Animal Motifs
aka: Animal Motif

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"Ah, the Animal Kingdom offers many useful ideas!"
Dr. Otto Octavius, The Spectacular Spider-Man, "The Invisible Hand"

Humans have always been fascinated by animals. Love them or hate them, they usually provoke a strong reaction in people, from the Jerkass who turns to mush when confronted by a playful puppy to the tough guy who freaks out when he encounters something slithery. Most mythologies feature animals in starring roles; some belief systems feature animals as guides, oracles, or totems representing certain qualities or certain people. So of course animals are going to turn up as symbols in popular media.

This animal isn't around to be petted or kicked, or to assist in taking over the world... well, it might be, but only as a side job. The real purpose of these animals is that of most motifs: they're there to underline a theme, or make a statement about a certain character. They might not even be physically present at all. The "animal" might be the name of a football team, a charm on a bracelet, or an ornament on the mantelpiece.

Animals are used to depict characters more often than they describe themes. Even in the real world, describing a person by comparing them to an animal is a good way to convey your opinion of them: phrases such as "lion-hearted," "eagle-eyed," or "doity rat" are popular to the point of cliché. Therefore, many Animal Motifs are also Characterization Tropes. The wimp who spends his time watching the tigers at the zoo will most likely be stronger than you think. As for the girl doodling big black spiders with suspicious red hourglasses on their underbellies... think twice before accepting her invitation to "coffee."

Animals, like flowers, are a motif that tends to be gendered. Men are usually compared to animals that are clearly predatory: wolves, lions, and bears, for example. Women generally get the cute and fluffy animals as motifs, such as bunnies. However, women have historically had a strong association with the cat which, while cuddly and furry, is also a predator. Cats are therefore a common motif for female characters, but one aspect of the feline mystique will most likely be emphasized over the others — the woman will either be a predator, a seductress, or a sweet little kitten. (Lionesses are especially popular for Action Girls: they look very different from male lions, and most people know it's lionesses who do the hunting, so a lioness motif conveniently emphasizes both femininity and ferocity.) Women are also frequently associated with foxes, also a predatory animal, although it is the fox's attractive nature or reputation as a trickster that is being invoked. A woman represented by a large, predatory animal is most likely to reference Mama Bear because, like the lioness, it is simultaneously feminine and ferocious.

In the world of fiction, someone who doesn't like animals at all is either a nasty piece of work or obsessively clean and germ-phobic. "Animal hater" is the word for them and so to dilute the "hard-heartedness" of this character, expect to see one particular animal that they just can't resist.

Subtropes include:

Usually overlaps with Animal Stereotypes and National Animal Stereotypes. Wildlife Commentary Spoof is this trope lampshaded and played for laughs.

Examples:

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    Arts 
  • The Weimaraner is the trademark of William Wegman's works.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, the Black Hammers' robots are all shaped like animals, such as a gorilla, a frog, a kangaroo, and a dog.

    Comic Books 
  • Spiders appear as a motif in Marvel 1602, usually around Peter Parquagh. Given who his modern counterpart is, spiders seem to be a symbol for destiny (perhaps a reference to the web of Fate).
    • Many Spider-Man foes also have animal motifs. J. Michael Straczynski's run posited that Spidey is being assaulted by envious pretenders who subconsciously realize that he is a true totemic champion. The Darkest Hours, a book by Jim Butcher based on this run, introduces the siblings of Morlun, an Implacable Man and Energy Vampire who feeds on this type, and it turns out that every Animal-Themed Superbeing has this connection even if it's not obvious. Black Cat is a Badass Normal; she wasn't bitten by a radioactive cat and given feline powers. Yet, if she wasn't cat enough to be delicious and nutritious to the likes of Morlun, she'd never have chosen the name. That's why Spidey, Cat, and even the Rhino must team up when Mortia, Thanis, and Malos come to town.
  • Batman decided to take up bat-themed crimefighting after a bat crashed through his window, which he interpreted as an omen. He strikes from the shadows, wears a costume that makes him look like a giant bat, and has a variety of occasionally-used gadgets that can simulate things like sonar. The similarities pretty much end there, since bats don't punch things very often.
    • Selina Kyle is a Classy Cat-Burglar, and dresses the part too. She's clever, elusive, pulls of heists wearing a mask that resembles cat ears, and is associated with black cats in particular. She also literally keeps cats around her apartment like a old lady.
  • Psychic operatives in Matt Fraction's Casanova all seem to have differing animal totems that manifest when they use their powers. The protagonist had spiders then upgraded to crows and his villainous sister had snakes.
  • Wolverine, a short, stocky, violent, foul-smelling Canadian with a talent for surviving tough conditions.
  • Judge Dredd: Judges' uniforms have a distinctive eagle motif to them, in keeping with the Big Meg's Eagleland origins. Other cities have this too, usually referencing the locale. For example, Brit Cit has a lion motif to its judge uniforms, and the judges in Africa have a Lion and a Gazelle. East Meg judges noticeably lack them, but all but one of the Dark Judges (Fear, although Fire's isn't as obvious because he's a flaming skeleton) have extinct pterodactyls on their right shoulders as a hint to what their job is.
  • Loki developed certain associations with magpies in some stories, maybe not surprisingly for someone who is generally trouble and bad news, not to mention a thief and conman.

    Comic Strips 
  • Played for Laughs in this strip by Quino.
  • Besides having a tiger for a best friend, Calvin frequently visualizes himself as animals. His favorites are dinosaurs, with him usually as an Allosaurus or a T. rex, and those around him as herbivores.

    Fan Works 
  • Ace Attorney Sprite Comic Kristoph Gavin: Ace Attorney has a group of criminals all codenamed after birds.
  • In X-Men: First Class fanworks, Erik Lehnsherr and Charles Xavier are commonly associated with sharks and rats, respectively. This probably originated with Michael Fassbender's distinctive and somewhat intimidating smile and the "adorable lab rat" line in the Cerebro scene.
    • Sharks are notorious aquatic predators; Erik is a badass, a hunter (of Nazis), and first meets Charles when they're both in the water. Rats are small, cute (to those who like them), clever, and associated with science; Charles is a Badass Bookworm professor of genetics and his actor is both rather pretty and a bit on the short side.
  • One Piece fanfic On the Alteration of Species has the Straw Hats transformed into an animal based on their personalities. Lampshaded by one character. Luffy becomes a monkey because monkeys are funny and enjoy to explore. Robin is a cat due to her observing and clever nature. Zoro a wolf, headstrong and powerful. Usopp a stoat, able to get away quickly and also stand their ground if necessary. Sanji becomes a horse due to his intelligent and sweet nature. Nami becomes a magpie which are known to like shiny things (see Thieving Magpie) and being very smart (see Clever Crows). And Chopper remains as a reindeer.
    • It should be noted that creator Oda has given a Word of God answer to the question of what each pirate would be as an animal. Luffy is a monkey, yes, though Nami is a cat, Zolo a shark, Sanji a duck and Usopp an armadillo (Robin had not yet joined at that point).
  • Queen of All Oni: Female Shadowkhan seem to inherently have a snake theme, as both Jade and the Elders have it.
    • Karasu is described as having bird-like features.
  • Jewel Of Darkness: Doctor Fate has a vision of the future at the beginning of the second arc, which begins with a cat and a bird fighting in the shadow of a tiger. Word of God has confirmed that they represent Terra, Midnight, and Slade, respectively.
  • Children of Time is full of this, sometimes in-universe. The Tenth Doctor's Puppy Eyes are almost a Running Gag. Professor Moriarty retains all his serpentine qualities, in the narrative and in the characters' thoughts, and Colonel Moran is as much the tiger as ever. Sherlock Holmes calls Beth Lestrade the "tigress that got away," a double play on words as Beth is very much the tigress and Moran is a famous tiger hunter. Holmes himself is described often as "feline" and "catlike," especially once he marries Beth.
  • Candy For Your Thoughts: Alejandro is often compared to and referred as a snake, and to a lesser extent Duncan has a lion motif.
  • Two protagonists of Guidestuck- being animals in canon- are themed after their original forms. Bec is gruff and stubborn, like a wild dog. Jaspers, a cat, is proud, sophisticated and a little bit spoiled.
  • In the RWBY fic Clothes, please? Ren describes his fellow students as if he were narrating a nature documentary.
    "You can plainly see the affectionate gaze the lioness gives to the male..."
  • The witch Embry in Royal Heights has a strong association with bees. They cling onto her spirit form and are all over her home realm where she tends to them like pets.
  • From Kiryuuin Chronicles, we have Rei, who tends to be associated with birds, which is more apparent in chapter eight (titled "Releasing the Dove"). Apparently, this has something to do with their situation, considering that birds did seem to remind her of something that she couldn't do and that was fly, along with alluding to them living in an abusive home, the which they couldn't escape so easily, unless let out some how, like a bird would be unable to do if it were caged.
    Satsuki: Of course, birds reminded her of something that she nor any of us could do and that was fly, yet, at the same, they probably reminded her of how caged we are.
  • From Nightblade, the main character is heavily associated with cats and snakes, to the point of being described as purring and hissing at times.
  • Many Death Note Yaoi fanfics ascribe a dog motif to Matt, for his unquestioning loyalty and obedience to Mello, and willingness to follow the latter to the ends of the Earth.
  • In The Dancing and the Dreaming, the confident, long-haired woman Rose Quartz wears a lion mask to her masquerade ball.
  • There's a subgenre of crossover fics- usually referred to as 'daemon' fics- that focus on what kind of daemon [Character X] would develop and why.
    • Neala, depicts Harry Potter's daemon as a hare, to underline his Humble Hero tendencies. Ron's is a husky dog, symbolizing his loyalty and determination. Hermione's is a raven, which shows her intelligence.
    • Alatus shows her as a dragon because "Harry cannot pretend he belongs in the muggle world."
    • Tueri shows Dean Winchester's as a cougar.
      "I'm good like this," she whispered back, when he asked her under cover of Sam watching cartoons that evening, licking a paw and scrubbing it over her ear. "We’re good, like this. People won’t fuck with us, and we can take care of Sammy. Chicks’ll think you’re all mature and shit cause I settled early, and everyone knows people with cat daemons are all mysterious and seductive." She’d flashed him a grin, all sharp teeth. "Try not to let ‘em down too much."
    • In Our Souls Are Dust and Starlight, Donna's daemon is a tiger, much to her confusion - "I'm just a temp from Chiswick!"
  • Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion frequently compares C.C. to a cat, fitting for her aloof yet playful demeanor. Other fanfics do this as well, noting how she does nothing but lounge around all day asleep, bother people, be disobedient to requests, and eat.
  • In Sleeping Beetle, the heroes visit a castle which is almost overloaded with owl imagery. Its Romanian name, Castel Bufniţă, literally translates as "Owl Castle," and its owner can turn into an owl at will. However, this has nothing to do with the traditional notion of owls as being wise; it's because the owner is a strigoi mort, which according to vampiric lore turn into owls rather than bats.
  • In the A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic Robb Returns, Littlefinger keeps getting compared to a weasel even though his personal coat of arms is a mockingbird.
    • The one thing that finally signifies that Theon is more a Stark than a Greyjoy is him getting the seventh direwolf pup.
  • In A Good Day, this is used to show how different Ryuuko thinks she and her sister, Satsuki, are. The latter, appearance wise, as she put it, can be a compared to be crane, an animal that is associated with beauty and grace, while the former compares herself to a bulldog, which, apparently, corresponds with her appearance of being "short, stumpy, frumpy, fat, and rolly".

