It’s common for many animals to bear a striking resemblance to each other, causing even dedicated Animal Planet viewers to confuse them. For example, the jaguar and leopard or the llama and alpaca can be difficult to differentiate. However, it’s essential to set the record straight. Jaguars and leopards differ in terms of their body structure, spot patterns on their skin, and tail length. Similarly, llamas and alpacas vary in their fur, muzzle, ear shape, and body size.
1. Hawk and Falcon
When it comes to these two impressive birds of prey, the primary difference lies in their size, with falcons being smaller than hawks. However, two other notable distinctions are equally apparent – their distinct wing characteristics and hunting techniques. Hawks have short, wide, and rounded wings, while falcons have long, slender, and pointed wings. In terms of hunting, hawks rely on their strong claws to catch prey, while falcons use a unique “tooth” or notch on the side of their beak.
2. Nutria and Muskrat
While these rodents may look similar, there are distinct differences between them. For one, muskrats are smaller, weighing between 1.3 to 4.4 lbs, while nutrias can weigh from 9 to 20 lbs. Another noticeable difference is their tails. The muskrat’s tail is thin, scaly, and flattened on the sides, while the nutria’s tail is thick, rounded, and covered with coarse fur. Additionally, nutrias have three unique characteristics: a white spot on their muzzle, webbed hind legs, and prominent bright orange teeth.
3. Salamander and Lizard
While some types of salamanders and lizards may look similar at first glance, they are fundamentally different in terms of their classification as amphibians and reptiles, respectively. Salamanders are amphibians and have smooth, moist skin with no ear holes or claws. On the other hand, lizards are reptiles, and their bodies are covered with rough scales.
4. Frog and Toad
Although they are both amphibians, frogs and toads exhibit notable differences that set them apart from each other. Frogs are typically characterized by their long legs and spend much of their lives in or around water, which results in their having moist skin. In contrast, toads have shorter legs and primarily inhabit dry land, which results in their having dry and bumpy skin.
5. Opossum and Possum
Despite having similar names and being categorized as marsupials, opossums and possums differ significantly from each other in various aspects. Opossums, which are native to North America, have grayish-brown fur, a white snout, and a hairless, rat-like tail that helps them grasp branches. In contrast, possums are found in Australia and have silvery gray to brown, black, or cream-colored fur. They have a dark snout and a bushy tail.
6. Monkey and Ape
Although monkeys and apes are both primates, they differ significantly in several ways. One of the most noticeable differences is the presence of a tail, which is typical of most monkey species, while apes are tailless. Moreover, apes are generally larger than monkeys, with a broad chest, broad shoulders, and long arms, distinguishing their physical characteristics.
7. Fox and Black-backed jackal
Although the fox and the black-backed jackal may share some resemblance, they have notable differences. The fox has triangular ears, a pointed and slightly upturned muzzle, relatively short limbs, and a long, fluffy tail. On the other hand, the black-backed jackal has a longer body, long legs, and large ears. However, the key difference lies in the black saddle that adorns the jackal’s coat, spanning across its back and serving as its signature feature.
8. Grasshopper and Locust
Although these insects share some similarities, they are different from each other. It’s important to note that locusts are not a separate species, but a type of grasshopper that exhibits unique characteristics under specific circumstances, such as dense vegetation growth after a drought. During such events, locusts undergo changes in color, behavior, and reproductive habits.
Grasshoppers are recognized for their lengthy and robust hind legs that allow them to perform their characteristic high jumps. In contrast, locusts have relatively shorter legs but longer and stronger wings that enable them to cover vast distances during flight.
9. Pangolin and Armadillo
Although these animals are often mistaken for one another because of their similar body armor, they have notable differences. Pangolins have large scales that resemble armor plates, while armadillos have leathery plates covering their bodies. In addition, armadillos have pointed ears, which are visible, while pangolins have small, round ears, or they may have ear holes without visible ears.
10. Alligator and Crocodile
Crocodiles and alligators have a long evolutionary history and exhibit distinctive differences. A notable distinction is their snout shape, with alligators having a broad, U-shaped snout, and crocodiles featuring a narrower, V-shaped snout. Another contrast is their teeth; when alligators close their mouths, only their upper teeth are visible as their lower teeth fit into recesses in the upper jaw. In contrast, crocodiles display both upper and lower teeth even when their mouths are closed, creating a unique “toothy” grin.