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.

Animal name (singular) Pronunciation Animal name (plural) Male Female Young
Cat (pet) kæt Cats Tom Cat/Dam Kitten
Cow kaw Cows Bull Cow Calf
Dog (usually as a pet or for work purposes) dɔg Dogs Sire Bitch Puppy
Donkey daŋki Donkeys Jack Jennet Foal
Duck də́k Ducks/Poultry Drake Duck Duckling
Goat gót Goats Billy Doe Kid
Goose gús Geese Gander Goose Gosling
Hen hɛ́n Hens/Poultry Rooster Hen Chicken/Chick
Horse (for work or as a pet) hɔ́rs Horses Stallion Mare Foal
Pig pɪ́g Pigs Boar Sow Piglet
Sheep ʃíp Sheep Ram Ewe Lamb
Turkey tə́rki Turkeys Gobbler Hen Poult

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).

Animal name (singular) Pronunciation Animal name (plural) Male Female Young
Armadillo àrmədɪ́lo Armadillos Armadillo Armadillo/Doe Pup
Elephant ɛ́ləfənt Elephants Bull Cow Calf
Giant Panda ǰáyənt pǽndə Giant Pandas Boar Soar Cub
Giraffe ǰərǽf Giraffes Bull Doe Calf
Lion láyən Lions Lion Lioness Cub
Monkey mə́ŋki Monkeys Male Female Infant
Turtle tə́rtəl Turtles Male Female Hatchling
Zebra zíbrə Zebras Stallion Mare Foal

Animals found in the wild from A to Z

Animal name (singular) Pronunciation Animal name (plural) Male Female Young
Cougar kúgər Cougars Male Female Kitten
Dolphin dálfən Dolphins Bull Cow Calf
Emu ímyù Emus Male Female Chick
Eagle ígəl Eagles Tiercel Hen Eaglet
Kangaroo kæ̀ŋgərú Kangaroos Buck Doe Joey
Leopard lɛ́pərd Leopards Leopard Leopardess Cub
Moose mus Moose Bull Cow Calf
Rhinoceros raynásərəs Rhinoceros Bull Cow Calf
Snake snék Snakes Male Female Hatching/Snakelet
Tiger táygər Tigers Tiger Tigress Cub
Whale wel Whales Bull Cow Calf

Water animals list from A to Z

Animal name (singular) Pronunciation Animal name (plural) Male Female Young
Anemone ǽnəmòn Anemones Male Female
Crab krǽb Crabs Buck Jenny Zoea Larvae
Cuttlefish kə́təlfɪ̀š Cuttlefish Male Female Cuttlets
Eel il Eels Male Female Elver
Jellyfish ǰɛ́lifɪ̀š Jellyfish Male Female Ephyra or Fingerlings
Octopus áktəpʊ̀s Octopus Male Hen Larvae
Oyster ɔ̀ystər Oysters Male Female Spat
Shark šárk Sharks Bull Female Pup
Shrimp šrɪ́mp Shrimp Male Female Baby
Tuna túnə Tuna Male Female Young

Insects in English from A to Z

Animal name (singular) Pronunciation Animal name (plural) Male Female Young
Ant ant Ants Drone Queen Pupa
Bee bee Bees Drone Queen Pupa
Butterfly bə́tərflày Butterflies Male Female Larva
Cockroach kákròč Cockroaches Male Female Nymph
Flea fli Fleas Male Female Larva
Hornet hɔ́rnət Hornets Drone Queen Larva
Mosquito məskíto Mosquitoes Male Female Wriggler
Nit nit Nits Male Female Nymph
Spider spayder Spiders Male Female Spiderling
Wasp wásp Wasps Drone Queen Larva

Pet animals in English

Animal name (singular) Pronunciation Animal name (plural) Male Female Young
Budgie bhujee Budgies Male Female Hatchling
Cat kǽt Cats Tom Dam Kitten
Dog dɔ́g Dogs Dog Bitch Puppy
Goldfish góldfɪ̀š Goldfish Male Female Fry
Guinea Pig gɪ́ni pɪ́g Guinea Pigs Boar Sow Pup
Hamster hǽmstər Hamsters Buck Doe Pup
Mouse máws Mice Buck Doe Kitten
Rabbit rǽbɪ̀t Rabbits Buck Doe Kit

Animals in different countries (by association)


  • Antelopes
  • Baboons
  • Buffalos
  • Cheetahs
  • Elephants
  • Hyenas


  • Bandicoots
  • Bilbies
  • Cockatoos
  • Crocodiles
  • Dingoes
  • Echidnas
  • Emus
  • Kangaroos
  • Koalas
  • Kookaburras
  • Lyrebirds
  • Magpies
  • Platypus
  • Possums
  • Quolls
  • Tasmanian Devils
  • Wallabies
  • Wombats


  • Beavers
  • Moose
  • Polar bears
  • Bison
  • Walrus
  • Caribou


  • Bats
  • Deer
  • Monkeys
  • Sloths
  • Snow leopards
  • Tigers

United States

  • Bears
  • Bison
  • Coyotes
  • Eagles
  • Otters
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons

Great Britain

  • Badgers
  • Deer
  • Dormice
  • Foxes
  • Hedgehogs
  • Owls
  • Stoats

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

It's a fun song for kids about zoo animals.

2. Under the Sea

It's a song and dance about animals.

3. What is it?

It's a fun guess the pet animal game for kids.

4. Animals in Action

It's 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.

Animal squares

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.

  • 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 English animal vocabulary? We highly recommend getting acquainted with all the extraordinarily talented Sir David Attenborough and his documentaries.