Animals of the Zodiac by Astrological Sign

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: October 29, 2023
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astrology zodiac

The symbols of the Western Zodiac represent many animals and constellations.

© paseven/Shutterstock.com

Key Points:

  • A constellation is a grouping of stars that exhibits a recurring pattern.
  • Some constellations are named based on their appearance, while some names are derived from mythical beings and animals rooted in tradition.
  • There are interesting connections between the animal’s qualities and the personality of the person born under its corresponding zodiac sign.

These are the Western astrological signs and the constellations that inspired them.

©iStock.com/Vladayoung

A constellation is a grouping of stars that exhibits a recurring pattern. Based on the night sky’s many constellations, astrology has been interpreted in many ways by cultures across the globe. Some constellations are named based on their appearance, while some names are derived from mythical beings and animals rooted in tradition. Every culture has included natural elements in their origin stories and fables, so it comes as no surprise that there are zodiac sign animals.

In Western astronomy, various Greek myths trace back to their constellations. ‘Zodiac’, for example, is a Latin version of the Greek word ‘Zoidiakos,’ which means “circle of animals.'” Many zodiac sign animals or “hybrid” creatures represent the zodiac’s 12 signs, as well. There are interesting connections between the animal’s qualities and the personality of the person born under its corresponding zodiac sign.

In this piece, we examine the symbols of the zodiac according to western astrological signs, which include many animals! On top of that, the zodiac signs as animals have deeper symbolism to evoke strength, wisdom, and other characteristics. The western zodiac sign animals and their corresponding symbols are listed in astrological order below, beginning with Aries!

1. Aries (March 21 – April 19)

Beautiful rocky mountain bighorn sheep ram in the snow.

Passionate and self-reliant, Aries, represented by the ram, don’t follow the herd.

©John Raptosh/Shutterstock.com

The Ram

The zodiac’s “head” sign, Aries, is the first of the 12 signs and the first of the zodiac signs as animals. Symbolic of the horoscope is the ram, a sheep with curved horns. The ram’s head is commonly depicted as a simple graphic in the symbol.

It’s no coincidence that Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, as spring officially begins on March 20th, thereby connoting new beginnings and the advent of new life. When the Romans started their calendars, March was the first month. In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar changed the month to January. Let’s see what other zodiac signs are animals!

Meaning

Passionate and self-reliant, Aries don’t follow the herd simply because it’s the popular thing to do. As an astrological representation of Aries’ strength and fierce tenacity, the ram serves as the sign’s official emblem. Aries embodies the qualities of leadership, new beginnings, vigor, and transformation. However, when not in touch with themselves or their needs, they can easily become co-dependent and reclusive in nature.

2. Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

steer vs bull

Taurus is an Earth sign, and it’s no surprise that this zodiac sign is represented by the bull.

©Berezovaya Nonna/Shutterstock.com

The Bull

Second, in the zodiac, Taurus governs the period from April 20 to May 20 in the astrological calendar. The bull represents this sign. According to Greek mythology, Zeus disguised himself as a bull to kidnap the Phoenician beauty, Europa.

Meaning

The bull was a symbol of many things in ancient cultures, including love, conflict, and power. Taurus is an Earth sign, and it’s no surprise that this zodiac sign is the bull. Bulls, despite their strength, are stubborn, which is fitting for Taurus.

Like the bull, they are strong, yet graceful. They tend to enjoy their isolation and experience irritation easily if bothered or uneasy. It is when you allow them to do their thing, they are most happy.

3. Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

baby dolphin swimming on top of mommy dolphin

Dolphins represent Gemini because they are friendly and curious, but also vicious if provoked.

©iStock.com/NaluPhoto

Twins

Geminis have a dual character, which is why twins are a common emblem for them. Even though this is not a zodiac sign with an animal depiction, many animals, such as the deer, mirror the characteristics of a Gemini. This is because of their outgoing and social personality, but also their tendency to be a little timid. The dolphin is compatible with Gemini as well.

Meaning

The Gemini’s dual nature symbolizes the importance of communication and cooperation. The Gemini zodiac sign is closely linked to the interchange of ideas, dialogue, and commerce. Those born under the sign of Gemini are sometimes extremely adaptable yet versatile, even to the point of having two distinct personalities at once. This is also much like the dolphin!

4. Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

crab

The crab that nipped

Hercules

is the source of the emblem for this zodiac sign.

©iStock.com/ANDREYGUDKOV

The Crab

The fourth of the zodiac sign animals is Cancer, and it governs the period from June 22 to July 22 in astrology. The crab (or lobster or crayfish) that nipped Heracles, better known as Hercules, when he was fighting the Lernaean Hydra in Greek mythology is the source of its crab emblem. An opponent of Heracles gave the crab an unusual reward for defeating him: Hera placed him in the skies!

