General English Vocabulary for Animals

Revisado porNataliia Afonina / más sobre Proceso editorial
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Whether you are a language enthusiast, a beginner in English learning, or a professional aiming to enhance your communication skills, having a broad vocabulary is crucial. This article will introduce you to general vocabulary related to animals, which will enrich your English language understanding and usage. 
Enhance Your Language with General English Vocabulary for Animals.

Types of Animals 

When you're learning English, it's important to know the basic terms and types of animals, as this can enrich your vocabulary and allow you to describe the natural world more accurately. This list includes ten broad categories of animals:

  • Vertebrates: animals that have a backbone or spinal column, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. They have well-defined heads and usually well-developed brains.
  • Invertebrates: animals that do not have a backbone or spinal column. This group includes a wide range of animals, such as insects, spiders, mollusks, and crustaceans. They make up about 95% of animal species.
  • Mammals: warm-blooded animals that have hair or fur, and females primarily secrete milk to feed young ones. Examples include dogs or cats.
  • Birds: warm-blooded egg-laying animals characterized by the possession of feathers, beaks, and wings. Examples include eagles and penguins.
  • Reptiles: cold-blooded animals that typically lay soft-shelled eggs and have skin covered in scales or bony plates. Examples include snakes, turtles, and alligators.
  • Amphibians: cold-blooded animals that spend some of their life in water and some on land. They usually lay their eggs in water. Examples include frogs and salamanders.
  • Fish: animals that have gills and fins for living wholly in water. Examples include tuna, salmon, and clownfish.
  • Insects: small animals that have six legs and generally one or two pairs of wings. Examples include ants, bees, and butterflies.
  • Arachnids: animals with eight legs, like spiders, scorpions, and mites.
  • Mollusks: invertebrates, many with a shell, including snails, clams, and octopuses.
  • Crustaceans: primarily aquatic animals that usually have a hard shell and five pairs of legs.
  • Carnivores: animals that primarily eat other animals. These include lions, wolves, and eagles.
  • Herbivores: animals that eat plants. Examples are deer, rabbits, and elephants.
  • Omnivores: animals that eat both plants and other animals. Examples include bears, raccoons, and humans.

By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you've taken a big step toward understanding and discussing the animal kingdom in English. Keep practicing and try to use these words in your daily English conversations to become more comfortable with them.

Animal Habitats

Habitats are places where animals live. In this list, you will learn about the general natural habitats of animals:

  • Forest: a large area covered chiefly with trees and undergrowth.
  • Rainforest: a type of forest characterized by high rainfall. It's home to vast varieties of species and covers only a small part of the earth's surface.
  • Tropical rainforest: a rainforest in tropical regions, which has warm temperatures year-round, significant rainfall, and high humidity. They are incredibly bio-diverse, hosting many species of plants and animals.
  • Grassland: a large open area covered mainly with grass, where trees are typically sparse. Grasslands can be found on all continents except Antarctica.
  • Taiga: a biome with coniferous woods made up mostly of pines, spruces, and larches. It is also called the boreal forest or the snow forest. The taiga is the biggest land biome in the world. It covers a lot of land in North America, Europe, and Asia.
  • Tundra: a type of biome where tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. Tundras are found in the polar regions and atop mountains, and they host a number of hardy plant and animal species.
  • Arctic: the polar region located at the northernmost part of the Earth. It consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. It's a harsh, icy environment with a diverse ecosystem, including animals like polar bears and seals.
  • Antarctica: the southernmost continent and site of the South Pole. It is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass, hosting a variety of animal life, including penguins, seals, and various types of whales.
  • Safari: not a habitat, but a type of trip or journey, often in Africa, to observe and photograph wildlife in their natural environment. The habitats visited on a safari can include savannahs, grasslands, and woodlands, where a wide variety of animals, like lions, elephants, and zebras, can be found.
  • Jungle: a dense forest in tropical areas inhabited by various animals like monkeys, tigers, and parrots.

Now that you're familiar with these different habitats, you'll be able to talk more precisely about where various animals live. Remember these terms, and try to use them when discussing animals and their environments in English.

Animal Groups

In English, there are specific words for different groups of animals. This list presents some of these collective nouns, adding diversity to your language when talking about groups of animals.

  • Pack: a group of wild animals that live and hunt together.
  • Flock: a group of birds or sheep.
  • School: a large group of fish.
  • Herd: a large group of animals, particularly hoofed mammals, that live, feed, or migrate together.
  • Swarm: a large group of insects, especially when in motion.
  • Colony; a group of certain animals living together, often in a fixed location like ants or bees.
  • Pod: a group of marine mammals such as dolphins or whales.
  • Pride: a group of lions.

Knowing these terms for animal groups can make your English sound more natural and sophisticated.


Animal-Related Actions

Animals behave in unique ways, and English has specific verbs to describe these actions. Here is a list of verbs that can help you express animal behaviors and sounds:

  • Graze: this is what herbivores like cows or sheep do when they eat grass or other low-lying vegetation.
  • Slither: the action snakes make when they move smoothly over a surface, making successive S-shaped curves.
  • Scurry: a quick, hurried movement often used to describe small animals like mice or squirrels when they move rapidly and rather erratically.
  • Hibernate: a type of sleep that some animals take to pass the winter in a dormant or inactive state, conserving energy while food is scarce.
  • Migrate: the action many bird species take when they move from one place to another, usually based on the seasons, often to find food or to reproduce.
  • Purr: this is what a cat does when it's happy or comfortable.
  • Bark: the sound a dog makes.
  • Roar: the loud, deep cry of a wild animal, especially a lion.
  • Chirp: the short, sharp sound or song of a small or young bird.
  • Buzz: the low, continuous humming sound made by a bee.
  • Neigh: the characteristic high-pitched sound made by a horse.
  • Croak: the deep, hoarse sound made by a frog or a crow.
  • Hop: jumping movement rabbits or kangaroos make.

Now that you've learned these action words, you can use them to describe animal behaviors more accurately. Keep practicing them in sentences, and soon, they will become a natural part of your English vocabulary.


A strong vocabulary is a great asset in learning and mastering a language. Through this article, you've expanded your knowledge of animal-related terms in English. Keep practicing these words to get more comfortable with them and to facilitate your overall language acquisition.

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shaaayMar 29th, 2024
so exciting, I'm shocked!
sophie georgeNov 16th, 2023
Guys, well done, thanks for such cool articles!