Animals in French culture hold significant roles, from symbols in folklore to beloved pets. French language and literature frequently feature animals, reflecting their importance in daily life and national heritage. Whether in proverbs, children’s stories, or as national emblems, animals contribute to French cultural identity. Understanding their place in French society offers insights into the values and traditions that shape this vibrant culture.


Here are 10 common pets and their French translations:

CatLe chatluh sha
Dog Le chien  luh shee-ehn
Fish Le poisson      luh pwah-sawn
ParakeetsLes perrucheslay peh-roosh
Rabbit  Le lapin   luh lah-pahn
HamsterLe hamsterluh ahm-stehr
Guinea PigLe cochon d’Indeluh koh-shohn dahnd
Turtle La tortue   lah tor-tew
Snake Le serpent      luh sehr-pahn
Parrot Le perroquet  luh peh-roh-keh

Farm Animals

Here are 10 farm animals with their French translations:

Cow La vachelah vahsh
Pig Le cochonluh koh-shon
HorseLe chevalluh shuh-val
SheepLe mouton   luh moo-ton
ChickenLe poulet
(or Le coq for a rooster)
luh poo-leh
GoatLa chèvrelah sheh-vruh
Duck Le canardluh kah-nar
Turkey   La dindelah dand
RabbitLe lapinluh lah-pan

Wild Animals

Here are 10 wild animals and their French translations:

English  FrenchPronunciation
Lion Le lionluh lee-on
TigerLe tigre luh tee-gruh
GiraffeLa girafela zhee-raf
WolfLe loupluh loo
DeerLe cerfluh serf
FoxLe renardluh ruh-nar
ZebraLe zèbreluh zeb-ruh 
KangarooLe kangourouluh kan-goo-roo

Water Animals

Here are 10 water animals and their French translations:

FishLe poissonluh pwah-sohn
DolphinLe dauphinluh doh-fan
SharkLe requinluh ruh-kan
WhaleLa baleinelah bah-len
OctopusLa pieuvrelah pyuh-vruh
CrabLe crabeluh krahb
Sea TurtleLa tortue de merlah tor-tyu duh mehr
SealLe phoqueluh fok
JellyfishLa méduselah may-dyooz
LobsterLe homardluh oh-mar


Here are 10 bugs and their French translations:

AntLa fourmilah for-mee
ButterflyLe papillonluh pah-pee-yohn
LadybugLa coccinellelah kok-see-nel
MosquitoLe moustiqueluh moo-steek
FlyLa mouchelah moosh
WaspLa guêpelah gep
GrasshopperLe sauterelleluh so-tuh-rel
BeetleLe scarabéeluh ska-rah-bay


Here are 10 birds and their French translations:

SparrowLe moineauluh mwah-no
OwlLe hibouluh ee-boo
PigeonLe pigeonluh pee-zhon
ParrotLe perroquetluh peh-roh-kay
CrowLe corbeauluh kor-bo
SeagullLa mouettelah moo-et
PeacockLe paonluh pah
FlamingoLe flamant roseluh flah-mon roze

Reptiles & Amphibians

Here are 10 reptiles and amphibians and their French translations:

SnakeLe serpentluh ser-pahn
LizardLe lézardluh lay-zar
FrogLa grenouillelah gruh-noo-y
ToadLe crapaudluh krah-poh
TurtleLa tortuelah tor-tyu
CrocodileLe crocodileluh kroh-ko-deel
ChameleonLe caméléonluh kah-may-le-on
SalamanderLa salamandrelah sah-lah-mahn-druh
GeckoLe geckoluh geh-ko

Animal/Birds Body Parts

Here are 10 body parts for animals in French, along with their English translations and an example phrase for each:

English French PronunciationExample Sentence
TailLa queue/la kə/“Le chat agite sa queue.” (The cat is wagging its tail.)
WingL’aile/lɛl/“L’oiseau déploie ses ailes.” (The bird spreads its wings.)
PawLa patte/la pat/“Le chien a une patte blessée.” (The dog has an injured paw.)
BeakLe bec/lə bɛk/“Le perroquet a un bec coloré.” (The parrot has a colorful beak.)
FurLa fourrure/la fuʁyʁ/“Le lapin a une fourrure douce.” (The rabbit has soft fur.)
FeatherLa plume/la plym/“Le paon montre ses plumes.” (The peacock shows its feathers.)
ClawLa griffe/la gʁif/“Le lion a des griffes puissantes.” (The lion has powerful claws.)
FinLa nageoire/la naʒwaʁ/“Le requin a des nageoires.” (The shark has fins.)
ManeLa crinière/la kʁinjɛʁ/“Le lion a une crinière majestueuse.” (The lion has a majestic mane.)
SnoutLe museau/lə myzo/“Le cochon utilise son museau pour fouiller.” (The pig uses its snout to root around.)

