59 Endearing Names for Baby Animals

Sea otter floating in water with pup sleeping on its stomach

Clinton Harris / Getty Images 

"Look at that cute baby dog!" is not something you hear very often. There's nothing technically wrong with it, of course, but English already offers a shorter, more familiar, and more evocative term for such a creature: a puppy.

Most of us can probably think of several other well-known examples—baby cats are kittens, baby cows are calves, baby bears are cubs, baby deer are fawns and baby porcupines are ... um ... what is a baby porcupine called?

Beyond a few dozen iconic species, many juvenile animals leave the casual observer fumbling for the right word. Sometimes it's just a matter of choosing from a list of common terms—like kit, cub, pup, calf, and chick—but other times the official name for a baby animal turns out to be surprisingly specific and obscure.

A baby porcupine, for instance, is called a "porcupette." (And yes, it's cute.)

Below is a list of lesser-known names for baby animals, including a few of the "kit or cub" variety as well as more esoteric monikers, from porcupette to pluteus to puggle:

Mammals and marsupials

Baby hare or leveret laying in moss
Vlad Sokolovsky / Shutterstock

A variety of mammalian babies are known as cubs, kits, pups, or whelps, especially in carnivorous or omnivorous species. Many young plant-eating ungulates, meanwhile, go by names like fawn or calf, although the latter term is also used for marine mammals like dolphins, manatees, and whales.

We'll list a few of those here, focusing on less famous examples, along with even more distinctive names for other baby mammals, marsupials, and monotremes:

  • Aardvark: cub or calf
  • Alpaca, llama, guanaco or vicuña: cria
  • Anteater: pup
  • Ape: infant
  • Bat: pup
  • Beaver: kitten or kit
  • Binturong: pup or kitten
  • Boar: shoat, boarlet, or piglet
  • Coyote: pup or whelp
  • Echidna: puggle
  • Fox: pup, cub, or kit
  • Goat: kid
  • Hare: leveret
  • Hedgehog: piglet or pup
  • Hippopotamus: calf
  • Horse: foal, colt (male), or filly (female)
  • Kangaroo: joey
  • Mole: pup
  • Monkey: infant
  • Mouse: pup or pinky
  • Platypus: puggle
  • Porcupine: porcupette
  • Pronghorn: fawn
  • Opossum: joey
  • Otter: pup or whelp
  • Rabbit: kitten, kit or bunny
  • Raccoon: cub or kit
  • Rhinoceros: calf
  • Seal: pup
  • Sheep: lamb
  • Skunk: kitten or kit
  • Squirrel: pup, kitten or kit
  • Walrus: cub or pup
  • Wolf: cub, pup or whelp


2 falcon chicks in a nest
Maksimilian / Shutterstock

Young birds are broadly known as chicks, a general term that applies to any bird. There are also more specific words for various stages of a chick's development, though — a hatchling is a bird that recently hatched, a nestling is a one that isn't ready to leave the nest, and a fledgling is one that's newly ready for flight.

You can't go wrong calling any young bird a chick, but if you'd like to be as precise as possible, here are a few other terms for particular types of chicks:

  • Dove or pigeon: squab or squeaker
  • Duck: duckling
  • Eagle: eaglet
  • Falcon or hawk: eyas
  • Goose: gosling
  • Guineafowl: keet
  • Owl: owlet
  • Peafowl: peachick
  • Puffin: puffling
  • Swan: cygnet or flapper
  • Turkey: poult, jake (male), or jenny (female)

Reptiles and amphibians

Baby garter snake on a daisy blossom
db_beyer / Getty Images 

As with birds and other egg-laying animals, newborn reptiles and amphibians are given the default label of hatchling. They don't have nearly as many specific baby names as birds or mammals, although there are a few notable standouts:

  • Frog or toad: tadpole or polliwog
  • Newt: eft
  • Snake: snakelet


Several baby eels sticking their heads out of a hiding spot
Rodger Jackman / Getty Images

Young fish tend to go through several developmental stages, from eggs to larvae to juveniles. Once those juveniles are able to feed themselves, instead of relying on a yolk-sac for nutrition, they are commonly referred to as "fry." And once those fry have grown scales and functional fins, they're known as "fingerlings," so named because they're often roughly the size of a human finger.

Beyond those general terms, here are some narrower names for fish offspring:

  • Cod: codling
  • Eel: leptocephalus (larva), elver (juvenile)
  • Salmon or trout: alevin (before fry), parr (between fry and smolt), smolt
  • Shark: pup


Several baby spiders on a web
Grumpylam / Getty Images

This is a wide-ranging category that includes a motley crew of animals like insects, arachnids, echinoderms, and mollusks. These creatures begin life as eggs, followed by other broad stages such as larvae, pupae or nymphs. Some also have unique names for their immature stages, like these:

  • Ant: antling
  • Jellyfish: ephyra
  • Mosquito: wriggler
  • Mussel: glochidium
  • Oyster: spat
  • Sea urchin: pluteus
  • Spider: spiderling