You’re about to learn the names of 86 animals in English. Also check out Order of Adjectives in English: One Simple Hack.
Sure — you know some animals names in English, right?
Maybe you even know a few animal body parts …
Great! Good work!
Sometimes we need to talk about animals in English, don’t we? I mean, there are a lot of them out there.
So let’s take a look at different types of animals in English, animal body parts, sounds that animals make, and where they live.
Animals in English #1
Bird body parts
As you can see in the picture, a bird has:
Wings — to make it fly
A beak — so it can get through earth to eat those delicious worms
A tail — so that it can control its direction and not fly into your living room window
Claws — so that it can hold onto things properly
What noise do birds make?
Birds chirp, tweet, twitter and sing.
Did you notice something there?
Yep — that’s where Twitter, the social media network, got its name from.
It makes sense, right? Twitter really is just a bunch of small internet sounds.
Where do birds live?
Before writing this post, I thought birds always lived in nests.
They only use the nests to bring up their babies.
The rest of the time, I guess they just get an Airbnb.
Fun fact about birds
Birds evolved from dinosaurs!
It totally makes sense, right?
I mean — look at them!
Types of bird
Crow — smart, black birds
Pigeon — the ones that are all over your town’s train station
Duck — swims, eats bread and often hangs out in your local park
Goose — a bit like a duck, but bigger and whiter
Swan — a bit like a goose, but much more beautiful and elegant. Apparently, in the UK, it’s a crime to kill swans because they all belong to the Queen. Weird country.
Eagle — very popular with American nationalists. Many countries have this bird as their national symbol. Looks awesome on a biker’s T-shirt.
Seagull — usually lives by the sea and eats fish, but these days they’ve figured out that it’s easier to eat trash instead. So they do that.
Ostrich — a big, big bird that can’t fly. It lives in parts of Africa.
Emu — very similar to an ostrich: a large, flightless bird. It lives in Australia.
Owl — It’s only around at night time. It can move its head 270 degrees. Harry Potter has one.
Parrot — It sometimes talks and likes to hang around with pirates.
Vulture — the one that hangs around waiting for something in the desert to die so it can eat it (according to films, at least)
Animals in English #2
Dog body parts
A dog has:
A tail — mostly to communicate with. Isn’t that cool? It’s like having an extra face! The tail also helps it swim.
Whiskers — to help it feel vibrations in the air and sense danger. Again, how awesome is that? It’s like having extra fingers.
Paws — the dog’s feet. They leave a satisfying print in the snow.
A muzzle — While human mouths are flat on the face, dogs’ mouths sort of stick out. That whole area is called the muzzle.
What noise do dogs make?
The verb we use for the noise a dog makes is “bark.” So, dogs bark.
We write the sound of a dog’s bark as “woof!”
When I started learning foreign languages, I found it really interesting how different languages have different sounds for the same animal. Somehow, despite being different words, they all sound like that animal: “Haw,” “raf,” “gheu,” “wow,” …
(What do dogs say in your first language? Let me know in the comments.)
Where do dogs live?
If you have a domestic dog, then it lives in your house.
But perhaps you have a kennel in the garden for him or her — a sort of small house just for the dog.
Fun fact about dogs
Dogs in Moscow have learned to navigate the Moscow metro system, getting off at particular stops to find food.
Dogs are awesome.
Types of dog
Fox — They’re red, and they’re usually associated with being smart and cunning.
Wolf — They hunt in packs. They’re totally wild. They’re organised. They also look great on a biker’s T-shirt (next to the eagle).
Dingo — a wild dog found in Australia
Coyote — a wild dog found in North America. It’s quite similar to a wolf, but not as cool on a biker’s t-shirt.
Animals in English #3
Cat body parts
A cat has pretty much the same body parts as a dog:
A tail — But for cats, the tail is there more to help them balance than communicate.
Whiskers — They help cats “see” in the dark and figure out whether they can fit into small spaces or not.
Paws — Like dog paws, cat paws leave such beautiful marks in the snow. Here’s my cat discovering snow for the first time:
What? Did you think I’d do a post on animals and NOT feature my cat?
What noise do cats make?
When cats “speak,” they meow.
But when they’re happy, they make that sound like a tractor … or a dubstep bassline. That’s when they purr.
Also, the big cats (see below) roar.
It’s the one that sounds like “Aaarrrgghhh!!!”
Where do cats live?
If it’s a domestic cat or an indoor cat, it just lives in your house.
If it’s an outdoor cat, it spends its time outside but will be home for food and sleep.
