Today From Bedtime Math: Everything But a Purple Platypus

Are there more black labs or brown bears? Count up some colorful animal names in this challenge from Bedtime Math!
By Laura Overdeck
Sep 22, 2015



Sep 22, 2015

Ever wonder what a bluejay, a yellow jacket, and a red-tailed hawk have in common? Can you guess? They all have colors in their names. This website posted a list of almost 55,000 animals by the colors that show up in their names the most. The winner was in fact red, at 717 animals; a close second was black, which shows up in 703 names (even though it's not really a color). White, yellow, blue, and silver were the next four in that order. The dimdat folks also figured out that fish are more colorfully named than any other animal family…right off the bat we think of silverfish, blue tangs, and goldfish, but many more show off their colors, too. Check out the graph to see just how many animals have some fun in their names!

Then, see if you and your kids can come up with the answers to these math problems:

Wee ones: If the top colors are red, black, white, yellow, blue and silver, how many colors is that?
Little kids: Beyond those 6 colors, how many other colors fill out the top 10?  Bonus: Brown almost tied with silver, with 257 animals vs. silver's 260. How many more silver animals than brown are there?
Big kids: Black fell short of red by only 14 animals. How many animals have black in their name?  Bonus: If those two groups shared exactly 1 animal — let's call it the red-and-black striped octopus — how many animals in total would those two groups have?
Wee ones: 6 colors.
Little kids: 4 more colors.  Bonus: 3 more animals.
Big kids: 703 animals.  Bonus: 1419 animals, because they'd have 1,420 if they didn't share any.

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