50 ANIMAL TATTOOS AND THEIR MEANINGS
Animal tattoos can be extremely meaningful and personal. Picking the right one can be quite hard – so we asked animal meanings expert Gladys to tell us what nn animals represent! Read on to find your perfect tattoo!
Lions represent raw power and aggression, but there’s another side to them – they’re also playful, and sometimes quite lazy!
It’s all about self-control. Lions emphasize our ability to control and master our emotions.
Dogs are the best companions and friends – loyal, trustworthy, brave, protective, devoted. They teach us to be non-judgemental. They’re a great reminder to love unconditionally and faithfully, and to never lose your childish wonder no matter what happens!
Cats – as their nine lives tells us – are a symbol of rebirth. They’re associated with night, darkness, and magic. Cats are curious and playful, but they can be quite terrifying if they’re crossed! Overall, cats have a very clear message – live proud, live free!
A very intelligent creature of the night, owls tell us to trust our inner knowledge and have the foresight to make wise decisions. They are a reminder that secrets of ancient wisdom are meant for those who have earned the right to know!
Known for their great strength and power, bulls are protectors and associated with the wealth of a land. They’re a sign to be assertive and stand your ground – especially when in doubt! Let no one make you question what you believe in.
Gentle, wise, nurturing – elephants are emotional and loving animals who care deeply for their herd. Never get in between a mother and her baby elephant though – elephants also symbolize power and strength, and this gentle and majestic creature will charge at you with a vengeance if she views you as a threat! In Eastern and Native American tribes, elephants also represent luck.
Wolves are intelligent creatures with amazing intuition. Their haunting howls are how they call to their pack. But a lone wolf howls as a warning to all – wolf or human – that trespasses on its territory. Wolves are a reminder to stay true to who you are – whether you’re in a pack or riding solo.
Dragonflies all about being a free spirit! They symbolize change – from mental and emotional to physical, and are a sign that things are about to shift – so get ready for the ride!
With a roar that can shake the earth, the tiger is an impressive creature that makes its presence known and heard. Tigers can mean anything from danger and vengeance to power and strength to being a free spirit. Much like the lion, a tiger represents the ability to manage strong emotions more effectively.
- Little Black Birds
Most commonly associated with Bob Marley’s ‘every little thing will be alright’, the three little birds also represent being free of worry, trusting yourself and not being afraid to fall, and knowing when it’s time to soar. Basically, it’s all about hopes and dreams! http://www.carolinehobby.com/blog/2018/1/9/three-little-birds-meaning-behind-my-new-tattoo
The most common image of apes is that they’re aggressive – no doubt the image of a silverback charging at you is bound to scare anyone! But there’s another side to them – they are extremely caring and compassionate and display amazing selflessness, both towards their fellow apes as well as to outsiders they don’t view as a threat.In south Asian cultures, the immortal being Hanuman is depicted as being half-man, half-ape, and symbolizes resistance to persecution. The majestic apes stand for leadership, dignity, and loyalty.
- Koi Fish
Hailing from Japanese culture, the koi fish symbolizes overcoming adversity – which might be why it’s such a popular choice for cover up tattoos! The koi fish is a reminder to have courage as you strive to reach your goals. It is symbolic of patience, determination, ambition, and success.
Soaring higher than any other bird, the eagle is thought to be a connection to the divine. It sees everything from above, symbolizing freedom, honesty, and living true to your principles. It also tells you to stay focused – it’s pretty difficult to miss anything when you have a bird’s-eye view!
In China, the panda is an auspicious symbol. These adorable fluffy bears live in peace and harmony, enjoying a quiet life among friends and family.
Associated with war and death, crows have been dealt a bad hand in modern symbolism. But in reality, they are also a sign of health and wealth, and are bringers of good luck and fortune. They also symbolize magic and mystery.
The symbol of Aries! Rams denote determination, initiative, and leadership. They are also a symbol of protection. Ram horns are a sign of strength and aggressiveness – or put another way, passion! – as well as divinity – horned gods in mythology are always depicted as warriors.
Snakes are thought of as earthy creatures due to their nature of slithering along the ground. Historically thought of as a creative force, they also symbolize transformation and immortality because they routinely shed their skin and emerge, almost as good as new!
Native Americans believed the lunar eclipse was caused by a codfish trying to swallow the moon. In the West, the codfish is adored due to its importance to trade, making it a symbol of wealth and prosperity. While it is sometimes associated with sainthood, it is at other times seen as a symbol of lust and evil! At its core, however, the codfish represents something very important – mindful independence.
The symbol of peace, doves remind us to live calmly and with purpose. Thought to be a messenger that brings messages from the afterlife, doves are often believed to be holy and a connection to the divine.
An ancient animal that is prominent in East Asian mythology, the dragon is an important symbol in Feng Shui, representing fortune and growth as well as authority and the ability to rise above one’s circumstances.
Peacocks are a symbol of beauty and elegance, nobility and grace, prestige and success. But on a deeper level they teach us that we are most beautiful when we reveal our true colours.
