Alphabets & Writing Learn Hiragana Common Anime Words

Japanese Animal Names - List of 140 Names of Animals in Japanese

Saturday, July 23, 2016
If you watch anime, you might know that a neko 猫 is a "cat" and that an inu 犬 is a "dog", but what about the others? What are the animals' names in Japanese? Well, I've put together a list of them!

Before the list, though, the word for "animal" in Japanese is doubutsu 動物, written with the kanji for "move" and "thing," so, animals are literally "moving things." And a "zoo" is a called a doubutsu-en 動物園.
  • Aardvark
    tsuchi-buta 土豚
  • Alligator or Crocodile
    wani
  • Alpaca
    arupaka アルパカ
  • Ant
    ari 
  • Anteater
    ari-kui 蟻食い
  • Antelope
    rei-you 羚羊
  • Armadillo
    arumadjiro アルマジロ
    yoroi-nezumi 鎧鼠
  • Ape or Monkey
    saru 
  • Aye-aye
    yubi-zaru 指猿

The anteater, arikui, is literally "anteater." The armadillo, yoroi-nezumi, is literally "armored rat." And an Aye-aye in Japanese is literally "finger monkey."
  • Baboon
    hihi 狒々
  • Bat
    koumori 蝙蝠
  • Bear
    kuma 
  • Bee or Wasp
    hachi
  • Beluga (White Whale)
    shroi-ruka 白海豚
  • Beluga (European Sturgeon)
    oochou-zame 大蝶鮫
  • Bird
    tori 
  • Boar
    shuton 種豚
  • Bunny or Rabbit
    usagi 
  • Butterfly
    chou
    chouchou 蝶々

Bee, hachi 蜂, is homonym to the number 8, hachi 八. "Honey" is hachimitsu 蜂蜜, by the way.
  • Camel
    rakuda 駱駝
  • Cat
    neko 
  • Chicken
    niwatori 
  • Cheetah
    shuryouhyou 狩猟豹
  • Cicada
    semi
  • Cockroach
    gokiburi 蜚蠊
  • Cow
    ushi 
  • Crane
    tsuru
  • Crocodile or Alligator
    wani 鰐
  • Crow
    karasu

(gokiburi are kimochiwarui!!! 気持ち悪い)
  • Deer
    shika 鹿
  • Dinosaur
    kyouryuu 恐竜
  • Dog
    inu
  • Dolphin
    iruka 海豚
  • Donkey
    roba 驢馬
    usagi-uma 兎馬
  • Dove or Pigeon
    hato
    shiro-hato 白鳩
  • Duck
    kamo 

Chances are you'll see the kanji for deer used more to say baka 馬鹿 than used to say deer.
  • Eagle
    washi
  • Echidna
    hari-mogura 針土竜
  • Eel
    una
    unagi
  • Elephant
    zou 
  • Elk or Moose
    hera-jika 箆鹿

A moose is also sometimes called oojika 大鹿, literally "large deer."
  • Falcon or Hawk
    taka 
  • Ferret
    shiroitachi 白鼬
  • Fish
    sakana 
  • Fly
    Hae
  • Fox
    kitsune 
  • Frog
    kaeru 

Don't mistake kaeru 蛙, the "frog", with kaeru 帰る, "to go back [home]", or kaeru 変える, "to change", or kaeru 買える, "to be able to buy", or kaeru 替える, "to replace", or kaeru 飼える, "to be able to keep as a pet." (see Dogen's video about it)
  • Gerbil (Mongolian)
    suna-nezumi 砂鼠
  • Gerbil (Lesser, Egyptian)
    arechi-nezumi 荒地鼠
  • Giraffe
    kirin 麒麟
    kirinza 麒麟座
  • Gnat
    buyu
  • Goat
    yagi 山羊
  • Gnu
    ushikamoshika 牛羚羊
  • Goose
    gachou 鵞鳥
  • Gorilla
    Kondo Isao 近藤 勲 
    gorira ゴリラ
  • Grasshopper
    batta 飛蝗
    hataori mushi 機織り虫
  • Grouse
    raichou 雷鳥
  • Guinea Pig
    tenjiku-nezumi 天竺鼠
  • Gull
    kamome 鴎

