two wolves standing on a rock looking into the distance in a forest

130+ Animals in German Plus Other Animal-related Words and Phrases

Knowing some animal vocabulary in German is infinitely useful for talking about nature, the world at large and even interactions in day-to-day life.

You might have reviewed a basic list of tiere (animals) in German that include “cat” and “dog.”

But in this post, get ready to learn over 130 animals in German and over 20 verbs, animal parts and phrases!

Contents

Farm Animals ( Bauernhoftiere )

herd of cows looking at the camera in a field of grass

Bauernhoftiere (farm animals) are some of the first animal names that children learn in school.

So they’re the first ones we’re going to learn in German! These animals live on der Bauernhof (the farm) and are cared for by der Bauer (the farmer).

GermanEnglish
das Pferd The horse
das Pony The pony
die Kuh The cow
das Schwein The pig
der Hahn The rooster
die Henne The hen
das Schaf The sheep
die Ziege The goat
der Esel The donkey
der Truthahn The turkey
die Gans The goose
die Ente The duck
das Lama The llama
das Rentier The reindeer
der Büffel The buffalo
der Waschbär The raccoon
der Schwan The swan
der Adler The eagle
das Opossum The possum

Common Animals and Pets ( Haustiere )

person in a sweater holding a dog and cat

Unless you live on a farm, you’re much more likely to see the following group of animals in your everyday life. You might even have one of these animals as a Haustier (pet).

In fact, 45% of all German households had at least one pet in 2019. Imagine the lengthy conversations in German that you could have with native speakers about their beloved furry (or scaly) companions!

GermanEnglish
der Hund The dog
die Katze The female cat
der Kater The male cat
das Kaninchen / der Hase The rabbit
der Goldfisch The goldfish
das Meerschweinchen The guinea pig
das Frettchen The ferret
der Hamster The hamster
die Schlange The snake
der Vogel The bird
der Fisch The fish
die Eidechse The lizard
der Frosch The frog
die Chinchilla The chinchilla

Forest Animals ( Waldtiere )

two deer looking into the distance in a forest

The German-speaking regions have a variety of wildlife and that includes a good amount of Waldtiere (forest animals). Most of the animals in this list could be found there. 

Some of these might surprise you and be a little less common, such as wolves or moose. But they’re slowly making a comeback, either through conservation efforts or through natural causes.

GermanEnglish
der Fuchs The fox
der Luchs The lynx
der Hirsch The deer
der Bison The bison
der Elch The moose
der Steinbock The ibex
der Bär The bear
der Wolf The wolf
der Waschbär The raccoon
das Stinktier The skunk
der Dachs The badger
der Igel The hedgehog
der Maulwurf The mole
das Wildschwein The boar
die Eule The owl
die Fledermaus The bat
das Eichhörnchen The squirrel
der Kojote The coyote
die Taube The dove
die Taube The pigeon

Insects and Household Pests ( Insekten und Schädlinge )

ladybug on a big leaf

If only we lived in a world where only cats, dogs and other cute animals populated our homes. But we don’t! Sometimes we get an unwanted housemate, known as der Schädling (pest).

There are also some helpful and friendlier insects in this list as well. 

GermanEnglish
die Maus The mouse
die Ratte The rat
die Spinne The spider
das Insekt The insect
die Ameise The ant
die Fliege The fly
die Mücke / die Stechmücke  / der Moskito The mosquito
die Kakerlake The cockroach
die Wespe The wasp
die Biene The bee
die Zecke The tick
der Käfer The beetle
der Marienkäfer The ladybug
die Raupe The caterpillar
der Schmetterling The butterfly
der Leguan The iguana
der Gecko The gecko

Aquatic Animals/Sea Animals ( Wassertiere / Meerestiere )

sea turtle swimming under water in the ocean near rocks

Germany is a land full of lakes and rivers.

In the north, it borders the Nordsee (North Sea) and the Ostsee (East Sea). Germany is also home to many Flüsse (rivers), most notably the Rhine, Danube and Elbe rivers that run through many German cities and towns. 

As such, Germany is home to many Wassertiere (aquatic animals), both in its local waterways and in its Aquariums (aquariums) and Tierpark (zoos).

GermanEnglish
der Otter The otter
der Krake / der Tintenfisch / der Oktopus The octopus
Der Kalmar / der Tintenfisch The squid
der Delfin The dolphin
der Wal The whale
der Hai The shark
die Krabbe The crab
der Hummer The lobster
der Seelöwe The sea lion
die Robbe The seal
das Walross The walrus
die Qualle The jellyfish
der Stechrochen The stingray
der Aal The eel
der Pinguin The penguin
der Seestern The starfish
der Seelöwe The sealion
die Krabbe The shrimp
das Seepferdchen The seahorse
die Seekuh The manatee

Zoo Animals ( Zootiere )

two lizards on a rock looking into the distance

A visit to a Tierpark (zoo) will expose you to animals from all over the world. Germans love going to the zoo, and there are zoos in many of Germany’s big cities such as Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt.