Animal Verbs

Here are some animal-related verbs in French with their English translations and example sentences:

French VerbEnglish TranslationExample Sentence in FrenchEnglish Translation
aboyerto barkLe chien aboie fort.The dog is barking loudly.
miaulerto meowLe chat miaule quand il a faim.The cat meows when it’s hungry.
rugirto roarLe lion rugit dans la savane.The lion roars in the savannah.
hennirto neighLe cheval hennit joyeusement.The horse neighs joyfully.
sifflerto whistleL’oiseau siffle une mélodie.The bird whistles a tune.
ronronnerto purrLe chat ronronne sur mes genoux.The cat purrs on my lap.
grognerto growlLe chien grogne en jouant.The dog growls while playing.
gazouillerto chirpLes oiseaux gazouillent au lever du soleil.The birds chirp at sunrise.
bondirto leapLe lapin bondit dans le jardin.The rabbit leaps in the garden.
grifferto scratchLe chat griffe le canapé.The cat scratches the sofa.

Animal/Bird Idioms

Animal and bird idioms play a significant role in language and culture by reflecting common beliefs, values, and experiences. They create vivid imagery, making expressions more colorful and memorable. Universally resonant due to the familiarity of animals, these idioms often impart moral lessons, such as “The early bird catches the worm,” encouraging promptness. 

They add humor and wit to conversations, describe character traits in relatable ways, and evoke emotional connections. Examples like “a fish out of water” for feeling out of place or “letting the cat out of the bag” for revealing a secret unintentionally demonstrate how these idioms enrich communication by drawing on the natural world.

Here are some French idiomatic expressions involving animals, their literal translations, meanings in English:

French IdiomLiteral TranslationMeaning in EnglishExample Sentence
Avoir un chat dans la gorgeTo have a cat in the throatTo have a frog in one’s throat (hoarse voice)Ce matin, j’ai un chat dans la gorge et je peux à peine parler.
Poser un lapinTo put a rabbitTo stand someone upIl m’a posé un lapin et je suis resté seul au restaurant.
Avoir une mémoire d’éléphantTo have an elephant’s memoryTo have a very good memoryElle a une mémoire d’éléphant, elle se souvient de tout.
Être comme un poisson dans l’eauTo be like a fish in waterTo be very comfortable in a situationIl est comme un poisson dans l’eau dans son nouveau travail.
Appeler un chat un chatTo call a cat a catTo call a spade a spadeIl faut appeler un chat un chat et admettre nos erreurs.
Avoir d’autres chats à fouetterTo have other cats to whipTo have other fish to fryJe ne peux pas m’occuper de cela maintenant, j’ai d’autres chats à fouetter.
Donner sa langue au chatTo give one’s tongue to the catTo give up guessingJe donne ma langue au chat, je ne trouve pas la réponse.
Être comme chien et chatTo be like dog and catTo fight like cats and dogsCes deux-là sont toujours en train de se disputer, comme chien et chat.
Avoir une faim de loupTo have a wolf’s hungerTo be very hungryAprès cette randonnée, j’ai une faim de loup.
Chercher la petite bêteTo look for the little beastTo nitpickArrête de chercher la petite bête et sois content du résultat.


Animals play a significant role in French culture, from symbols in folklore to cherished pets. Their presence in language and literature reflects deep-rooted traditions and values. To further explore French vocabulary, visit our blog page for more insights. 

Did you know? The French term “cocorico” mimics a rooster’s crow and symbolizes national pride.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is lion in French?

In French, a lion is called “lion,” pronounced as “lee-on.” This majestic animal often symbolizes courage and strength in French culture. To learn more about animal vocabulary and explore related topics, check out our blog.

What are the top 3 pets in France?

The top three pets in France are cats (chats), dogs (chiens), and fish (poissons). These animals are beloved by many French households.

What is a French bird called?

A bird in French is called “oiseau,” pronounced “wah-zo.” Birds play a prominent role in French nature and culture.

What is a zoo called in French?

In French, a zoo is called “zoo,” pronounced “zoh.” Zoos are popular attractions in France, showcasing a variety of wildlife.