This is in the spirit of the What is a Word™/Phrase™ series started by JLee with a special brand of Phrase™ and Word™ puzzles.

If the name of an animal conforms to a special rule, I call it a Cardinal Animal™.
Use the examples below to find the rule.

$$\begin{array}{|c|c|}\hline \bbox[yellow]{\textbf{Cardinal Animals }^™}& \bbox[yellow]{\textbf{Not Cardinal Animals }^™}\\ \hline \text{ EAGLE}&\text{GOOSE}\\ \hline \text{ GIRAFFE}&\text{CARIBOU}\\ \hline \text{ MONITOR LIZARD}&\text{GENTOO PENGUIN}\\ \hline \text{ FALCON}&\text{TURKEY}\\ \hline \text{ DUCK }&\text{COOT}\\ \hline \text{ HEDGEHOG}&\text{PLATYPUS}\\ \hline \text{ CAT}&\text{DOG}\\ \hline \end{array}$$

CSV Version:


The puzzle relies on the series' inbuilt assumption, that each word can be tested for whether it is a Cardinal Animal™ without relying on the other words.

These are not the only examples of Cardinal Animals™, many more exist.


The pairing across each row tells you something about one half of the pattern


An animal is a Cardinal Animal™ if

The first letter of its name, converted to a number via A1Z26, is the length of its name.

They are called Cardinal because

Their first (cardinal, maybe?) letter can be treated as a cardinal number for the length of its name.

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  • 5
    $\begingroup$ So a cardinal, oddly, is not a Cardinal Animal! $\endgroup$ – LogicianWithAHat Dec 14 '16 at 9:55
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The name may also refer to the idea of cardinality in mathematics, which is the number of elements in a set. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Long Dec 14 '16 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ But a Cat is. :p $\endgroup$ – JohnP Dec 14 '16 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ The name 'Cardinal Animal' was intended to be a play on words, an attempt to distract with no actual tie to animals and the actual pattern, and also a minor hint at the solution -- which of course you guys found in a matter of hours. Since this is my first ever attempt at writing one of these, feedback and thoughts on how to improve are much welcomed. $\endgroup$ – Zymurge Dec 15 '16 at 16:51

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