Wild Animals Vocabulary

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This guide will help you to navigate the vocabulary related to wild animals. Whether you're a language learner or a wildlife enthusiast, this article will enrich your understanding and help you communicate about wildlife more effectively. 
Explore English Wild Animals Vocabulary: Names and Types.

Wild Animals Types

This section provides a basic classification to help you better identify wild animals in nature, books, or documentaries. With this knowledge, you'll be able to categorize any animal you come across on a top 100 animals list.

  • Mammals: Warm-blooded vertebrate animals characterized by the possession of hair or fur, females of which typically secrete milk for the nourishment of the young.
  • Birds: Warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrates characterized primarily by feathers, beaks, and a high metabolic rate.
  • Reptiles: Refers to a class of cold-blooded vertebrate animals characterized by having dry, scaly skin and typically laying amniotic eggs on land.
  • Amphibians: Refer to a class of cold-blooded vertebrate animals that typically undergo metamorphosis during their life cycle and have a dual life strategy of living both in water and on land. The word "amphibian" comes from the Greek term "amphibios," which means "living a double life.
  • Fish: Water-dwelling creatures that are gill-bearing, lack limbs with digits, and often have scales.
  • Invertebrates: animals that lack a vertebral column or backbone. They constitute a vast and varied group, comprising about 97% of all animal species.
  • Arthropods: Arthropods are a large and diverse group of invertebrate animals characterized by having jointed legs and a hard exoskeleton made of chitin.
  • Insects: A specific class of invertebrate animals within the arthropod group. They are characterized by having six legs, three body segments (head, thorax, and abdomen), and usually a pair of wings.

As you continue your language learning journey, you'll find these classifications will come in handy in many scenarios, whether you're watching a wildlife documentary, reading a book, or even visiting a zoo. 

Wild Animals List

Now you may delve into different species, from small wild animals to large mammals dividing them by related types.


  • Lion: A large carnivorous cat with a golden mane found in African savannas.
  • Elephant: A massive herbivorous mammal with a long trunk and tusks, native to Africa and Asia.
  • Bear: A powerful omnivorous mammal with thick fur found in various habitats across the world.
  • Cheetah: A sleek and fast feline known for its spotted coat and exceptional speed.
  • Giraffe: A tall, long-necked herbivore with a distinctive spotted coat, commonly found in African grasslands.
  • Wolf: A social carnivorous mammal with a bushy tail, known for its howling calls, found in various regions.
  • Orangutan: A large, long-armed ape native to Southeast Asia, characterized by reddish-brown fur.
  • Dolphin: A highly intelligent marine mammal known for its playful behavior and streamlined body.
  • Koala: A small, tree-dwelling marsupial with gray fur and distinctive large ears, native to Australia.
  • Tiger: A fearsome big cat with striking orange and black stripes found in Asian forests.


  • Salmon: A sleek, migratory fish with silver scales, known for its leaping abilities, found in oceans and rivers.
  • Clownfish: A small, brightly colored fish with distinctive white stripes, often associated with sea anemones.
  • Shark: A formidable marine predator with a cartilaginous skeleton and multiple rows of teeth.
  • Swordfish: A large, fast-swimming fish with a long, pointed bill resembling a sword.
  • Angelfish: A colorful, flat-bodied fish with a unique shape resembling angel wings.
  • Trout: A freshwater fish with speckled skin and a streamlined body, popular for sport fishing.
  • Manta Ray: A massive, gentle marine ray with triangular pectoral fins and a broad mouth.
  • Guppy: A small, brightly colored tropical fish often kept in aquariums.
  • Barracuda: A sleek, predatory fish with a pointed head and sharp teeth.
  • Humpback Whale: A massive marine mammal known for its acrobatic breaches and melodic songs.


