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250+ Names of Common Animals in Afrikaans

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Did you know that one of the oldest animals in the world was discovered in South Africa over two decades ago? Scientists named the skeleton, which was distinctly ape-like, “Little Foot.” So aap (“ape”) would be an appropriate first word on our list of animals in Afrikaans!

Little Foot is touted to be the evolutionary predecessor of humans. It was found by accident in 1998 among fossilized bones already obtained from a well-known excavation site called the “Cradle of Humankind” near Johannesburg. The skeleton is thought to be over three million years old.

Whether you believe this ape is our ancestor or not, animals have been part of our lives since time immemorial. So naturally, any language study would include these nouns, which is why I have compiled this comprehensive list of over 250 animal names in Afrikaans for you. To further expand your vocabulary, also make sure to take a look at our list of the most common Afrikaans nouns.

An African Vervet Monkey in a Tree.

Blouape kom baie algemeen in Suid Afrika voor. / “African vervet monkeys are very common in South Africa.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Domestic Animals
  2. Wild Animals
  3. Animal Body Parts
  4. Common Afrikaans Animal Expressions, Idioms, and Sayings
  5. Why not learn about animals in Afrikaans with AfrikaansPod101?!

1. Domestic Animals

1.1 Pets vs. Domestic Animals

There’s a distinction to be made between “pets” and “domesticated animals.” Pets are usually kept at a person’s home for the purpose of companionship, protection, and/or special assistance. On the other hand, domesticated animals are also kept by people, but usually not in their homes and not for company. Think farms and livestock. On farms, you’ll find livestock such as sheep, chickens, and cattle; there may also be animals classified as “wild” by law, which are still kept by humans.

In this article, there are places where certain domestic animals and wild animals will overlap because all animals were once wild. Over time, the wild dog became the lapdog and wild cats were tamed to the point where they could no longer survive in the wild. 

Some wild animals are tamed and kept as pets, but this is not common and not really advisable unless you’re a wildlife expert. Cats and dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years now. Yet most owners will testify that their kitties can still administer a mean scratch, and that their dogs can still give a nasty nip in a moment of excitement or fear. These wild impulses will never completely leave our pets.

Therefore, most wild animal pets (or domesticated wild animals) should be considered dangerous to a degree—even if they were born in captivity or were rescued at a young age. If they pose a risk to humans in the wild, chances are they will eventually pose the same risk in captivity. That’s just their nature.

A Blue-and-Yellow Macaw

Aras maak goeie troeteldiere. / “Macaws make good pets.”

1.2 Pets in Afrikaans

Pets have been and still are our companions, and greatly beloved ones at that. Let’s start with the most common Afrikaans animal words for those who live at home with us.

Note: In Afrikaans, we do have specific names for the offspring of many animals and we do distinguish their gender. However, we most often refer to them in the following terms.

  1. mannetjie / literally: “little male”
  2. wyfie / literally: “little female”
  3. kleintjies / literally: “little ones” 

AfrikaansEnglish
1. aramacaw
2. budgiebudgerigar
3. kokketielcockatiel
4. duifpigeon / dove
5. vinkfinch
6. kanariecanary
7. poupeacock
8. papegaaiparrot
9. parkietparakeet
10. kaketoecockatoo
Example Sentences:
  • Die vink vlieg. / “The finch is flying.”
  • Slaap die ara? / “Is the macaw sleeping?”
  • Hoor hoe praat die papegaai! / Approx: “Listen, the parrot talks!”
  • Gee die duif kos, kyk hoe maer is dit. / “Give the pigeon food; see how thin it is.”
  • Hy neem sy parkiet na die veearts toe want dis siek. / “He’s taking his parakeet to the vet because it’s sick.”
Note: The babies of all bird pets are normally called kuikens (“chicks”).

Fun Fact! Did you know that in South Africa, 89% of house pets are dogs, followed by cats, birds, and fish? This is perhaps because interaction with dogs has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in their owners. Studies have also shown that dogs have increased levels of feel-good hormones (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) in their brains after interacting with their humans!

A Young Woman Holding a Box with Cute Kittens

Ek is lief vir al my troeteldiere maar my katte is die naaste aan my hart. / “I love all my pets, but my cats are the closest to my heart.”