    Films — Animation 
  • Jafar, the villain of Aladdin, was actually given a snake motif: his hat and robes resemble the hood and body of a cobra, he has vaguely serpentine eyes, teeth resembling a venomous snake's fangs, a constant tendency to flick out his tongue while speaking, he always carries a cobra-headed staff with him all the time, and at the end of the film, he even turns into one.
  • The Book of Life:
    • Manolo with bulls. He comes from a family of bullfighters, but can't bring himself to deliver the final blow.
    • Joaquin with eagles, given the small, but generous number of them surrounding him throughout the movie.
    • Xibalba with snakes, given his magical staff is a two headed snake. Word of God even states that the snake staff is actually a part of Xibalba himself.
  • From Coraline, the Other Mother is especially given imagery of a spider. It's revealed to be her real form, and her kind is known to eat their offspring.
    • Bugs are everywhere in the film as well. The Other Mother added them to the Other World because she thought Coraline liked bugs.
  • An in-universe example in Brother Bear; the protagonist's spirit animal - much to his annoyance - is a bear, and he ends up getting transformed into one.
  • Kung Fu Panda takes it so far as to name characters after what species they are (or what style of kung fu they practise). For example, Tigress practices Tiger Style, and her personality is deeply emotional and fiercely competitive. Monkey is playful and used to be the town prankster.
    • Master Oogway, a tortoise, is patient and wise.
    • The peacock Shen is a vain perfectionist.
    • In an odd case where an animal character has a separate animal motif, Po the panda is frequently associated with dragons.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Sunset Shimmer's "I Am Becoming" Song "My Past Is Not Today" ties her with The Phoenix, rising from the ashes of her old life to make a new start for herself as a better person. This continues in Friendship Games where, after absorbing magic from her friends, her transformation has energy wings and her magic is distinctly fire-looking. The very end has a phoenix rise up from a hill before showing stars representing Twilight and herself.
  • In Ivanhoe Burbank Animation, Bois-Gilbert has a raven motif, and Front-De-Bouef has a bull.
  • Beetles are a motif in Kubo and the Two Strings. A beetle is Kubo's family crest, the character of Beetle is self-explanatory, and, as mentioned above, The Beatles originally performed the song that is used in the end credits.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Many of the characters in Blade Runner are associated with an animal, including all of the (confirmed) Replicants. Roy Batty, in fact, has two.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula has the obvious bat, rat and wolf associations for the titular character, but there's also a snake motif for Lucy: her first appearance has her wearing an evening gown with snake embroidering and a hairdo resembling coiled snakes, the nightgown she wears when attacked by Dracula resembles a snake's belly, and her wedding/funeral dress was inspired by frill-necked lizards.
  • In The Dark Knight, the Joker makes some references about dogs and their loyalty. One of the gangs in Gotham is led by a man who starves and abuses a group of dogs to make them viciously attack anyone. Joker sets them on him.
  • The last shot of The Departed, a movie about a pair of moles within the Boston Mob and the Mass. "Staties" hunting each other, features a rat scurrying across a balcony
    • Spoofed on The Simpsons which did a parody of this movie. As the rat scurries by at the end, Ralph pops up and tells the audience, "The rat represents obviousness!"
  • In Ever After, when preparing for the masque, Marguerite is dressed as a peacock, beautiful and vain. By comparison, her sister, Jacqueline, who is kind and sweet, is dressed as a horse. The brief conversation they had before leaving also reflected Jacqueline's situation. She complained that she always wanted to be the peacock (someone beautiful and admired like her sister), in which her mother then told her a horse is still a noble creature. In the end, she chooses to help Danielle and falls in love with the guard captain, living happily in the castle with her stepsister, unlike her mother and sister.
  • Forrest Gump:
    • Jenny is associated with birds, from the moment she asks Forrest to pray with her:
    • The prayer itself:
      Jenny: "Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far. Far, far away from here."
    • Which is recalled in a conversation after he sees Jenny performing on stage:
      Jenny: "Do you think I could fly off this bridge?"
    • Later, we see her contemplating suicide again, ready to jump off a high-riser, with Free Bird's solo wailing in the background.
    • And then, finally, after Forrest finishes talking to Jenny's gravestone, a flock of birds flies out of their tree as Forrest walks away.
  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai has this, but only a few animals show up more than once.
  • The Howling is filled with wolf motifs.
  • The Splices in Jupiter Ascending, with varying levels of subtlety.
    • Stinger is a beekeeper with incredibly precise piloting skills. He also used to have wings.
    • Caine is described in-universe as a lone wolf searching for a pack. His characterization is defined by his loyalty to Jupiter and martial skills.
  • Mirror, Mirror has the Queen dressed as a vain peacock during the thematic ball. In contrast, Snow White is a swan and Prince Alcott is a rabbit.
  • Count Orlock, of the 1920's vampire film Nosferatu has a subtle plague rat motif as his base. His famous appearance combines needle-like incisors reminiscent of a rat's front teeth, Bald of Evil, elongated pointy ears, Creepy Long Fingers, and a set of facial features (pinched cheeks, long pointy nose) that make one think "rat". He seems to summon a Swarm of Rats wherever he goes and the effects of his feeding are mistaken as some kind of plague.
  • On the Waterfront has a bird motif. There are many references to birds that mirror the various human interactions in the plot.
  • Original Piranha has a sea life motif.
  • Psycho also has a bird motif, associating Norman Bates' female victims with the birds he stuffs. He comments that Marion Crane (note the surname), from Phoenix, Arizona, eats like a bird shortly before killing her. In the finale we learn that he has preserved the corpse of his mother with his taxidermy skills. There are many, many different references to the bird motif throughout the film. Try to find them all!
  • In Rebecca, the animal favoured by the nameless heroine is the lap-dog, Jasper. Rebecca, however, is regularly mentioned in conjunction with horses. The second Mrs. de Winter is meek, mild, and childish, always eager to please and desperate for her husband's approval, to the point where she is almost pathetic. Rebecca, however, is wild and dangerous and too powerful for Max De Winter to keep control of - especially since the horses mentioned alongside her are crazy with pain, as Rebecca whips them into a frenzy.
  • From Sherlock Holmes, a crow is always seen whenever Blackwood is about to kill someone. So at the end, when Blackwood really does die for real, it flies away. The crow turns out to be nothing more than a normal crow.
  • At one point in Star Trek, McCoy indirectly referred to Kirk as a stallion, who had started out wild, reckless and proud. Eventually, he does grow up and becomes "tamed" and more controlled of his emotions.
  • James Cameron has stated that he used a butterfly motif on Rose in Titanic (1997). Most evident in the (in)famous "I'm flying!" scene.
  • The Wolverine: Next to the Wolverine, we also have the Viper, and the film alludes often to the animalistic natures of both.
  • In the opening credits of the 1939 film version of The Women, each major character is represented by an animal, which dissolves into the face of the actress. (As with the human characters, all animals in the movie were female.)
  • The Conspiracy: Members of the Tarsus Club are divided into ravens and lions, complete with masks, and the core of their mythos is the worship of Mithras with a heavy focus on the bull hunting-and-slaying scene and a ritualistic murder symbolic of the latter in every meeting.
  • In Return of the Jedi, the windows in Emperor Palpatine's throne room on the Death Star resemble spider webs, referring to his intricate plotting and scheming throughout the series.
  • James Bond:
    • Skyfall: Raul Silva compares himself and Bond being betrayed by the MI-6 and targeting each other; to rats who forced into a barrel, resorted to cannibalism, and even when released still choose to eat nothing but there own kind. Bond notes on this after he knifes Sliva in the back.
    Bond: Last rat standing Mr Sliva...
    • Spectre:
      • Franz Oberhauser describes Bond as a cuckoo because Bond was adopted into Oberhauser's family and his father loved Bond more than Oberhauser, likening it to how a cuckoo bird would lay its eggs in another bird's nest and kick out the original eggs.
      • The title organization is depicted as an octopus.
  • From The Hunger Games: Catching Fire onward, Katniss Everdeen is strongly identified with mockingjays. She received a pin of one early in The Hunger Games and it became her symbol.
  • In the 2016 The Great Wall, each of the five main groups of warriors protecting the titular wall are coded by the animals on their helmets and ornaments. The horse-riding cavalry are represented by a purple stag. The archers perched at the top are represented by a red bird. The artillery group handling the cannons and heavy-lifting are represented by a golden tiger. The elite female troops who spear their enemies from above are represented by a blue crane. And the main military force guarding the walls are represented by a grey bear.

    Game Books 
  • Lone Wolf: Lone Wolf has a wolf motif, unsurprisingly.