Meaning

Cancer is a solitary creature who craves the security of a safe environment at home. The Crab, like the other cardinal zodiac signs that are animals, is aspirational, but it’s also persistent when it comes to achieving its goals. What these symbols also tell us about Cancer is that they’re tough and stubborn as well as self-protective, ferocious, and formidable opponents. They are typically intelligent and on a mission to create their best “environment” for daily living.

5. Leo (July 23 – August 22)

The Big Five

Leos embody the

lion

, both self-assured and proud.

©iStock.com/Shawn Levin

The Lion

Leo is the 5th sign of the zodiac sign animals and represents the time span from approximately July 23 to August 22. In mythology, Leo is often a lion, in reference to Heracles’ killing of the Nemean lion.

Meaning

Natural leaders of the zodiac, Leos embody the Lion, as the animal that represents their sign. People born under the sign of Leo have an exuberant zest for life and a great sense of generosity. They are incredibly self-assured and proud. To them, living life to the fullest is most important.

6. Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

red fox wandering in field

The fox is both alert and action-oriented, much like the Virgo.

©iStock.com/Lynn_Bystrom

Virgin Maiden

Earth sign Virgo ushers in the fall harvest and the second half of each year. Although the official Virgo symbol is a virgin maiden, numerous animals, such as the fox, are linked with this sign. Like a fox, they are observant and alert, spotting even the tiniest of movements in the room. Like virgin maidens, they are self-sufficient and poised.

Meaning

A Virgo’s purity is not in their sexuality, but rather in their ability to generate fresh ideas. Virgos also pride themselves on their impeccable personal order and cleanliness. Their symbol represents a person who can be anything they want to be in terms of their feelings and expressions. They are perfectionists who put in a lot of time and effort.

7. Libra (September 23 – October 22)

panda bear climbing on tree

The

panda

often represents Libra because of its appealing yet solitary nature.

©Hung Chung Chih/Shutterstock.com

Scales

Libras are represented by scales, due to their balance and fairness. They are also alluring yet independent in nature, much like the panda. The name may stem from the fact that the Sun crossed over the constellation around the autumnal equinox in September when day and night are nearly equal in length. They are alluring to many due to their magnetic personality. However, they are solitary in nature and enjoy being alone.

Meaning

Libra symbolizes balance, fairness, and equilibrium; hence its symbol has scales. Venus-ruled Libras are terrific lovers and tend to enjoy music, the arts, and travel. A cute and appealing animal, the panda commonly represents Libra. Although many desire their presence, they like to be alone. This does not make them cold, as Librans are typically pleasant and fun to be with.

8. Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

Animals That Molt - Scorpion

There’s a connection between the scorpion and Orion. It is the scorpion that killed him.

©EcoPrint/Shutterstock.com

Scorpion

Those born between October 24th and November 21st are Scorpius (or Scorpio). This is the 8th astrological sign of the zodiac, represented by the animal: the scorpion. There’s a connection between the scorpion and Orion, it being the scorpion that killed him. Consequently, the constellation Scorpius rises in the night sky, while Orion sets.

Meaning

This sign has an enigmatic quality since Scorpios tend to be deep thinkers. They also tend to keep their innermost thoughts and feelings to themselves. Scorpios are typically calm yet direct in their demeanor. They are passionate and typically make good lovers. This zodiac sign tends to be Scorpion-like because they lurk in the shadows and are ready to administer fatal stings, if necessary. In other words, you do not want to disrupt this sign’s balance. It can set off a reaction you might not be prepared for! With its barbed tail pointing upward, the symbol for Scorpio reflects its natural capacity for both creation and destruction.

9. Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

Shire Horse Vs Clydesdale- Shire Horse

The

horse

represents the wild nature of Sagittarius, along with a strong pursuit of adventure.

©Anaite/Shutterstock.com

Archer / Centaur

Sagittarius the Archer, the ninth tropical zodiac sign, loves adventure. From Nov 22 to Dec 21, the Sun passes through Sagittarius on its annual voyage. The archer represents Sagittarius. The archer is sometimes represented as a Centaur. This is a mythological creature with a horse’s body and a human’s head and trunk. Although this zodiac sign is not an actual animal or a horse, Sagittarius has horse-like qualities.

