The Baby Name Buff: Mammals Edition

Yesterday, Kyle and I met up with our friends Jocelyn and Michelle. It was great seeing them after five years, and we had a wonderful day! What was especially lovely was meeting their adorable 6-month-old son, Hunter, and having them meet our little Felix (now 16 months).

Our main activity for the day was hanging out at the Virginia Zoo, where Michelle works. This zoo was really cool, and we saw many interesting animals, my favorite of which was the red panda.

Whenever I visit places with animals, my favorites tend to be the mammals (though I do consider myself a lover of all animals). Since I already did a blog post early this year on baby names inspired by birds, I thought now might be a great time for a post on baby names inspired by our fellow mammals!

Bear
Given how often I see the boys’ name Bear mentioned on the baby-name forums I frequent, I am really surprised this name has never been in the U.S. top 1,000. The fact that there are several famous people who bear this name also attests to its growing popularity.

Caribou
I don’t know why , but I’m really digging Caribou (Care-uh-boo) as a possible gender-neutral name. I love Reba as a girls’ nickname, though Carrie or Rhi are also nice. Beau would be my favorite boys’ nickname, though Carr is also cool.

Fisher
Even though fishers are often colloquially refereed to as fisher cats, they are actually members of the weasel family. I once saw a fisher at the National Zoo (I think), and they are absolutely adorable! Likewise, I find the boys’ name Fisher just darling, and others obviously agree; this name has been in the boys’ U.S. top 1,000 every year since 2004 (except for 2006, for some reason).

Fox
Probably the most common mammal-name-gone-baby-name after Fisher, the boys’ name Fox has been in the U.S. top 1,000 since 2016, peaking during its debut year (2016) at #747. This name is particularly popular with X-Files fans and nature lovers.

Gazelle
If Giselle can be a girls’ name, why not Gazelle (Guh-zell)? And Zella would be a cute nickname.

Gelada
Geladas are monkeys native only to Ethiopia and are the “the last surviving species of ancient grazing primates.” Though unconventional, I think Gelada (Juh-la-duh) could make a very pretty girls’ name, even though it sounds suspiciously simialr to gelato.

Gibbon
Gibbon (Gib-in) could be a more unique take on the popular boys’ name Gibson.

Indri
The indri is one of the few obscure mammals on this list that I actually knew about before writing this blog, but only because it was included in my son’s book, The Alphabet of Peculiar Creatures. Indri (In-dree) would be a great alternative for those looking for something a little more unique but similar to the trendy girls’ name Indie.

Loris
Even though the loris has kind of freaky, buggy eyes, it still has a certain cute quality about it. And I really like Loris (Lore-iss) as a girls’ name.

Moose
Item #1 on my bucket list of things to do in my lifetime is to meet a moose int he wild. The noble moose is my primary spirit animal, as well as my favorite animal. As such, Moose was definitely on my list of boys’ names when I was pregnant with Felix. But Kyle wasn’t a fan; he said Moose sounded like too much of a frat boy / dude-bro name, which I suppose is kind of true. Even so, I still adore this name.

Nyala
The nyala is an African antelope. I think Nyala (Nigh-aah-luh) works well as a girls’ name because it is unique but still kind of fits within the conventions of more traditional girls’ names.

Ocelot
I want to make every wild large cat my pet, and the ocelot is no exception. I think of Ocelot (Oss-uh-lot) as a gender-neutral name. I love Ozzy as a boys’ nickname and Celie as a girls’ nickname.

Okapi
The okapi is another animal featrued in Felix’s book, The Alphabet of Peculiar Creatures. Okapi look like zebras but are actually related to giraffes! I really like Okapi (Oh-cop-ee) as a boys’ name, with Oak or Cap as nickname options.

Oryx
Another animal I was not familiar with before writing this blog, an oryx is yet another type of antelope. But I already knew Oryx (Ore-ix) as a human name because of Margaret Atwood’s science fiction novel, Oryx and Crake, a book I’ve been wanting to read since forever. While I’m unsure if the character in Atwood’s work is male or female, I think Oryx would wear well on a boy or girl.

Phalanger
A phalanger is an Australian marsupial. And while Phalanger (Faal-in-jer) probably seems really out there, it reminds me of Salinger, which is probably why I think Phalanger could make a really cool boys’ name.

Sable
Oh my goodness–I can’t even handle the cuteness that is the sable! I had never actualy heard of this animal before researching for this blog, but I’m glad to know about it. I love Sable (Say-buhl) as a gender-neutral name possibility.

Tamarin
I love the Golden Lion Tamarin; its vibrant orange fur is so pretty. And Tamarin (Tam-uh-rin) is another fantastic gender-neutral name option with many cute nickname options, like Tam, Tammi, Ama, Marin, Ari, Arin, and Rin / Ryn.

Wallaby
Wallaby (Wall-uh-bee) might be my favorite boys’ name on this list! It is unique but really cute and still registers as something that really could be a name without raising too many eyebrows (if you care about that sort of thing).

Wolf
Like Bear, I was shocked that this trending boys’ name has yet to break the U.S. top 1,000. Not only are there already many celebrities named Wolf, but this name is very appealing to nature lovers. (The wolf is my secondary spirit animal, so I’m definitely a fan of this adorable boys’ name!)

Zorro
Meaning “fox” in Spanish, I’ve been kind of obsessed with th boys’ name Zorro (Zor-oh) lately, despite the violent associations with the fictional swashbuckling icon of the same name.

Others:
Addax
Argali
Avahi
Badger
Bison
Brocket
Cavy
Chamois
Ciego
Coati
Coney
Cougar
Coyote
Dassie
Desman
Dingo
Echindna
Eland
Elk
Fossa
Ibex
Jaguar
Koala
Kowari
Lynx
Marmot
Mink
Oribi
Ormala
Otter
Ox
Pangolin
Pika
Puma
Quenda
Quoll
Raccoon
Seal
Tarsier
Tenrec
Wapiti
Zebu

Photo credit: Lucky Lynda

































Author: thebabynamebuff

Hi, I'm Vickie. I'm a baby name enthusiast, and I'm excited to share and discuss with others the unique baby names I find. Besides talking and writing about baby names all day long, I also enjoy spending time with family, hiking, astronomy, reading (mostly science fiction and dystopias), and all things Star Trek. (Are you noticing a theme?) I currently live in Champaign, IL with my husband, Kyle, and my son, Felix.

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