Are you headed to the zoo or going to take a hike through the woods in a Spanish-speaking country?
If you’re keen on senderismo (hiking), you’re bound to encounter a few animals.
Even though you may have encountered a few in your Spanish course, wait, do you know how to identify different animals in Spanish?
In this guide, I will take you through the different types of animals in Spanish.
Ready to become a nature enthusiast in Spain or Latin America? Let’s make a start.
What are the different categories of animals in Spanish?
Well, you may already know that animals can fall into different categories.
There are amphibians, reptiles, mammals, fish, and birds in English.
The types of animals in Spanish are:
Of course, each of these categories has many different species of animals.
For convenience, I’ve divided this article into five different categories of animals so you can navigate to each section easily and find out the name of the animal you need.
A quick note on masculine and feminine articles for animals in Spanish
Before we get started with the list of names for animals in Spanish, here’s a quick note on masculine and feminine articles for animals in Spanish.
Every noun we use to describe an animal in Spanish is either masculine or feminine. This rule means you’ll either use el or la, un or una articles to identify them.
For example, in English, we may refer to a group of dogs as “the dogs” and a group of rats as “the rats,” but in Spanish, we must use a masculine article for the dogs los perros and a feminine article for the plural of “rats” las ratas.
Since it’s important to know the gender of a noun that identifies an animal species, I’ve provided the masculine and feminine articles for every animal on this list.
Don’t forget to learn the Spanish animals with their articles.
With that in mind…
Names of animals in Spanish you should know
Let’s now go through the list of names of animals and species in Spanish that you should know.
Which ones do you recognise, and which ones do you need to practice?
Fish and sea animals 🐟 (peces y animales del mar)
We’ll begin with a range of fish and sea animals that live in an ocean habitat.
I’ve also described some of the critical characteristics of these animals in Spanish.
Which do you recognize?
1. El pulpo - octopus
Un pulpo is an octopus.
This animal is eaten in Galicia as a Spanish delicacy and has eight tentáculos, or “tentacles.”
2. El tiburón - shark
Un tiburón is a shark. We often refer to them as los reyes del mar or los reyes del océano, which means “the kings of the sea” since they’re predators with dientes afilados (sharp teeth).
3. El cangrejo/el cámbaro - crab
Cangrejos are crabs.
You’ll find them on the rocks of playas. Note that there are different species of cangrejo, and cámbaros are one example.
4. La foca - seal
Una foca is the Spanish animal name for the seal species.
Focas have aletas or fins to help them swim through the water. You can find them in hábitats oceánicos, or ocean habitats.
5. El calamar - squid
Un calamar is the Spanish animal name for the squid species.
They live in hábitats océanicos and Spaniards eat them as a delicacy in Spain. Like the pulpo, calamares also have tentáculos, but only two.
6. La langosta - lobster
Una langosta is a sea-dwelling animal known as lobster in English.
Langostas have antenas (a cognate that means antenas in English) and cabezas grandes (large heads).
7. El pingüino - penguin
You might have noticed that the name of this animal in Spanish is a partial cognate in English.
Un pingüino is a penguin.
Like focas, pingüinos have aletas para nadar (that’s fins for swimming).
Amphibians 🐸 (anfibios)
Now let’s look at three of the most well-known amphibians and their characteristics and habitats.
Have you ever heard of these Spanish animal names?
1. La rana - frog
Una rana is a Spanish animal name for the frog species.
There are several different especies of rana, some with smooth skin (piel lisa) and others with rough skin (piel rugosa or áspera).
2. La salamandra - salamander
Las salamandras are a type of anfibio pequeño (small amphibian) that live in bosques montañosos y hábitats húmedos, or forests and humid habitats.
3. El tritón - newt
Los tritones are another type of anfibio pequeño that have similar characteristics to las salamandras.
They have colas largas (long tails) to help them swim, and live in zonas húmedos (humid locations).
Reptiles 🐊 (reptiles)
This section describes five reptile species, their names in Spanish, and their characteristics and habitats.
Have you heard of these animals?
1. El lagarto - lizard
Los lagartos are a reptile that has escamas (or scales in English).
They live in zonas rocosas, bosques, and desiertos (rocky areas, forests, and deserts).
2. La tortuga - the turtle
Tortuga is a Spanish animal name for the turtle species.
They are known for their caparazón or shell, protecting the turtle’s body from harm.
3. La serpiente - the serpent/snake
You may notice that the name of this animal in Spanish is a partial cognate.
La serpiente is a snake or serpent in English.
4. La iguana - iguana
This Spanish animal name is a cognate, so it’s easy to remember.
Una iguana is an iguana.
They have colas largas and piel con escamas (long tails and skin with scales).
5. El cocodrilo - crocodile
El cocodrilo is a Spanish animal name for the crocodile species.
