all too often the case, humans are much more dangerous to saltwater crocodiles than the other way round: these crocodilians were hunted for their valuable hide throughout the 20th century, and their numbers declined dramatically. Now the trade of the species and its parts and derivatives is illegal or strictly regulated; saltwater crocodiles are also fully protected in the Australian states and territories where they are found (Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland).
8. Which of these extinct birds of North America was a fightless sea bird?

Answer: great auk

The great auk (Pinguinus impennis) was the only member of its genus, part of the family Alcidae, which includes sea birds such as puffins and guillemots. The names "auk" and "Alcidae" come from "álka", the Icelandic word for this bird. The generic name "Pinguinus" does not imply a relationship to penguins - which, however, were given that name by European sailors because of their physical resemblance to great auks (in particular, their black-and-white plumage and their clumsiness on land).

Found in the colder coastal areas of the North Atlantic Ocean, the great auk was the only alcid that was unable to fly, though it was an excellent swimmer. Once common throughout its range, its numbers began to decline with the arrival of Europeans in North America, who used the birds as a food source or as fishing bait; the European great auk populations on the other hand, were largely wiped out by the 16th century because of the high demand for their down. The last specimen of great auk died in 1852 in Newfoundland.

All the birds listed as wrong answers were native to North America, and became extinct between the late 19th and the early 20th centuries.
9. Which of these describes Carcharinus leucas, also known as the bull shark?

Answer: it is found in rivers and lakes as well as at sea

The bull shark's common name stems from its stout body, broad snout, and aggressive behaviour. It is also known by other local names that reference its various habitats - such as Zambezi shark (or "zambi") and Lake Nicaragua shark. Though this species is not a true freshwater shark like those in the genus Glyphis (the river sharks), it can live and thrive in both fresh and salt water, and often travels long distances up rivers. It also has a preference for warmer waters, but is found as far north as the coast of New England.

In terms of size, bull sharks are nowhere near as big as the largest shark species (such as the huge whale shark, the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate). Females tend to be larger than males, and can reach lengths of 3.5m (11 ft). Their average lifespan is also within the average for most shark species - 12-16 years in the wild, up to 30 in captivity - unlike the extremely long-lived Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus), which can live to over 300 years. Bull sharks are also among the most dangerous shark species, and have been responsible for many attacks against humans, some of them fatal. It is likely that one or more bull sharks were responsible for the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, which inspired Peter Benchley's 1974 novel "Jaws".
10. A native of Central and South America, what kind of animal is a tamarin?

Answer: a monkey

Tamarins are New World monkeys of the genera Saguinus and Leontopithecus of the family Callitrichidae; their name comes from the French "tamary", probably derived from one of the indigenous Tupi-Guarani languages. These arboreal primates are small (about the size of a squirrel), and endemic to the Amazon basin and neighbouring regions. The Saguinus tamarins often sport striking, moustache-like facial hair, while the members of the genus Leontopithecus are called "lion tamarins" because of the mane surrounding their faces.

Among the best-known species of tamarin there are the emperor tamarin (Saguinus imperator) - whose name stems from its imposing moustache, reminiscent of some portraits of German emperor Wilhelm II - and the golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia), with its beautiful, reddish-gold fur (which, sadly, has brought the species to the brink of extinction)
Source: Author LadyNym

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