    Literature 
  • Felix Leiter is described as having feline slanted eyes in Casino Royale.
  • In The Hound of the D'Urbervilles, Colonel Moran often compares Professor Moriarty to a snake, cold-blooded, deadly, with cobra eyes, an adder's smile, and a neck-wobbling habit that reminds him of a snake.
  • The Bible is full of animal analogies. Lions, doves, sheep and cattle are especially prominent: Jesus himself was regularly compared to lambs, lions and, in later Christianity, unicorns.
  • The Iliad is heavy with animal similes when describing characters' emotions and actions.
  • Many of the noble houses in A Song of Ice and Fire have animals on their coats of arms, and are commonly referred to by these animals as well as showing an awareness of how they are 'supposed' to act to fit the animal characteristics; the series has a lot of fun with the possible symbolism. For example, the grim, grey, noble, and cold-dwelling Starks have a direwolf on their arms, while the blonde, vain, and aggressive Lannisters have a lion. Littlefinger deliberately chooses the small, bright, and harmless cunning thief, the mockingbird, for his arms to appear nonthreatening. Crows seem to act as the motif for the series as a whole, symbolizing war, ill omen, and death. Members of the Night's Watch are also (somewhat mockingly) referred to as Crows.
    • To top it off many characters are referred to by animal nicknames based off their traits. Sansa Stark is nicknamed "little bird" for her ability to repeat "pretty words". Also, Sandor is often called dog or The Hound (because the Clegane coat of arms has three dogs).
    • To expand on the use of the bird motif used for Sansa, her chapters are usually rife with symbolism relating to birds, the sky and flying, not to mention the fact that she is currently living with Petyr Baelish, the other avian associated character.
      • And they're located in a mountaintop castle, which is nicknamed the Eyrie.
    • The Starks, Targaryens, and Dothraki have a closer relationship with their animal sigils (direwolf, dragon, and horse, respectively) than most (no, not like that). The Stark children all get direwolf companions early in the first book. The Targaryens rode dragons to war, and the Dothraki consider horses essential to their nomadic lifestyle.
    • The sigil of House Martell actually is not an animal, but Oberyn and his daughters have a snake motif, especially connected to their fighting style: fast, sneaky and poisonous.
    • The infamous "Rains of Castamere" song leans heavily on the fact that both House Lannister and House Reyne had lionsnote  for their coats of arms.
    • Subverted by the Florents, who have a fox for their sigil and look like foxes with their large ears, but are not particularly cunning, being vain and unpleasant.
    • The Freys don't have it as their sigil but are frequently compared to weasels, looking like them and acting sneaky and unpleasant.
  • The Neanderthals depicted in Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear have individual animal "totems"; the heroine, Ayla, has a cave lion, a controversially strong totem for a woman.
  • In His Dark Materials your daemon's form (an animal) represents yourself and is part of your soul. Since children have not yet truly defined who they are in life, their daemons can shape shift until they mature.
  • Deltora Quest: "Barda The Bear" is what Barda was called as guard during days of peace in Del, for being the toughest out of all the guards, though Barda doesn't appreciate that moniker when Jinx calls him by it.
    • Jasmine associated many animals but mainly with birds since her connection with her pet black bird Kree and distaste for walls and stone, preferring freedom of the air. Lief is tied with Dragons and their majesty as the Deltora royal family are connected to Dragons and literal dragon come back in the third series.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Given the initial source material, there's quite a lot of this present throughout the series. Some of it is quite overt, especially when the primary cast of characters is concerned, though there are a few subtler instances of it as well.
    • For instance, Duke Nobel's coat of arms depicts a white lion, his father's name is Leo, and he aspires to be the king. On the other hand, in spite of her being raven-haired, living in a figurative gilded cage, and hailing from a city with a raven as its symbol, it can still be easy to miss that the Countess Persephone is oft likened to a bird.
  • Several times in the Tortall Universe by Tamora Pierce.
    • Song of the Lioness stars a female knight called Alanna, who gains the appellation "The Lioness" because of her courage and tenacity.
    • Her daughter, Aly, is a clever girl who likes to joke around. She learns how to talk to crows early in the plot, befriends the crow gods, and eventually falls in love with a crow shapeshifted into a man.
    • In the Provost's Dog books, the proto-police force adopt the disparaging nickname "Dogs," call their watchouses "Kennels," and their trainees "Puppies," as they find the connotations of a loyal hunter/tracker to be highly appropriate. Beka is also nicknamed after a breed of hunting dog for her actions in each book as a Title Drop.
  • The main characters in The Impairment each are associated with an animal of which reflects their personalities.
    • Lead and POV character Kyle Griffin is associated with, what else, Griffins. His motif is the only one among the rest that isn't actually a real animal, but rather a mythical beast. This is a reflection of his desire to escape from the cruel real world and find solace in the "fantasy world" of his drunken stupor. It may also reflect his desire to be free of suspicion (the bird/flying aspect of the creature) and his aggressive nature towards his suspicion (the lion aspect).
    • The sole believer on campus to Kyle's claims, Mark Rivera, has a wolf motif, which reflects his aggressive attitude towards anyone that's hostile to anyone to whom he's fiercely protective and loyal. It's a part of a gag with his deceased girlfriend Naomi Portman's motif of the Moon, and also reflection of his sad and lonesome outlook on life.
    • Nathan Reeves Bret Cameron, takes the falcon as his both for the fact by personality he’s an excellent tracker and a careful and silent overseer of his surroundings and that he uses camera-bots disguised as taxidermy falcons to spy on Kyle.
    • Allie Parker’s seems to be cats which fit to her curious attitude, the mysterious nature of her personality and of course in truth to her agile and dangerous skills and techniques and her territorial, independent and dangerous tendencies.
    • Being that he’s a bipedal version and greatly resembles one, Meleeo is identified with Chameleons. This greatly reflects how he blends in to his surroundings and adapted and fooled both the readers and the characters of his true personality and colors. Oh and of course his tongue.
    • Kiefer Waldgrave identifies himself with the caterpillar, cocoon, and Moth family. He clearly started out a pathetic, weak and idealistic young man, but slowly gave in to his newfound ideals and confined himself to the cocoon of his new ideals till he hoped to become something much greater.
    • The men of the Beta Alpha Omega fraternity are identified by Mark as “dogs”, possibly by how depending on their owner and surroundings it ultimately shapes their personalities, of which these boys are aggressive and brutal.
    • Emma Sumiko is identified with koi fish, possibly due to her Asian heritage and her milky, elegant and beautiful appearance.
  • Harry Potter has patronuses, protective spells that take animal form, and animagi, wizards and witches who can turn into animals. (Wizards usually has the same patronus and animagi form.) Harry himself has a stag patronus like his father, an animagus, did, and his mother had a doe patronus. Stags are majestic and brave but also prideful.
    • Severus Snape is often compared to a bat. His patronus is a doe, which represents his love for Lily Evans. Notably, his patronus is a copy of Lily's instead of a complement like James's.
    • On Pottermore it was revealed that Remus Lupin has a wolf patronus, which he is ashamed of because he dislikes the reference to his lycanthropy. Yet, wolves are intelligent and loyal to their packs. Nymphadora Tonks's patronus changes from a jack rabbit to a wolf after the events of the fifth book, out of love for Remus.
    • Dolores Umbridge fills her office with cat-themed knickknacks and has a cat patronus, thus representing Cats Are Mean and in opposition to Minerva McGonagall's cat patronus/animagus form (representing Cats Are Magic).
    • Other characters whose patronuses are known and notable include Ron Weasley (a jack russell terrier, loyal and tenacious); Hermione (an otter, playful, intelligent, JKR's favorite animal); and Ginny Weasley (a horse, wild and fierce).
    • Albus Dumbledore's Patronus is a phoenix, and he is otherwise associated with phoenixes because of his pet, Fawkes, and his secret organization the Order of the Phoenix. His brother, Aberforth, has a goat Patronus. This keeping with how he he once used "inappropriate charms on a goat" and his place of business The Hog's Head smells of goats.
    • Sirius can turn into a big, black dog because he's clever, loyal, and lacks impulse control. Peter is a rat, which could be interpreted positively as being dexterous and clever or negatively as being sneaky and treacherous.
    • Each of the Four Houses also has a symbolic animal: Gryffindor has a lion, the King of the Jungle; Hufflepuff has a badger, a docile animal that can take down much larger creatures if threatened.note ; Ravenclaw has an eagle, intelligent and independent; Slytherin has a snake, which is sneaky, clever, and loyal to a close few (and, In-Universe, because its founder could talk to them). Slytherin's descendant Voldemort inherited his snake motif.
    • Rubius Hagrid and Newt Scamander can be assisoated with dragons and other fierce creatures due to extreme and touching care of magical monsters which most people would fear.
  • The Animorphs all have signature animals they often turn into, particularly in battle. For example, Marco, the Sad Clown with a creatively ruthless streak, typically transforms into a gorilla, which is big and bulky but still both dangerous and capable of delicate manipulations with opposable thumbs; The Hero, Jake, is a tiger; Blood Knight Rachel is a grizzly bear; Tobias is a hawk (self-sufficient and needs lots of space); Team Mom Cassie is a wolf.
    • And David is a rat. For all his rage, he is still just a rat in a bottle. David also sometimes uses a lion, which represents his savage fighting style, as even Jake in his tiger morph couldn't defeat him.
    • Ax also often goes into battle unmorphed, since Andalites are plenty dangerous in their natural state (extremely sharp tail blades, remember?)
    • When Tom acquires the morphing power late in the series, the only morph he is ever seen using is a cobra. This is incredibly fitting, given his role in the final story arc.
    • Finally, Visser Three has a grab bag assortment of alien morphs, but the only one he uses more than once is the 'Eight', the bizarre eight-headed, eight-armed, eight-legged, fire-breathing abomination he uses in the climax of the first book. Besides setting up the Visser as an alien threat of monstrous proportions, this particular morph owes a lot to the Beast of Revelations.
  • The Grapes of Wrath has in its third chapter a tortoise trying to cross a road and getting run over by a truck. In the fourth chapter, we meet Jim Casey, who's described as having a "long head" and a "beaked" nose.
  • Jorge Luis Borges writes a tiger somewhere into many of his stories.
  • Incredibly important in 'Het verrotte leven van Floortje Bloem', a Dutch book which title translates to 'The screwed-up life of Floortje Bloem'. It's about a young hooker hooked on heroin who gets a fur rabbit from a pedophile. This fur rabbit is used to portray her innocence and it deterorates further and further from that point.
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience employs the recurring imagery of different animals to represent innocence, e.g. "The Lamb", and experience, e.g. "The Tyger". In "THE FLY", the narrator compares himself directly to a fly with reference to human mortality and vulnerability.
  • An in-universe example: In the Dragaera series, each of the 17 Great Houses is named after an animal. However, since a lot of those animals aren't from Earth, the similarities between the personality traits of the House and the traits of the animal are much better understood by the characters than by us.
  • In Stardust, a character remarked when Tristran is transformed into a dormouse by a witch, that she isn't sure whether the spell simply transformed Tristran into a dormouse or it had chosen the form that Tristran is most like.
  • Each chapter of The Darksword Trilogy starts with a small, symbolic illustration. Joram is represented as a frog wearing a crown, referencing his Royal Blood; Simkin is represented as a crow wearing a jester's cap, referencing his Trickster Archetype nature and status as The Fool.
  • The Hunger Games has President Snow identifying with a snake, especially his eyes. Katniss has been compared to a mockingjay. (The motifs actually plays a lot into the story & symbolism Snow is described as having features that make him look like a snake and importantly, later on, we learn that he gained his position from poisoning his enemies. And Katniss' role as the Mockingjay is revealing about the nature in which she's been manipulated in the novels, the mockingjays were signs of rebellion but could not produce their own words. Katniss is constantly a puppet for the 'players' of the books, like President Snow, Plutarch and Coin. She also is reduced to a poor mental state where she begins singing to herself in the end of the last novel.
    • Rue is described as having bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin and standing tilted up on her toes with her arms slightly extended to her sides, as if ready to take wing at the slightest sound. It's impossible not to think of a bird. Her swift and almost invisible movements through the treetops added to the bird-like description. Rue's pre-games interview costume is described as a sheer dress with shimmering gossamer wings. Of course she can also communicate to the birds through song.
    • Katniss nicknamed the girl from District 5 "Foxface" because of her fox-like appearance. She has red hair and is describe by Katniss as sly and elusive. Foxface demonstrated her cleverness by figuring out the path into the Careers' supply pyramid and reached the bulk of supplies, takes an unnoticeable amount of food, and then runs back to the safety of the woods.
  • In Death series: Roarke has been compared to a wolf in Ceremony in Death, Vengeance in Death, and Promises in Death. Promises in Death actually had Eve and several women discussing the men in their lives and comparing them to animals. Nadine got a turtle of a man. Trina got a snake of a man. Mira got an owl of a man. Peabody got a puppy of a man. Mavis got a bear of a man. Louise got a cheetah of a man. Nadine theorizes that Roarke is a panther, but Eve ends up saying "wolf," and Mira points out that when wolves mate, it's for life.
  • In the Belgariad, each of the gods has a totemic animal: Belar's is a bear, Torak's is a dragon, Chaldan's is a bull, Issa's is a snake, Nedra's is a lion, Mara's is a bat, and Aldur's is an owl. Each god, and his chosen race of people, take on the personality characteristics of their animal, and in some cases go beyond: Barak turns into a bear when a certain condition is met; Salmissra is transformed into a serpent as punishment for her particular meddling; Torak's successor transforms into a dragon on occasion in an effort to impede the party; and the female sorcerers under Aldur's tutelage prefer the form of the owl for themselves (the males prefer the wolf). The sorcerers also wear an amulet each bearing the image of their chosen form.
  • In the Indian novel The White Tiger: The white tiger.
  • Heraldic animals feature heavily in the Tales of the Branion Realm historical fantasy series set in an alternate Britain. There are two opposing Gods - Essus (a white dragon) and the Living Flame (a fire-wolf). Since the Vessel of the Living Flame doubles as the kingdom's sovereign, the fire-wolf doubles as the national symbol and the royal family's crest. Other creatures that feature prominently include the bear, symbol of one of the strongest noble families; a crimson gryphon, symbol of Gwyneth (an expy of Wales), and the wyvern, crest of the royal dukedom of Yorbourne (aka York). There's also the owl, symbol of choice and totem of a Seer. All these symbols appear commonly in visions and may battle in metaphysical combat.
  • In Terra Mirum Chronicles both the Nightmare Queen and Titania, mockingly in the first case and affectionately in the second, refer to Prince Oswin as a rabbit. He takes the place of the white rabbit in the original tale.
  • Avalon: Web of Magic play around with this trope; Emily and Kara are magically bonded to various animals, instead of one species in particular. Adriane plays it straight: she feels especially connected to mistwolves, and one is her protector and companion. Fittingly, Adriane is a introverted but staunchly loyal, difficult to befriend, and knowledgeable about nature. As her magical abilities grow, she becomes capable of summoning spirit wolves.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • The predatory White Court refer to humans as deer. This is used to establish the Court as unfeeling and contemptuous of their 'prey'.
    • The Mantle of the Winter Lady is represented by an incorporeal serpent, a symbol of the sex and danger it drives its hosts to spread. Not coincidentally, one of its future bearers has a snake tattoo.
  • Sherlock Holmes is often compared to a hunting hound when he's hot on the scent of a criminal. Moriarty, meanwhile, is likened to a spider at the centre of a web. His right-hand man, the grizzled tiger hunter Moran, is described as being very much like a tiger himself. Similarly, The Devil's Foot features a character named Leon Sterndale, a lion-hunter with a mane of blonde hair and a fierce, noble temperament. And then there's the "ferret-like" Inspector Lestrade...
  • The two protagonists of The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness come from the Wolf and Raven clans respectively- two animals that frequently share prey. Given that the first book centers around a hunt, this is quite fitting.
  • A Zen Koan describes a monk who was afraid of a spider that appeared during his meditation. His master told him to mark the spider with a chalk 'X' next time it appeared- and upon doing so, the monk realizes that he's marked himself.
  • Each novel in the Miriam Black series has a particular bird as a title, the mythology of which relates in some way to their stories.
    • Blackbirds: Psychopomps — beings that transport dead souls to the afterlife. Miriam believes for most of the novel that she's no more than a witness to death, and that she can't control fate.
    • Mockingbird: A bird with no unique song; instead "mocking" those of others. The serial killer Miriam has to hunt down is capable of imitating other voices.
    • The Cormorant: Symbolizes greed, gluttony or overindulgence. The main antagonist is Drunk with Power, and to save her mother's life, Miriam must find a way to defeat him.
  • The Poster Children has an abundance of these. The Underwoods, including Ellie, have a bird motif. Zip is referred to as a cheetah both in-universe and out, June has the tigress, Maks is compared to a monkey, and Ernest is actually based on a golden retriever. Ofelia also has sea lion physiology.
  • O'Reilly Media's computer programming books have old-fashioned lithographic illustrations of animals on their covers.
  • Multiple characters in the Sandokan novels have one or more animal motif:
  • Tris from Divergent is associated with crows and ravens.
  • The witches of the Pallid Masque from the Revanche Cycle are given animal names and bone masks to match by the coven's mistress. Said names are sometimes deceptive, as the bandits who waylay Hedy, the Mouse learn the hard way.
  • Journey to Chaos: Princess (later Queen) Kasile of Ataidar invokes the image of tigers whenever possible because one of them is her divine ancestor's familiar in addition to the fact that they are powerful and majestic creatures. They decorate her dresses, her castle, and they inspired her development of the Mana Claw technique.
  • In the Deverry novels, many characters are associated with animals. Dweomer workers can take the form of one bird decided by their personality (the garrulous and showmanlike Salamander is embarrassed by his magpie form, which is only revealed to the reader after characters who don't know he's a magic user have repeatedly called him "that chattering magpie"). Other characters often have an animal associated with their coat of arms, for instance that of Rhodry's family is a badger, representing the clan founder's steadfastness. In the flashbacks, Brangwen and Gerraent are the last scions of the Falcon Clan, and their later incarnations are often associated with falcons in some way.
  • In The Girl From The Miracles District, Nikita is often associated with mantis in-universe, to the point where it's her nickname and the Big Bad threatens her with a box of dead mantids, and Robin - or, rather, Robin's past life - is symbolized by a deer.
  • The Southern Reach Trilogy: Both the biologist and the lighthouse keeper are heavily associated with birds. The biologist is nicknamed Ghost Bird by her late husband, who himself ends up being transformed into an owl, and the lighthouse keeper is an avid bird watcher, writing down what kind of birds he's seen on any given day.
  • The Machineries of Empire loves its animal motifs.
    • Spaceships are called "moths", with various types being called "__moths".
    • Most factions are symbolized by an animal:
      • Shuos - ninefox
      • Kel - ashhawk ("suicide hawk")
      • Rahal - scrywolf ("execution wolf")
      • Vidona - the stingray
    • Shuos Jedao's signifier is the Immolation Fox, a variation on ninefox.
    • Kel Cheris' signifier is Ashhawk Sheathed Wings, symbolizing mentally-stable Kel.
    • Drones are shaped like stylized animals, with a particular animal depending on the owners' faction and the drone's purpose.
    • Cheris' home is called the City of Ravens Feasting.
  • In the poem Hyena, the authoress compares someone she knows (but clearly not fond of) to the titular aninal, the animal generally being seen as annoying and unpleasant (mostly the forner).

    Manhua 
  • School Shock has Super Soldier Cyborgs named Vanguards. They are themed on bees, praying mantises, ants, moths and spiders.
  • Ravages Of Time leans on the same Shu = Dragon and Wu = Tiger motifs that they usually get in popular lore, while Sima Yi is the titular phoenix in the series' Chinese titlenote , although at least twice the infamous "wolf neck" comes into play.

