Biometrics for animals
La reconnaissance des animaux

Biometrics can also apply to animals:

See also the commercial applications, devices you can buy for your pets.

Animals with fingerprints


  • Not only humans have fingerprints, as you can guess, that's the case for primates (chimpanzee...)
  • The Spider Monkey has some kind of fingerprints also on the tail.

  • Orang-Outang Orang-Outang


  • As shown by Henneberg & als (dead link) from the Department of Anatomical Sciences, University of Adelaide, koalas have fingerprints.

  • Koala police Koala
    Koala is the left fingerprint, human right
    Koala fingerprint on the left , human fingeprint on the right

    Animals without fingerprints

    Some recognition systems specifically designed for animals!

    Penguin Recognition project

    (since 2004) Spot the penguins / Bristol university / Penguin-Recognition Software

    Penguins Recognition Software

    Robben Island is home to roughly 20,000 African penguins, a threatened species that has declined by 90 percent in the past century. Software picks up the penguins' fingerprint-like patterns of black and white feathers, and uses these patterns to identify individual animals.

    Fisher footprints

  • (2007) Using Patterns in Track-Plate Footprints to Identify Individual Fishers / Herzog & als. (dead link)
  • Track plates capture fine detail in the footprints of fishers (Martes pennanti), recording rows of dots corresponding to tiny papillae on the animal’s metacarpal pad. We show that the pattern of these dots can be used to identify individual fishers, similar to human fingerprints.

    Martes pennanti (fisher) fisher footprint

    Zebra stripes


    (2002) Individual Zebra Identification / Hans Krijger. Mainly based on binarization and skeletonization.

    Conservation Research

    Conservation Research stripe patterns of Grevy's zebra

    Cattle noseprint

    Cow noseprint
    (1921) The identification of bovine by means of nose-prints / Petersen.
    cattle nose printing

    Conservation Research Ldt

    Tiger stripes

    Conservation Research

    (2009 Mar)Conservation Research Ldt has developped a software that allows tiger researchers to rapidly identify individual animals by creating a three-dimensional model using photos taken by remote cameras.

    Cheetah spot pattern

    Conservation Research

    cheetah spot pattern analysis

    Whale Shark pelage pattern

    Conservation Research

    pelage pattern of whale shark

    Harbour Seal pelage pattern

    Conservation Research

    pelage pattern of harbour seal

    Salamander dorsale surface

    Conservation Research

    dorsal surface of salamanders

    On Recognizing Individual Salamanders (S.Ravela / MIT)

    Chital spot pattern

    Conservation Research

    spot pattern of chital

    Sand Lizard

    Conservation Research

    dorsale surface of sans lizard

    Crested Newt

    Conservation Research

    ventral surface of crested newt


    Conservation Research

    stripe patternof crested newt

    Great White Shark

    Great White Shark

    (2010) Computer scientists from the University of Bristol are collaborating with international shark researchers to build a visual biometrics database of Great White Sharks.

    White Shark Trust website see research -> photographic identification


    (2018 Oct) Cermaq Group AS in Norway has developed a 3D face recognition for salmon fish, based on the distinct pattern of spots around their eyes, mouth and gills.

    See also Biometric Animals from Manfred Bromba.

    (2017) A book: Animal Biometrics / Santosh Kumar, Sanjay Kumar Singh, Rishav Singh, Amit Kumar Singh.