Japanese Animal Words – Cheat sheet

Are you an animal lover? If so, this cheat sheet is for you! It includes the meaning and pronunciation of 20 different kinds of animals in Japanese. The animals included in this list come from a wide variety, consisting of house pets, farm animals and of course, zoo animals. Even if you do not see all the animals on a daily basis, learning to identify them is a good way of boosting your Japanese knowledge.

This cheat sheet is inclusive of the top 5 popular animals in Japan, with the most popular being cats 猫 (ねこ neko). See if you can spot your own favourite animal in the list below. Feel free to head down to the zoo sometime to test your knowledge and see if you are able to identify all the names of the animals you have just picked up!

Animal 動物

Here are 20 types of animals that are commonly seen:

JapanesePronunciationMeaning
いぬ inuDog
ねこ nekoCat
うし ushiCow
ぶた butaPig
うま umaHorse
ネズミnezumiMouse
ひつじ hitsujiSheep
とりtoriBird
にわとりniwatoriChicken
ウサギusagiRabbit
カエルkaeruFrog
くま kumaBear
さる saruMonkey
ぞう zōElephant
キリンkirinGiraffe
鹿しか shikaDeer
ヤギyagiGoat
リスrisuSquirrel
ライオンraionLion
パンダpandaPanda

Example Sentences:

After learning the different animal terminologies, here are some examples of how to use them to form sentences.

Sentence example 1:

One can say ‘動物園でパンダの赤ちゃんを見た。

Pronunciation: Dōbutsuen de panda no akachan o mita.

It means ‘I saw baby pandas at the zoo.’

Sentence example 2:

One can say: ‘道端で野良を拾った。

Pronunciation: Michibata de noraneko o hirotta.

It means ‘I brought a stray cat home from the side of the road.’