    Music 
  • The music video of Gangnam Style has horses in it, most likely because it's funny.
  • Suede had quite a bit of animal imagery in their lyrics and music videos, with songs like "Animal Lover", "Animal Nitrate", "We are the Pigs", "Where the Pigs Don't Fly", etc.
  • Blue Butterfly by Violet UK uses The Butterfly Of Life And Death as its symbolism. An insect motif, but as there's no separate trope for insects yet...
    • Speaking of insect motifs, Papa Roach was known for its use of cockroaches in the cover for Infest, as well as their music videos, most notably "Between Angels and Insects", in which cockroaches come out of Jacoby Shaddix's mouth.
  • YUP's 1994 story album Toppatakkeja Ja Toledon Terasta has a main character detective Henri Blavatsky with a mole motif, presenting the character as an one-man underground army on the second song of the album, Minä olen myyrä (I am a mole).
  • Clazziquai Project has pigs in all of its artwork, and they are also seen extensively in the video for "Sweety"; additionally, their debut album was named Instant Pig.
  • Singer Christopher Cross has a flamingo featured in the artwork for all of his albums in some form. His logo also depicts a flamingo indented in the "O" in "Cross".
  • Swedish group Katatonia has a lot of bird imagery in their album artwork and music videos.
  • Cormorant (unsurprisingly) have a lot of bird imagery, although serpents occasionally pop into their lyrics. The album Metazoa also mentions at least one animal in each song, but this was unintentional on their end.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Countless wrestlers have "Dragon" in their names or nicknames. It's universally a sign of respect.
    • Dragón Rojo in 1970s CMLL. His son would later take up the mask after trying other gimmicks.
    • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, one of the few non Japanese people to get the honor in Japan (All Japan Pro Wrestling)
    • Conversely AJPW's Kazuharu Sonoda was known as "Magic Dragon" in the Americas
    • Ultimo Dragon.
    • Super Dragon
    • Rie Tamada and GAMI, the tag team known as ReDragon in Aja Kong's ARSION.(and later, Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish, reDRagon in Ring Of Honor)
    • Big Japan's Death Match Dragon, Ryuji Ito
    • "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson, one of the few non-Japanese to ever win that honor in Japan.
    • Dragon Kid and his nemesis Darkness Dragon
    • Dark Dragon, who fought the "King Of Monsters" Blue Dragon and later, Ultimo Dragon (came before Blue Dragon but sort of inherited his nemesis, sort of not as one of his Dark Dragons turned out to be long time foe Hajime Ohara)
    • There's Dragon Dragon.
    • Chilean Dragon Gustav EXE in Xplosion Nacional de Lucha Libre
    • The Chinese Dragon Yosuke (loves) Santa Maria(he's from Japan, but whatever)
    • Dragon Shynron in Chikara and Beyond. His Fusion Dance partner ACH has been compared to Bruce Leroy and thus called The Last Dragon sometimes.
    • Lady Dragon in IWRG
    • The Lucha Dragons, a tag team composed of Sin Cara and Kalisto.
  • Cats are popular, unsurprisingly
    • Big Cat Ernie Ladd, one of the more well known crossovers from American football to pro wrestling.
    • Masked Luchador Blue Panther and his many successors
    • Masked Luchador Bengala for white tigers.
    • El Pantera for black panthers and El Pantera Jr. for white panthers
    • In Japan and Japanese-influenced promotions, up-and-coming wrestlers are called "young lions." Ex Masahiro Chono, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Chris Hero, Ryusuke Taguchi
    • Puerto Rican legend of the AWA and All Japan Womens Pro Wrestling "La Tigresa" Irma Acevedo, as well as her more terrifying successor simply known as La Tigresa in WWC and IWA Puerto Rico (not to be confused with Mexican Tigresa del Norte).
    • Tiger Mask and his many successors such as Tiger Dream and Extreme Tiger as well as evil knockoffs, such as Black Tiger and Masked Tiger.
    • Jushin Thunder Liger, two cat motifs for the price of one.
    • Early on his career Chris Jericho had a number of lion-based names and nicknames, which fit well with his long blond hair. He hasn't gone by any of those names in years, even since before he cut his mane short...but his version of the springboard moonsault is still called the "Lionsault".
    • Tigre Universitario and Mini Tigre Universitario in IWRG
    • WCW Power Plant graduate Ernest "The Cat" Miller
    • The Queen Of Cats, masked luchadora La Felina.
    • The lion Ryukyu, Super Shisa
    • Cat Power obviously, as well as Croatian Panther in SHIMMER
    • Chikara wrestler Lince Dorado for house cats.
    • Kofi Kingston started being referred to as a "Wildcat" in WWE.
    • The late Eddie Guerrero donned the aforementioned Black Tiger Legacy Character in his career.
    • Stacy Carter wrestled as "Ms. Kitty" and later "The Kat".
    • Sable has a leopard screeching on her entrance theme.
  • Canines tend to be for tag teams and trios, due to being social animals
    • Bulldog Mallory back in the 1930s
    • Butcher Vachon and Mad Dog Vachon in the 1950s
    • Legendary CMLL luchador Perro Auagayo. Perro Auagayo Jr. would go on to found the Card-Carrying Villain stable Los Perros Del Mal, which would causes mischief in CMLL, splinter fed AAA and then start its very own promotion with its own "evil" title belts.
    • Junkyard Dog, who would later train Redd Dogg, who would later form the Dogg Pound with Shelton Benjamin.
    • The Moon Dogs, Max, Rex, Rover, Spot, Splat, Spike, King and Cujo(and Black Moondog, and Moondog Fifi, and their trainee Moonpuppy and...)
    • The British Bulldogs, Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid. Had an actual bulldog (Matilda) which they bought to the ring with them.
    • The Marine Wolves, Akira Hokuto and Suzuka Minami in AJW
    • Shark Tsuchiya's Mad Dog Military in FMW
    • The Pitbulls of the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance and ECW
    • The nWo Wolfpac splinter faction in WCW.
    • The Havana Pitbulls Ricky Reyes and Rocky Romero, starting in Ultimate Pro Wrestling, who were in turn part of the Rottweiler stable.
    • Foxes for 21st Century Fox, obviously.
    • Bolo The Red Bull Dog of New Wrestling Generation, WWC and IWA Puerto Rico
    • Jesse Neal is known as "The Dog Of War", which is an old nickname for the USA Army soldiers, which he was.
    • Belgian and Netherlands promotions such as Free-Style Championship Wrestling have Amsterdam Bulldogs Vito Toscani and Wesley Croton.
    • The Ring of Honor tag team of Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards call themselves "The American Wolves," referencing their ferocity and team mentality. AR Fox (which might be enough to count on its own) formed the African American Wolves with ACH in Pro Wrestling Guerilla.
    • Raven Hiroka, Pricesa Blanca and Princesa Sugeith: Las Zorras of CMLL.
    • Mexican tag team Los Perros del Infierno, Perro Salvaje and Demonio Azteca out of Cuernavaca, Morelos.
    • The Shield are collectively known as "The Hounds of Justice" and dogs feature prominently on their gear.
    • "The Lone Wolf" Baron Corbin
  • Snakes are a natural, at least when one remembers wrestling is supposed to be a grappling sport.
    • African Wrestler(specifically, Democratic Republic Of Congo) Bob Elandon, also known as N'boa the snakeman in the 1950s.
    • Jake "The Snake" Roberts was named such for his serpentine movements, generally villainous nature and tendency to bring live snakes to the ring to frighten his opponent.
    • EMLL has had a couple luchadoras with a Medusa gimmick, which naturally came with a snake motif as well.
    • "Whatcha gonna do, brother, when Hulk Hogan wraps his 24 inch pythons around you?"
    • New Japan's Hiroyoshi Tenzan with his Anaconda Cross and Anaconda Vice, the latter of which would be made famous in the USA by CM "I'm Still A Snake!" Punk.(Tenzan is more associated with Bison and Buffalo in Japan though)
    • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's nickname "The Rattlesnake" emphasized his untrustworthy temperament and habit of striking out at anyone, friend or foe, with little reason.
    • Sangre Azteca's gimmick is based on Coatlicue, which naturally brings a lot of snake imagery.
    • Green clad Belgium born wrestler Lucky Sabiti, The Krypton Pyton (though he mainly wrestles in Canadian northern Championship wrestling).
    • Randy Orton's later nickname "The Viper" refers both to the speed with which he can strike with his Finishing Move and his callous disregard for others.
    • Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro and Zeb Colter by way of the Gadsden flag as the Real Americans. "Don't tread on me."
    • Santino Marella's Finishing Move is called "The Cobra" and does it by placing a snake designed sock on his hand.
  • Bears
    • 1930s wrestler Chief Chewacki was nicknamed "Bearclaw"
    • 1960s-70s territorial tag team specialist Chief Little Bear
    • Ivan Koloff was known as "The Russian Bear"
    • Kamala had a bear motif before he started wrestling in face paint, and has actually wrestle bears!
    • Zenjo tag team specialist Grizzly Iwamoto
    • FMW mainstay Hideki Hosaka was known as "Darkside Panda"
    • Stiff "Griz" Jackson of Harley Race's World League Wrestling
    • The Mexican wrestler Pandita, whose gimmick has been borrowed by many, including Flying Kid Ichihara in FMW.
    • Zero 1 wrestler The Predator Sylvester Terkay is also known as "The Man Bear".
    • Alex Shelley has been nicknamed "Baby Bear"
    • The Big Show's merchandise took up a bear motif midway through his career
  • Fish
    • The Legendary Masked Luchador Fishman and his son, Black Fish.
    • John Tenta as the Shark of the Dungeon of Doom.
    • Sharkboy from WCW's Heartland Wrestling Association Farm league, originally known as El Piranha. He'd go on to inspire many successors, starting with Shark Girl.
    • Catfish for Namazu Man
    • Tiger Shark in Real Japan Pro Wrestling
    • Kimberly (Maddox) in World Xtreme Wrestling with her shark tattoos.
    • Sheamus would come to be known as "The Great White" in WWE.
  • Birds
    • Indio Yaqui was sometimes known as "Chief Lone Eagle" and his wife Bonita wore many feathers, though she might have had them for another reason.
    • Eagles for EMLL's El Nazi, obviously
    • Michael "P.S." Hayes, Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy, and Buddy "Jack" Roberts, The Fabulous Freebirds.
    • The Black Birds Brickhouse Brown and Iceman Parsons in WCCW, USWA and others in the 1980s. Los Black Birds (#s 1 and 2) of Luchu Libre Internacional(UWA), Jersey All Pro and IWRG later.
    • Tag team partner of Lioness Asuka(who can also go under cats) and later, Amazing Kong, Eagle Sawai.
    • When the Masked Luchador Rey Mysterio Jr. began his wrestling career he used the name "Colibri," which is Spanish for "hummingbird." It's fitting for someone so agile and small. Also, Huitzilopochtli (aka The Left-Handed Hummingbird Wizard) was the patron god of Tenochtitlan. Hijo De Rey Misterio has a bird themed mask too.
    • The American Eagles Tony Anthony and Danny Davis
    • Raven, quote it, nevermore
    • Thunderbird of Los Dioses del Trueno in AAA
    • The Fabulous Fire Bird Phoenix
    • El Blazer, sort of phoenix, mostly stoner.
    • The masked Scott seen in Three Count Wrestling(3CW), The Bird Of Prey Falcon
    • Cherry Bomb favors bird themed ring gear
    • Jack Evans and his Vulture Squad
    • Allysin Kay with her peacock feathers. Slightly more appropriately, Dalton Castle.
    • Infamously, Terry Taylor wrestled as the Red Rooster.
    • Another infamous one is the Turkey called The Gobbledy Gooker
    • Paige is dubbed as "The Enchanting/Mysterious Raven-Haired Lady". While it mainly refers to her features, ravens became her de-facto motif among Fanon, and she herself has acknowledged it.
    • After it's purchase and makeover by Anthem in 2017, Impact Wrestling has adopted Owls as one. They've even held a contest to name the "Anthem Owl".
  • Cows and bulls
    • Emil "Bull" Firpo back in the 1930s, along with Bull Montana
    • El Enmascarado Rojo in EMLL, later known as The Bull Miguel Torres
    • South African Wrestler Johann "Bull" Hefer
    • Dusty Rhodes was known as "Bull Of The Woods"
    • The Boss Of The World Bull Nakano
    • Big Bad Bull Pain in USWA and W*ING
    • Ed "The Bull" Gantner on Championship Wrestling From Florida
    • One of The Rock's many, many nicknames is "The Brahma Bull."
    • Former SHIN FMW and IWA Japan wrestler Keisuke Yamada turned Black Buffalo in Osaka Pro.
    • Bull Buchanan in Right To Censor
    • ARSION's cow Bullfight Sora, later joined by GAMI and Toshi Uematsu in Pro Wrestling WAVE
    • Moohammed, the terrorist cow
    • Bull Armor TAKUYA in Dramatic Dream Team, Dragon Gate, Osaka Pro and others.
    • Moscow The Communist Bovine of Chikara
    • Tito Santana, who has a matador gimmick.
    • The Los Matadores tag-team.
  • Spiders
    • Penny Mitchell, who briefly wrestled under a mask as The Spider Lady before her manager, The Fabulous Moolah, stole it.
    • Infamous WCW wrestler Arachnaman
    • Mariko Yoshida, after phasing out her high flying in Arsion but keeping the exotic submission holds of lucha libre, as well as adopting catch as catch can tactics, took up a spider web motif to drive it home.
    • Football player turned pro wrestler Nate Webb, for a different kind of "catch".
    • Tommy Saturday, otherwise known as The SpiderBaby
    • Lisa Marie Varon's Finishing Move in the WWE is called the Widow's Peak. Since she came to TNA, she has taken after Jake Roberts and started bringing a tarantula to the ring.
    • The Red, Blue and Yellow Devil Spiders of Fighting Opera HUSTLE.
    • AJ Lee has developed a black widow spider motif. Some of her shirts are even cut in such a way as to bring to mind a spider's web.
  • Scorpions
    • El 1970s pareja enmascarada Los Escorpiones
    • Another 70s team operating much further North than the former, Les Scorpiones Claude Johnson and Jerry Christy
    • Riki Choshu, innovator of the Sasori-gatame(scorpion hold)
    • Sting and his most infamous nemesis, The Black Scorpion Ric Flair
    • 2 Cold Scorpio(unless you know him as Flash Funk)
    • Dedicated EMLL mid carder Alacrán de Durango
    • Mercedes Martinez usually has scorpions on her tights
    • The Los Angeles based Scorpio Sky, especially when he still had his mask
    • Rey Escorpión of Rush's Los Ingobernables, and his brother Black Scorpió
  • Black Man of Los Tres Fantasticos had previously wrestled as Spider Man and La Gacela. The Spider Man gimmick in particular was taken up by many after he phased it out due to Fantasticos' runaway success, the Gacela gimmick had a much more dramatic end when the mask was taken by Super Dolphin in a wager match, and as such wasn't as widely adopted.
  • Big Van Vader used to be associated with bulls before he got his more famous gimmick associated with elephants.
  • Chris Benoit was known as the Rabid Wolverine, and had also wrestled as The Pegasus Kid.
  • Back in The '90s, The Undertaker has bats and crows associated with him.
  • Rhino/Rhyno is powerfully built and fights by charging at his opponents.
  • Black Rose is associated with Scorpions and has a fondness for coqui.
  • Caribbean (IWA Puerto Rico, Dominican Wrestling Entertainment, etc) wrestler La Morina has a recurring bunny theme in her ring gear.
  • Ants for The Colony, as well as their adversaries, The Swarm and Colony Extreme Force.
  • Sinn Bodhi has stuffed dog shin guards and teddy bear hip guards.
  • He may not like it, but the goat has become Daniel Bryan's motif.
  • Sheep for The Wyatt Family, especially Erick Rowan, who wears a sheep mask.
  • Solo Darling had feline allusions, then became a shark girl, then a squirrel.

    Sports 
  • 1960s Portuguese soccer player Eusebio was also known as "The Black Panther" because of his speed, his powerful strike, and the fact that he was black.
    • Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin was "The Black Spider" for its impressive saves and an all-black uniform.
  • Quite a few national soccer teams have animals on the logo (France has a rooster, England has three lions), or as a nickname (Brazil are the "Little Canary team", Nigeria the "Super Eagles", Cameroon "The Indomitable Lions").
    • Common for domestic clubs as well. The Premier League currently includes The Tigers (Hull), The Black Cats (Sunderland), The Eagles (Crystal Palace), The Foxes (Leicester), The Magpies (Newcastle), The Swans (Swansea) and The Throstles (West Bromwich Albion, though largely out of use).
  • Many American sports teams—too many to count, really. A decent estimate is that about a quarter to half the sports teams in the US and Canada are named for animals, and all of those will exploit this in their advertising.
  • Kobe Bryant is known as "The Black Mumba".

