Animal Skull Identification Guide

Animal Skull Guide

Whether it be flying on a black flag symbolizing pirates or attached to a giant T-Rex skeleton staring down at us in a museum, the skull has forever fascinated us. We are all familiar with our own skull of course, but could you identify what animal a skull belongs to just by seeing it by itself.

The skull can be a valuable tool when it comes to identifying a species, understanding its anatomy and dietary habits, and helping us understand evolution. Although most natural history museums have displays of animal skulls, it can often prove difficult to find a quality guide that can help you identify specimens you may come across in the field.

 Clockwise from left: Bottlenose Dolphin Skull, Tasmanian Tiger Skull, African Lion Skull

We have put together a brief online guide of animal skulls from around the world which you will find below. We give our thanks to the many museums, nature centers, and teaching collections for allowing us to photograph the species found in this guide.

For a more complete animal skull identification guide, we highly recommend the following books.

animal-skull-guide

Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection

Skulls is a beautiful spellbinding exploration of more than 300 different animal skulls­—amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles—written by New York Times bestselling author, Simon Winchester .

At the center of Skulls is a stunning, never-before-seen-in-any-capacity, visual array of the skulls of more than 300 animals that walk, swim, and fly. The skulls are from the collection of Alan Dudley, a British collector and owner of what is probably the largest and most complete private collection of skulls in the world. Every skull is beautifully photographed to show several angles and to give the reader the most intimate view possible. Each includes a short explanatory paragraph and a data box with information on the animal’s taxonomy, behavior, and diet.

Book Review:

This is an absolutely stunning book. I bought this book because I like to draw and paint animals and decided it is time to learn more about animal anatomy and the unseen structure of the skull as the foundation to build upon. This book will be a valuable resource to any artist looking to do the same. You will not be disappointed, the layout and detailed photography of this book are amazing.

Purchase Here  

 

 

best-animal-skull-guide

Animal Skulls: A Guide to North American Species

Comprehensive guide to the animals of North America. Fully illustrated with drawings and photographs. User-friendly format makes comparing species easy.

Book Review:

Without a doubt, this is the best book on skulls ever written. If you live in North America, and want to know a *LOT* about the skulls of the animals on the continent (primarily mammals, but the book does also cover birds, reptiles, and amphibians in a more limited fashion), there is no better resource. I teach mammalogy at our local university, and waited a few years to buy my own copy of this book, since our campus library had one. Now that I have my own copy I don’t have to borrow it over and over again, and can go through it anytime I want. Definitely my go-to resource for all things pertaining to cranial osteology.

Purchase Here

Teachers, edcuators, and artists can purchase quality real bone and replica animal skulls here

Online Guide to Animal Skulls

 

Mammals

North America

WolverineWolverine WalrusWalrus WalrusWalrus Swift FoxSwift Fox Striped SkunkStriped Skunk
Spotted SkunkSpotted Skunk Sea OtterSea Otter North American River OtterRiver Otter Red WolfRed Wolf Red FoxRed Fox
RaccoonRaccoon Prarie DogPrarie Dog North American PorcupinePorcupine Polar BearPolar Bear Polar BearPolar Bear
Pine MartenPine Marten North American OpossumOpossum MuskratMuskrat MuskoxMuskox Cougar - Mountain LionMountain Lion
MinkMink ManateeManatee Canadian LynxCanadian Lynx JavelinaJavelina Gray WolfGray Wolf
Gray FoxGray Fox FisherFisher ErmineErmine CoyoteCoyote CoyoteCoyote
California Sea LionCalifornia Sea Lion Atlantic Bottlenose DolphinBottlenose Dolphin Atlantic Bottlenose DolphinBottlenose Dolphin Brown Bear

Brown Bear

Brown Bear - GrizzlyBrown Bear- Grizzly
Brown Bear - KodiakBrown Bear- Kodiak Black Bear

Black Bear

Beaver

Beaver

American Badger

American Badger

Nine Banded ArmadilloNine Banded Armadillo
GroundhogGroundhog

 

South America

Two Toed SlothTwo Toed Sloth JaguarJaguar Puma - ArgentinaPuma – Argentina CoatiCoati CapybaraCapybara
KinkajouKinkajou

Africa

Plains ZebraPlains Zebra White RhinocerosWhite Rhinoceros WarthogWarthog Vervet MonkeyVervet Monkey SpringhareSpringhare
Serval

Serval

Rock Hyrax

Hyrax

Red Duiker

Red Duiker

African Crested PorcupineCrested Porcupine Chacma Baboon

Chacma Baboon

MeerkatMeerkat African LeopardLeopard KlipspringerKlipspringer Black Backed JackalBlack Backed Jackal HyenaSpotted Hyena
Honey Badger

Honey Badger

Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus TusksHippopotamus Tusks Hippopotamus TuskHippopotamus Tusk Giraffe

Giraffe

Common GennetCommon Genet African CivetAfrican Civet African Clawless OtterClawless Otter Cape BuffaloCape Buffalo Blue DuikerBlue Duiker
Bat Eared FoxBat Eared Fox African LionAfrican Lion AardwolfAardwolf AardvarkAardvark CaracalCaracal

Asia

Siberian Tiger

Siberian Tiger

Tanuki - Raccoon DogTanuki- Raccoon Dog Sun Bear

Sun Bear

Japanese Serow

Japaneese Serow

 

Australia

Gray KangarooKangaroo

 

Birds

Wood Stork

Wood Stork

Vulturine Guinea FowlVulturine Guinea Fowl Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Royal Tern

Royal Tern

Rhea

Rhea

Ring Necked PheasantRing Necked Pheasant Common Raven

Common Raven

Ostrich

Ostrich

Osprey

Osprey

Northern Gannet

Northern Gannet

 

Limpkin

Limpkin

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Double Crested CormorantDouble Crested Cormorant Crow

American Crow

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Common LoonCommon Loon CapercallieCapercaillie Canada GooseCanada Goose Brown PelicanBrown Pelican Blue JayBlue Jay
Black Vulture

Black Vulture

Black Skimmer

Black Skimmer

Black Crowned Night HeronBlack Crowned Night Heron Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

Abyssinian Ground HornbillAbyssinian Ground Hornbill Red Tailed Hawk

Red Tailed Hawk

Great Horned OwlGreat Horned Owl

 

Reptiles & Amphibians

Striped Mud Turtle

Striped Mud Turtle

Florida Softshell Turtle

Florida Softshell Turtle

Common Snapping Turtle

Common Snapping Turtle

Common Snapping Turtle

Common Snapping Turtle

Eastern Diamondback RattlesnakeEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Eastern Diamondback RattlesnakeEastern

Diamondback Rattlesnake

Nile CrocodileNile Crocodile

 

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Gopher Tortoise

 

Gopher Tortoise

Florida Box TurtleFlorida Box Turtle Two Toed AmphiumaTwo Toed Amphiuma American AlligatorAmerican Alligator Alligator Snapping TurtleAlligator Snapping Turtle

 

Oceans

Tiger Shark

Tiger Shark

Tiger Shark

Tiger Shark

Sperm Whale ToothSperm Whale Tooth Atlantic Bottlenose DolphinBottlenose Dolphin Atlantic Bottlenose DolphinBottlenose Dolphin
Bowhead Whale - BaleenBowhead Whale Baleen