A street cat lives in … the street. Possibly under a car.
Fun fact about cats
Cats have three eyelids.
Yep — pretty weird!
Types of cat
Big cats — These include all the classic African and Indian cats that you’re familiar with: lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, pumas and jaguars. They’re all referred to as “the big cats.”
Domestic cats — the ones at home
Street cats — the ones in the street
Animals in English #4
Spider body parts
Yep! It’s your favourite animal!
Spinnerets — which they use to make silk. I keep forgetting that spiders make silk.
Fangs — so they can inject the venom (like poison) into their victims. Fun!
Claws — to help them hold onto their web
What noise do spiders make?
Apparently, most spiders don’t make any sound at all. Like Charlie Chaplin.
Where do spiders live?
OK. So when you ask most people this question, they’ll probably say “in a spider web.”
Then, as soon as they’ve said it, they’ll realise that that’s not true.
Spiders use spider webs to catch their prey, which is probably one of the coolest things in nature.
A spider web that a spider no longer uses is called a cobweb.
But where do they live?
The answer’s really boring.
Spiders live in trees and holes in the walls and stuff.
Fun fact about spiders
Spiders have 48 knees.
Types of spider
Of course, there are lots of types of spider — over 35,000.
Here are the most well-known ones:
Tarantula — the most famous one! It’s big and scary but actually relatively harmless.
Daddy-long legs — also known as cellar spiders, they hang out in your house and are completely harmless. You often see them on your window trying to get outside.
Black widow — This one IS dangerous. Stay away! It gets its name from the fact that the female eats the male once she’s mated with him.
Redback — also extremely dangerous. You’ll manage to avoid it if you don’t go to Australia — which is relatively easy.
Animals in English #5
Bugs (and insects)
We usually use the word “bug” to describe spiders and insects and anything small and creepy like that.
We also call them creepy-crawlies.
They come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s a beetle — because we like beetles, especially when they play 1960s rock music.
Bug body parts
Antenna (plural antennae) — OK. This thing is amazing. It can sense smells, chemicals in the air, pressure, humidity levels and the temperature. It’s as if the insect is walking around with professional weather equipment.
Wings — so it can make soup. No, just kidding. So it can fly.
Claws — so it can hold onto stuff
Pincers — so it can pinch you!
What noise do bugs make?
Well, there are many insects, most of which don’t really make much sound.
But generally speaking, especially when we’re talking about mosquitoes and bees, they buzz.
Buzzing is that sound they make while they’re flying around your head while you’re trying to sleep.
Where do bugs live?
Again, different bugs live in different places, and most of them are fairly predictable: trees, walls, etc.
But there are some interesting exceptions:
Bees live in beehives.
Wasps live in wasp nests, and ants live in ant nests.
Fun fact about bugs
Cockroaches can live without their heads FOR WEEKS!
Types of bug
Butterfly — It’s beautiful. It’s colourful. It flies. It’s hard to catch. We all love them!
Caterpillar — Before it was a butterfly, it was a caterpillar. Then it decided to make a cocoon around itself and turn into a butterfly.
Moth — I like to think of moths as a kind of Gothic butterfly — similar shape but hairier and not colourful. They’re very fond of headbutting light bulbs and eating your clothes.
Ant — The ones that find your picnic about five seconds after you’ve opened the hummus jar and then tell all their friends about the free food.
Bee — The one that can sting you, but it’s OK because it makes honey.
Wasp — The one that can sting you, and it’s NOT OK because it doesn’t make honey.
Beetle — A type of insect with a round, hard exterior. They’re kind of like the soldiers of the bug world.
Cockroach — horrible brown things with antennae. They will take over your kitchen if you’re not careful. I used to live in Syria and have a funny cockroach story. Ask me in the comments if you’re interested.
Flea — No. Not the bass player from Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s a very small bug that will live on your dog and drive him crazy. They jump.
Fly — the classic, common flying bug. Harmless, not particularly annoying. Just there.
Maggot — Before it was a fly, it was a maggot. Yellow, wriggling worm-like creatures. Fishermen sometimes use them to catch fish with.
Lice — When one of the kids at school got lice, then that meant ALL the kids had to get their hair treated with very smelly, toxic lice shampoo.
Mosquito — Summer’s here, which means mosquitoes! The insects that go around drinking your blood and making your skin itch. They also spread diseases.
Scorpion — Technically scorpions are arachnids, like spiders. They have a big tail that stings. They look even more awesome than eagles and wolves when you put them on a biker’s t-shirt.