    Tabletop Games 
  • In 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, the familiars of wizards, sorcerers, and adepts bestow minor skill bonuses to their masters, which vary with the familiar's animal type. While some grant bonuses derived from their genuine aptitudes (e.g. Move Silently for a cat), other bonuses reflect the animal's anthropomorphized reputation (Bluff for snakes, Appraise for ravens).
    • This was present in 4th Edition too, with the Arcane Familiar feat available to those playing a class with the Arcane power source.
  • Exalted: Many Exalts take an animal for their character motifs. Lunars take it one step further, in that they can turn into any animals, provided they ritually hunt the animal first. Infernals on the other hand, takes some characteristics of their Coadjutors, which tends to be demonic version of certain animals. (Erymanthoi are demon-gorilla, Theodozjia are demon-cats, etc.)
  • All of the Clans from BattleTech are named after various badass animals. Many of them extraterrestrial or genetically engineered (i.e. the sea fox was an aquatic predator native to Strana Mechty, while the diamond shark was engineered by Clan Snow Raven to wipe out sea foxes after a dispute with Clan Sea Fox, who later changed their name to Clan Diamond Shark in defiance). Except for Clan Blood Spirit. They had an animal named after them.
    • Reinforced by Clan warriors sometimes wearing full-head masks patterned after their Clan's respective animal for ceremonial purposes. While this is seen most frequently in the fiction when the Khans assemble for council, it's not actually limited to them; similar occasions involving lower-ranking warriors are simply not shown as often.
  • The Imperium of Man is symbolized by a double-headed eagle, in homage of various great empires through human history.
    • Several Space Marine chapters have taken up animal themes too, like Space Wolves, Raven Guard, Minotaurs, etc.
    • The Chaos Gods have their own: Savage Wolves for Khorne, Creepy Crows for Tzeentch, and Flies Equals Evil for Nurgle. These are just to the most easily recognised motifs, however, and there are many animals that befit the Chaos Gods. For example, snakes can be symbols of Slaanesh and of Tzeentch, bulls of Khorne or Slaanesh, and toads and slugs of Nurgle, etc. In the background lore, it's said that Chaos cults will often disguise themselves as unassuming animal totemists.
  • The various clans of Legend of the Five Rings are each named for an animal, and each draws on the symbolism of that animal as inspiration for their clan's nature.

    Theater 
  • Most of the Cirque du Soleil shows directed by Franco Dragone from Saltimbanco through La Nouba invoke bird imagery, usually through one or more characters and their costume(s).
    • Saltimbanco: The Songbird (the lead singer).
    • Mystere: The Red Bird, the Birds of Prey, and the bungee trapeze artists.
    • Alegria: The evil nobles are known as the Nostalgic Old Birds, and wear masks that appear a cross between human and bird faces.
    • Quidam: Zoe has a pet bird in a cage in the opening scene.
    • La Nouba: The Green Bird.
  • A Little Night Music:
    Carl-Magnus: Watch him, Charlotte. Watch them both like a...
    Charlotte: Hawk, I know, dear. You're a tiger, I'm a hawk. We're our own zoo.

    Toys 
  • LEGO:
    • Numerous LEGO Castle and Aquazone factions.
    • The animal tribes of Legends of Chima utilize motifs based, of course, on themselves.
    • BIONICLE:
      • Vastus had a snake motif, with snake ornaments on his shoulders, a helmet based off a snake, and a snake-like staff with the fangs forming a blade that injects venom (in the story, not on the toy, duh).
      • Although the '08 Makuta and Shadow Matoran respectively shapeshifted or were mutated into bat or insect-looking forms, it seems the mask that some wore had been vaguely animal-like to begin with.
    • Hero Factory's Jungle Planet line had the Heroes adopting various animal motifs for their new armor.

