10 Animals Often Associated with Evil

Written by Angie Menjivar
Published: October 31, 2023
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You can probably think of one or two ‘evil’ animals right off the top of your head. But have you asked yourself why you have an ingrained belief that certain animals are bad while others are good? Discover 10 animals associated with evil and learn more about them to help dispel these harmful myths.

10 Animals Often Associated with Evil

1. Ravens

A terrible forest sorcerer with a canvas bag on his head and in a sackcloth robe stands in a dense forest with a black raven on his hand. Scarecrow. Halloween Tales. Horror, thriller.

Ravens are associated with death because they feed on rotting flesh.

©Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/Shutterstock.com

For many, ravens have a strong association with death, and they perceive their presence as a bad omen. Ravens are scavengers, meaning they feast on dead flesh. This association, over time, has created the perception that ravens are evil and that they bring a bad omen to people when they perch above them.

Supposedly, when a raven does this, it’s letting them know that the Grim Reaper is near. Folklore in different cultures associates ravens with death and lost souls. But they’re only considered evil because they eat carrion and they’re all black. These birds are highly intelligent and make wonderful wild friends.  

2. Snakes

Corn snake on a branch

Because of the Bible story, snakes have a bad reputation, with many believing they are associated with the devil.

©bugphai/iStock via Getty Images

According to the bible story, a sneaky snake is the one that tricked Eve and got her to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Because of this, snakes are often associated with being tricksters and liars, representing temptation and evil. The Bible even depicts the snake as an ally of the devil, which only adds to the misperception that this animal is inherently evil.

But snakes can’t speak, they can’t lie, and they’re not interested in luring you astray. They serve as beneficial rodent control in human-populated areas, and they’re not interested in interacting with you in the wild. They’d rather go about their business, reserving their venom and constriction methods for their prey. Snakes also make great pets for those who love reptiles!

3. Black Cats

black cat bribing with tongue on pink background

Black cats are thought to be associated with witches and witchcraft.


Black cats are often associated with witchcraft and evil doings. Halloween celebrates black cats, and you often see them pictured next to a witch’s brew during the season. They are seen as an evil omen, and many consider the black cat to be a shapeshifting creature itself. Some superstitions say when a black cat crosses in front of your path, you should turn around and avoid the path ahead.

In some cultures, a black cat is a symbol of bad luck. In others, it’s a symbol of good luck. Ultimately, a black cat is just a cat. The color of its fur is no more meaningful than the color of its eyes. Unfortunately, these superstitious beliefs make it hard for black cats to get adopted but even black cats deserve a good home. And you don’t have to be a witch to adopt one!

Kim Somers Egelsee, Author, Speaker, Life Coach, and Intuitive told A-Z-Animals, “Animals associated with evil are based on myths, legends, and folklore. Therefore, we can choose to see these animals as magical and unique. For example, a black cat can be looked at as exotic and beautiful and even as a possible companion, and a bat can be looked upon as intriguing.”

4. Bats

Paper bats and witch cutout on brick wall. Halloween decor

Bats are often associated with witches and evil.

©New Africa/Shutterstock.com

For humans, the unknown has an air of mystery and darkness. Since bats are nocturnal and operate in the darkness, they’re not a well-known creature for humans. Not only that but the Bible depicts bats as unclean and points to their nocturnal nature as being related to malevolent spirits.

Often, the bat is associated with witchcraft and the devil. Bats can indeed harm humans because they carry deadly diseases like rabies and Ebola. However, bats are not innately evil and would otherwise like to live out their lives without accidentally encountering or infecting humans.

5. Owls

Great horned owl

Owls are mysterious creatures often associated with witchcraft.

©Jillian Cooper/iStock via Getty Images

The owl is yet another creature of the night, which means humans don’t understand them well. In Roman times, it was believed that witches could transform into owls. Once in the owl form, they were believed to suck the blood of babies. In other cultures, owls served as messengers for witches.

This is why there are persistent associations with evil when it comes to owls. But owls are just birds. They’re fantastic hunters, they have an incredible ability to swivel their entire heads and there are over 200 owl species inhabiting the earth! Though it’s uncommon to spot one, they live in the wild among other wild animals and even humans like you.

6. Crows

A Murder of Crows

A group of crows is called a ‘murder’ of crows, which only adds to the belief that crows are a bad omen.

©Elliotte Rusty Harold/Shutterstock.com

Crows are much like ravens in that they are seen as a symbol of death. Their presence is perceived as a bad omen. People believe their presence signals that death is near. To be fair, in medieval times, it was believed that crows spread the bubonic plague. Of course, people from that time developed strong feelings against them. However, these feelings and beliefs have persisted, and myths have grown around the idea of crows being inherently evil.

However, research shows just how intelligent crows are. Instead of spreading disease, they actually prevent it. They consume waste. Their digestive systems are highly developed and able to tackle what they ingest. So, they help the environment by reducing odors and reducing waste. Instead of perceiving them as a bad omen, you can consider that they are helpful animals in the ecosystem.

7. Hyenas

Hyena in woodland

Hyenas are perceived as both cowardly and aggressive but these carnivores just want to eat!

©Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock.com

Hyenas have long been associated with evil and have been perceived as dirty cowards. Their vocalizations sound like laughter, which makes it appear as if they’re laughing while enjoying a kill. However, hyenas like many animals in the wild are carnivorous. They need to find food to survive.

Even some of the perceptions of hyenas are contradictory. While they’re seen as cowardly, they are also seen as aggressive. They are certainly enemies with lions in the wild but that’s the case when you have any other animal competing for a food source. Hyenas are no more evil than other carnivorous animals that also kill to ensure survival.

8. Sharks

A great white shark's dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water.

Sharks are thought of as ruthless hunters but they’re very intentional in the way they hunt.


You know how expertly the media and movies can paint a specific narrative. They can have you believing anything! This is especially true if you don’t have background knowledge on the topic. In movies, sharks have consistently been portrayed as ruthless hunters and killers, snatching up humans like it’s their job.

But that’s not the case at all with sharks. They’re very specific about the type of food and nutrients they consume. They have an incredible set of senses: seven in total! They can detect electric fields and are very intentional in the way they hunt. With more education about a topic, you can dispel these deeply embedded narratives about animals like sharks.

9. Scorpions

Scorpions have been thought of as embodiments of evil.


Did you know scorpions predate trees? This just goes to show how fascinating animals are in their quest for survival. They adapt beautifully and a scorpion is an example of that. However, scorpions have long been associated with evil. Even those associated with the horoscope of Scorpio are seen as cold, calculated, and evil people to be wary of.

These creatures are venomous and have been perceived in folklore as literal embodiments of evil. However, other cultures have used scorpions to battle evil. It’s all dependent on the perception of the person who has been inculcated with both cultural and religious beliefs.

10. Vultures

American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) and Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) feeding on a Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Vultures are scavengers that consume dead flesh, which actually helps the environment.

©Ana Dracaena/Shutterstock.com

Vultures, like ravens, also feed on rotting flesh. They’re scavengers! When they circle in the sky, you know there’s a carcass nearby. However, just because vultures feed on the dead doesn’t make them evil. Nevertheless, their association with the dead leads many people to believe that they are a symbol of bad luck.

In fact, in Persian lore, vultures weren’t just a symbol of bad luck. They were the guardians that stood right at Hell’s gates. However, these belief systems are attributed to vultures only after observing their instincts. There are plenty of other scavenging animals in the wild and they’re all doing the environment a favor by getting rid of waste.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Anna Krivitskaya/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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