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French Animal Names (100+ Vocabulary Words With Pictures)

French Animal Names

On this page you’ll learn the names for more than one hundred animals in French. We’ve broken this vocabulary list down into the following categories: Pets, farm animals, forest animals, sea animals, reptiles and insects.

French Animal Names

Pets – Les Animaux Domestiques

When talking about dogs and cats it is necessary to get the gender correct. A male dog is un chien and a female dog is une chienne. The same goes for cats. A male cat is un chat and a femle cat is une chatte.

Interesting, there is no gender for puppies and kittens. Both are masculine. Hence, a puppy is un chiot and a kitten is un chaton.

French pets vocabulary
French pets vocabulary
  • bird un oiseau
  • cat un chat
  • dog un chien
  • gold fish un poisson rouge
  • hamster un hamster
  • kitten un chaton
  • parakeet une perruche
  • puppy un chiot

Farm animals – Les animaux de la ferme

For farm animals, the word for chicken can cause a bit of confusion. When talking about the living animal, a rooster is un coq and a female chicken is une poule. The cooked bird that you eat is called le poulet.

There are also different words for a living pig and and pork meat. The living animal is called un cochon (or une cochonne in the feminine form) and the meat is called le porc.

French farm animals vocabulary
French farm animals vocabulary
  • billy goat un bouc
  • boar un anglier
  • bull un taureau
  • chicken, hen une poule
  • cown une vache
  • donkey un âne
  • duck un canard
  • ewe une brebis
  • female pig une truie
  • goat une chèvre
  • horse un cheval
  • lamb un agneau
  • mare une jument
  • ox un bœuf
  • pig un cochon
  • pony un poney
  • rabbit un lapin
  • ram un bélier
  • rooster un coq
  • sheep un mouton
  • turkey une dinde

Forest animals – les animaux de la forêt

The words for big game can cause a bit of confusion. For deer, a male deer is un cerf and a female deer is une biche. There are several words for moose. In Europe a moose is un elan while a moose is un original in Canada.

Interestingly, for the word for bear, un ours, both the -r and the -s are pronounced. One last note on forest animals. The word for owl is, une chouette. Interesting, “C’est chouette!” means “it’s nice!” or “it’s neat!”.

French forest animals vocabulary
French forest animals vocabulary
  • bat un chauve-souris
  • bear un ours
  • beaver un castor
  • deer un cerf
  • fox un renard
  • hare un lièvre
  • mouse un souris
  • owl une chouette
  • racoon un raton laveur
  • rat un rat
  • squirrel un écureuil
  • wolf un loup

Sea animals – les animaux de la mer

French vocabulary for fish and sea animals tends to be a bit difficult as the words are significantly different from English. There is one big exception: une crabe means a crab.

Three kids of fish that are commonly eaten have words that are close to English: le thon (tuna), le saumon (salmon) and la truite (trout). The word for haddock is very different: l’aiglefin.

French sea animals vocabulary
French sea animals vocabulary
  • catfish un poisson-chat
  • crab un crabe
  • dolphin un dauphin
  • eel une anguille
  • fish un poisson
  • jellyfish une méduse
  • lamprey une lamproie
  • lobster un homard
  • manatee un lamantin
  • mussel une moule
  • octopus une pieuvre
  • orca un orque
  • oyster une huître
  • penguin un manchot
  • pike un brochet
  • salmon un saumon
  • sardine une sardine
  • sea lion un lion de mer
  • seal une phoque
  • shark un requin
  • shellfish un coquillage
  • stingray une pastenague
  • trout une truite
  • walrus un morse
  • whale une baleine

Zoo animals – les animaux du zoo

Words for the following list of zoo animals tend to be quite easy as they’re very similar to English. The big exception is the word for monkey: un singe.

The word for gorilla is interesting in that with an -ille spelling, one would think that it is feminine. However, it is un gorille. The words for kangouroo and orangutan come from other languages and are thus masculine: un kangourou and un orangutan.

French zoo animals vocabulary
French zoo animals vocabulary
  • camel un chameau
  • cheetah un guépard
  • elephant un éléphant
  • giant panda un grand panda
  • giraffe une girafe
  • hippopotamus un hippopotame
  • jaguar un jaguar
  • kangaroo un kangourou
  • lion un lion
  • monkey un singe
  • orangutan un orang-outang
  • panda un panda
  • panther une panthère
  • polar bear un ours polaire
  • rhinoceros un rhinocéros
  • tiger un tigre
  • zebra un zèbre


Reptile words are almost all based on their Latin names and thus very similar to their English equivalents. The biggest exception is the word for toad: un crapaud. The French word for snake is un serpant. In English, the word serpent is synonymous for snake.

French reptile vocabulary
  • alligator un alligator
  • crocodile une crocodile
  • frog une grenouille
  • lizard un lézard
  • snake un serpant
  • toad un crapaud
  • turtle une tortue


The following list also contains some creatures which are not necessarily insects are able to be included in this category. Interestingly, there is no specific word for moth.

The word for butterfly is un papillon. The word for moth is un papillon de nuit, which translates to “a butterfly of the night”.

French insect vocabulary
French insect vocabulary

  • ant une fourmi
  • bee une abeille
  • butterfly un papillon
  • caterpillar une chenille
  • cockroach un cafard
  • cricket un cricket
  • dragonfly une libellule
  • flee une puce
  • fly une mouche
  • ladybug une coccinelle
  • mosquito un moustique
  • moth un papillon de nuit
  • spider une araignée
  • worm un ver

Let’s review the French animals names!

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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