    Video Games 
  • Many, many GameCube games contain references to dolphins. The dolphin motif is a Development Gag to the GameCube's codename in development: the Dolphin, and its GPU is called "Flipper".
    • Olimar's ship in Pikmin is called the Dolphin.
    • Super Mario Sunshine takes place on Isle Delfino, which itself is shaped like a dolphin. There are also a few fountains with dolphin figures spouting water.
  • Bayonetta has a distinct butterfly motif, largely due to her patron demon.
  • From the Bioshock franchise:
    • Bioshock has Sander Cohen who has a rabbit motif such as him writing a "poem" called The Wild Bunny and has a party where the attendees must wear rabbit masks in order to join the party.
    • In BioShock 2, Big Bad Sofia Lamb's cult uses the Blue Morpho Butterfly to represent rebirth due to their belief in sacrificing the individual for the good of the group.
      • It has other meanings behind it as well. The Adam-producing slug is seen as Rapture's current state (the caterpillar), with the butterfly being the Utopia that Rapture is destined to become through Lamb's cult, The Rapture Family. Little Sisters even see butterfly flutter around "sleeping angels".
    • Bioshock Infinite protagonist Booker Dewitt has a subtle horse motif due to his vigors being related to horses such as Bucking Bronco and Shock Jockey which are also featured in the Burial at Sea DLC. This horse theme connects Booker to his native American heritage, given more significance when concerning the battle of Wounded Knee and the massacre of the tribe.
      • Elizabeth has the motif of a bird ranging from the Songbird and the broach being a bird or a cage. She also called the Lamb of Columbia
  • Squall Leonhart of Final Fantasy VIII has - as indicated by the name - a lion motif, one so omnipresent that he and Rinoa actually have an ingame conversation about it.
    • In Squall's case, the lion symbolism is at odds with his apparent personality, and serves as a signal that there's more to him than meets the eye. Although he's spent years cultivating an angsty loner persona, once he starts to confront his issues it becomes increasingly clear that he's actually a natural leader who cares deeply about his friends. Appropriately, one of the songs that plays during the final boss fight is titled "Maybe I'm a Lion."
    • In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Cloud has a very strong wolf symbolism going on. Not only is there a wolf head in his shoulder pad but his motorbike is named Fenrir and he's being followed by a shaggy old wolf that mourns in the places he most strongly associates with personal failure. You have three guesses which kind of wolf this is painting him as. The wolf works well for Cloud as more than just 'lone wolf' symbolism. When fighting Bahamut Sin, Cloud gets up to Bahamut through the assistance of his friends, working together as a 'pack' to take down their prey. And Cloud's position of leadership arguably shows him as an 'alpha wolf'.
    • Tifa is like a mama wolf in protecting the children in her care, otherwise she has literal dolphin theme in her Dolphin kick.
    • Dissidia: Final Fantasy continues Squall's lion motif, though as painted by the villains this time. They seem to make a habit of referring to at least a few of the protagonists as though they were animals, such as calling Bartz a mouse, and Zidane a monkey.
      • Zidane being referred to as a monkey is hardly out of the ordinary, given that has a monkey tail and was implied to be an actual monkey-person for most of the game leading up to the big reveal.
    • Gabranth in Final Fantasy XII may as well be named "the Stray Dog".
  • Lucina in Fire Emblem Awakening has a butterfly motif (symbolizes her in the opening animation, the shape of her mask, and shield as a Great Lord), though it is never formally acknowledged in any dialogue.
  • Most of the Animal-themed Code names in Metal Gear match their owners in terms of personality, though some (like Mantis) are less obvious than others. Notable in that the Snake isn't automatically "evil".
    • The Snakes we meet throughout the series are all sneaky natural predators, although in different ways. They are kind of a Legacy Character, so the 'Snake' is perhaps being used in its more mystical sense to represent death and rebirth, or the circle of infinity. The opening credits of Metal Gear Solid 2 likens DNA strands to snakes, which is appropriate considering the Cloning Blues that affects all of the Snakes.
      • In Metal Gear Solid, the 'Snake' codename is at odds with the Alaskan setting, a place so cold that there are no native snakes. This is observed by Raven a couple of times ("Snakes don't belong in Alaska", "you are a snake that is not from nature") and reinforces Snake's synthetic nature and how hostile the setting is to him.
      • Metal Gear Solid 2 takes place in the waters around Manhattan. As Snake points out, Manhattan means 'Island of snakes' in Algonquin. At one point in the game, the player is forced to shoot at the flag of the Sons of Liberty, which features a snake, based on the long history of using snakes to represent the Union in early revolutionary American politics (one variant of the "Don't Tread On Me" design closely resembles the flag used in the game). As Solidus is the former President of the United States, this suits.
    • Sniper Wolf psychologically fixates on a specific "prey" target (and marks them) and is famous for working alone, never with a spotter, fitting the 'lone wolf' stereotype. In-universe, she was given her name because she is Kurdish.
    • Psycho Mantis is terrified of sex, so uses the name of an animal which gets devoured by the female after mating. He's also ridiculously skinny and wears a mask that resembles insect eyes.
    • Laughing Octopus came from a village with an octopus fishing trade, and was tortured into killing her own family, under the stress of which she began to imagine the blood was octopus ink. She wears a robotic suit with multiple arms that changes colour to blend in with the environment.
      • Solidus Snake also has octopus theme, with literal tentacles on his back and weaves Raiden into his clutches.
    • The Boss is also associated with snakes. She mentions snakes multiple times in her speeches, one slides out of her body after her death, and she gives the player snakeskin camouflage as a reward for defeating her. It also turns out that she was responsible for 'tempting' EVA...
    • The Fear is spider-themed, fighting with rope traps, and with spider venom as a weapon.
    • The Pain is themed around hornets. He's vaguely bee-shaped, wears camouflage that resembles hornet stripes, carries a hornet in his backpack, and uses swarms of bees as a weapon.
    • In addition to the Snake symbolism, Solid Snake has an association with dogs, suggesting his obedience and determination. He rides dog sleds as a hobby in the backstory to Metal Gear Solid, and complains that the mission is happening just before he was due to run in the Iditarod. When he tries to explain to Naomi how he'll just fight to the death if he's ordered to do it, Naomi compares him to an animal. His fondness for dogs is something of a near-literal Pet the Dog beat, especially since Otacon is fond of dogs and mentions that he thinks anyone who loves dogs must be a good person - however, Snake is willing to kill dogs, seeing himself as no better than them.
    • Kojima stated that Snake and Raiden are like movie giants, Godzilla and King Kong respectively. Raiden was lured to New York by a beautiful women and Snake was made by science like Godzilla.
  • Mario Tennis: Power Tour included a cat-and-mouse theme in one doubles partnership, with Paula (who was tiny, had a ponytail that could be seen from the front, with a huge, puffy bow over her head and rosy cheeks) and Whisker (taller, slicked-up cat-ear style hairdo and a prominent, muzzle-like nose). Why, exactly, is unclear, unless it was a parody, as they're the best of friends.
    • To a certain extent, the three main human characters of the series have been associated with one of the animal-themed power-ups recently. Mario with raccoons, and Peach with cats - Though all the heroes in Super Mario 3D World appear with the Tanooki and Cat forms; Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach actually show up as DLC in Mario Kart 8. Luigi's associated with foxes, however, as his Tanooki form... Isn't actually a Tanooki form at all, it's called 'Kitsune Luigi', and his equivalent of Raccoon Mario is 'Fox Luigi'.
  • Travis Touchdown, main character of No More Heroes has a number of tiger motifs- his Dark Side Mode meter is a pixellated tiger walking across the screen, a number of his clothing options have tiger designs, his motorcycle is named the "Schpeltiger", his ultimate sword has a 'Tiger' kanji on its hilt, and one of his final wrestling moves is the Tiger Suplex.
    • Taken to a extreme levels in the sequel, where, in addition to everything before, Travis has the completely unexplained ability to turn into a tiger to maul and devour his opponents.
    • Some of the bosses also have motifs to match, such as Ryuji and the dragon, and Alice as a scorpion. Jasper as the bat, as well.
  • Mole Knight from Shovel Knight who, aside from his name, wears armor equipped with digging claws. Oddly, he also has a secondary fire motif.
    • Plague Knight wears the raven mask of a Plague Doctor and also carries around a staff with a decorative raven head.
  • Street Fighter
    • Sagat "Tiger Shot! Tiger Shot! Tiger Knee! Tiger...Uppercut! Tigeeer...DESTRUCTION!".
    • Ryu is a Wolf in Omega Mode, fitting since he more or less a stray dog. He also fights Jon Talbain in a cross over manga.
    • Ken is a Eagle in Omega Mode, due to being American.
    • Chun-Li is often depicted as having connections to birds, and this is referenced in several pieces of official art and alternate costumes. She is a phoenix in omega mode, as Fenghuang are phoenixs in Chinese folklore.
    • Cammy is a fox in omega mode, though she more usually known as the killer bee for her stinging kick.
    • Gulie is a military dog
    • Zangief is a big Russian bear, and he knows all about bears, he wrestles grizzles into teddy bears.
    • Bison is a panther.
    • Adon also has a jaguar motif, but is a gecko in Omega Mode
    • Juri Han is closely associated with spiders, and the game isn't at all subtle about it.
    • Alex is referred to as a lion a few times in SFV.
  • BlazBlue:
    • A strange case, but Ragna is often compared to an "underdog". Hazama calls him an "adorable little puppy of a man", and Platinum compares him to a stray dog.
    • Rachel Alucard has, aside from her more pronounced rose motif, a more subdued connection to rabbits. Her long twintails look like droopy rabbit ears, her hair ribbons look like perky rabbit ears, Ragna nicknames her "Rabbit" outright while Taokaka nicknames her "Bunny Person" and she's the wielder of the Tsukuyomi Unit, tying a connection to the Moon Rabbit as well.
    • Arakune, whose body is filled with decay...and insects. His emblem is a spider and everyone except the announcer pronounces his name as "Arachnae" in the English dub.
    • While it's not very overt, Hakumen apparently has a canine motif. His emblem is the ever-popular nine-tailed fox spirit, and his stage quote is "The wolf knows what the ill heart thinks."
    • Yuuki Terumi and his alter-ego, Hazama, make their snake motif really obvious. Hazama's drive, Ouroboros, shoots snakes; his emblem looks like a snake biting its own tail; his Overdrive in Chrono Phantasma is called "Jormungand" and he loves to eat Hard-boiled eggs, to the point that he swallows them whole. Terumi's emblem looks like a caduceus staff, he was responsible for creating the Black Beast, which resembles the Orochi, a hydra-like demon, and he openly defies a god-like entity like the snaky devil. Terumi and Hazama also wield a paired of curved balisong knives, which some martial arts circles refer to as the "Fang of the Snake". Quite a few characters even compare them to snakes.
    • Kagura Mutsuki of Chronophantasma uses the dragon as his motif. Big, black, scary dragons. He even calls out the names of various dragons, such as Nidhogg, Vritra, and Lindwyrm, when he attacks. Note that he's a good guy.
    • The various beastkins of the 'verse also have their own respective animal motifs. Resident Cat Girls Taokaka (along with the rest of the Kaka Clan) and Kokonoe have their motifs pretty clear cut, and Makoto Nanaya is a literal Squirrel Girl.
  • Guilty Gear is quite fond of this, too
    • Main character Sol Badguy has dragons and snakes, as several of his moves are named after types of either, and can power himself up with a move named Dragon Install. Later games take this a step further and give him a distinctly draconic appearance when it's activated.
    • May is commonly associated with various sea creatures, the most prominant of which being a dolphin.
    • The Valentines all have one, too, with the exception of Jack-O'. The original has an outfit clearly inspired by bats, Ramlethal acts in a distinctly feline manner in battle, and Elphelt is a rabbit thanks both to her outfit and her personality (she's lovesick and her profile states that she hates being lonely)
    • Leo Whitefang, as his name immediately suggests, invokes the image of a lion; both in having razor sharp teeth, a flowing blond 'mane' with a matching beard, and a prideful attitude.
    • Bedman has a hairstyle evoking a sheep, summons a monsterous phantom sheep to stun his opponents as one of his Overdrives (Super Moves), and his leitmotif is titled "Does the Sheep Count the Sheep?" See a pattern here?
    • And there's Raven, who has... Take a wild guess.
  • The high-ranking Reapers in The World Ends with You, each have an (animal) Noise form that vaguely shadows their personality.
    • Higashizawa: Ovis Cantus, the Ram - brutal power head-on, but blindly following orders (what is a ram but a male sheep, after all?).
    • Minamimoto: Leo Cantus, the Lion - vicious claws backed by an unending drive to rule.
    • Konishi: Tigrus Cantus, the Tiger - a sadistic fiend who toys with her victions on the end of her claws.
    • Kitaniji: Anguis Cantus, the Snake - hidden in plain sight, coiling around his victims who don't see until too late that they're caught. After stealing Joshua's power, he becomes Draco Cantus, the Dragon, pure, desperate power.
    • Hanekoma: Panthera Cantus, the Panther - a quiet hunter, much stronger than he appears.
  • Assassin's Creed I uses eagles for Desmond Miles' ancestors as well as their names (Altair is Arabic for "The Flying One" and Ezio is derived from aestos, which is Greek for "eagle"). There's also the genetic "Eagle Vision" that allows Desmond and his ancestors to spot out their targets and better analyze their surroundings.
    • One of the developer's logs available online also mentions that the signature hood and cloak were designed to create the silhouette of a bird of prey during dramatic leaps.
    • There's also the shape of the robes and hood: the tip of the hood resembles an eagle's head, and the below the waist the robes separate to resemble feathers.
      • The final level of Assassin's Creed: Revelations finally just says "to hell with subtlety" - Ezio goes parasailing behind a charging carriage, and dispatches mooks by dive-bombing them and slicing their necks with his twin blades.
    • In Assassin's Creed III, the eagle motif is kept on in the hood and eagle vision but Connor also has a strong wolf motif, especially in the DLC.
    • In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, the eagle as a whole remain, though Edward symbolically draws inspiration from the jackdaw, including naming his ship after the bird, in terms of his relationship to the Assassins for most of the game. Specifically, it's based on The Eagle and the Jackdaw from Aesop's fables.
  • Some characters from .hack are associated with animals. For example, Atolinote  from G.U., who also happens to love small birds.
  • The Last Door makes use of two animal motifs in particular:
    • Crows/ravens: They're used repeatedly and most commonly. They're the apparent minions of the Bird/King of Birds/Eye of the Bird and represent it. They (or their cawing) appear to indicate that there's evil/supernatural shenanigans afoot (see Creepy Crows).
    • White rabbit(s): Though invoked as the classic entry-to-weird-world symbol from Alice in Wonderland, they're also a symbol for the protagonist (and possibly his friends) as prey pursued by a predator. Though, this being The Last Door with its episodic nature and sheer amounts of Mind Screw, there are likely other meanings yet to explored and revealed.
  • Many Touhou characters are animal youkai of various sorts, and dress in ways that evoke their original species, in addition to having odd features or Unusual Ears. Less animalistic youkai and humans sometimes have motifs, too, either evident in canon or bestowed by the fandom.
    • Fujiwara no Mokou is associated with the phoenix because of her immortality and her fire powers.
    • Goddess Suwako Moriya has an association with frogs (she's not even a god of frogs; she just happens to like them a lot). After defeating Suwako and taking over her shrine and worshippers, Kanako Yasaka adopted snakes as her symbol (which is a bit ironic since the snake god tied to their shrine answers only to Suwako). Their shared shrine maiden Sanae Kochiya has a frog hairclip and a white snake in her hair.
    • Yuyuko Saigyouji is strongly associated with the Butterfly of Death and Rebirth.
    • Junko has a fox motif, with the second kanji in her name meaning "fox" and having seven fox-like "tails" of energy behind her.
    • And in the PC-98 exclusive Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream, Kana Anaberal has an association with birds, evident in her spellcard Soul Bird... and lampshaded by Kotohime, who asks in her victory quote if Kana is a birdkeeper.
  • Most of the AI lords in Stronghold have animal nicknames with personalities to match.
  • The noble chicken is a recurring motif in Fable III, representing a spirit that is unfortunately frequently taken advantaged of, yet yearns for freedom.
  • Many of the chapters in the Rule of Rose involve animal motifs, such as 'The Bird of Happiness' and 'The Goat Sisters'. Even ones that don't often have an animal associated with them; 'Rag Princess' has pigs, for example. All these animals manifest as pseudo-humanoid enemies during the game, and seem to be inspired by animals kept in the orphanage.
  • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict has the 12th Independent Legion, which uses a wolf as their symbol. In the US version their unit is nicknamed "Brenner's Wolves" after their leader, and Brenner's leitmotif in the EU version (where he is called O'Brian) is named "Indomitable Wolf". Like a wolf pack, the Legion is very loyal to one another and work much like The Drifter, wandering from place to place as they're needed.
  • Persona:
    • Philemon is really big on Butterfly of Death and Rebirth, to the point Word of God says he's all the butterflies seen in the third and fourth games. The butterfly motifs continues in Persona 5, though they're revealed at the end to be representing Velvet Room attendant Lavenza instead of Philemon this time around.
    • Persona 5: The Protagonist, Goro, Ann, and Yusuke have blackbird, robin, panther, and fox Persona masks. Furthermore, Ann, Yusuke and Goro have the heist codenames Panther, Fox, and Crow, respectively.
  • Deliberately invoked by the faculty of Iris Academy in Magical Diary. All students are sorted into one of six houses based on their gender and personality traits. Horses, Butterflies and Snakes for girls. Wolves, Falcons and Toads for boys.
  • In MOTHER 3, Porky Minch takes his unfortunate name and Fat Bastard status and has the audacity to turn it into an animal motif, theming his entire empire and the Pigmask Army after pigs.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Ganondorf has always had a pig/boar motif. He transforms into a boar-like creature called "Ganon" at some point in a lot of the games he appears in.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, people who enter the Dark Realm without the Moon Pearl transform into something reflecting their soul. When first entering, Link is transformed into a pink bunny to reflect his innocence.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Link transforms into a wolf when in the Twilight Realm. Throughout the game there are references to Link in his human form having "the eyes of a beast".
    • The Kingdom of Hyrule in general is associated with birds, especially in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword where the Goddess Hylia, the namesake of Hyrule, came to the mortal world on a Loftwing (huge bird) which the people of Skyloft (the proto-Hyrule) get around on. Hence the birdlike Royal Crest in chronologically subsequent games.
    • Unsurprisingly, being both country girls, Malon of Ocarina of Time and later Ilia of Twilight Princess are connected to horses: beautiful, loyal and caring. Both ladies are also associated with Link's horse Epona, giving Link greater inclination to treat Epona well at their resquests.
  • The Four Great Knights of Gwyn in Dark Souls each have their own unique animal theme; the lion for Dragonslayer Ornstein, the hawk for Hawkeye Gough, the wolf for Artorias the Abysswalker and the hornet for Ciaran The Lord's Blade. Ornstein in particular wears some really pimped out golden lion armor.
  • Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia has a wolf motif, with his name meaning "little wolf", many of his artes having "wolf" in their names, and some of his artes like Lone Wolf Charge projecting a wolf-shaped battle aura.
    • To a lesser degree, Tison has a snake motif, having some artes that are named after snakes, projecting snake-shaped battle auras, and also looking somewhat snake-like with his fangs and golden eyes.
  • Weaponlord has two examples: Zarak with the spider, down to the fact that his armor is a literal spider. He has a move or two involving webbing and one where he throws a spider at people.
    • Talazia is a much better example, being themed with the raven. Her playstyle is incredibly aerial-based and she has plenty of anti-air moves to stop people from taking her place. This theming is so ingrained because she actually was a raven before she was cursed by a magic spell seven years ago.
  • Pit from Kid Icarus is an angel who can't fly so some characters in Kid Icarus: Uprising refer to him as a chicken whenever they mock him.
  • Tekken has Jun Kazama turn into a death maiden, and she adopts a Evil Costume Switch of Creepy Crows.
  • Catherine has a heavy sheep motif: sleep/"counting sheep", herd mentality, "lost lambs", ect.
  • In an Earth Route Scenario in Shin Super Robot Wars, Aya Kobayashi has a cat motif while Ryusei has a mouse motif. Aya figures that if she's a cat, she should at least be a Persian.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The series traditionally has the Cyrodiilic Empire represented by a dragon; this emblem dates back to St. Alessia, who founded the first empire with the aid of a pact with Akatosh, the dragon-god of time. Their rivals, the Altmer (High Elves), particularly when leading the Aldmeri Dominion, are represented by an eagle based on Auri-El, the golden eagle god on whom Akatosh was originally based.
    • The now-extinct Ayleids (Wild Elves) had significant bird motifs. Many of their writings (and writings about them) are heavy with bird metaphors. They were said to have adorned themselves with feathers. Their armor was designed with feather patterns and their helmets with "beaks." A great example is the armor of Laloriaran Dynar in The Elder Scrolls Online.
    • The Maormer (Sea Elves) native to the continent of Pyandonea, far to the south of Tamriel, have a number of serpent motifs, especially vipers. Their seaborne raiders, infamous for their raids on the southern coasts of Tamriel in the 1st and 2nd Eras, were specifically called the "Sea Vipers." It is said that they practice a powerful form of "snake magic," which allows them to control and ride sea serpents.
    • Morrowind has Great House Dagoth represented by a beetle. This was the case even before they were dissolved in the backstory for the perceived treachery of their leader, Dagoth Ur, and they retain it after reforming as the basis of a Religion of Evil.
    • Oblivion has the Cyrodiil Thieves' Guild branch associated with a fox motif.
    • Skyrim has various factions with an associated animal:
      • The Stormcloaks have the bear.
      • The Skyrim branch of the Thieves' Guild have a minor rat motif to symbolize that the guild has fallen on hard times.
      • The Companions heavily associate themselves with wolves. Many of them are secretly werewolves.
      • The ancient order of the Greybeards have a dragon motif on the doors of their monastery at High Hrothgar. Their secret leader, Paarthurnax, is a dragon.
      • Several of the holds within Skyrim have animal motifs on their heraldry - horses for Whiterun, bears for Eastmarch, rams for Markarth, stags for Falkreath, and wolves for Haafingar.
      • The Thalmor Dominion, a dictatorship of Elven Supremacists opposing the Cyrodiilic Empire have an Eagle motif, and all Elven weaponry and armor in the game is stylized as such. The Eagle is aloof, proud, and looks down upon the world, much the way the Thalmor do to all other nations. Also, the Thalmor have a number of similarities with a certain real-life organization that picked the Eagle as their symbol.
  • Scout from Team Fortress 2 is compared to a rabbit or a bunny by some other classes due to his speed and buckteeth.
    Demoman: Yer like a little bunny... scurryin' around, eatin' up yer lettuce and berries!
    Engineer: Just a dead little jackrabbit.
    Spy: Ooh, you were quick as a little bunny, weren't you?
    • Conversely, The Heavy is compared to a bear, given that he has made a melee weapon out of bear claws, can wear a skinned bear head, eats raw steak, and has several beard styles of increasingly preposterous proportions. His first item set was called the Hibernating Bear set. The comics shows us that he even hunts and eats bear. Heck, even his name, Mikhael, is often shortened to "Misha" by his family, which means "bear" in Russian!
    Scout: He's like a bear! He's like a big, shaved bear that hates people!
    • Spy is often compared to a snake due to the sudden, surprising nature of his attacks and his ability to remain hidden until it's too late...as well as his generally unpleasant nature that means that people distrust him. He also draws out his 's' sounds in Sssssnake Talk fashion. He also uses Your Eternal Reward, a dagger very similar to the one used by Jafar (mentioned above), and his Nanobalaclava item gives him a slightly serpentine appearance. He has access to the Deep Cover Operator item, which makes him resemble Solid Snake. Finally, his animal companion cosmetic item is the Backstabber's Boomslang, which hangs out on his arm.
    Demoman: Yer a back-pokin' snake and by God you'll die like one!
    Engineer: Dominated, you snake!
    Sniper: Backstab that, ya snake!
    • Others include Soldier (bald eagles for his American patriotism, raccoons because he's homeless), Demoman (a parrot, because Demo wears an eyepatch, thus resembling a pirate), Sniper (owls for his sharp eyesight, crocodiles because he's an Awesome Aussie), and Medic (a dove with bloody feathers, because he's both a healer and a Mad Scientist).
  • Joe Dever's Lone Wolf: Lone Wolf has a literal one, in the form of a recurring Alpha wolf. He mentions the link himself - like the wolf, Lone Wolf is beholden to protect his subjects.
  • Far Cry 3 has two character's associated with animals such as Buck who has a Deer motif due to his name being Bambi and his nickname being Buck, belt buckle depicting a wandering Deer and his tattoo being a Deer while Jason Brody can be associated with three animals which are the Heron, the Shark and finally the Spider. The animals are related to the skill trees with Shark being related to better durability and combat while allowing the player to heal faster, the Heron being related to faster movement and allowing more takedowns and the Spider being related to stealth and surviving the environments.
  • Far Cry 4 has a continuing Tiger vs. Elephant motif, the former representing aggression, ruthlessness and offence while the latter represents wisdom, resilience and defence. Within the context of the game's skill tree, the Tiger has all your skills related to using stealth takedowns and shooting, while the Elephant gives you your crafting and healing skills. From within the context of the game's narrative and moral choices, the two animals represent the two leaders of the Golden Path and their approaches: one is willing to throw all traditional morality aside if it means getting an edge (Tiger) and the other sticks to what it knows, even if it means getting in the way of progress (Elephant).
  • Each faction in Mount & Blade has an animal. The vaguely medieval French/English kingdom of Swadia has the lion, the Italian city states-inspired Rhodok Republic has the bear, the Russian/Eastern European Vaegirs have the snow leopard, the very Mongolian Khergit Khanate has the wolf, the Viking-esque Nords use the raven, and the Arabic inspired Sarranid Sultanate has the falcon.
  • Overwatch has plenty of characters with animal motifs in their normal and alternate skins.
    • Windowmaker is spiders obviously, her graceful strings, eight eyed visor and cold cruelty.
    • Hanzo's are dragons in his normal outfit and wolves in another.
    • Junkrat being rats, obviously.
    • Roadhog goes for pigs, even having a bold pig tattoo on his belly. He also has sharks in another set due to his name, Mako.
    • Lucio has frogs.
    • D.Va's are rabbits with her MEKA looking like one.
    • Reaper's is ravens, with a pair of skins themed towards them.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, Kloe has a pet falcon who fights alongside her. Like the bird, she's an elegant creature whose fighting style relies on speed and accuracy. Additionally, the fact that falconry was mostly practiced by wealthy aristocrats foreshadows her true identity as Liberl's princess.
  • Shounen Kininden Tsumuji has every boss, (except the final boss) using an animal as enemies and using them in a boss fight.
    • J.B - Frogs
    • Tengu - Beatles
    • Camellia - Dogs
    • Takohatchi - Octopuses
    • Jack - Turtles
    • Kama - Birds
    • Orochi - Snakes
  • Pale Blue: Cocoon uses butterflies as symbolism for their goals, viewing humanity as the ugly larvae and that they will turn into beautiful butterflies. The same goes for Cocoon's leader, who is named after the Monarch Butterfly.
  • Sengoku Basara usually links animals to the character's name or epithet.
    • Masamune is known as the "One Eye Dragon" and his Hellish Pupils and Dual Wielding of six words invoke dragon imagery.
    • Shingen and Yukimaru is the tiger. Shingen's red helmet, stripes around his arm and fiery personality encourage the motif.
  • In Senran Kagura, Yumi's ultimate attack involves her summoning a giant spider. Unsurprisingly, she is an aloof and slightly scary character constantly seeking to diversify her skills and become a better warrior.
  • All the colossi in Shadow of the Colossus represent an animal, what animal they represent however is debatable.
  • The four main attributes in Fallen London are symbolized with pictures of animals: an owl for "Watchful" (wisdom), a cat for "Shadowy" (stealth), a bear for "Dangerous" (strength), and a fox for "Persuasive" (charisma).
  • Several installments of the Dark Parables feature assorted animal motifs, depending on the stories and characters presented. For example, the second game, The Exiled Prince, has a recurring frog motif throughout the adventure - the title character is The Frog Prince.
  • Sigma from the Mega Man X series has a wolf motif going on. In the first game he has a pet robot wolf named Velguarder and his One-Winged Angel form is a large robot wolf. His logo/symbol is the Greek letter Sigma (Σ) designed as a wolf, and this sticks in all the sequels even when he lacks wolf-based machinery.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Saber (aka Arturia, the gender flip version of King Arthur) is often given a lion motif.
    • Rider gets both horses for her ability to summon Pegasus and snakes as befits her real identity of Medusa.
    • Fujimura Taiga, although she really doesn't like being compared to a tiger. One would think that she would stop wearing the yellow striped shirt and take the tiger strap off her shinai if that were the case, but... well, logic has never been her strong point.
  • Yumiko Sakaki and Michiru Matsushima in Grisaia no Kajitsu, with a cobra and bear, respectively, during their Lightning Glare showdown.
  • Little Busters!
    • Rin is strongly associated with cats, considering that she's constantly surrounded by them and looking after them, has a generally Tsundere, skittish personality, is occasionally drawn with cat ears when she gets angry or shocked, and wears a bell in her hair (and her name is the sound of a ringing bell, too).
    • Kud, on the other hand, is associated with friendly dogs, having a playful and easy to please personality, dearly loving two pet dogs of her grandpa's, and sometimes being drawn with dog ears when upset. She's even great at fetch! She's also associated with bats based around a story about a bat being excluded both from the village of beasts and village of birds, representing the isolation she feels being not entirely Japanese.
    • Sasami is an odd case - her hair ties strongly resemble cat ears and her battle title is 'self-centered cat queen'; but if you follow the mini-route focusing on her, it's revealed that she's actually a huge dog lover.
  • Kazuko in Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! is heavily associated with dogs. She is frequently depicted with dog ears, and occasionally a tail. She's trained to respond to a whistle and will run to the person who blows it whether she wants to or not. Most notably, though, she has two nicknames referencing dogs, Wanko (used by everyone) and Inu (used by Chris). Mayucchi comes up with an animal motif for everyone.
  • In Sunrider, it’s safe to say that Sola’s uncle Crow Harbor is heavily associated with crows. Apart from being named after them, when we finally see him during The Stinger of Sunrider Liberation Day he’s wearing a large bird’s skull on one shoulder and a cape made of what appears to be crow feathers on the other. Given that he plunged the entire galaxy into a bloody civil war just to put himself on the throne of the ancient Ryuvian Empire and is poised to do the same thing to the modern galaxy, he fits the motif of crows as harbingers of doom.
  • Tsukihime compared Arcueid to a cat a few times with her mood swings, occasionally impish nature and impulsive behavior. And Neko-Arc in the hints corner. Kagetsu Tohya took that and ran with it. Neko-Arc everywhere, a leopard booby trap in her underwear drawer (Yes, really) that eats Shiki, Arcueid in a catsuit, normal Arcueid with cat ears... Len also has a cat theme, but that really doesn't count considering what she is.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Beatrice is most frequently associated with golden butterflies (appearing early on a cloud of them), signifying the questionable nature of reality as presented in the series. Bernkastel, the self-entitled "cruelest Witch in the world", has a cat's tail. In what may have been a partial Cultural Cross-Reference, Battler is a few times compared to a Phoenix (for his determination).
  • Akane, of Virtue's Last Reward, has a rabbit theme; an artificial intelligence she designed is modeled after one, and she lives on a lunar base, thus referencing the 'rabbit in the moon' myth.

