3 Countries With Animals on Their Flags, and Their Meaning

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Updated: July 8, 2023
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A flag can be a country’s way of displaying its national identity and distinguishing itself from other countries. Citizens of a country may feel proud and patriotic seeing their nation’s flag flying. When a nation flies another nation’s flag in public, it is likely a sign of respect and could mean the two countries are engaged in diplomatic relations or have signed a peace treaty.

There are close to 200 identified countries worldwide, and nearly all of these countries have flags, each uniquely representing the country and its values. Despite each flag being different, there are some that share features such as the same colors. Another element that several flags share is the presence of an animal. While some flags have the same animals, these animals mean different things to each country. Want to know some countries with animals on their flags and what these animals mean? Keep reading. 

Infographic of 3 Countries With Animals on Their Flags
These flags feature animals of great significance to their countries’ histories and cultures.

1. Bhutan

Bhutan flag

Bhutan, officially named the Kingdom of Bhutan, features a dragon on its flag.


The first country on the list, in no particular order, is Bhutan. Although a fascinating country, most people know very few facts about Bhutan. This country, officially named the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in South Asia between India and China. Due to the country’s steep mountains and deep valleys, the settlement patterns of inhabitants in Bhutan are scattered. Bhutan occupies an area of 38,394 km² (14,824 square miles), making it one of the smallest countries in Asia by size and the 137th in the world. 

The local name for Bhutan is Druk Yul, which means “Land of the Thunder Dragon,” with the dragon making an appearance on the country’s flag. There is not much known about Bhutan’s history with flags, as the country has always intentionally stayed below the radar, but the present flag was adopted in 1949 when the Indo-Bhutan treaty was signed. The square yellow and red bicolor with a green dragon in the middle was selected as the first official national flag. Because the country was given the name Druk by its inhabitants, which is the name of the Bhutanese thunder dragon, the dragon was chosen to represent the country’s values on the flag.

In 1969, a few minor changes were made to the flag, but the dragon remained. According to the country’s people, the dragon’s white color symbolizes purity, the yellow color on the flag the golden Kabney of the Kingdom of Bhutan, the orange color the Buddhist tradition and its gems, the nation’s prosperity, and safety. 

2. Mexico

The flag of Mexico

The coat of arms on the Mexican flag depicts an eagle eating a rattlesnake.


Located in the southern part of North America, Mexico is another country with an animal on its flag. Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is the 13th-largest country in the world by area, with a total area of 1,972,550 square kilometers (761,610 square miles) and a population of more than 126 million people, making it the 10th most populous country in the world. The Mexican coat of arms is centered on the white stripe of the country’s flag, which is a vertical tricolor of green, white, and red. These three hues were chosen by Mexico after its War of Independence from Spain, despite the fact that their meanings have evolved over time.

Green was selected as the color to symbolize independence from Spain when the flag colors were initially introduced. The red represented the unity of Mexico’s native populations and elites of European descent, and the white symbolized Roman Catholicism’s holiness. However, the flag’s colors are no longer officially explained, mainly because their original significances are no longer relevant to Mexican society today.

The coat of arms on the Mexican flag depicts an eagle eating a rattlesnake on a prickly pear cactus. The design was inspired by an Aztec legend that the people would know just where to build their city once they saw an eagle devouring a snake on top of a lake. The Golden Eagle depicted on the flag is formally recognized as Mexico’s national bird and represents all Mexicans. The bravery and honor of the Mexican people are reflected in the eagle’s fearlessness. On the other hand, the snake represents the enemies of Mexicans, and the eagle devouring the snake is a visual representation of Mexicans conquering their enemies.

3. Uganda

Uganda flag

The gray-crowned crane, Uganda’s emblem since the colonial era, is depicted on the flag.

©Osman Bugra Nuvasil/Shutterstock.com

Uganda, officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. At an average elevation of 4,000 feet, Uganda is situated on a fertile plateau in the heart of Africa. There are roughly 46 million people living there, 8.5 million of whom reside in Kampala, the country’s capital and largest metropolis. Because of the country’s population, it is the world’s second-most populous landlocked country after Ethiopia. 

On October 9, 1962, the day Uganda gained independence from the British Empire, the nation of Uganda selected its official flag. A white disc is placed at the center and shows the country’s emblem, a gray-crowned crane facing the hoist side, as well as six equal horizontal stripes of black (top), yellow, red, black, yellow, and red (bottom). The crimson stripes signify the blood ties that bind all Africans together, while the yellow bands stand in for the country’s brightly shining sun and the black bands for the continent’s inhabitants. 

The gray-crowned crane, which has been Uganda’s emblem since the colonial era, is depicted in the center of the flag. The crane’s raised leg makes it look like it is moving forward, which signifies the continued progression of the country and its people since its independence. The national bird of Uganda is the gray-crowned crane, one of Africa’s most magnificent and majestic birds. 

The crane has always been present in the country’s rich history. Although its initial use is not known, the earliest use of the crane as a national symbol can be traced back to the first Ugandan flag when the country was still a British colony. The national flag at the time was a blue ensign of Great Britain with the Union Jack flying in the canton and a gray crowned crane on the fly. When the country gained independence in 1962, the flag formally adopted for use in 1914 was no longer in use. Even after dropping the first flag, all other flags that have been featured in Ugandan history have had the crane on them. The flag before the current one had thicker green bands and a central band of blue between two thin yellow bands, with a yellow crane that could be seen on the blue band.

Summary of 3 Countries With Animals on Their Flags, and Their Meaning

Here’s a recap of the three nations featuring animals on their flags that we took a look at.

NumberCountryAnimals on FlagMeaning
1BhutanDragonName of the Bhutanese thunder dragon is Druk, what inhabitants call Bhutan; dragon’s white color symbolizes purity
2MexicoEagle eating a rattlesnakeGolden Eagle is Mexico’s national bird and represents bravery and honor of Mexicans; snake represents enemies of Mexicans
3UgandaGray-crowned craneCrane is national bird of Uganda; raised leg signifies progression of the country and people since its independence

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/jose carlos macouzet espinosa

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