Learning animal vocabulary is fun, especially if you’re an animal lover and have an appreciation for all creatures on this planet, from the sea to the sky, great and small.
Knowledge of the names of animals in English is useful for three reasons: it enables us to identify the animals we see, to describe the wildlife that interests us and helps us to discuss in English, the kinds of animals we would like to keep.
In this article, we’ll list animal names in English, recognize species associated with particular environments and countries, and we’ll take a look at useful animal vocabulary that is associated with these environments.
When might we need to know the names of animals in English?
Consider the following scenarios in which you want to describe something wonderful, identify something dangerous, or discover something new.
- During a recent outing to a wildlife zoo, you saw some native wildlife and were asked later what you saw and which animals you liked best.
- You’ve spotted a large nest of insects at the local park, and when you report it, you are asked if they are bees, wasps, or hornets.
- You are going to choose a family pet and need to find out everything you can about it on the internet.
Farm animal vocabulary from A to Z
Animals on farms are referred to as livestock, and birds as poultry.
|Farm animal name (singular)||Pronunciation||Animal name (plural)||Male||Female||Young|
|Cat (Pet)||kæt||Cats||Tom||Cat/ Dam||Kitten|
|Dog (Usually as a pet or for work purposes)||dɔg||Dogs||Sire||Bitch||Puppy|
|Hen||hɛ́n||Hens/ Poultry||Rooster||Hen||Chicken/ Chick|
|Horse (for work or as a pet)||hɔ́rs||Horses||Stallion||Mare||Foal|
Wild and zoo animal vocabulary from A to Z
Spotting the following animals in the wild would certainly be extra special. However, you can find many of the following animals in wildlife parks, rehabilitation centers or zoos, depending on where you are, of course.
Animals in zoos or safari parks are referred to as being in captivity (but not domesticated).
|Zoo animal name (singular)||Pronunciation||Animal name (plural)||Male||Female||Young|
|Giant Panda||ǰáyənt pǽndə||Giant Pandas||Boar||Soar||Cub|
Animals found in the wild from A to Z
|Wild animal name (singular)||Pronunciation||Animal name (plural)||Male||Female||Young|
Waters animals list from A to Z
|Sea animal name (singular)||Pronunciation||Animal name (plural)||Male||Female||Young|
|Jellyfish||ǰɛ́lifɪ̀š||Jellyfish||Male||Female||Ephyra Or Fingerlings|
Insects in English from A to Z
|Insect name (singular)||Pronunciation||Animal name (plural)||Male||Female||Young|
Pet animals in English
|Pet animal name (singular)||Pronunciation||Animal name (plural)||Male||Female||Young|
|Guinea Pig||gɪ́ni pɪ́g||Guinea Pigs||Boar||Sow||Pup|
Animals in English by different countries (by association)
- Tasmanian Devils
- Polar bears
- Snow leopards
Songs about animals
Songs are a great way to learn the names of animals in English and animal vocabulary. It’s useful to be able to describe animals in terms of where we see them.
1. At The Zoo With Matt is a fun song for kids about zoo animals
2. Under the Sea is a song and dance about animals under the sea
3. What is it? is a fun guess the pet animal game for kids
4. Animals in Action is a jungle animal song
Animal vocabulary games
I went to the zoo / farm / park / beach and guess what I saw:
This game is played in a group. Player one says, “I went to the zoo and I saw a (animal name). The second player repeats the sentence AND the first player’s animal and then adds their own. The third player must remember and repeat both animals and then add their own, and so on.
The game continues until a player falters and makes a mistake.
This game is played with blank square grids of any number of squares, and a pencil for each player and can be played individually, in teams, or as a class. Choose a category – zoo animals, farm animals, pets, Australian animals, endangered animals, and so on. Begin with an easy category.
The grid is placed where everyone can see it (if in a class) or where you can write on it (if in a small group).
- Players in small groups take turns to write on the grid the name of an animal in English (which fits the chosen category). A player is out when they cannot think of another animal to add. Because the game requires players to investigate animal environments and names of animals in English, rules can be relaxed to allow the use of the internet or picture books.
- Players in a class call out the names of animals in English and the teacher adds them to the grid. The game is over when players are unable to add any more animals. If the grid is filled, the class wins. Grids (and categories) can be drawn up to match the capability of groups.
What do the following expressions mean?
Sometimes we want to talk about animals in ways that describe or refer to their status in the human world. You may want to do this for research, for paid or volunteer work, or for your own interest. These are all relevant words to add to and expand your animal vocabulary.
- Threatened – the known numbers of this species in the world are very low
- Endangered – there are not many of this species left in the world
- Extinct – there are no known members of this species left
- Protected – the hunting, trapping, or killing of this species is prohibited
- Domesticated – bred and trained to live with humans
- Tame – trained to live safely with humans
What do we mean when we say:
|He’s as happy as a pig in mud!||He’s doing what he loves!|
|Well, that’s just the bee's knees!||That is wonderful!|
|I’m having a whale of a time!||I’m having the best time ever!|
|Hold your horses, I’m coming!||Don’t be so impatient, I’m coming!|
|They always take the lion’s share!||They always take the most!|
|Well, that’s let the cat out of the bag!||That’s let the secret out!|
|That really gets my goat!||That is very annoying!|
|Why are you always so pigheaded?||Why do you argue so much?|
Expanding your animal vocabulary
Talking about animals is a passionate pastime for many of us, and it’s a subject with an enormous and dynamic vocabulary. So have fun with it as you expand your English animal vocabulary with all the marvelous creatures that cohabit and share this wonderful Earth with us.
And if you really want to take things to the next level in learning about animals in English? We highly recommend getting acquainted with all the extraordinarily talented Sir David Attenborough and his documentaries.