11. katcat
12. Siamese katSiamese cat
13. huiskathouse cat
14. honddog
15. bulhondbulldog
16. boerboelboer bull
17. mopshondpug
18. poedelpoodle
19. teeffemale dog / bitch
20. reunmale dog
21. hamsterhamster
22. rotrat
23. muismouse
24. marmotguinea pig
25. haas & konynhare & rabbit
Example Sentences:
  • My marmot is mooi. / “My guinea pig is pretty.”
  • Dit is ‘n bruin muis. / “It is a brown mouse.”
  • Is daar water in die konyn se hok? / “Is there water in the rabbit’s cage?”
  • Haar opregte Duitse Herdershond het al baie pryse gewen op skoue. / “Her pure-bred German Shepherd has won many prizes at shows.”
  • Ek is lief vir al my troeteldiere maar my katte is die naaste aan my hart. / “I love all my pets, but my cats are the closest to my heart.”

Fun Fact! Did you know that photos of odd-looking or very photogenic pets can earn insane amounts of money? Thank social media for this, because at the time of writing, a million hits on Instagram could earn up to ZAR 250 000 (approximately $16,500) per animal post, which is double what a human influencer could make. This is according to Bronwyn Williams, a marketing specialist from Flux Trends.

During a photoshoot, always take care to act humanely towards your furry subjects and keep only their best interests at heart.

A Gorgeous Cat and Dog Lying Together

Sommige troeteldiere is baie fotogenies. / “Some pets are very photogenic.”

26. goudvisgoldfish
27. koi viskoi fish
28. slangsnake
29. skilpadtortoise
30. sywurmssilkworms
Example Sentences:
  • My goudvis swem. / “My goldfish is swimming.”
  • Die slang seil weg. / “The snake is slithering away.”
  • My broer het ‘n skilpad vir ‘n troeteldier. / “My brother has a tortoise as a pet.”
  • Sywurms eet net moerbeiblare en het ‘n kort lewensspan. / “Silkworms eat only mulberry leaves and have a short lifespan.”
  • Troeteldiere kan baie fotogenies wees. / “Pets can be very photogenic.”

Fun Fact! Did you know that cat lovers are known as ailurophiles and dog lovers are cynophiles? According to one online study conducted by the research company GfK in 2014, Russia, France, and the U.S.A. are the countries with the most ailurophiles; Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil have the most cynophiles. 

More people keep dogs as pets than cats, but women are more likely than men to own either or both. The study also indicated that more men keep fish than women.

In China, fish are the most popular pets, while Turkish people prefer birds. Respondents from South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan recorded the highest number of non-pet owners.

In Europe, the British, French, and Swiss are the biggest spenders on their pets. But globally, Americans spend the most on theirs—a staggering $50 billion annually. This is unsurprising, as nine in 10 Americans are reported to see their pets as family members!

1.3 Farm Animals in Afrikaans

Farming is in Afrikaners’ blood. Most of our ancestors made their living keeping livestock, and the white Afrikaans-speaking South African population are colloquially referred to as the Boere (“Farmers”). Below, we’ll show you the names of farm animals in Afrikaans and bring a few key facts to light.

An Ostrich Running in the Veld

Volstruise kan baie verbasend vinnig hardloop. / “Ostriches can run remarkably fast.”

1.3.a Livestock / Domestic Farm Animals

As mentioned before, farm animals are not as tame as pets living in a house with people, but they’re still considered domesticated because people take care of them. We farm animals commercially for their meat and other products like eggs, milk, feathers, wool, hides, etc. Here is a list of the most popular farm animals in Afrikaans.

AfrikaansEnglish
31. hoenderchicken
32. eendduck
33. gansgoose
34. kalkoenturkey
35. tarentaalguinea fowl
36. beeste / beescattle / cow / bull / ox
37. koeicow
38. bulbull
39. kalfcalf
40. skaapsheep
41. ooiewe
42. ramram
43. lam / lammetjielamb / little lamb
44. varkpig
45. varksogsow
46. beerboar
47. varkiepiglet
48. bokgoat
49. donkie / eseldonkey
50. muilmule
51. perdhorse
52. merriemare
53. hingsstallion
54. vulletjiefilly
55. poniepony
56. alpakkaalpaca
57. kameelcamel
58. lamallama
Example Sentences:
  • Die muil loop stadig. / “The mule walks slowly.”
  • Hier is die vark. / “Here is the pig.”
  • Daardie is ‘n baie mooi skouponie. / “That is a very pretty show pony.”
  • Ons ry elke vakansie perd op die plaas. / “We ride horses on the farm every holiday.”
  • ‘n Kameel kan tot 75 liter water op ‘n slag drink. / “A camel can drink up to 20 gallons of water at a time.”

