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Animals in Spanish: The only guide you'll need

Alicia Fernández • Apr 13, 2023 • 9 minutes
Updated Jan 2, 2024
Animals in Spanish: The only guide you'll need
The Graf Method for Spanish Language

Download a PDF version of The Graf Method for Spanish Language, Vol.1 for free!

In this volume, we discuss the alphabet, definite and indefinite articles, and verbs ser and estar, among other topics.

We all love animals, don’t we? I am sure you have a furry pet at home, or if not you may know someone who has a dog, a cat, or perhaps a hamster. Do you know how to say dog in Spanish? What about cat? If you don't, you came to the right place. In this article not only will you learn how to say the most common pets in Spanish, but you will learn about ALL other types of animals, like land and sea mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and even some insects! You may even learn about animals you’ve never heard of! You will also learn some common words we use to talk about these animals: slither, fly, hop, glide, growl, bark, and more!

Are you ready to learn about all the different types of animals? ¡Vamos!

Pets - Mascotas

¿Tienes una mascota? Do you have a pet? You may already be familiar with some of the following animals:

El caballo / la yegua – The horse

El conejillo de indias – The guinea pig

El conejo – The rabbit

La gallina – The chicken

El gato – The cat

El hámster – The hamster

El hurón – The ferret

El periquito – The parakeet

El perro – The dog

El pez – The fish

La tortuga – The turtle

A cat

Are there any other pets you can think of that were not included on the list? When you are done reading this article you may want to add more.

¡Ojo! As you already know, Spanish nouns are divided into two groupsmasculine and feminine. For some animals, we use a masculine version of the noun to refer to the male and a feminine version of the noun to refer to the female (gato/gata, perro/perra, conejo/coneja). For most animals, though, we use a fixed name in Spanish with an arbitrary gender that we need to learn and memorize. Some are masculine (indicated by the article el) and some are feminine (la). When we want to distinguish the animal’s sex, we add the word macho (male) or hembra (female) to the noun (la ardilla macho, la ardilla hembra). Finally, for some animals we have a different word altogether for male and female (caballo = male horse, yegua = female horse).

Mammals – Mamíferos

Land mammals - Mamíferos terrestres

La ardilla – The squirrel

El búfalo – The buffalo

La cabra – The goat

El camello – The camel

El canguro – The kangaroo

La cebra – The zebra

El cerdo – The pig

El chimpancé – The chimpanzee

El ciervo / el venado – The deer

El cordero – The lamb

El elefante – The elephant

La gacela – The gezelle

El gorila – The gorilla

El guepardo – The cheetah

La hiena – The hyena

El jabalí – The boar

La jirafa – The giraffe

El koala – The koala

El león – The lion

El leopardo – The leopard

El lobo – The wolf

El mapache – The raccoon

El mono – The monkey

El murciélago – The bat

El orangután – The orangutan

El oso – The bear

El oso hormiguero – The anteater

El oso polar – The polar bear

La oveja – The sheep

El panda – The panda

El panda rojo – The red panda

El petauro del azúcar – The sugar glider

El puma – The cougar

La rata – The rat

El ratón – The mouse

El rinoceronte – The rhinoceros

El ternero – The calf

El tigre – The tiger

El toro – The bull

La vaca – The cow

El zorro – The fox

Two elephants at sunset
Fun Fact! Some Spanish speakers use the word mono/a not only to refer to monkeys but also to describe someone or an animal as cute. It also means overalls!
Fun Fact! Do you know the tongue twister Tres tristes tigres? It goes like this: Tres tristes tigres tragando trigo en un trigal. Do you think you can say it? Try it!

Aquatic mammals - Mamíferos acuáticos

La ballena – The whale

El capibara – The capybara

El castor – The beaver

El delfín – The dolphin

La foca – The seal

El hipopótamo – The hippopotamus

El manatí – The manatee

La marsopa – The porpoise

La nutria – The otter

La orca – The orca

La otaria / el león marino – The sea lion

Fun Fact! The capybara, beaver, hippo, and otter are considered semi-aquatic mammals, since they live regularly in both aquatic and terrestrial environments.

Birds – Aves

El águila – The eagle

El buitre – The vulture

El cacatúa – The cockatoo

El cardenal – The cardinal

El colibrí – The hummingbird

El aguilucho – The harrier

El búho, la lechuza – The owl

El canario – The canary

El carpintero – The woodpecker

El cisne – The swan

El cóndor – The condor

El cuervo – The crow

El flamenco – The flamingo

El ganso – The goose

El halcón – The hawk

El loro – The parrot

El pavo real – The peacock

El pingüino – The penguin

El quetzal – The quetzal

El tucán – The toucan

La gaviota – The seagull

El gorrión – The sparrow

El avestruz – The ostrich

La gallina – The chicken

La garza – The heron

La golondrina – The swallow

La urraca – The magpie

El ñandú – The rhea

La paloma – The dove

El pato – The duck

El pelícano – The pelican

Fun fact! Did you know that quetzal is not only a bird but Guatemala’s national currency, it was named after their national bird the quetzal
¡Ojo! Don’t forget to pronounce the U in the word pingüino! The two dots above the U, called diéresis, indicate that the U between G and E or between G and I should be pronounced. Other similar words: cigüeña, bilingüe, lingüística.
¡Ojo! Did you notice that we used the article el for águila? Does that mean that águila is masculine? No, it is actually feminine (las águilas or el águila es blanca); we use the masculine article in the singular form for pronunciation reasons; we do not pronounce an A followed by another stressed one. Other similar words are: agua (el agua), hambre (el hambre).