GermanEnglish
der Papagei The parrot
der Löwe The lion
der Gepard The cheetah
der Tiger The tiger
der Eisbär The polar bear
der Affe The monkey
der Menschenaffe The ape
der Gorilla The gorilla
das Känguru The kangaroo
das Erdmännchen The meerkat
der Elefant The elephant
das Zebra The zebra
die Giraffe The giraffe
das Nilpferd The hippopotamus
das Krokodil The crocodile
das Nashorn The rhino
der Strauß The ostrich
die Schildkröte The turtle
der Pfau The peacock
der Alligator The alligator
der Panther The panther
das Kamel The camel
der Flamingo The flamingo
der Panda The panda
die Hyäne The hyena
die Wildkatze The wildcat
die Antilope The antelope
der Koala The koala
der Leopard The leopard
die Trägheit The sloth
der Tukan The toucan
das Chamäleon The chameleon

Baby Animals ( Tierbabys )

baby bunny sitting in the grass surrounded by purple flowers

Animals, while cute, are always cuter when they’re babies! As in English, German has specific words for animals when they’re young.

GermanEnglish
das Ei The egg
der Welpe The puppy
das Kätzchen / das Katzenbaby The kitten
das Entchen The duckling
das Lamm The lamb
das Kalb The calf
das Fohlen The foal
das Hirschkalb The fawn
das Schweinchen The piglet
das Küken The chick

Note that the ending -chen can be added to many nouns to make them diminutive (referring to the smaller version of something).

As in the cases of die Katze (the cat) and die Ente (the duck), we get the words das Kätzchen (the kitten) and die Entchen (the duckling).

This can also be added to other nouns such as das Hündchen (the little dog) and das Mäuschen (the little mouse) to describe the younger or smaller version of the animal.

Keep in mind, however, that by adding the ending -chen to animals, they automatically become neuter in gender despite what their previous grammatical gender was. This means that these nouns will take the definite article das (the) in the nominative case.

For example:

der Tisch (the table) → das Tischlein (the little table)

Where possible, you also need to add an umlaut to the first vowel in the diminutive: 

die Maus (the mouse) → das Mäuschen (the little mouse)

Animal Body Parts ( Tierkörperteile )

two puppy tails forming a heart in the grass

Animals—regardless of what language is being used to talk about them—have different body parts than us.

GermanEnglish
die Schnauze The snout
das Maul The mouth/the muzzle
der Schwanz The tail
die Pfote The paw
der Pelz The fur
die Feder The feather
der Flügel The wing
das Horn The horn

Common Verbs and Phrases Related to Animals in German

Finally, animals also have different needs than humans, and these require special verbs that describe the caring for and interacting with animals.

Some of these verbs can be extended to humans, but some are specifically for animals and will be pointed out as such in the list.

GermanEnglish
Sich um etwas kümmern To take care of something
Füttern To feed
Streicheln To stroke
Spazieren gehen / Gassi gehen To take for a walk
Spielen To play
Sich putzen To groom itself
Striegeln To groom an animal
Fressen To eat

In addition to having different body parts than humans, animals also eat differently in German than they do in English.

While we use the verb essen (to eat) in German to talk about the act of humans eating, the verb fressen (to eat) must be used to talk about an animal eating.

While fressen is commonly used to describe the act of an animal eating, it can also be used to mean “to gobble” or “to gorge” when a human is eating.

Despite being a different verb, fressen conjugates similarly to the verb essen. Check out the verb conjugation pattern here. Pay particular attention to the er, sie, es (he, she, it) conjugation of the verb:

How to Practice Animal Vocabulary in German

Now that you’ve learned all these words and phrases to talk about animals in German, you’re going to need a way for it all to sink in!

Luckily, there are many places online where you can practice them all.

Digital Dialects

Digital Dialects offers a challenging, interactive online game for learning German animal vocabulary. Who doesn’t love a game that’s fun and educational, after all?

FluentU

FluentU is one of the best websites and apps for learning German the way native speakers really use it. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

Watch authentic media to simultaneously immerse yourself in the German language and build an understanding of the German culture.

By using real-life videos, the content is kept fresh and current. Topics cover a lot of ground as you can see here:

learn-german-with-videos

Vocabulary and phrases are learned with the help of interactive subtitles and full transcripts.

learn-german-with-subtitled-video-clips

Hovering over or tapping on any word in the subtitles will automatically pause the video and instantly display its meaning. Interesting words you don’t know yet can be added to a to-learn list for later.

learn-german-with-interactive-lessons

For every lesson, a list of vocabulary is provided for easy reference and bolstered with plenty of examples of how each word is used in a sentence.

Your existing knowledge is tested with the help of adaptive quizzes in which words are learned in context.

practice-german-with-adaptive-quizzes

To keep things fresh, FluentU keeps track of the words you’re learning and recommends further lessons and videos based on what you've already studied.

This way, you have a truly personalized learning experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

Sporcle

animals-in-german

Sporcle has a quiz for practicing the spelling of a variety of German animals.

German spelling can be tricky, so this resource will prove to be very beneficial for learners who are looking to improve their writing skills.

ToLearnFree

ToLearnFree offers a few quizzes for practicing.

The first allows you to practice farm animals, and the second is specifically for practicing baby animals. The third quiz will help you practice aquatic animals.

 

Now that you’ve learned over 130 words and phrases related to animals in German, you’re on your way to the lion’s share of German fluency!

And One More Thing...

Want to know the key to learning German effectively?

It's using the right content and tools, like FluentU has to offer! Browse hundreds of videos, take endless quizzes and master the German language faster than you've ever imagine!

learn-german-with-videos

Watching a fun video, but having trouble understanding it? FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.

learn-german-with-interactive-videos

You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don't know, you can add it to a vocabulary list.

learn-conversational-german-with-subtitled-dialogue

And FluentU isn't just for watching videos. It's a complete platform for learning. It's designed to effectively teach you all the vocabulary from any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you're on.

practice-german-with-adaptive-quizzes

The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you're learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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