[[quoteright:350:[[Franchise/{{Transformers}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/grimlock_3339.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Me Grimlock give you head start.]]

{{Mecha}} are cool. Some animals are pretty awesome. But what if we combine both?

Animal mecha are, simply put, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin mecha built in the shape of animals]]. They are usually modeled after creatures considered {{Badass}}, especially [[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs dinosaurs]], [[InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons dragons]], predatory beasts ([[PantheraAwesome often big cats]]), and [[GiantFlyer birds of prey]].

There are two subtypes of animal mecha:

# The first and older type involves otherwise machine-type mecha to be shaped like animals. MechanicalHorse and SpiderTank are particular subtropes.
# The second and newer type involves sentient, alive creatures as HumongousMecha. Related to MechanicalLifeforms.

Mecha based on aquatic creatures tend to be prone to IfItSwimsItFlies.

Compare SpiderTank, MechanicalHorse, RobotDog.
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!! Examples of the first type:
* ''Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman'''s Galactor fielded bird mecha as MonstersOfTheWeek.
* ''{{Mazinger}}'':
** ''Anime/MazingerZ'': Many Mechanical Beasts were shaped like animals (insects, crabs, whales, dinosaur-like lizards...), specially in the later seasons where mythological motifs were used.
** ''Anime/GreatMazinger'': The Mykene Empire army was split in seven armies, and every mecha belonged to one or other division depending on its shape. Five out of seven divisions followed a animal theme: Mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes and insects.
** ''Anime/UFORoboGrendizer'', there were less animal-alike mechas, but many Saucer Beasts kept the animal theme, resembling reptils, wolves...
* ''Anime/GoLion'' / ''Anime/{{Voltron}}'' consists of five lion-based mecha, each forming a single body part.
* ''Anime/PanzerWorldGalient'': The titular HumongousMecha is a TransformingMecha. He has two modes: robot... and Falcon Flight Form, what is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin (a falcon-shaped mecha).
* ''Anime/{{Raideen}}'': It belongs to both types. Although its primary shape is human-looking, it can transform into a bird-like mecha. And it is sentient to boot.
* Several ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' series, with ''Series/ChoujuuSentaiLiveman'' being the first installment to feature AnimalMecha. The most notable, of course is ''Series/KyoryuSentaiZyuranger'', a.k.a. ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers''. Aside from that airship that looks like a bird from ''Series/HimitsuSentaiGoranger''.
* ''MegasXLR'' parodies the concept, as well as paying homage.
* The ''[[Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann Gunmen]]''.
* The Reptar robot from ''{{Rugrats}}''.
* ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'':
** Stella's Gaia Mobile Suit in ''GundamSeedDestiny'' can transform into a dog-like form for ground combat.
** For that matter, the [=BaCUEs and LaGowe=] in ''GundamSEED.''
** The Gafrans and the Danazines from ''GundamAGE'' can transform into dragons.
** The [=GF11-042NSB=] Mammoth Gundam, seen in a flashback in ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam''.
*** Also from G Gundam: the [[MechanicalHorse Mobile Horse Fuunsaiki]], piloted by ''an actual horse''.
* Three of the robots from ''ZettaiMutekiRaijinOh'' (of the ''Eldoran'' franchise) are in the shape of animals: Hou-Oh (bird), Juu-Oh (lion), and Bakuryu-Oh (dragon.)
* The other two ''Eldoran'' anime, ''Ganbarugar'' and ''NekketsuSaikyoGosaurer'', also feature animal mecha.
* ''{{Exalted}}'' has some examples of animal-shaped [[HumongousMecha Warstriders]] for use by shapeshifting Lunars in their animal forms, or Lunar Warstriders that change shape along with their pilots.
* ''Franchise/{{Zoids}}'', depending on the continuity.
* ''Anime/{{Gaiking}}'' has several animal/dinosaur-shaped support mecha, in both continuities.
* The Pachydermobile from an article in ''The Journal of Irreproducible Results'': a four-wheel-drive vehicle intended for observing elephants in their native habitat, designed to look like an elephant as much as possible (and smell like one, too).
* One of the eneies in ''{{Conduit 2}}'' is a robotic puma/leopard/tiger/large cat.
* Molly's [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20090811.html robot lion]] in ''TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob''
* Ausf A Gestell from ''VideoGame/{{Einhander}}'' is a crazed mecha ape. Interestingly enough, it's one of the enemies that ''isn't'' [[AnimalThemeNaming named after an animal]] in German.
* Some of the Team Rocket mechas from ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' such as the Meowth balloon and the Magikarp submarine.
* GearHead Zoanid mecha -- including the [[GameBreaker Fenris]].
* ''BattleTech'' and by extension, the ''Videogame/MechWarrior'' series, occasionally have AnimalMecha. In most cases, it's simply a few design features on the mech being reminiscent of animals, such as the radar suite on the [[http://www.sarna.net/wiki/images/1/12/WLF-5_Wolfhound.jpg Wolfhound]] being contained in two ear-like antennas. The Clans have a habit of creating things to glory the clan and, as most are named after animals, this has led to quite a few 'totem' mechs going full-stop with the animal theme. The best known is probably the [[http://www.sarna.net/wiki/images/f/f4/CCG_Mercenaries_Mandrill.jpg Mandrill]] being some robo-monkey ''thing''. Because the series is known for its RealRobot {{Walking Tank}}s, designs like the Mandrill are not very popular - in-universe or in the fandom.
** [[MiniMecha [=ProtoMechs=]]] have been somewhat (in)famous for their explicit resemblance to the creatures of myth they're named after since their introduction. A more recent development are four-legged "quad" [=ProtoMechs=] (following the precedent of the setting's occasional {{Spider Tank}}s and similar [[PoweredArmor battle armor]] models), which are if anything modelled even ''more'' after animals and legendary beasts. Quads even explicitly require the pilots to be drugged into a more animalistic mindset for training purposes. Once they know how to handle their machines, the drug is technically no longer required in combat...but it's also highly addictive.
* The Golden Condor from Anime/TheMysteriousCitiesOfGold counts, although none of the other futuristic craft resemble animals.
* The robot snake in ''Pinball/{{Viper}}'' almost gets as much attention as the sexy {{Fembot}} its menacing.
* ''Webcomic/BeachesAndBasilisks'' has featured mecha based on birds, various arthropods, and a bear.
* The final level of ''VideoGame/JamesPond 3'', "Bovine Aerial Assault," has the BigBad piloting a cow mecha.

