It really is a story about how little humans used to know about science, particularly the mating habits of large cats. See, when first encountering a leopard, people believed it was a hybrid between a LION and a PANTHER. Hence, the words ‘leo’ and ‘pardos’ (a male panther) were shoved together to create leopard. Leopards are their own unique snowflake of a species, of course, but the name stuck.
Does this little guy look guilty to you? (Okay, he does a little bit actually.) He’s named after the latin word ‘furritus’, which means ‘little thief’. Ferrets are notorious for being a little tricksy, so the name makes a bit of sense. You may recall the book INKHEART, with a lovely chap named Dustfinger. His pet was a marten in the books, but played by a ferret in the film. They are adorable.
Token picture of Dustfinger and Gwin. So much angst.
Lastly, we get to the cardinal. It’s pretty well documented that the word ‘cardinal’ came first to mean this guy:
So the bird we know and love for its flashy red feathers is likely named for the dude above.
The Roman Catholic Church doesn’t get to put its name on many animals, so this one is probably something of a lark in the bird name community. (HEYO.)
Happy new year, cheeky monkeys!