Meet the Cancer Spirit Animals & What They Mean

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: October 17, 2023
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After Gemini, Cancer is the fourth modern zodiac sign. Cancer, along with the signs of Scorpio and Pisces, is ruled by the element of Water. It represents one of the six negative signs, with the Moon as its ruling planet, and originates from the constellation of Cancer. Cancer is one of the signs in the Zodiac represented by an animal. So, based on Western astrology, what animal is a Cancer’s spirit guide? Find out by continuing to read!

astrology zodiac

Cancer is the fourth modern zodiac sign.

© paseven/

The Crab and Cancer

Cancer Birthday: June 21 – July 22

The crab is the most common symbol for Cancer, based on the Karkinos, despite some renditions of the sign using lobsters or crayfish. Cancer is a water sign with a reddish hue. Cancer’s capacity to exist in both the emotional and material worlds is symbolized by the crab, an oceanic creature that fluidly flows in between sea and shore.

Cancers are well-known for their steadfastness, empathy, and maternal instincts. As a result, they have a keen sense of intuition, as well as the ability to imagine and be inventive. On the other hand, they can be erratic and moody, extremely sensitive, and clingy.

Let’s look at the positive and negative characteristics of Cancer to get a better sense of this incredibly complex sign!

dungeness crab vs snow crab

The crab is the spirit animal for the western zodiac sign of Cancer.

©Justin Kral/

Positive Cancer Crab Traits


If its loved ones are threatened or in danger, the Cancer zodiac sign will do everything in its power to defend them. These Crabs are fiercely devoted to the people closest to them, and they relish the opportunity to spend time with them one-on-one. It’s easy for a Cancer to absorb a room’s energy.

Fiercely Devoted

A cancer crab is a very devoted and loving person. Everything that Cancerians accomplish is done out of love because they are the most sensitive zodiac sign. As a result, they make the most loving partners. When they are in a good mood, they’re lovely and magical companions. You can count on them to be witty, sincere, perceptive, creative, accommodating, and know how to have fun!

Excellent Caretakers

As a result, Cancerians tend to be more focused on their home lives. They enjoy creating safe havens for themselves and spending a lot of time there. When it comes to their loved ones, Cancerians take on the role of caretaker with gusto.

Famous Cancers Include: Chris Pratt, Meryl Streep, Kathy Bates, Elon Musk, and Kevin Bacon

Negative Cancer Crab Traits


People born under the sign of Cancer have one of the most challenging horoscopes to decipher. With their unique brand of passive-aggressiveness, these celestial crabs can inflict a stinging wound. It is common for them to appear rocky, brittle, or even impenetrable to the outside world, exactly like the crab that represents their sign. There is, nevertheless, a compassionate and understanding soul hidden beneath the hard exterior.

Domineering & Possessive

When it comes to relationships, Cancerians are like crabs in that they are incredibly loyal and possessive. Therefore, Cancer crabs must exercise caution: Cancerians risk crossing the line between devoted nurturing and domineering conduct when they immerse themselves emotionally in others. These crabs are incredibly perceptive about their surroundings and can be fiercely protective of their own kind.


In time, however, Cancerians exhibit their sensitive nature, true compassion, and mystical skills. Just do not be shocked if it ends up taking a while to know them truly. It may be tough to convince a Cancerian to communicate frankly as to what is troubling them. However, if you can do this without causing them to feel intimidated, you’ll create a long-lasting bond. Once Cancerians trust you, they reveal themselves to be captivating creatures who act with considerate dispositions toward those they love.

How To Be The Best Cancer Crab


Understanding your strengths and latent abilities identified by astrology is beneficial for self-reflection. It can aid you in discovering the ideal matches in love, work, and life. For example, Cancer crabs tend to do very well in jobs such as designing, caregiving, baking, training, and teaching. This is due to their great intuition and caring nature, making it necessary that their work helps others and makes them feel comfortable or taken care of.


When it comes to romance, Cancerians are at their best when paired with Taurus, Virgo, Scorpio, or Pisces, their most compatible zodiac signs. Generally, Aries and Libra are regarded as the least fit signs for Cancerians. Whenever it concerns family, this is a different story, since Cancer parents prioritize their children above all else. Not that it won’t be difficult parenting or being parented by less compatible signs, but it’s not the same as finding a romantic connection.


Cancerians will thrive in life if they allow themselves to be vulnerable and trust the people they care about and who care about them. While it’s OK to create a safe haven, it’s not a good idea to stay in that safe haven all the time. As a result, Cancer crabs must strike a balance between safety and enjoyment. The easiest method to maintain a healthy balance is to not get your hopes up or your hopes down too quickly and to always maintain realistic expectations of others.

Why is the Cancer Sign the Crab?

coconut crab walking in road

In Greek mythology, the crab represents when


crushed a crab and Hera placed it in the sky to form the cancer constellation.


Summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, roughly June 21, marks the beginning of the zodiac sign of Cancer for people born between June 21 and July 22. The summer solstice was viewed as a “push” of the sun across the sky by the animal symbol of this sign.

Cancer is the Latin word for “crab.” According to Greek tradition, Hercules crushed the Karkinos, a crab, and Hera deposited its remains in the sky, forming the Cancer constellation.

zodiac astrology

Magical banner for astrology, celestial alchemy.

©Tanya Antusenok/

People born under the Cancer zodiac sign are suitable for the following additional zodiacal spirit animals. These popular zodiac systems will be covered in greater detail in future posts.

Chinese Astrology

Zodiac signs and traits are assigned to each year of the twelve-year cycle in accordance with the ancient Chinese calendar. There is a belief that each Western zodiac sign has a twin in the Chinese zodiac, which is different from their birth year animal. Cancer’s “twin” in the Chinese Zodiac is briefly explained in the next section!

Chinese Zodiac Twin for Cancer: The Sheep

Two Icelandic sheep in the mountains

The sheep is thought to be the Chinese zodiac twin spirit animal for Cancer in western astrology.


In Chinese symbolism, the sheep represent peace, benevolence, and a pure heart. Empathetic and exceedingly generous with time and money, persons who carry the sheep as a spirit animal can be a bit of a challenge. They should never be underestimated since a vast, but quiet resolve and strength exists within their souls.

Their silent strength will endure before sometimes flaring out. This might lead to a distant or passive-aggressive response that can be hard to shake unless reflected upon and handled sooner rather than later.

Celtic Astrology

Regarding astrology, Celtic beliefs share many parallels with Western astrology. There are a few differences between their calendars; therefore, to discover your Celtic spirit animal as a Cancer, you need to know exactly where your birthday falls below!

1. Celtic Zodiac Twin for Cancer: The Wren (June 10 – July 7)

Small house wren perched on a tree branch singing.

The wren is one of the Celtic astrology spirit animals for Cancer in Western astrology.

©Gualberto Becerra/

When it comes to new ideas, the Celtic wren leads the pack. Even when Wrens are in danger, they muster the strength to carry on. Their quick-wittedness and motivation make them an excellent choice for whatever work they choose. Due to a strong sense of responsibility for their family, many of them prefer to stay close to home rather than explore the world.

2. Celtic Zodiac Twin for Cancer: The Horse (July 8 – August 4)

Palomino horse with long mane free run in green meadow.

The horse is one of the Celtic astrology spirit animals for Cancer in Western astrology.


Horses have a strong desire to demonstrate their abilities, and they can assess the competition and devise a strategy that will be effective. The amorous horse adds a touch of whimsy to any setting. As long as Horses are praised, they will support those in their sphere of influence. If you gamble on a horse, bet for it, not against it! It doesn’t take Horses long to put you in your place because they are so powerful and dominating.

Native American Astrology

The dates for each sign in both Native American and Western astrology are identical, however the spirit animals are unique. To find your native American spirit animal as a Cancer, look below!

Native American Cancer Twin: The Woodpecker

The woodpecker is one of the Native American spirit animals for Cancers born in the Northern Hemisphere.

©Brian Lasenby/

In Native American symbolism, woodpeckers symbolize all that is caring. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more loyal friend or partner. Their feathers are adorned with devotion and romance, yet they know how to be practical when necessary. This is particularly true in matters concerning finances!


A wide variety of creatures could be considered as Cancer zodiac sign spirit animals, such as the crab; sheep; wren; horse; and the woodpecker! Understand that these are metaphysical representations of your temperament based on popular astrological beliefs and historical research on personality types.

Other animals in your spirit world may symbolize aspects of your personality or life experiences that are unique to you. It’s not uncommon for people to have vivid dreams about or have unexpected run-ins with specific animals. Regardless of how you locate your spirit animal(s), hopefully, you enjoyed reading more about your zodiac sign and the numerous creatures linked to it!

Bonus: Where Did the Idea of Spirit Animals Originate?

Owl Spirit Animal

Indigenous cultures like Native Americans regarded certain animals as guides.

©Jozef Klopacka/

Astrology, or the philosophy of stars, dates back as far as ancient Greece and Babylon. It was defined and developed by the mathematician and astrologer Ptolemy in his work Tetrabiblos, published around 1,800 years ago.

The idea of spirit animals is a more modern development, though certain indigenous cultures, such as Native Americans, regarded certain animals as guides to protect them or animals whose traits they shared, as well as animals they may just admire. 

In the 1990s, Pagan and Wiccan enthusiasts adopted this way of looking at animals for themselves, viewing them as spiritual guides or totems that take on animal forms. As the internet advanced, these groups created quizzes to help curious folks discover who their spirit animals were.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © P. Dorman/

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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.

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