Names of Zoo Animals in Spanish

Some have separate male, female forms

Chimpanzee and boy
Un chimpancé y un niño. (A chimpanzee and a boy.).

Doris Rudd Designs, Photography / Getty Images

How well do you know the names of animals in Spanish? Here are the Spanish names for the animals you will find at many zoos as well as notes about the grammar related to animals.

In Spanish, a zoo is typically known as un jardín zoológico, un zoológico, or simply un zoo. Note that because of regional variations, names in actual use are sometimes different than those here, although these names will be understood everywhere.

Anfibios — Amphibians

la rana — frog
la salamandra — salamander
el sapo — toad
el tritón — newt

Aves — Birds

el águila (feminine noun) — eagle​
el albatros — albatross
el avestruz — ostrich
el buitre — vulture
el búho — owl
la cigüeña — stork
la cacatúa — cockatoo
el colimbo — loon, diver
la cotorra, el loro — parrot
el emú — emu
el flamenco — flamingo
el ganso — goose
la garza — heron
la gaviota — seagull
la grulla — crane
el halcón — falcon, hawk
la ibis — ibis
la lechuza, el búho — owl
el ñandú — rhea
la oca — goose
la paloma — dove
el pato — duck
el pavo — turkey
el pavo real — peacock
el pelícano — pelican
el pingüino — penguin
el somormujo — grebe
el tucán — toucan

Mamíferos— Mammals

el alce — elk, moose
la ardilla — squirrel
la ballena — whale
el caballo — horse
el camello — camel
el canguro — kangaroo
la cebra — zebra
el cerdo — pig
el chimpancé — chimpanzee
el ciervo — deer
el elefante — elephant
la foca — seal
el gálago — galago
el gibón — gibbon
el gorila — gorilla
el guepardo — cheetah
la jirafa — giraffe
el hipopótamo — hippopotamus
el oso hormiguero — anteater
el koala — koala
el león — lion
el león marino — sea lion
el leopardo — leopard
el lobo — wolf
el manatí — manatee
la marsopa — porpoise
el mono — monkey
la nutria — otter
el oso — bear
el panda — panda
el pecarí — peccary
el rinoceronte — rhinoceros
el tapir — tapir
el tigre — tiger
el alce, el uapití — elk
el visón — mink
el zorro — fox

Reptiles — Reptiles

el lagarto, el aligátor — alligator
la culebra — snake
el cocodrilo — crocodile
el caimán — caiman
el serpiente — snake
la tortuga — turtle, tortoise

Animales de Granja — Farm Animals

la abeja — bee
el cerdo — pig
el caballo — horse
el gallo — rooster
la oveja — sheep
el pavo — turkey
el pollo, la gallina — chicken
el toro — bull
la vaca — cow

Gender of Animals

In most cases, the same word is used to refer the male animals of a species as is used for the females. However, as in English, there are some distinctive forms, such as vaca (cow) for the female of the bovine species and toro (bull) for the male.

Animals with differentiated forms are listed below. The one that is listed first is the one you can use as the species name. For example, a group of cattle can be referred to as vacas even if bulls are included, just as in English we can refer to a group of mixed-sex cattle as cows. Similarly, if you saw a single bovine in the distance and didn't know whether it's a cow or bull, you could simply call it a vaca.

el burro, la burra — donkey; type of female donkey or jenny
el caballo, la yegua — stallion or male horse, mare or female horse
el conejo, la coneja — male rabbit, female rabbit
el elefante, la elefanta — male elephant, female elephant
el gato, la gata — male cat, female cat
la gallina, el gallo — hen or chicken, rooster
el lagarto, la lagarta — male lizard, female lizard
el león, la leona — male lion, female lion or lioness
el oso, la osa — male/female bear
la oveja, el carnero — ewe or male sheep, ram or female sheep
el perro, la perra — male dog, female dog or bitch
el ratón, la ratona — male mouse, female mouse
el tigre, la tigresa — male tiger, female tiger or tigress
la vaca, el toro — cow, bull

If you need to distinguish between the female and male of a species and there aren't separate names, you can use the invariable adjective hembra or macho, respectively. Thus you could refer to a female koala as un koala hembra and a male koala as un koala macho.

Using the Personal A With Animals

Although the personal a is normally used with people, it can be used with animals such as pets that the speaker has an emotional attachment to. Note the difference in these two sentences:

  • Vi un perro con un solo ojo. (I saw a dog with just one eye. The speaker is referring to an otherwise unknown dog.)
  • El veterinario sacrificó a mi perra de nueve años. (The veterinarian euthanized my 9-year-old dog. The speaker is referring to a pet that she thinks of as a personality.)

Groups of Animals

Spanish as numerous words for groups of animals, with the collective noun used depending on the species and where the animals are found. The assignment of a group name is often arbitrary, as it is in English.

Manada is one of most common names for a group of animals that walk together in the wild. Although it is often the equivalent of "herd," la manada is used with animals that "herd" isn't. For example, a group of turkeys can be known as una manada de pavos. Other types of animals that can congregate in manadas include wolves, gnus, wolves, lions, horses, monkeys, and hyenas, among many others.

A group of domesticated animals is sometimes known as un rebaño, similar to "flock." It is used with sheep and cows and sometimes even wild animals such as wolves.

Ganado is used similarly to manada and rebaño. Bandada can be used for groups of birds or fishes.

Sometimes the suffix -ada can be used with the name of an animal to refer to a group. Examples include pollada (flock of chickens), torada (herd of bulls), and vacada (herd of cows).

Key Takeaways

  • For most animals, the gender of the animal name is used for both males and females of the species, although some animal names have distinctive gendered forms.
  • Hembra and macho are adjectives used in describing female and male animals, respectively.
  • The personal a is used when talking about pets or other animals that are an object of affection.