The word "goose bumps" in Japanese is torihada 鳥肌 and it joins the kanji for "bird" and "skin". A goat is just a "mountain" "sheep".
  • Hamster
    kinuge-nezumi 絹毛鼠
  • Hawk or Falcon
    taka 
  • Hedgehog
    hari-nezumi 針鼠
  • Heron
    heron
  • Hippopotamus
    kaba 河馬
  • Hog
    i 猪
  • Honey Badger
    mitsu-ana-guma 蜜穴熊
  • Hornet
    suzume-bachi 雀蜂
  • Horse
    uma
  • Hound
    ryouken 猟犬
  • Human
    ningen 人間
  • Humming Bird
    hachi-dori 蜂鳥
  • Hyena
    tategami-inu 鬣犬

A "honey badger" is literally a "honey hole bear." And a "humming" bird is literally a "bee bird".
  • Insect or Worm
    mushi 
  • Jay (Eurasian)
    kakesu 懸巣
  • Jellyfish
    kurage 海月
  • Kangaroo
    kangaruu カンガルー
  • Koala
    koara コアラ
  • Lark (Horned)
    hamahibari 浜雲雀
  • Lemur
    kitsune-zaru 狐猿
  • Leopard
    hyou
  • Llama
    rama ラマ
  • Lion
    shishi 獅子
  • Louse, Lice
    shirami

What is a fox plus a monkey in Japanese? A lemur!!
  • Moose or Elk
    hera-jika 箆鹿
  • Mole
    mogura 土竜
  • Monkey or Ape
    saru 
  • Mosquito
    ka
  • Mouse
    nezumi
  • Mule
    raba 騾馬
  • Muskrat
    nioi-nezumi 臭鼠
  • Nightingale (Common)
    sayonaki-dori 小夜鳴き鳥
  • Nightingale (Japanese)
    uguisu 鶯
    haru-dori 春鳥
    haru-tsuge-dori 春告鳥

The common nightingale is literally called "little night-chirping bird," while the Japanese nightingale is called either uguisu, a yellowish-green color, or haru-tsuge-dori, "Spring announcing bird," because its color is often uguisu and because its chirping is often heard through Japan in spring.
  • Opossum
    fukuro-nezumi 袋鼠
  • Ostrich
    dachou 駝鳥
  • Otter (River)
    kawauso 川獺
  • Otter (Sea)
    rakko 海獺
  • Owl
    fukurou 
  • Ox
    oushi 牡牛
    oushi 雄牛
  • Oyster
    kaki 牡蠣

An Ox is literally a "male cow."
  • Panda
    panda パンダ (yep, panda is panda)
  • Parrot
    oumu 鸚鵡
  • Peacock or Peafowl
    kujaku 孔雀
  • Penguin
    pengin ペンギン
  • Pig
    buta
  • Pigeon or Dove
    hato 鳩
  • Platypus
    kamo-no-hashi 鴨の嘴
  • Porcupine
    yama-arashi 山荒
  • Porpoise (Common, Harbor)
    nezumi-iruka 鼠海豚
  • Porpoise (Black Finless)
    sunameri 砂滑
  • Porpoise (Spectacled)
    megane-iruka 眼鏡海豚
  • Porpoise (Burmeister's)
    kohari-iruka 小針海豚
  • Porpoise (Gulf)
    kogajira-nezumi-iruka 小頭鼠海豚
  • Possum
    possamu ポッサム
  • Pronghorn
    eda-tsuno-reiyou 枝角羚羊

To have a sense of porpoise, the common word is "rat dolphin", megane is "glasses" in Japanese, kohari means "small needles", and kogajira "small head" (can mean the manager of a part of an organization).
  • Quail
    uzura
  • Rabbit or Bunny
    usagi 
  • Racoon
    tanuki
  • Rat
    nezumi
  • Reindeer
    tonakai 馴鹿
  • Rhinoceros
    sai
  • Rhinoceros Beetle
    kabuto-mushi 甲虫