  • Snake: A legless reptile with a long, cylindrical body, capable of slithering and swallowing prey whole.
  • Crocodile: A large, predatory reptile with a long snout and powerful jaws found in tropical waters.
  • Turtle: A slow-moving reptile with a protective shell, often found in aquatic habitats.
  • Chameleon: A colorful reptile with the ability to change its skin color for camouflage.
  • Iguana: A herbivorous reptile with a long tail and spiky crest, native to tropical regions.
  • Komodo Dragon: A large, carnivorous lizard with powerful jaws and venomous saliva.
  • Alligator: A reptile similar to a crocodile but with a broader snout, found in the southeastern United States and China.
  • Geckos: Small, agile lizards with specialized toe pads enabling them to climb on various surfaces.
  • Cobra: A venomous snake known for its iconic hood and aggressive defensive behavior.
  • Tortoise: A land-dwelling reptile with a sturdy shell found in arid regions


  • Frog: A small, leaping amphibian with smooth, moist skin, commonly found near water bodies.
  • Toad: A stout, hopping amphibian with dry, bumpy skin, often found in gardens and forests.
  • Salamander: A slender amphibian with a long tail, usually found in moist habitats.
  • Axolotl: A unique amphibian with external gills, native to Mexico.
  • Caecilian: A limbless amphibian resembling a snake or worm found in tropical regions.
  • Fire-bellied toad: A brightly colored toad with striking patterns on its belly, known for its defensive display.
  • Dart Frog: A tiny, poisonous frog with vibrant colors found in tropical rainforests.
  • Bullfrog: A large, aquatic frog with a deep call, commonly found in North American ponds and lakes.


  • Ladybug: A small, round beetle with red or orange wings and black spots, often considered a symbol of luck.
  • Dragonfly: A flying insect with large, multifaceted eyes and long, slender wings.
  • Bee: A flying insect known for its role in pollination and honey production.
  • Ant: A social insect forming colonies with a hierarchical structure and specialized roles.
  • Butterfly: A beautiful flying insect with colorful wings undergoing a complete metamorphosis.
  • Grasshopper: An insect with long hind legs for jumping and producing rhythmic sounds called "chirping" using their wings.
  • Mosquito: A small, slender insect with a proboscis for sucking blood, known for transmitting diseases to humans and animals.
  • Firefly: A luminescent beetle capable of emitting light, often seen during summer nights as they flash their abdomens.
  • Moth: A nocturnal flying insect similar to butterflies but often with less colorful wings.
  • Cicada: A large, noisy insect with transparent wings, known for its distinctive buzzing or droning sound during the summer months.

These are the most common types. Keep learning with Promova to discover more wild animals!


Wild Animals Habitats Vocabulary

In this section, you will learn about the different habitats of wild animals. After this, you'll have a clearer picture of where various wild animals live. 

  • Grassland: A large open area of the country covered with grass.
  • Ocean: The vast body of salt water that covers most of the earth's surface, which is home to numerous marine life forms.
  • Desert: A desolate expanse of terrain characterized by minimal rainfall and inhospitable conditions for flora and fauna.
  • Wetland: Land consisting of marshes or swamps; saturated land.
  • Tundra: A vast, flat, treeless Arctic region where the subsoil is permanently frozen.
  • Forest: an extensive expanse of land primarily covered with trees and underbrush.
  • Jungle: A dense forest that is nearly impenetrable because of the abundance of vegetation, especially high shrubs, vines, and trees. Jungles are often associated with tropical areas and rainforests, providing habitats for a highly diverse range of plant and animal species.
  • Mountain: A substantial natural rise of the earth's surface, offering exceptional high-altitude environments for various species to thrive.
  • River: A natural flowing watercourse, providing a home to many aquatic and semi-aquatic species like otters, beavers, and many fish species.
  • Savannah: A rolling grassland with scattered trees and shrubs found in tropical and subtropical regions. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including lions, giraffes, and elephants.
  • Coral Reef: An underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. It provides a habitat for a diverse array of marine life, including different types of fish, sea turtles, and a multitude of invertebrates.

Understanding these environments will give you a new perspective when discussing or reading about wildlife. 

Conservation and Wildlife Terminology

Let’s move further to key terms related to the protection of animals and their habitats.