!! Some examples of the second type:
* Depending on the continuity, ''Franchise/{{Zoids}}''.
* Of course, ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' (which by then was already being adapted into ''Franchise/PowerRangers'') got into the act too, with ''Series/SeijuuSentaiGingaman''/''Series/PowerRangersLostGalaxy'' and ''Series/HyakujuuSentaiGaoranger''/''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'' being prominent examples.
** The Guardian Beasts from ''Series/KyoryuSentaiZyuranger'', sentient dinosaur mecha who combine into '''God'''. Their Dinozord counterparts were never treated as fully sentient.
** ''Series/BakuryuuSentaiAbaranger'' also has Dinosaur Mecha, the Bakuryuu...except this time, they're all Dinosaurs (well, ok, a few are just prehistoric reptilians, like pterasaurs and dimetrodons, but close enough), unlike ''Zyuranger'' (only the Triceratops and T-Rex are truly Dinosaurs). They're all intelligent, reasoning creatures and characters in their own right. Their [[Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder American counterparts]] are cybernetic animals.
*** What's weird is that rather than mecha, the Bakuryuu are said to be actual descendants of the dinosaurs (on an alternate Earth). Full-body cyborgs, maybe?
*** Meanwhile, the Wild Zords of ''Wild Force'' are the animal mecha protectors of the ancient kingdom of Animaria, with animal intelligence and then some - they're who chose the Rangers, and the Megazord from the GreatOffscreenWar 3,000 years ago is now "Animus, Lord of the Wild Zords," the ultimate authority above even Princess Shayla, who is this season's Zordon equivalent. You gotta wonder why ''they're'' metal and can [[CombiningMecha combine]].
* ''PowerRangersMysticForce'' and ''MahouSentaiMagiranger'' have mechs based on fantasy creatures, which means more are animals than not. However, the Rangers actually ''transform'' into these with a spell.
* Dinobots, Predacons ([[WesternAnimation/BeastWars not those]]), Insecticons, and Terrorcons in ''Franchise/TransformersGeneration1'', as well as those cassettes of Soundwave's, among others. They generally transform from an animal form (often referred to as "beast mode") to a humanoid robot, but some have animal-shaped robot modes instead of humanoid ones. Grimlock, leader of the Dinobots, is currently pictured above.
** ''BeastWars'' and ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines''. They started off as MechanicalLifeforms wearing animal skins to shield them from fatal levels of energon, but the robot / animal divide started blurring with the Transmetal upgrades. By ''Beast Machines'', the main cast are all completely techno-organic: they still have a "beast mode" and a more humanoid one, but Optimus points out that the animal / mecha line no longer applies to them.
--> '''Cheetor:''' So, what are we? Robots or animals?
--> '''Optimus Primal:''' Both and neither.
** Each continuity tends to have a few characters with animal alt-modes somewhere.
*** ''Anime/TransformersRobotsInDisguise'' has its own Predacons. They transform into more alienesque cyborg animals than the animal mecha of years past.
*** ''Anime/TransformersArmada'' has only Laserbeak, but ''Anime/TransformersEnergon'' has a different take: The only animal-based bots are the Terrorcons, just sentient enough to take orders. There are ''hordes'' of them in each variety, and they are able to eat raw energon and form Energon Stars, this show's version of usable, processed energon. And then there's giant-even-by-Transformer-standard Scorponok, technically a Terrorcon but quite smarter.
*** ''[[TransformersCybertron Cybertron]]'''s got a planet full of them. Jungle Planet's inhabitants are all beast-bots.