A rhinoceros beetle is literally a "helmet insect".
  • Sea Urchin
    uni 雲丹
  • Seal or Walrus (Pinnipeds)
    kikiaru-rui 鰭脚類
  • Shark
    same 
  • Sheep
    hitsuji
  • Skunk
    sukanku スカンク
  • Snake or Serpent
    hebi 
  • Spider
    kumo 蜘蛛
  • Squirrel (the flightless ones)
    risu 栗鼠
  • Squirrel (Flying)
    momonga 鼯鼠
    musasabi 鼯鼠
  • Swan
    hakuchou 白鳥

A swan literally stands for "white bird" in Japanese.
  • Termite
    shiro-ari 白蟻
  • Tiger
    tora 
  • Toad
    hikigaeru 蟇蛙
  • Trout
    masu 鱒
  • Turkey
    shichimenchou 七面鳥
  • Turtle
    kame 

A turkey is literally a "seven faces bird"!!
  • Walrus or Seal  (Pinnipeds)
    kikiaru-rui 鰭脚類
  • Wasp or Bee
    hachi
  • Weasel
    itachi
  • Whale
    kujira 
  • White Tiger
    byakko 白虎
  • Wolf
    ookami 
  • Wombat
    uonbatto ウォンバット
  • Woodpecker
    kitsutsuki 啄木鳥
  • Wren (Eurasian)
    misosazai 鷦鷯
  • Yak
    yaku ヤク
  • Zebra
    shima-uma 縞馬

(a special thanks to ZooBorns for the list of animal names)

For those learning Japanese, worry not about the kanji. Animal kanji are some of the most difficult kanji ever, so chances are you'll either find the animal names written in hiragana or with furigana.

Related Words

Since you're here anyway, a couple more words for you.

Pets

First off, the word for "pet" in Japanese is really just petto ペット. It's a loan word... they loaned "pet" from English and turned it into petto. Not that much interesting.

The "collars" pets wear are called kubiwa 首輪 in Japanese. That's literally "neck," kubi 首, and "ring," wa 輪, together. On the other side, the rings people wear on their "fingers," yubi 指, are called yubiwa 指輪.

In Japanese there's actually a verb for when "you take something as a pet," which is kau 飼う. From it you get words like "pet dog," kaiinu 飼い犬 and "pet cat," kaineko 飼い猫.

(don't mistake kau 飼う with kau 買う that means "to buy")

Puppy and Kitten

Together with the kanji 子 that's used for children, the words koinu 子犬 and koneko 子猫 are born, meaning "puppy" and "kitten" respectively. Really, though, that's just "child dog" and "child cat."

Nyaa ニャー and Wan ワン

The words nya ニャ, nyaa ニャー, nyan ニャン are the sounds cats make in Japanese, that is, they are like "meow." On the other side, wan ワン is the sound dogs make, like barking. (why nyaa and wan)

Bananya ばなにゃ, the banana cat anime character, is called bananya because it's a banana and because nya is "meow" in Japanese


Also, nyanko にゃんこ and wanko わんこ are two cute ways to say cat and dog in Japanese. For added cuteness, throw in a chan ちゃん at the end, like nyanko-chan にゃんこちゃん.

(in Hajime no Ippo はじめの一歩, Ippo's pet dog is called Wanpo ワンポ, a mix of wanko with the po in Ippo's name)

From these words was also born this demoniac aberration fun website: http://www.nyan.cat/

Osu 雄 and Mesu

When talking about people you use otoko 男 and onna 女 for "man" and "woman" respectively, but for animals, the words osu 雄 and mesu 雌 are used, meaning "male" and "female" respectively.

Body Parts

Another difference is that we people have "teeth," which are ha 歯, but animals have "fangs" which are called kiba 牙.

Animals also have "tails," which are called shippo 尻尾.

The nekomimi 猫耳 is a thing cats have, because they are cats, it means literally "cat ears," so obviously cats are going to have them. Actually people just call the cat's ears mimi 耳 when talking about them, nobody is going to ever say "the cat's cat ears" or neko no nekomimi 猫の猫耳.

Food

The food animals eat is called esa 餌. That can be pet food, lure, feed, whatever, it's called esa.

Doubts? Post a comment below!