It is amazing that nature has created such different animals to look the same. And often, we confused these animals for one another. Here are our favorite pairs of confusing animals and how to tell the difference.
1. Butterflies and Moths
Butterflies and moths belong to the order Lepidoptera and both shared things in common, like scales that cover their bodies and wings. But there are numerous physical and behavioral differences between the two insect types. How can we identify if the insect is a butterfly or a moth?
Butterflies are diurnal (active during the day) On the other hand, moths are nocturnal (fly and feed at night). Though there are exceptions, including the sometimes-diurnal Gypsy moth and the Sunset moths. So the winged insect you see feeding from a flower in the middle of a sunny day is most likely a butterfly.
Antennae or Feelers
A butterfly’s antennae are club-shaped tipped by a bulb. Moth”s generally have comb-like or feathery antennae.
Most butterflies sport larger and more vibrant colors. Moths are typically smaller, duller colors with obscuring patterns of zigzags or swirls. Furthermore, butterfly wings fold up vertically over their backs when at rest, while moth wings are more tent-like and over their abdomen when resting.
2. Rabbits and Hares
Rabbits and hares are often confused for one another, so much so that most of us have always assumed that “hare” was just another name for a rabbit. After all, these animals look almost identical -have long ears and hop around. However, rabbits and hares are quite different. For one, they”re separate species!
Lifestyle and Behavior
• Hares have not been domesticated, while rabbits are often kept as house pets. So, what is being sold in pet shops are rabbits not hares.
• Baby rabbits, called kittens, are born furless and blind. On the other hand, baby hares, called leverets, are born with hair and open eyes.
• Hares tends to be a loner in life, while but rabbits are more social living in colonies with a dominant male.
• Hares live in simple nests above the ground, while rabbits (except the cottontail rabbit) live underground in burrows or warrens.
Hares are generally larger and faster than rabbits.
Ears, Legs and feet
Hares have longer ears that stick straight up from the head. Also, hares have stronger hind legs and bigger feet than rabbits.
Rabbit”s fur coat remains its color year-round, while hares change color from grayish brown in summer to white in winter.
Rabbits prefer softer foods like soft stems, grass and vegetables, on the other hand, hares prefer hard foods like bark, rind, buds and twigs.
3. Wasps and Bees
Bees and wasps all belong to the order Hymenoptera. They are also members of the suborder Apocrita, characterized by a common narrow waist. Both have larvae resembling maggots, and have unique ovipositors which they use to sting and inject venom.But what about their differences.
• Wasps are more aggressiveness compared to bees who are more docile.
• Honey bees die after they sting someone. Wasps can sting multiple targets.
• Wasps live in papery nests. Hives Bees live in geometric wax hives.
• Bees are pollinators, spending much of their lives visiting various plants and flowers to gather and distribute pollen. Wasps, however, are predators or parasites of other insects. Their bodies are sleeker and more streamlined for hunting.
Bees have robust, hairy bodies with flat rear legs, while wasps are smoother and shiny with a narrow waist connecting the thorax and abdomen and have slender cylindrical-shaped legs.
4. Dolphins and Porpoises
Dolphins and porpoises (and whales) are all mammals that belong to the order Cetacea. All are air-breathing, warm-blooded mammals that give birth to live young. But if we look closer, there is a big difference between a dolphin and a porpoise.
• Porpoises are rarely longer than 7 feet, while dolphins can be 10 feet long or longer!
• Dolphins also tend to be leaner and sleeker, while porpoises are more compact and often look chubby in comparison.
• Dolphins generally have prominent, beak-like, pointed snouts. Porpoises have blunt, rounded noses.
• Dolphins have dorsal fins that are more curved like a wave. Porpoises, on the other hand, have triangular dorsal fins, like a shark.
• Dolphin teeth are cone-shaped. Porpoise teeth are flat and rectangular.
• Dolphins live in large groups and show little fear of humans. They are outgoing and will often interact with humans and even swim alongside boats. Porpoises, on the other hand, live in small pods of two to four animals and are quite shy. They rarely approach boats or people.
• Dolphins produce sounds that humans can hear. Porpoises, on the other hand, make sounds that humans cannot hear.
Most porpoises only live 15 to 20 years, while dolphins can live up to 50 years or more.
5. Llamas and Alpacas
Llamas and alpacas are even-toed ungulates that belong to the family Camelidae. But aside from this fact, there really are a lot of differences between llamas and alpacas. For one, llamas have been bred as a pack-carrying animal. Alpacas, on the other hand, had been bred as fiber-producing animals. Here are other differences between the two animals.
• The llama is roughly twice the size of the alpaca. An adult llamas can reach up to 400 pounds, while an adult alpaca weighs between 100 and 175 pounds.