    Web Comics 
  • Stephanos has a spider motif, completely with Arachnid Appearance and Attire, and Yoni has a wolf motif, bearing a long scarf that resembles a wolf's tail and can transform into one. Their symbols match this (Yoni's one faintly). The fact that Stephanos has a spider motif might be because he frequently was/is the person who likes to be and was in control. The wolf motif of Yonathan is probably reflective of his brash and savage nature. The wolf also represents loyalty, which is fitting to the fact that he only is being evil because his best friend is. Stephen has a bird motif, specifically, a phoenix.
  • In Koan Of The Day, the tortoise represents being lost in thought or in a dream state.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court has several animals associated with particular characters:
    • Antimony is associated with Wolves. She carries a stuffed wolf doll around with her, and she's named after an element that the alchemists of old associated with the wolf. Others often find her hard to approach (the 'lone wolf' idea). And she keeps running into supernatural canines.
    • Kat has decorated a few of her possessions with cartoon felines. Also, not to be Captain Obvious, but her name is Kat. And she has an unhealthy obsession with birds.
    • Alistair was associated with birds. Besides the obvious connection, both his room at the Court and his old home had artwork of birds on the wall. Since his departure, Kat had developed an interest in birds (perhaps too much of an interest).
    • Zimmy is associated with insects and spiders. She was first introduced beneath a sign that read (in Greek) "Danger: insects", and her anger tends to be visualized by symbolic swarms of bugs. When she gets energetic, she likes to pass time by hunting spiders in the library.
      • After Jack is accidentally transported to Zimmy's bizarre mental Dark World, his astral body gains a spider image on its face. The two hairs on his forehead look an awful lot like spider fangs, too.
  • Trash Talk has Mr. Mudo, one of the teachers in the school, who doubles as a disgruntled security guard. He is compared in-series to a rabid police German Shepherd. Complete with the attitude.
  • El Goonish Shive has a little bit of this.
    • There's a minor character named Catalina Bobcat, whose character design and choice of hairstyle (along with her personality) does make her seem rather catlike. Word of God states that this was intentional and that no, she cannot transform into a cat. Until Pandora gave her a magic mark, something she was reluctant to do because it was so obvious and boring what powers she'd get.
    • Grace has a much more obvious squirrel theme, but this makes sense: thanks to Bizarre Alien Biology and LEGO Genetics, she's actually part-squirrel.
    • Rhoda has a puppy theme. She's naive, loyal, and rather timid, and Diane even specifically refers to her as "pup." Surprisingly, she gets along quite well with catlike Catalina, and squirrel-like Grace.
  • Sister Claire is absolutely obsessed with cats, even beyond the obvious fact that one is the Big Bad. Claire herself is a Friend to All Living Things who loves playing with the local strays, her room is decorated with cat posters and dolls, the chapel has banned all cats, and Sister Catherine seems to be a bit too connected to the animals...
  • The Beast Legion universe involves characters who transform into powerful beasts with Awesome powers.
  • In Sakana each of the primary characters' design is based on some kind of seafood: Jiro has hair similar to a shark fin, Taro's design is based on a whale, Taisei's hair looks like jellyfish and Yuudai resembles an eel.
  • Several of the trolls in Homestuck have animal motifs, associated with their lusus and their Zodiac sign. Karkat - crabs, Nepeta - cats, Terezi - dragons, etc. Vriska's spider motif is the most obvious though, working its way into her typing quirk. John seems to be picking up on it. The kids (with the exception of John) each have one as well, relating to what their sprites were prototyped with: Dave's crows are the most obvious, constantly flocking around his house, in addition to his hair vaguely resembling the profile of a crow as well; then there are Rose's cats (in addition to her affinity for all things tentacled), and Jade's radioactive god dog. Among the alpha kids, there's Roxy's cats, Dirk's seagulls, and Jake's "frightening fauna".
  • In Moon Crest 24 a few of the characters, namely the female ones so far, have showed signs of having a motif when it comes to the things they wear. But the only ones to actually have an animal motif are Lucy and Rachel - them being Ladybugs and Rabbits, respectively.
    • Non animal motifs: Dory's is moons and stars; Liz's is skulls and hearts.
  • The protagonists of Panthera can turn into different big cats. Most notably, the team's leader is a lion.
  • Many of Judecca's inhabitants are animal-themed. Sharky is a Shark Man, Frederick Dickenson is a rabbit, Lilith turns into a bird, and Cleo is a snake lady.
  • In Alice and the Nightmare, Edith has a strong rabbit motif going. Her ribbon looks like rabbit's ears, she's easily scared and Word of God is that she's the Expy of White Rabbit.
  • In Drowtales, most of the major clans are associated to some degree with a specific animal, often riding an oversized versions of it as mounts. The Vel'Sharen have dragons, the Val'Shargress wolves, the Val'Illhar'dro birds, the Val'Beldrobbaen spiders, the Val'Nar'sarkoth yaks or oxen, the Val'Kyorl'solenurn unicorns, the Vel'Vloz'ress snakes, and the Val'Sullisin'rune cats. The extinct Val'Dutan'vir clan had deer-like animals called ligrs, the Balvhakara and Jie'yen of Nuqrah'shareh have the crab and a separate breed of dragon, respectively, and the Kavahini of Mimaneid have the owl.
  • Tiger Telematics from Consolers has, appropriately enough, a tiger motif, with an orange tiger-striped suit, Cat Smile and fangs.