*** ''TransformersAnimated'' has two types - there's a difference between a normal Cybertronian who happens to walk on four legs instead of two and a techno-organic, which is similar to ''Beast Wars'' - these bots have actual organic matter as part of their construction. They're not as physically strong as the all-metal bots, but like ''Beast Machines,'' there's power they have that others don't. In ''this'' universe at least, it's why you can blow Waspinator apart ''and'' why that won't stop him, and where Blackarachnia gets her webbing and venom. The ''bad'' news is they suffer from FantasticRacism; Blackarachnia would do ''anything'' to be [[spoiler: Elita-1]] again, even though she got Wasp(inator) to participate in her experiments by listing the reasons her new form is objectively better than her old. On the other hand, the Dinobots are robots who are shaped like dinosaurs, and the same presumably goes for the animal-form citizens we see among Cybertron's civilians in season three.
*** In the TransformersFilmSeries there's no difference between a robot shaped like a dude and a robot shaped like a razor-sharp feline CyberCyclops, and ''don't'' think the only variation we see is two legs versus four. The many non-standard designs seen in ''Revenge of the Fallen'' especially brings the ''alien'' part of "alien robot" to the forefront like no other TF property before or since.
*** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' makes Cybertron more of a MulticulturalAlienPlanet. Insecticons are a different race from the humanoid bots, and Predacons are yet another, long extinct but clones made from remains by Shockwave. It's hard to know where Airachnid fits in, but it seems she's similar to the beast-bots of G1, the movies, and Animated: her spider mode doesn't make her different from her fellow 'cons.
* MechaGodzilla in ''Film/GodzillaVsMechagodzillaII'' and Mechani-Kong from ''Film/KingKongEscapes''.
* ''GaoGaiGar'''s lion, Galeon.
** The last couple episodes of the PostScriptSeason, ''[=GaoGaiGar=] FINAL'', introduced the original Gao-Machines from the Green Planet: two mole-like {{Drill Tank}}s, [[IfItSwimsItFlies a flying]] shark and dolphin, and a condor-jet, on which the Earth-built Gao-Machines were based. The sentience of these Genesic Machines was never made clear, however, as they combined with [=GaiGar=] immediately after their release.
*** And all together, they evoke the image of a manticore.
* [[KrakenAndLeviathan The Leviathan]] from Disney's ''Disney/AtlantisTheLostEmpire'', which resembles a giant mechanical lobster.
* Clockwork Horrors from ''{{Spelljammer}}'' are sentient clockwork giant spiders.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Terraria}}'', one of the boss monsters unlocked in "hard mode" is the Destroyer, a giant mechanical worm based on the normal, fleshy giant worm boss, the Eater of Worlds. Unlike its biological counterpart, it doesn't split into smaller versions of itself when damaged enough and instead spams lasers and releases floating drones.
* Hippopressor in ''VideoGame/MegaManXCommandMission'' is basically a tank shaped like a hippopotamus.
* Strutters (mechanical dinosaurs) from ''Literature/{{Dinotopia}}'' straddle the line between the two variations. On one hand, they are essentially vehicles and need drivers to pilot them. However, there is one case of a strutter (rediscovered after a [[RagnarokProofing good ten thousand years]]) seems to have developed a mind of its own, running around mischievously without a driver.
* Eel kaiju [[Series/UltraSeven Eleking]], controlled by Pitt aliens.
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