Meaning

Sagittarius is a trine sign, which means it possesses both a positive and a negative aspect. These represent the pursuit of truth and knowledge, as well as a never-ending search for innovative ideas and adventures. The Horse-Sagittarius is a smart, clever, and sensitive individual that prefers to live life at 200 miles per hour. They have an eager and daring nature, which prevents them from being too stable.

10. Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

Alpine Goat standing among rocks in the mountain.

The mountain goat represents Capricorn, with its energetic nature and hard work mentality.

©dsaprin/Shutterstock.com

Mountain / Sea-Goat

As the tenth sign in the horoscope, Capricorn is derived from the constellation Capricornus or the mountain goat. These are the people born between December 21st and January 20th. The Sea-goat, whose mythology dates to the Bronze Age, is also linked to the constellation Capricorn. This is because Babylonians believed that the sea goat was a god of water, intelligence, and the formation of the universe.

Meaning

Capricorns are “master planners,” and they have a lot of energy, just like a goat. They value hard effort, but they also have the foresight to look at the big picture. Assuming they will have to work hard for their success, persons born under this sign are not afraid to work long hours to get the job done. Life is one big project for the Capricorns, and they approach everything with a structured mindset while enjoying every minute of it!

11. Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

spotted owl

The owl is much like an Aquarius; they are independent and a beacon of wisdom.

©kajornyot wildlife photography/Shutterstock.com

Water / Wisdom Carrier

As the eleventh zodiac sign, Aquarius hails from the constellation Aquarius. Its Latin name translates to “bearer of water” or “carrier of cups,” and its ancient astronomical emblem depicts water. Even though this isn’t an animal symbol, water carriers have many animal features, especially those of the owl. This is because Aquarius is unpredictable and independent, while also being a symbol of humanitarianism and wisdom.

Meaning

Consider the water or the owl as representing collective wisdom. For example, the Aquarius soul is the one responsible for carrying the collective wisdom of humankind to those who need it. They are original, creative, independent, and intelligent. While this zodiac sign is not an animal, Aquarius is a water sign that moves with the tides and against them if necessary to make changes.

12. Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

two barb fish

Based on Greek mythology, the Pisces sign is two fish, representing their graceful, yet dual nature.

©Rostislav Stefanek/Shutterstock.com

Two Fish

In Western astrology, Pisces is the last sign of the Zodiac. The constellation of Pisces depicts a large and small fish entwined amid the stars. When Zeus changed Aphrodite and Eros into fish to allow them to jump into a river and escape Typhon, the two fish in the Pisces emblem symbolized the two lovers. This is just one take on the story.

Meaning

Pisces’ symbol is typically two fish swimming in opposite directions, joined by a cord. This shows Pisces’ dual nature. They are a passionate and emotional water sign, yet they also tend to hold a lot in which can make them appear distant. Pisces are alluring and gracefully flow through people’s lives, making lasting impacts. However, due to their sensitive nature, Pisces often feel every sad thing at once when life doesn’t seem to be going their way. This can make it difficult for them to heal from impactful experiences.

In Conclusion

There are many zodiac animal signs in Western Astrology, and many of the constellations are based on ancient folklore. For those interested in astrology, it is fascinating to see how astrologists have used the zodiac signs to “define” personalities. It’s important to note that the animals discussed in this article are distinct from those of the Chinese zodiac and from “spirit animals” that are based on primitive or cultural beliefs.

A single person can have a plethora of “spirit animals” based on a personal interpretation of their own personality or traits. Regardless of the origins of these symbols or the science behind them, it’s certainly fascinating to see how they correspond to the characteristics of those born under a particular sign!

How Do I Find My Chinese Zodiac Animal?

Chinese zodiac

The Chinese Zodiac consists of a cycle of 12 animals, including the goat.

©Lukas Kursk/Shutterstock.com

Now that we have detailed the Western Zodiac and how they are represented by many animals and constellations, let us move on to another very interesting group of signs called the Chinese Zodiac and how it is represented in animal forms.

The Chinese Zodiac is broken down by the year of birth as shown below:

  • Rabbit (born in 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023)
  • Dragon (born in 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012)
  • Snake (born in 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013)
  • Horse (born in 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014)
  • Goat (born in 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015)
  • Monkey (born in 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016)
  • Rooster (born in 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017)
  • Dog (born in 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018)
  • Pig (born in 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019)
  • Rat (born in 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020)
  • Ox (born in 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021)
  • Tiger (born in 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2022)

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Tanya Antusenok/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are the Aries Spirit Animals?

The Aries zodiac animal is the ram. However, other cultures have different astrological systems. In Chinese astrology, the dragon is associated with the ram Zodiac sign. In Celtic astrology, the fox and bull correspond to the Aries sign.

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