7. Jaguars vs. Leopards
These big cats are not that much confusing if you’re an animal enthusiast. Leopards are known as the Panthera pardus, while jaguars are Panthera onca. You can find jaguars roaming around the lands and waters of Central and South America, while leopards are a famous resident of Africa and parts of Asia.
According to big cat researcher Boone Smith, “Jaguars (also) have huge jaw muscles, teeth, and the strongest bite force of any big cat.” The leopards, on the other hand, are comparatively smaller in size. Jaguars are master swimmers and they also feed on water predators like caiman and anaconda.
Meanwhile, leopards are more into climbing. So, if you find a big cat at the top of a tree, be sure it’s a leopard. Besides, jaguars’ skins have rosettes with inner spots, which make them unique from leopards.
Another feature that can amaze you is, leopards are the smallest big cats in the family lining up with lions, tigers, jaguars. While jaguars are the biggest in their kingdom of Central and South America. Similar in size, jaguars are more furious and attacking than leopards. (1, 2)
8. Crocodile vs. Alligator
The rough and bumpy skin, elongated body structure, and excellent hunting skills of crocodiles and alligators can really make the pairs of animals look similar. But, they indeed have some visible differences in their appearance and personality traits that separate them from each other.
Crocodiles have sharp and v-shaped snouts compared to the blunt and round snout of alligators. Crocodiles have a toothy grin, but you can only see the upper teeth of alligators when their mouth is shut.
Also, crocodiles are more aggressive than alligators. Crocodiles attack any animal that is near to them. On the contrary, alligators only attack due to hunger or provocation. Not only that, they have differences in their habitats too.
Alligators live in freshwater, but crocodiles can live in both freshwater and saltwater as they have high-functioning salt glands. Crocodiles can live up to 100 years whereas alligators have a shorter lifespan of 30 to 50 years. (1, 2, 3)
9. Sea Lions vs. Seals – One of the Most Confusing Pairs of Animals
Among the list of almost look-alike cousins, sea lions and seals are confused with their appearance. Being pinnipeds and mammals, both of them might seem to be mistaken as one as another. But like the other pairs in the list, they also have some major differences in their physical attributes and personality traits.
Sea lions have longer flippers than seals, but sea lions can rotate their back flippers to assist them in walking on the land, and seals can’t.
As a result, seals are more efficient in swimming than walking. But sea lions can do both with efficiency. Meanwhile, sea lions are noisemakers indeed, whereas seals are quieter. Eventually, sea lions are more social than seals. Seals spend more time underwater and sea lions literally steal the show. Another difference that needs mentioning is that sea lions have outer ear flaps that seal lack. (1, 2)
10. Seagull vs. Albatross
Before moving on to the difference between seagulls and albatrosses, one thing needs mentioning. No creature named as “seagull” exists in taxonomy. The bird which we refer to as “seagull” is actually just “gull.” Though gulls and albatrosses both belong to the seabird group, yet there are few distinct differences that you can easily spot.
Albatross have long wingspans reaching up to 12ft, whereas gulls have shorter wingspans. As a result of this, except for the kittiwakes (a species of the gulls), none are found to venture far in the sea.
Meanwhile, albatrosses are one of the most efficient travelers among the vertebrates as they can travel thousands of miles by using minimal energy. The tendons present in their shoulder allows them to lock their long wings while they are fully stretched, allowing them to glide for miles without flapping.
Because of this, albatrosses are known to survive on water animals and are carnivorous in nature. Their diet mainly includes marine creatures, whereas gulls are omnivorous. They are found near lands and their diet range varies from marine sea creatures to seeds, fruits, and even earthworms. (source)
11. Wolf vs. Coyote
Wolves and coyotes both belong to the same family of Canidae, and it is true that at times it is nearly impossible to distinguish between these pairs of animals. However, there are certain physical features that can help to distinguish between a fully grown wolf and a coyote.
The face of a coyote is narrow and pointed in general with a short nose pad. A full-grown wolf has a broad face with a big, blunt nose pad. Coyotes are generally smaller in size and their length varies between 3.5 to 4.5 feet. Wolves, on the other hand, may grow up to 6.5 ft. Because of the larger size, the weight of a fully grown wolf varies between 70 to 150 pounds while a full-grown coyote weighs between 15 to 50 pounds.
The ears of the coyotes are pointed and they have a higher-pitched voice. Wolves, on the other hand, have short and rounded ears with a lower-pitched voice. Also, wolves are more aggressive in comparison to coyotes. (source)
12. Porpoise vs. Dolphin
No wonder these two sea mammals are one of the pairs of animals who have a common resemblance. However, just like other species, they have their own distinguishing features too.
There are more than 40 species of dolphin that can be found in almost all the oceans and some can be found in rivers as well. However, there are only six species of porpoises that are found only in the Pacific Ocean and coastal waters of Asia.
The easiest way to distinguish a dolphin from a porpoise is the dorsal fin. The dorsal fin of a porpoise is triangular-shaped while that of a dolphin is curved. Another prominent distinguishing feature between a dolphin and a porpoise is their heads.
Dolphins have a beak-shaped face with cone-shaped teeth. Porpoises, on the other hand, have a smaller and round-shaped head, with spade-shaped teeth. Also, leaping out of the water is a common trait of dolphins, which, in general, most porpoises don’t do. (1, 2, 3)