Turtles are famous for being ‘slow and steady’, symbolizing that patience, dedication, and perseverance can help you achieve anything. They also stand for longevity and endurance, with some species being known to live for hundreds of years!
Horses symbolize true freedom. They are symbols of unrestrained movement and desire. In Native American symbolism they represent power, likely owing to the sheer strength of a mustang from the wild. Horses also symbolize personal power – after all, a true free spirit has no one to hold them back. Learning to master oneself is the greatest struggle – and the greatest triumph!
The fastest animal on the planet, cheetahs are a reminder to remain focused – know your goals, keep your eye on the prize, and charge – full speed ahead!
The dinosaurs may be extinct, but they live on in our minds – and in ink! They symbolize strength and nobility, as well as change and the ability to let go and move on from the past. Focus on here and now – it’s all we have!
Cobras are seen as deadly, but they have historically been associated with deep spirituality and royalty. Ancient Egyptians saw them as magical creatures full of wisdom, even using cobra imagery in the Pharoah’s crown. They even had a Cobra Goddess named Wadjet!In south Asia, the cobra is often associated with Lord Shiva. While many tales are told about this association, a few point out that the serpent is highly sensitive to human emotion – particularly fear – and if a serpent is calm around you, it indicates you are totally at ease and are thus able to perceive everything clearly.
The deer is a symbol of power to Native American tribes, symbolizing intuition combined with sensitivity and gentleness. The deer teaches us to be calm but determined, and reminds us that there is great power in peace, and great healing in compassion – especially when we show some to ourselves!
Butterflies with all their stunning colours represent change and joy. Many associate the butterfly with transformation – nothing says a new you quite like a creature that can go into a cocoon and emerge as an entirely new creature! In addition to change they also represent luck, making them perfect for a New Year’s tattoo!
Chinese symbolism links crabs to success and high status, mainly because the Chinese word for crab shell – ‘jia’ – means ‘first’, which is associated with getting first place in the Chinese Imperial Examinations. If you need a reminder to be ambitious and aim high, then a crab tattoo might just be for you! They also, however, serve as a reminder that sometimes you need to loosen your grip and change your path – so listen to your heart when making a choice!
Moths are known to be nocturnal, yet for some unexplained reason they are drawn to light. They symbolize determination and faith, but more than anything, they are a reminder to never stop searching for the light in the dark. Just make sure you don’t burn yourself!
Scorpions are often thought to symbolize danger due to their painful sting. Ancient Egyptians, however, revered the scorpion as a protector of souls that are crossing over into the afterlife. It is also associated with spiritual change and growth, as many ancient societies believed the scorpion’s sting had the power to heal and cause a person to transcend reality and receive prophetic visions.
While each bird has a unique meaning, birds in general symbolize freedom and movement. Many ancient societies and tribes viewed them as messengers of god – after all, these creatures can get closer to heaven than any other animal! Birds are a reminder that we are not meant to be chained to the ground – we are destined to soar!
The finch symbolizes colourful and happy times ahead, and is often associated with high energy and bright days on the horizon. It reminds you that life is a celebration – so let your colours shine!
While the Chinese thought of foxes as a sign from departed loved ones, Celtic lore views foxes as a symbol of guidance and wisdom. Modern symbolism views the fox as cunning, but they’re actually extremely clever and resourceful. Known for their quick thinking, foxes teach us to always be alert.
Greek mythology associates the raven with Apollo, the god of prophecy, and many think of them as a symbol of bad luck. In Native American symbolism, the raven is a symbol of metamorphosis, as well as of mischief due to its association with changing attributes. Ravens are also associated with melancholy, possibly owing to Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’ which made it a symbol of pain and darkness. In actuality, it helps us overcome the fear we have been holding on to for a long time.
Celtic symbolism views the shark as a symbol of prosperity due to the association of its dorsal fin with the sacred sickle of the Druids, and it was thought to bring a good harvest and a successful hunt. The shark is often viewed with fear due to the false notion that they are dangerous predators, but sharks are actually a sign to let go of fear and go after what you really want.
Lizards symbolize regeneration, and are a message that you can overcome anything. They are a sign of growth – of becoming a better you!
Seahorses symbolize patience and contentment. They are considered to be symbols of strength and power. Sailors view them as good luck charms.
Bears are a symbol of strength and confidence, as well as of solitude, quiet, and rest. Known to be fiercely protective, they are not unlike elephants in their ability to be just as ferocious as they are loving.
Artists listed in this article:
- Skin Pricks
- 1mm Deep
- Ink House
- Funky Fuze
- Tattoos and Tales
- Dark Arts
- Skin Sketch
- Ink Over Matter
- Tattoo Trends
- DK Tattoos
- Godwyn Moses
- Tit for Tattoo
- Indra Tattoos
- Pen to Skin
- Dev Tattoos
- Krishna Tattoo
- Tattoo Gallery
- 8 Am
- Avatar Tattoo
- Shiva Tattooist
Thanks for stopping by! Happy inking!