  • Endangered: A species that is at risk of extinction.
  • Conservation: The act of protecting and preserving natural resources and the environment.
  • Poaching: The illegal hunting, capturing, or killing of wild animals.
  • Biodiversity: Refers to the assortment of living organisms present in the world or a specific environment, including their genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity.
  • Habitat Loss: The process in which a natural habitat becomes incapable of supporting its native species.
  • Rehabilitation: The process of helping an injured or sick wild animal recover with the aim of releasing it back into the wild.
  • Keystone Species: A species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend.
  • Invasive Species: Non-native species that cause harm to the ecosystem into which they have been introduced.
  • Ecological Footprint: A measure of the impact of human activities, quantified by the amount of biologically productive land and water needed to produce consumed goods and absorb generated waste.
  • Climate Change: A long-term change in the earth's climate, especially a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature.
  • Ecotourism: This entails conscientious travel to natural regions that preserves the ecosystem and enhances the welfare of indigenous communities.
  • Wildlife Corridor: A strip of land helping wildlife to move from one habitat patch to another, usually created to counteract the fragmentation of animal habitats by human activities.
  • Sustainable Development: Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES): A global accord among governments that seeks to safeguard the survival of wild animals and plants by preventing their endangerment through international trade.
  • Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): Protected areas of seas, oceans, estuaries, or large lakes that restrict human activity for conservation purposes, typically to protect natural or cultural resources.

Having gone through these important conservation terms, you'll be better equipped to understand and engage in discussions about wildlife protection. It's another step towards becoming a more knowledgeable language learner and environmental steward.

Wild Animal Adaptations

Now we're going to focus on animal adaptations. These terms will enhance your understanding of the strategies animals use to survive in their specific habitats, adding an exciting layer to your wildlife vocabulary.

  • Camouflage: An animal's natural coloring or form that enables it to blend in with its surroundings.
  • Hibernation: A state of inactivity and metabolic depression in animals during winter.
  • Mimicry: The resemblance of one species to another which protects one or both.
  • Nocturnal: Animals that are most active during the night.
  • Aquatic: Animals adapted to living in the water.
  • Arboreal: Animals that are adapted to living in trees.
  • Venomous: Animals capable of injecting venom.
  • Flight: The ability to fly by gaining support from the air.
  • Echolocation: The use of sound waves and echoes to determine where objects are in space.
  • Speed: Some animals are adapted for running at high speed.
  • Burrowing: The act of digging and living underground.
  • Endothermic: Animals that can generate their own body heat.
  • Ectothermic: Animals that depend on external sources for body heat.
  • Migration: Regular, long-distance travel from one location to another.
  • Color Vision: The ability of animals to perceive differences between light composed of different wavelengths independently of light intensity.

These adaptations help animals survive and thrive in their specific habitats, and understanding them can provide deeper insights when studying wildlife.

Popular Idioms or Fun Phrases Related to Wild Animals

By using these idioms, you can showcase your language skills in a fun and creative way. 

  • "Eager Beaver": A person who is excited about doing certain work.
  • "Cry Wolf": To give a false alarm.
  • "Birds of a Feather Flock Together": People of similar tastes, interests, or backgrounds tend to stick together.
  • "Busy as a Bee": Very busy, industrious.
  • "A Leopard Can't Change Its Spots": You cannot change who you are.
  • "Let the Cat Out of the Bag": To reveal a secret.
  • "Straight from the Horse's Mouth": To hear something from an authoritative source.
  • "The Elephant in the Room": A major problem that people avoid discussing or acknowledging.
  • "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing": A person who pretends to be good but is not.
  • "Bear the Brunt": To suffer the worst part of something unpleasant.

Using these idioms in your daily conversations will show off your animal vocabulary.


The next time you come across a wild animals name or see the top 100 animals list, you'll have a better understanding of the richness of the world's wildlife.

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PromovaNov 16th, 2023
The vocabulary related to wild animals can be used in various contexts such as discussing wildlife documentaries, describing animals in their natural habitats, talking about safaris or zoo visits, or engaging in conversations about nature and conservation.
FrederickNov 16th, 2023
In what context might one use this vocabulary related to wild animals in English?