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Common Animal Tattoos and Their Meanings

Ancient cultures believed that each person has a spirit animal. They often tattooed them to strengthen the mutual bond and boost protection from bad things. Whether you have a spiritual creature or love a particular animal, you might be thinking of tattooing one. 

Before you do that, check out this animal tattoo guide. You’ll learn what animal symbolizes family and which ones represent freedom, luck, and other things. Here is what you should know about animal tattoos!

Which Animal Tattoo Is Lucky?

Some animals feature strength and protection, but we tattoo some for good fortune. Check out the animal tattoos that symbolize luck:

  • Panda. Chinese culture considers this animal to be a symbol of prosperity and good fortune.
  • Elephants. Native American and Eastern cultures, such as Indian, believe elephants bring good luck.
  • Butterflies. They can also be a symbol of good fortune, especially if you feel a special connection to them.
  • Seahorse. It’s clear why sailors used to see them as charms that bring good fortune at sea.

What Animal Tattoo Symbolizes Freedom?

As for animal tattoo meanings, birds represent freedom. The reason is obvious – they have wings and can fly (almost) anywhere. If you are aiming for a strong message, pick an eagle or falcon. It’s interesting to note that horses are also a symbol of freedom. In the wild, they live without restrains and can move in any direction.

Animal Tattoos: Meaning and Symbolism

Whether you want to know what animal symbolizes family or look for a different meaning, this is the right place. Check out some common animal body art options and what messages they convey!

Lion Tattoos

Lion is the jungle king, so it’s obvious why he’s a common choice for animal tattoos. Humanity considers lions fearless but beautiful. They represent strength and power, but also leadership and masculinity.

Males who believe to be pack leaders choose lions as their tattoos, and it’s a common pick for fathers. Thanks to his impressive mane, a lion also makes a wonderful tattoo. They require at least a medium-sized body art, so don’t restrain a lion to a small wrist tattoo. The king of the jungle will look particularly powerful as a half or full-sleeve tattoo.

Wolf Tattoos

Many Native Americans considered wolves to be their spiritual animals. Those who wanted to connect with their inner wolf picked this tattoo. Overall, you’ll find many cultures that respect this wild creature. Most traditions see these animal tattoo meanings as a symbol of courage and resilience, but also danger and destruction.

In some cultures, wolves are almost divine. Many focus on their strength and intelligence and the ability to use both as necessary. A wolf has amazing instincts, so you can choose this tattoo if you rely on your intuition. This is another powerful animal, so you should honor your inner wolf with at least a medium tattoo.

Fish Tattoos

You might have a fish that’s your favorite. If that’s the case, go ahead and tattoo it to honor that special bond. But if we are talking about common tattoos, koi fish is a frequent option. This tattoo is famous in Japan and is often portrayed in body art inspired by this style.

Here is how the color of the koi fish might change its meaning:

  • Red. If you want to know what animal symbolizes family, red koi fish represents motherhood. It’s also a symbol of bravery and love.
  • White. It’s a symbol of rebirth and growth, and people eager for success often tattoo white koi fish.
  • Black or blue. These are masculine colors, and they also feature struggles that were overcome successfully.

Cat Tattoos

These animal tattoos are perfect for a small area, such as your wrist. If you have a favorite pet, you can place a tattoo in its honor behind the ear. In ancient cultures, there was a strong sense of symbolism around cats. They were considered holy animals in some cultures. Many traditions connect them to rebirth, but also pride and royalty.

A black cat has a mythical power and represents something mysterious and often dark. Some people choose cats for their tattoos to pinpoint their capability of overcoming obstacles life puts before them. They want to convey the message that they have “nine lives,” just like a cat.

Butterfly Tattoos

Transformation is the primary symbolism of a butterfly tattoo. These creatures start their life as a caterpillar and develop into beautiful butterflies. It’s an incredible example of growth and transformation.

Butterflies can also fly, which is why they are a symbol of freedom. You can put these creatures on a small tattoo on your thigh or wrist. They can also be suitable for a big chest or even a back tattoo.

Owl Tattoos

Owls are creatures of the night, so these animal tattoos often look amazing. Tattoo stylists usually pinpoint the fearless look owls have. We also connect owls to wisdom and believe they are wise creatures. 

Some cultures believe owls are guardians and protectors. If you are a fan of these majestic birds, you can tattoo them as a way of protecting yourself from any potentially damaging environmental factors.

Elephant Tattoos

Elephant animal tattoo meanings include power and strength. It’s the sheer size that elephants have that is associated with this. However, we also know elephants as gentle and emotional animals. It’s why we choose them for a tattoo to represent emotions and our feelings for a partner or family.

If you can’t decide on the tattoo, its size, or placement, don’t hesitate to schedule a tattoo consultation. Our experts are ready to help with all details and answer any questions you might have!

About the Author

Jacob Pullman

Jacob Pullman

Jacob Pullman is a former tattoo artist turned into a consultant-enthusiast-writer-educator. A change of career, before he started writing, he got a degree in PR and communications. He is passionate about traveling and exploring the world and cultures visiting all those funky museums as a modern art lover. His ultimate goal is to spread knowledge about relationships (but only theoretically, as he is still single), a healthy lifestyle, body art, and of course, everything related to tattoo art. That's how he went deep into digital marketing, working with Skin Design Tattoo to educate and share his knowledge and experience.