Fish – Peces

El atún – The tuna

El salmón – The salmon

El tiburón – The shark

A shark swimming

Reptiles - Reptiles

El caimán – The alligator

El camaleón – The chameleon

El cocodrilo – The crocodile

La lagartija – The small lizard

El lagarto – The lizard

La serpiente / la culebra – The snake

La tortuga – The tortoise/turtle

Amphibians - Anfibios

La rana – The frog

La salamandra – The salamander

El sapo – The toad

A frog on a branch

Invertebrates – Invertebrados

La abeja – The bee

La araña – The spider

La avispa – The wasp

El caracol – The snail

El chinche – The bedbug

El ciempiés – The centipede

La cigarra – The cicada

La cucaracha – The cockroach

El escarabajo – The beetle

El escorpión/alacrán – The scorpion

La garrapata – The tick

El grillo – The cricket

El gusano – The worm

La hormiga – The ant

La libélula – The dragonfly

La lombriz – The earthworm

La luciérnaga – The firefly

La mantis religiosa – The praying mantis

La mariposa – The butterfly

La mariquita – The ladybug

El milpiés – The millipede

La mosca – The fly

El mosquito – The mosquito

La oruga – The caterpillar

El piojo – The louse

La polilla – The moth

La pulga – The flea

El pulpo – The octopus

El calamar – The squid

El cangrejo– The crab

La langosta – The lobster

La gamba / el camarón - The shrimp

La medusa – The jellyfish

El saltamontes – The grasshopper 

La sanguijuela – The leech

La termita – The termite

Fun Fact! Have you heard the very famous song called La Cucaracha? It’s a popular Mexican folk song about a cockroach who cannot walk. I am sure you are not a fan of cockroaches but the song is catchy and it dates back at least to the 1910s!

Common verbs 

Now that you know a lot of animals, you may find it useful to know some verbs used to talk about them. Let’s take a look at some common ones.

Atrapar – To catch

Los camaleones utilizan su larguísima lengua para atrapar insectos. 

Chameleons use their very long tongues to catch insects.

Cazar – To hunt

Las orcas cazan en manadas. 

Killer whales hunt in pods

Deslizar – To slide/slither

Las serpientes se deslizan para moverse. 

Snakes slither to move.

Galopar - To gallop

Los caballos galopaban por la playa. 

The horses galloped along the beach.

Gruñir – To growl 

Los osos a veces gruñen cuando están agitados o nerviosos. 

Bears sometimes growl when agitated or nervous.

Ladrar – To bark 

El perro ladró cuando llegó su dueño.  

The dog barked when its owner arrived.

Maullar – To meow 

La gata maulla cuando tiene hambre. 

The cat meows when she is hungry.

Piar  To chirp 

Los pájaros pían para comunicarse. 

Birds chirp to communicate.

Planear – To glide

Los petauros del ázucar son los únicos mamíferos que planean

Sugar gliders are the only mammals that glide.

Rugir – To roar 

Los leones rugen para demostrar su poder. 

Lions roar to demonstrate their power.

Saltar – To jump/to hop 

Las ardillas saltan por los árboles para buscar su comida.  

Squirrels jump through the trees in search of food.

Volar – To fly 

Las avestruces, a pesar de ser aves, no pueden volar

Ostriches, despite being birds, cannot fly.

Fun fact! Do you know about petauros del azúcar (sugar gliders)? They are also known as ardillas voladoras (flying squirrels) although they are not closely related. They are small marsupials, related to canguros (kangaroos) and koalas. They get their name due to their love for sugary foods and their ability to glide through the air.

Other words related to animals 

alas (wings), caparazón (shell), cola (tail), escamas (scales), nido (nest), patas (paws), pezuñas (claws), plumas (feathers), tentáculos (tentacles).


I hope you enjoyed learning about all sorts of animals in Spanish. There are many animals in the world but this article gave you a pretty good start! Practice them, learn about them, and it will be so much easier to remember all the amazing and interesting animals out there!


Let’s take a quick quiz to practice what you learned!

Match the correct verb with the following animals

  1. Gato
  2. Caballo
  3. Perro
  4. Petauro del azúcar
  5. León


  1. Galopar
  2. Rugir
  3. Ladrar
  4. Planear
  5. Maullar


Answer Key:

  1. E
  2. A
  3. C
  4. D
  5. B

Indicate whether the following animals are ave, pez or reptil

  1. Tiburón
  2. Periquito
  3. Cocodrilo
  4. Paloma
  5. Camaleón


Answer Key:

  1. Pez
  2. Ave
  3. Reptil
  4. Ave
  5. Reptil

Match the word with the animal(s) you associate it with

  1. Plumas
  2. Caparazón
  3. Tentáculos
  4. Alas
  5. Escamas


Answer Key:

  1. Pájaros
  2. Tortuga, caracol, cangrejo, escarabajo
  3. Pulpo
  4. Pájaros, insectos, murciélago
  5. Peces, reptiles
Alicia Fernández
Alicia Fernández

Alicia Fernández is a content writer at Berges Institute.

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