Animals in English #6
Lizards (and other reptiles)
Lizard body parts
Not much to report here.
A tail — OK. This one’s kind of cool. Many lizards can remove their tail. It’s a self-defence mechanism.
When something, like a cat or a bird, is attacking it, a lizard can just run away and leave its tail behind to confuse the animal trying to kill it.
They also use the tail for balance and for holding onto things like tree branches.
Scales — Most lizards have scales to protect the thin skin underneath. As they grow, they have to shed their scales and grow new ones.
What noise do lizards make?
Most lizards don’t make any noise, though geckos make chirps, squeaks and clicks. (For more on sounds like this, check out my post on sounds in English.)
Where do lizards live?
Again, the answer’s pretty boring.
According to the internet, lizards usually live on the ground or in trees.
Fun fact about lizards
What? That lizard tail thing wasn’t enough?
OK, how about this one:
Tortoises (yep — tortoises are reptiles) can live for up to 200 years.
That means there could be a tortoise out there as old as Queen Victoria and George Eliot. But not dead.
Types of reptile
Crocodile — the one that sometimes looks like a piece of floating wood until it attacks your boat and then starts to look more like a killer dinosaur
Alligator — very similar to a crocodile, with a wider mouth. So it can eat you more easily, I suppose.
Snake — We know this one, right? Snakes! Long and scary!
Turtle — Like the Ninja Turtles, except real and not for children in the 1990s
Tortoise — What’s the difference between turtles and tortoises? The main one is that turtles spend most of their time in water, while tortoises live on land.
Animals in English #7
Bear body parts
Claws — so they can tear up your clothes like in the films
A muzzle — Like dogs, bears have a muzzle.
Paws — Like cats and dogs, they have paws so you know how to avoid them in the snow.
What noise do bears make?
The verb for this sound is “roar.”
Bears roar — like the big cats.
Where do bears live?
Bears don’t usually live in caves, though they sometimes sleep in them.
They have dens, which they make with parts of trees, like a nest.
Fun fact about bears
Apparently, a governor of Moscow trained a large bear to serve pepper vodka to his guests.
The question I want to ask is why pepper vodka?
I mean, did it really disapprove of peach vodka? Or even plain old straight vodka?
Types of bear
Black bear — It’s medium-sized! And it’s pink! No, sorry, black! It’s black! It’s a black bear!
Brown bear — OK. So this is obviously a bear that’s brown. Probably the most famous type of brown bear is the grizzly bear.
Polar bear — the ones that live in the Arctic. Apparently, these guys are the only bears that just eat meat (no vegetables).
Panda bear — We love them! They’re black and white and look cute on postcards (but not biker’s T-shirts).
Animals in English #8
Sharks (and other fish)
Fish body parts
A shark (and many other fish) has:
A dorsal fin — This is the classic part that we all associate with sharks. The dorsal fin sticks out of the water.
Gills — all fish have gills. They help them breathe underwater.
A pectoral fin — We usually just call this one the fin.
A tail — like many, many other animals.
What noise do fish make?
Fish always make a noise that sounds like “Blebidy bloo! Blebidy bloo!”
Just kidding. Fish usually don’t make any particular sound.
Where do fish live?
In the sea, a river, a lake, an aquarium or, if it’s an ’80s film, in the sewer, where they grow and go on to terrorize the city until some teenagers with skateboards put a stop to it all.
Did I miss anything?
Fun fact about fish
Most fish have taste buds all over their bodies!
Can you imagine how inconvenient that would be if we had that?
Types of fish
There are around 28,000 known species of fish.
Here are some of them:
Eel — the one that looks a bit like a snake
Goldfish — the one that you win at the fair and take home in a plastic bag filled with water. I’m imagining that doesn’t happen anymore. Does it?
Salmon — Salmon are the fish that jump up waterfalls. And for that alone, I respect them!
Shark — Jaws! The big, killer fish from the film Jaws!
Jellyfish — Although not technically fish, I had to include them. I mean, look at them! They’re amazing!
Animals in English #9
Monkeys (and other apes)
Monkey body parts
Monkeys have tails.
What noise do monkeys make?
When I think of monkeys, I always imagine a screech.
This can also be used as a verb.
So, monkeys screech.
Where do monkeys live?
In the trees!
No nests or dens or hives.
They just hang out (sometimes literally) in the trees.
Fun fact about monkeys
Monkeys can count and, in some cases, do maths!