    Web Original 
  • Communications Workers of America has a See 'n' Say toy which depict business officials as animals based on their negative traits.
  • Downplayed: Jon of the Game Grumps tends to prefer bird Pokémon, along with having a bird sidekick in his own series.
  • In The Cartographers Handbook the Wendigo are often compared to big cats such as pumas.
  • Given that the Faunus of RWBY are humans with animal traits, this trope was inevitable. For example, the cat-eared Blake is independent and cynical, with a hidden playful side.
    • The (fully human) Team CRDL are all themed after different birds.
    • Word of God states that he tried to make Ruby look 'wolfish' but couldn't quite manage it.
    • Adam Taurus has two horn-like appendages on his head, the charge-up for his Limit Break involves the lines on his mask turning red (so he's "seeing red") and he stubbornly ignores the views of others (so he's bullheaded.)
    • Emerald Sustrai, with her green colour scheme and curved sickle pistols, kind of resembles a mantis.
  • Worm
    • Taylor (the protagonist) is noted by other characters to be like the insects she controls. Both positive and negative meanings are in play here- insects are creepy, potentially poisonous, and on the bottom of the food chain. But they're also tough, versatile creatures, talented at working in groups and creating useful things like honey and silk. Taylor shows nearly all of these traits over the novel's course.
    • The character Bitch controls dogs, and due to a traumatic childhood, thinks and acts like a particularly intelligent one. She essentially considers her pet dogs family (and is deeply touched when Siberian gives her a wolf cub) but is Not Good with People.
  • Dogs (to be more precise, Pomeranians) are Maximilian's animals of choice. After all, his mascot, Benny, is one. Taken to a logical extreme where, in Tokyo Jungle, Max plays as a Pomeranian while his friend Matt favors the saber-toothed tiger.
  • From Killerbunnies, we have Arachne, who, fitting of her name, tends to have a spider motif and behaves very much like one, which is to say, she won't bother unless bothered.
  • This bizarre music video depicts various symptoms of PMS as women turning into animals.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Zuko has an animal motif in the theme of dragons, creatures associated with fire. However, his motifs were of two dragons, one blue and one red, representing the dual aspect of his nature. The dragons also refer to his Uncle Iroh, the Dragon of the West who protected the last of the dragons, from whom Zuko and Aang later learn the true source of Fire Bending from.
    • His sister Azula's motif is the snake; she is also associated with the blue dragon.
  • Ever After High:
    • The Cheshire Cat's descendant is fittingly enigmatic and manipulative, in addition to having a cat's ears and tail.
    • In the Hale novelizations, each character is able to summon a familiar: Raven summons a powerful, intimidating dragon. Apple summons a fox, which is sly yet adorable. Darling summons a white horse.
  • Moral Orel has a blue bird appearing in key shots throughout the two-parter "Nature." The bird also appears in Beforel Orel. Dino says the bird represents Orel's innocence.
  • Mummies Alive!: Each mummy has an animal motif for their Powered Armour - falcon (Ja-Kal), cat (Nefertina), ram (Armon) and snake (Rath). Big Bad Scarab also has one in his (much less friendly-looking) transformed state.
  • The main characters of Motor City all have Cool Cars named and designed after animals:
    • Mike: Mutt (dog)
    • Julie: 9 Lives (cat)
    • Dutch: Whiptail (scorpion)
    • Texas: Stronghorn (rhino)
  • Adelaide from Over the Garden Wall has a black widow spider theme: she has a red hourglass pattern on the back of her shawl, has a web of yarn strung all over her house, and traps Wirt and Greg by wrapping them bodily in yarn.
  • SilverHawks
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer loves primates, has been portrayed as an ape, and has been compared to a gorilla by Bart. Attempts by scientists to determine his species have been... inconclusive. "He is either a below average man, or a brilliant beast."
    • Chief Wiggum has been called a pig for more than just being a cop. He even appeared as a pig man in a WoW parody.
    Wiggum: Sideshow Bob has no decency! He called me "Chief Piggum!"
  • Steven Universe:
    • Steven's favorite ice cream treats are Cookie Cats, he has grown cats on his fingers, has a Leo horoscope, spawned a wrestling persona named "Tiger Millionaire", and even got a pet lion.
    • Quartz gems seem to be associated with felines in general. Amethyst has a cleft lip resembling a cat's mouth, frequently shape-shifts into a cat, and has a wrestling alter-ego known as the "Purple Puma". Jasper's striped form, golden-stilted eyes, and cat-like gem-nose makes her resemble a tiger. Rose Quartz seems to be associated with lions, stated to be a deliberate allusion by the creators to the goddess Ishtar who was said to have seven lions pulling her chariot.
    • Because of her beaklike nose and panicky nature, the fandom have nicknamed Pearl "Bird-Mom".
    • Peridot reacts to being captured in much the same way as a cat: hiding in corners, clambering over furniture, and developing a fascination with mirrors. The metaphor fits well with her cunning, distrustful nature.
    • More cats- in the crossover episode with Uncle Grandpa, he pulls out a checklist of other Cartoon Network series he's visited. Smack-dab in the middle are the SWAT Kats. (They were likely included because Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe, stated in an interview that she watched the show back in the 90s. Perhaps that's why there are so many cat motifs in this show, then?)
  • Thunder Cats
  • Megatron in Transformers Prime has rather shark-like facial features, which fits into his powerful, bloodthirsty and frightening character.

    Real Life 
  • Toyotomi Hideyoshi's nickname was "Monkey" (Saru), allegedly given by Oda Nobunaga because of his facial resemblance to a monkey. This recognition directly contributed to the popular image of Toyotomi Hideyoshi being a monkey-styled person, both in appearance and mode of behaviour.
  • Most countries have an animal they use as a symbol for the nation as a whole:
    • The United States has the bald eagle. Each state tends to have its own state animal or, usually, several state animals, since state legislators' idea of fun is picking official state this and official state that.note  Every state has a state bird and at least one state mammal. A few highlights:
      • California famously has a big ol' bear on its flag, and unsurprisingly its official animal (well, official land mammal) is that bear. The bear is a California grizzly, an extinct subspecies. Since the California grizzly had a distinct golden cast to its fur, this is why the UC Berkeley athletic teams are called the Golden Bears.
      • Wisconsin has long been called the "Badger State," and it came as no surprise that the badger was officially chosen as a symbol of Wisconsin in 1957. The University of Wisconsin Badgers had had that nickname long before then.
      • Peculiarly, Michigan's two state animals are the American Robin (state bird) and White-tailed Deer (state mammal). However, it has long been known as the "Wolverine State." This is in large part because (1) "Wolverine" was an Appropriated Appellation, as during the "Toledo War" the Ohioans called the Michiganders "Wolverines" for their scrappy ferocity, and (2) the wolverine doesn't really live in Michigan: the state is near the southern limit of the boreal animal's range.
      • Kentucky's state horse is the Thoroughbred, which is no surprise; Kentucky is the home of American horse breeding, to the point that there are special prizes for horses not from Kentucky.
    • Russia has the bear.
    • The United Kingdom:
      • The UK has either the scrappy but lovable bulldog or the more "official" regal lion. Sometimes the lion is associated with the UK while the bulldog is associated specifically with England, or the other way 'round, or the lion is associated with the monarchy and the bulldog with the people.
      • In a recent poll, people have desired to change the UK's national animal to a hedgehog.
      • England also identifies strongly with the robin, as British robins were never hunted for food and consequently became the friendliest robins in the world. To this day, harming a robin is as repulsive to most Brits as a grievous felony, given their strong symbolism as representing the gentle English countryside. It just isn't done.
      • Scotland's national animal is more or less undisputed; it's the unicorn. The phrase "the Lion and the Unicorn" is a symbol of the union of England and Scotland, and also of the British monarchy.
      • Wales, not to be outdone in the fantastic-creature department, has the red dragon. This is a reference to Arthurian legend (King Arthur being a hero of ancient Wales) in which Merlin made a prophecy about a red dragon and a white dragon.
      • Middlesbrough has an official animal which is the lion as it was on the coat of arms, the lion was made more popular due to the Middlesbrough Football Club and since then the lion is seen in most areas and companies as a form of sponsorship but in some cases the lion has been adopted as a logo for other companies as well. Middlesbrough and parts of Redcar have a secondary animal which is horses (because of their use in mining operations in the past) which is mainly shown by the various pub names. In parts of Middlesbrough there are some horse themed decorations in their respective towns, The horses in particular are draught horses and race horses. To put it in simple terms, the horses symbolised Middlesbrough's hard-working history with forging and mining while the lion symbolises sportsmanship and leadership.
    • India has the tiger, primarily, but the national emblem features a lion (it's the "Lion Capital" of Asoka at Sarnath) and elephants (which appear on the frieze along the base of the "Lion Capital") are a common secondary symbol.
    • Thailand has the elephant, and specifically the white elephant, which is considered holy in Thai culture.
    • Modern Israel's national symbol is the Lion of Judah. Historically, or at least Biblically, each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel had its own animal symbol, but due to the loss of the Ten Tribesnote , most modern Jews descend from the tribe of Judah. Hence the term "Judah-ism", or Judaism. Also, the hoopoe is modern Israel's national bird, as despite being called "detestable" and not kosher in the Bible, it is a very common bird in Israel.note 
    • Italy inherited the wolf from Ancient Rome (Italy would actually have both wolf and eagle, but the heavy use of eagle symbolism by Fascism caused most Italian to 'forget' the eagle).
    • China has its whiskered dragon. The panda is an alternative symbol when one wishes to portray China as friendly or harmless.
    • Canada has the mighty beaver. A few other animals occasionally feature (moose, caribou, Canada geese, and bears—both polar and grizzly—being the most common other choices), but the beaver is most prominent.
    • Germany has had the eagle (Adler) in some form or other for centuries. Within Germany, Berlin is associated with bears on account of a pun (Bär, which is German for "bear", sounds like the "Ber" in "Berlin"), and as Hanover historically used the symbol of a white horse, modern Lower Saxony does the same.
    • Spain has the black bull. This is a rather recent development, from a set of countryside ads for sherry (!) - there's more information on the other wiki.
    • France is unofficially associated with the Gallic rooster.
    • Empires with great reach or which were viewed as secular and religious authorities often adopt the double-headed eagle: the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the old Russian Empire, the Imperium of Man, etc.
    • Australia's Coat of Arms features a Kangaroo and an Emu, two fearsome, Australia-only animals that can't walk/jump/run backwards. Seriously. That's why they picked them.
      • A lot of the original generation that were from England wanted to choose a more fearsome creature like the lion, but the majority won out with the Kangaroo and Emu because it symbolized a nation that will move forward and never backwards. Also, these animals are more dangerous than they look.
      • These two animals are popular barbecue options that can be purchased at supermarkets & butcher shops. Yes, friends. Australia may be the only country in the world that regularly devours BOTH its national symbols. note 
    • New Zealand has a wealth of distinctive native fauna that could be used to represent it (and sheep...), but by far the most popular (and most official) is the kiwi. It is popular enough that most New Zealanders will refer to themselves as Kiwis when talking about their nationality, and a term known as "Kiwiana" has appeared and refers to anything that New Zealand culturally associates with itself.
      • On an ironic note, the FLIGHTLESS kiwi is also the official symbol of their air force.
    • Chile has two animals, the mighty Andean Condor (The largest flying bird) and the graceful Huemul (A type of deer).
    • South Africa had the springbok (a kind of antelope or gazelle that jumped a lot); this was to some degree associated with The Apartheid Era and the use of the springbok to represent South Africa can be kind of contentious (although hardly anybody finds any fault in continuing to call the national rugby union teamnote  the Springboks unofficially).
    • The Netherlands have the lion. At any given international sports event, take a look and see how many of them have some sort of lion motif or decal on their clothing. Like so.
  • The city of Baltimore, Maryland is generally associated with the raven, on account of Edgar Allan Poe's relationship with the city. Oddly, although there is a species of bird called a Baltimore oriole, that's actually named after Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore (the man after whom the city is named, as its yellow-and-black coloration matched that of his coat of arms) and is considered more of a symbol of the state of Maryland (which Lord Baltimore founded and in which Baltimore City sits) as a whole than of the city specifically. (Incidentally, Baltimore's two major-league professional sports teams are named after these birds—the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball, and the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League.)
  • The four Asian Tigers (sometimes Dragons) (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore) that saw very rapid economic growth from the 1970's through 1990's. Now followed by the Little Tigers who rose starting in the 90's (more varied, but usually includes Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines).
  • The late great Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was ubiquitously dubbed the "Liberal Lion" of the Senate.
  • Vladimir Putin's recent news coverage has increasingly linked him with tigers. First he saved a camera crew from an angry tiger and then there was some talk about him getting one as a pet or something. Right-Hand Cat indeed.
  • Continental officer Francis Marion was known as the "Swamp Fox" in the American Revolution because he could disappear into the South Carolina swamps like an elusive fox.
  • Similarly there was Erwin Rommel, the "Desert Fox" of Germany in WW2.
  • One of Adolf Hitler's nicknames was the darkly appropriate "Wulf".
  • Some Goths have the raven motif.
  • Diogenes of Sinope frequently praised dogs and compared himself to them; his most famous statue shows him beside one in recognition of his close association with them. The school of thought he founded, Cynicism, is actually named for its association with dogs.
  • The Brazilian real has a local animal in every banknote: a hummingbird in the now-discontinued R$1, turtle in R$2, heron in $5, macaw in R$10, tamarin in R$20, jaguar in R$50, and grouper in R$100.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins have various animals representing them:
    • Envy is associated with dogs.
    • Gluttony is associated with pigs. Due to its close association with the demon Beelzebub, Gluttony is also occasionally associated with flying insects, due to Beelzebub being known as "lord of the flies".
    • Greed is associated with frogs.
    • Lust is associated with cows, bulls, goats and roosters (feel free to make the appropriate jokes about that one).
    • Pride is associated with horses and peacocks.
    • Sloth is associated with goats and donkeys. Ironically, it is not often associated with actual sloths (which fit the sin perfectly), as they're native to South America and Europeans didn't encounter them until long after the symbolism was well established (the animal was actually named for the sin because they fit so perfectly).
    • Wrath is associated with bulls and bears.
  • The Native Americans believe that everyone has a spirit animal to guide them through life.
  • The Maasai of central-to-southeastern Africa seem to be rather attached to lion imagery, down to their traditional hairstyles (dreadlocked mane for men, and shaved down for women).
  • The city of Charlotte, North Carolina seems to have a fondness for feline motifs, using cats to represent some of its most visible public institutions. The city's two most well-known athletic teams are the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League and the Charlotte Bobcats (now called the Charlotte Hornets) of the National Basketball Association, and its two most well-known public transportation systems are a bus system called "CATS" (Charlotte Area Transit System) and a light-rail system called "LYNX".
  • The 2016 US Presidential Election notably saw two animal symbols catching on with several supporters of two of its top contenders; many supporters of Bernie Sanders adopted the bird as their personal symbol, while many supporters of Donald Trump used the lion. The bird caught on after a robin perched on Sanders' podium while he was giving a speech, prompting an enthusiastic response from the crowd, and (eventually) the Sanders campaign selling official merchandise with the "Birdie Sanders" symbol. The lion caught on after Trump attracted attention for tweeting Benito Mussolini's quote "It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep", and it eventually inspired the formation of an unoffical pro-Trump paramilitary group that called itself "The Lion Guard".
  • Animal rights groups (such as PETA) use rabbits/hares as a logo for their products, presumably because of their perceived status as harmless and innocent. When displaying their message of fighting animals, an image of boxing hares is used.

Alternative Title(s): Animal Motif

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AnimalMotifs?from=Main.AnimalMotif