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Unlike German numbers or telling the time in German, German animal names are actually fun to learn.

This is because the German language is pretty straightforward when it comes to animal names and often just describes and states the obvious. I'm thinking here of German animal names like Nasenbär (anteater) or Nashorn (rhino).

In this article, the focus isn't on the funniest German animal names, but on animal names in general. We'll cover them all!

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Weird Animal Names

German animal names can be quite quirky. Anteater, for example, is "anteaterder Nasenbär" which literally means "nose bear". The German word for sloth is "slothdas Faultier": lazy animal. For more of these, check out our list of 20+ really bizarre German animal names.

We'll start with pets & farm animals and then work our way through more exotic animals ("exotic" meaning that you won't find them in German forests 🌳) as well as bugs and insects 🪲. Have fun!

Pets & House Animals 🐶

Let's start out with pets.

Knowing the word for lion or zebra in German is all fun and giggles, but let's be honest: You're more likely to encounter a dog or a cat in the streets of Berlin (in the parks of Münster rabbits even!), than an anteater or a pot whale.

The German word for pet is petHaustier, which literally means 'house animal'. The German words for dog and cat are also useful to know, as cats are the most popular pet in Germany.

EnglishGerman
der Hunddog
die Katzecat
der Hamsterhamster
der Goldfischgold fish
das Meerschweinchenguinea pig
der Wellensittichbudgie
die Ratterat
das Kaninchenrabbit
What is the German word for dog?
What is the German word for cat

Farm Animals 🐮

Next up are farm animals. The word 'farm animals' in German is farm animalsBauernhoftiere.

EnglishGerman
das Schweinpig
die Kuh (die Kühe)cow
das Pferdhorse
das Huhn (die Hühner)chicken
der Hahn (die Hähne)rooster
das Kükenchick

Forest Animals 🌳

EnglishGerman
der Hirschdeer
der Dachsbadger
der Fuchs, die Füchsefox
der Haserabbit
das Reh(female) deer
der Maulwurfmole
der Wolfwolf
das Wildschweinwild boar
das Eichhörnchensquirrel
die Mausmouse
die Fledermausbat
das Wieselweasle
der Siebenschläferdormouse

Exotic Animals 🦁

While you won't be able to find that many lions and zebras in German forests, it's still very useful to know the German words for exotic animals.

Luckily, there are a lot of cognates, so the German word for tiger is simply "der Tiger" and giraffe is just "die Giraffe". While those words are spelled exactly the same in German, others are spelled only slightly differently, like for example 'der Elefant' or 'die Hyäne' - still close enough though!

EnglishGerman
der Tiger (die Tiger)tiger
der Löwelion
der Elefantelephant
die Giraffegiraffe
das Nashornrhino
das Nilpferdhippo
der Straußostrich
das Zebrazebra
die Hyänehyena
die Antilopeantelope

Insects 🪲

Now off to insects! One thing to remember here is that bugKäfer is masculine. So Marienkäfer, Mistkäfer and all the other Käfer are always masculine.

EnglishGerman
die Ameiseant
der Schmetterlingbutterfly
der Käfer (die Käfer)bug
der Marienkäfer (die Marienkäfer)ladybird
die Raupecaterpillar

Sea & Water Animals 🐢

EnglishGerman
der Haishark
der Fischfish
der Walwhale
der Delfindolphin
die Schildkröteturtle
die Quallejellyfish
der Schwertwalorca, killer whale
das Walrosswalrus
der Seehundseal
der Lachssalmon
der Störsturgeon
die Forelletrout
der Kabeljaucod
der Barschbass
der Aaleel
der Oktopusoctopus

Birds 🦤

EnglishGerman
der Vogelbird
die Euleowl
der Spatzsparrow
der Spechtwoodpecker
die Amselblackbird
der Storchstorch
das Geiervulture
der Adlereagle
der Falkefalcon
der Pfaupeacock
der Kranichcrane
der Reiherheron
der Schwanswan
die Möweseagull
der Straußostrich
der Truthahnturkey
die Wachtelquail
der Raberaven

Reptiles 🐍

EnglishGerman
das Krokodilcrocodile
das Chamäleonchameleon
die Schlangesnake
der Leguaniguana
der Froschfrog
der Salamandersalamander

What animals are masculine and feminine in German?

Now, if you want to remember the gender of animals in German, that's not always easy.