Types of ape
Chimp — our closest relative! Which makes sense if you’ve met my uncle Ronny.
Baboon — You know these guys — the big ones with pink faces. They manage to look both wise and ridiculous at the same time.
Bonobo — the calmest and least war-like of our ape cousins
Gorilla — Yeah! Everyone loves gorillas!
Orangutan — They’re orange! And they ALMOST have the word “orange” in their name. And that’s a coincidence! In fact, “orangutan” is one of the only words we have in English that comes from Malay — it means “forest person.” Language is cool.
Animals in English #10
Horses (and other horse-like animals)
Horse body parts
I decided to draw a gazelle instead of a horse.
Because they’re better!
Oh, and also, horses don’t have horns, and I wanted to include horns.
Muzzle — Like a dog and a bear, a horse has a muzzle.
Hoof — Horses don’t have feet; they have hooves. That’s what makes them create that very satisfying sound while running.
Tail — Yeah, yeah. It’s got a tail. Like almost all animals. Now I want a tail, too.
Horns — OK. Some horse-like animals have horns, and some don’t. They’re most often used by the males to fight each other so they can decide who gets the girl.
And here’s an elk. Because I need something with antlers, too:
Antlers — Aren’t they beautiful? I’m kind of obsessed with antlers these days. They’re just so … cool! Right?
What noise do horses make?
The noise a horse makes is called a neigh (rhymes with “day”).
You can use it as a verb or a noun.
So you can say, “The horse’s loud neigh woke up the whole neighbourhood.”
Or you can say, “The horse neighed, then ran into the forest, never to be seen again.”
Where do horses live?
When horses are owned by humans, they usually live in a stable.
The area where rich people keep more than one horse is called the stables.
But horses also often just live in fields.
Fun fact about horses
A horse’s teeth take up more space in its head than its brain does. So they’re either not very smart or really, really good at eating things.
Types of horse-like animals
OK. So some of these aren’t even part of the same animal family.
But we kind of see them that way — so they’re all here together.
Like a sort of awkward family reunion where uncle pony eats too much and grandmother moose keeps saying bad things about Bambi.
Deer — A deer is easy to explain in just one word. And that word is “Bambi.” Bambi was a deer.
Gazelle — Kind of like a desert deer. They have long horns and are quite small.
Elk — They’re large. The males have massive antlers. And antlers are awesome.
Pony — I did some research on this, and it seems that a pony is nothing more than a small horse.
Donkey — Similar to horses but slower and less elegant. Another word for “donkey” is “ass.” Yeah, I know.
Mule — These guys are what happens when you get a mummy horse and a daddy donkey. They’re technically not a species because they’re infertile. (They can’t have kids.)
Reindeer — The flying deer that Father Christmas (or Santa) uses to fly everywhere giving kids presents. They look like elk.
Now, this might come as a shock, but real reindeer can’t fly.
I know! How disappointing is that?
Animals in English #11
Mice (and other rodents)
Mouse body parts
Claws — Surprised? I wasn’t. Mice have claws.
Tail — That was also surprising. Oh, no. Hang on. No, of course it has a tail.
Whiskers — They use them to feel their way around. This is partly because they can’t see well.
What noise do mice make?
Mice (and rats) squeak.
It can be a verb: “The rat squeaked.”
Or a noun: “The mouse let out a high-pitched squeak and disappeared through the hole in the wall.”
Where do mice live?
Mice live everywhere!
No, really — apparently they can be found in forests, fields, houses, your corn flakes.
It’s because they’re tough little guys.
Fun fact about mice
A mouse can have 12 babies … EVERY THREE WEEKS.
They breed faster than rabbits.
Types of rodent
Beaver — These guys are fun. They’re the ones who make houses out of the trees they cut down with their teeth.
Hamster — Hamsters are small, mouse-like animals. They’re popular as pets.
Lemming — Lemmings are most famous for jumping off cliffs.
Gerbil — Other mouse-like animals that make good pets.
Squirrel — They climb trees. They eat nuts. They have beautiful, massive, fluffy tails. We all love them!
Rat — Most people hate rats. I don’t. One of my favourite pets of all time was a white rat called Linux. He was awesome.
Great! Now you have plenty of fun animal vocabulary to talk in-depth about animals in English.
You are a master of names of animals in English!
Congratulations! We shall now call you MASTER OF THE ANIMAL NAMES!
Now, let’s talk about it!
Can you think of other types of animals I missed?
Perhaps an animal with weird body parts …
Gremlins don’t count!
Let me know in the comments.
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