This animal depredador or animal predator has dientes grandes y afilados (large and sharp teeth).
Birds 🐦 (aves)
In the following section, I’ve described the characteristics and habitats of three different bird species and provided the Spanish animal names.
Do you know any of these names?
1. El águila - eagle
Un águila is an eagle.
Los águilas have alas grandes (large wings).
There are many different especies (species) of águilas that live in different habitats such as las montañas y bosques.
2. El búho - owl
Un búho is a Spanish animal name for the owl species.
Los búhos live in bosques and are classed as animales nocturnos (that’s nocturnal animals).
3. La paloma - pigeon
You’ll find this animal in Spanish plazas looking for food dropped by humans.
Las palomas are pigeons.
They live in cuidades (cities).
Mammals 🦘 (mamíferos)
The following list features common mammals and their characteristics.
I’ve also described the habitats of these animals in Spanish.
Which ones do you know on this list?
1. El canguro - kangaroo
Un canguro is a Spanish animal name for the kangaroo species.
Los canguros are herbívoros (plant-eaters) that have orejas y colas largas - (long ears and tails).
2. El lobo - wolf
Un lobo is a wolf in English.
Los lobos are mamíferos, but they’re also depredadores (predators).
They have a lot of grey fur, or abundante pelo gris, and cazan animals pequeños (a Spanish verb that means they hunt small animals).
3. La jirafa - giraffe
This Spanish animal name is a partial cognate, so it might be easy to remember.
Una jirafa is a giraffe.
We recognise them by their cuellos largos (long necks) and live in sabanas africanas(African savannas).
4. El zorro - fox
Los zorros are foxes in English.
Like los lobos, los zorros cazan - (they hunt to catch their food).
This animal is another depredador that lives in bosques (forests) worldwide.
5. La cebra - zebra
This cognate is a Spanish name for the zebra species, so you should have no trouble remembering it. Cebras are herbívoros, meaning they only eat grass.
Like las jirafas, cebras live in sabanas africanas.
6. El tigre - tiger
This partial cognate is more straightforward to recognise than some of the other animal names.
Un tigre is a tiger.
They are depredadores and also hunt their food in the wild (cazan presas en la naturaleza).
7. La rata - rat
The English name for this animal is “rat”.
This Spanish animal name is similar to the word for “mouse” which I have described below.
8. El ratón - mouse
Don’t get confused with this animal in Spanish.
Un ratón is a mouse (and not a rat).
One interesting thing to remember is that un ratón is a noun that Spanish speakers call a computer “mouse”.
9. El mono - monkey
Un mono is a monkey.
A few different especies live in tropical countries (paises tropicales), and most have colas largas.
10. El gorila - gorilla
This Spanish animal name is a cognate, so understanding it shouldn’t be too difficult.
Un gorila is a gorilla in English.
They live in the equatorial African forests or los bosques ubicados en África ecuatorial.
11. El elefante - elephant
Un elefante is another Spanish animal name that is a partial cognate and should be easy to understand.
It means “elephant”.
Los elefantes live in hábitats diversos (that’s diverse habitats) located in Africa and Asia.
They have trompas largas (long trunks).
12. El oso - bear
Los osos are bears.
This animal is another mamífero (mammal) and although they may be considered carnívoros, or carnivores, they are onmívoros (omnivores).
Many different especies de oso, or bear species, live in different hábitats.
13. El caballo - horse
Un caballo is a horse.
In this context, Los caballos have cascos (which are hooves in English).
14. El delfín - dolphin
Although many might mistake this animal for a fish, los delfines are a type of mamífero.
They are very intelligent (inteligente) and live in mares templados or warm seas.
15. El hipopótamo - hippopotamus
Although you can find los hipopótamos in water, they are a type of mamífero (mammal).
16. El león - lion
Un león is a Spanish animal name that is a partial cognate.
It means “lion” in English. Los leones are depredadores; this species is another example of an animal that hunts for food - just like a cazador or “hunter” would.
17. El rinoceronte - rhinoceros
This partial cognate makes it easier to understand or identify this animal.
Un rinoceronte is a “rhinoceros” in English.
They have large cuernos (horns) and live in sabanas africanas.
18. La vaca - cow
Una vaca is a Spanish animal name that means “cow” in English.
You can find them in granjas eating grass (la césped).
19. La ballena - whale
Ballenas are whales.
Although many believe ballenas are peces (a type of fish), they have many characteristics that make them mamíferos.
Learn the names of the animals in Spanish and practice to get them right
Learning the names of animals in Spanish is easy because most of them resemble their English counterparts.
With this list and a little bit of practice, you’ll soon be able to notice and identify most common animals in Spanish.
Soon you’ll be impressing your Spanish-speaking friends with your wildlife knowledge.
Which animals would you like to see added to this list?
Share your contribution in the comments.