• Llamas have longer faces while alpacas have more of a smushed face.
• Llamas have little hair on their face and head, while alpacas have a large tuft of hair on the top of their head that falls into their eyes.
• Llamas have a very coarse outer coat over a softer inner coat, while alpacas have a very fine, single coat.
• Llamas have long banana-shaped ears while alpacas have short spear-shaped ears.
6. Seals and Sea lions
Seals and sea lions are both pinnipeds, meaning they are fin-footed marine animals, but here’s how they differ:
• Seals are generally smaller than sea lions.
• A seal’s front flippers are short and not very strong (and as a result, they will often belly crawl) while sea lions have long, strong, flexible flippers enabling it to “walk” on land.
• Seals have stubby, thinly webbed flippers for their front feet, with a claw on each small toe, while sea lions have larger, skin-covered flippers.
• Seals lack external ears, while sea lions have small flaps.
• Seals have whiskers that are crimped or beaded, while sea lions have long whiskers.
• Seals swim by steering with foreflippers and powering with hindflipers, while sea lions swim underwater using foreflippers like wings of a bird.
• Seals are loners and quiet, who spend most of their life in the water. On the other hand, sea lions are social and noisy, often gathering in herds of up to 1500 individuals barking to each other.
7. Crocodiles and Alligators
Crocodiles and alligators are both reptiles from the order Crocodylia. Both shares many similarities. But what are the real differences between them?
• Crocodiles tend to have a lighter appearance than alligators.
• Crocodiles have a longer head and a more more pointed stout shaped like a “V.” Alligator heads are shorter and with a rounded snout shaped like a “U.”
• When a crocodile snouts are shut, many of the teeth protrude outside along the jawline. On the other hand, when an alligator snouts are closed, most of its teeth are hidden.
• Crocodiles are more aggressive than alligators.
• Crocodiles are better adapted to living in seawater.
• Crocodiles in the wild are found all over the world while alligators are only found in the US and China.
8. Frogs and Toads
While both frogs and toads belong to the order Anura, commonly known as the frog family, there are differences between the two.
• Most frogs have smooth, wet skin that makes them look “slimy”, while toads usually have dry, thicker bumpy skin.
• Frogs have a narrow body. Toads have a wider body.
• Frogs have longer, stronger hind legs, while toads have shorter and less powerful hind legs.
• Frogs have higher, rounder, bulgier eyes, while toads have lower, football shaped eyes.
• Frogs need to live near water, while toads do not need to live near water to survive.
• Frogs take long high jumps, while toads take small hops rather than jump.
• Frogs arrange their eggs in a grape-like cluster, while toads generally lay their eggs in a strand.
9. Turtles and Tortoises
Tortoises and turtles are both reptiles from the order Chelonia that are characterized by the bony or cartilaginous shells formed from their ribs. They may look alike to most people, but they are quite different from each other. The major difference between the two is where they live and how they use their habitat.
Turtles live mostly in water, while tortoises dwell on land.
• Turtles have webbed feet with claws for swimming, while tortoises have short, stumpy feet that are not webbed.
• Turtles generally have flat, and streamlined shells. Tortoise have heavier and more dome-like shells.
• Turtles have visible irises where as most tortoises have black irises that blend in with the pupil.
• Turtles are primary omnivores feeding on fruits, veggies and meat, while tortoises are herbivore (though they have been known to eat insects, worms, or carrion occasionally).
• Turtle hatchlings stay in their nest on their own for 90-120 days. Tortoise hatchlings move from their nest to the mothers burrow soon after birth.
Turtles can live 20-40 years. The oldest recorded was 86 years. Tortoises 80-150 years. The longest living Tortoise is 326 years.
10. Lizards and Salamanders
Lizards and salamanders seem similar, but they are very different from one another. Lizards are reptiles while salamanders are amphibians.Other differences include.
• Lizards can be found in a number of climates, including those that are hot and dry. Salamanders are found close to water.
• Salamanders lay eggs without shells, and must lay them in a moist environment. Lizard eggs have shells and their nests are typically in the sand.
• Salamanders hatchling go through metamorphosis — from tadpole to adult—just as frogs do. As opposed to newborn lizards which are miniatures of their parents.
• Lizards have dry and scaly skin, while salamanders have smooth and moist skin without scales.
• Lizards have claws and ear openings, while salamander have no claws and ear openings.
• Lizards have 5 fingers and 5 toes, while salamanders have 4 fingers and 5 toes.
• Lizards have longer toes, while salamanders have stumpy toes.
• Lizards have long limbs and move by creeping, while salamanders have short limbs and move fastly.