A Collection of Insects, an Arachnid, a Snail, and an Arthropod

Insekte word bestudeer as ‘n bron van voedsel en medikasie. / “Insects are being researched as a source of food and medicine.”

1.3.b Creepy-Crawlies, Reptiles & Amphibians

Of course, a number of other creatures abound in the wild too. The ones listed below occur abundantly where people live or in urban areas, and many of the insects are farmed as well.

AfrikaansEnglish
59. heuningbyhoney bee
60. vliegfly
61. brommerbluebottle fly / blow fly / moped
62. mierant
63. kewer / besiebeetle
64. kakkerlakcockroach
65. liewenheersbesieladybird / ladybug
66. skoenlapperbutterfly
67. motmoth
68. uislouse
69. weeluisbed bug
70. kopluishead louse
71. flooiflea
72. muskietmosquito
73. muggiegnat / midge
74. erdwurmearthworm
75. mopaniewurmmopani worm
76. meelwurmmealworm
77. duisendpootmillipede
78. honderdpootcentipede
79. kriekcricket
80. koringkriekcorn cricket
81. sprinkaangrasshopper
82. slaksnail
83. paddafrog
84. paddavistadpole
85. verkleurmannetjiechameleon
86. akkedislizard
Example Sentences:
  • Die erdwurm eet. / “The earthworm is eating.”
  • Die slak loop stadig. / “The snail crawls slowly.”
  • Daar is ‘n kriek in ons huis. / “There is a cricket in our house.”
  • Ek gaan nie daardie mopaniewurm eet nie, dis grillerig! / “I am not going to eat that mopani worm; it’s yucky!”
  • Sprinkane kan ‘n pes wees in die tuin. / “Grasshoppers can be a pest in the garden.”

Fun Fact! Did you know that antimicrobial peptides (AMP) found in insects are being studied for their potential to fight infection in humans? The same peptides play a crucial role in the immune system of humans too, making AMPs an important subject of study. Insects are very resilient against infection by most microbials, and AMPs found in the likes of bees, flies, and beetles can even fight multiple types of drug-resistant bacteria. In fact, some scientists believe that AMPs may even replace antibiotics in the future!

A Flock of Cape Buffalo Standing in the Veld

Die Kaapse Buffel is die grootste van die sogenaamde grasland buffels. / “The Cape Buffalo is the largest of the so-called savannah buffalo.”

1.3.c Wildlife Ranching

Wildlife ranching is called “game farming” in South Africa. Animals are kept and taken care of on what is commonly referred to as a “game farm” or wildsplaas. Game farms are kept for conservation, tourism, and breeding purposes. Farmers also (unfortunately) sell these animals as they’re popular for their meat, horns, hides, and canned hunting.

AfrikaansEnglish
87. wildsbokkeantelope
88. blouwildebeesblue wildebeest
89. buffelbuffalo
90. waterbuffelwater buffalo
91. rooibokimpala
92. duikerduiker
93. springbokspringbuck
94. gemsbokgemsbok / oryx
95. swartwitpensboksable antelope
96. kameelperdgiraffe
97. koedoekudu
98. zebrazebra
99. bergzebramountain zebra
100. Burchell zebraBurchell’s zebra
101. waterbokwaterbuck
102. vlakvarkwarthog
103. volstruisostrich
104. renosterrhinoceros
105. Afrika renosterAfrican rhino
106. olifantelephant
107. Afrika bosolifantAfrican bush elephant
108. seekoeihippopotamus
Example Sentences:
  • Dit is ‘n zebra. / “It is a zebra.”
  • Die vlakvark is wild. / “The warthog is wild.”
  • ‘n Volstruis kan baie hard skop, so wees versigtig. / “An ostrich can kick very hard, so be careful.”
  • Ongelukkig is renosterhoring ‘n gewilde item vir onwettige uitvoere. / “Unfortunately, rhino horn is a popular item for illegal export.”
  • ‘n Olifant se gehoor is uiters goed. / “An elephant’s hearing is extremely good.”

Three Springbuck in Their Natural Environment

Groot getalle springbokke kom steeds wild voor in Suid Afrika. / “Large numbers of springbuck still occur in the wild in South Africa.”

Not-So-Fun Fact… In May 2019, the South African government surreptitiously passed an amendment to the (surely wrongly-named) Animal Improvement Act, which reclassified 33 wild species as farm animals. The list included endangered species such as black rhinos, cheetahs, water buffalo, and more. This is sad news, seeing that the wildlife ranching-and-breeding industry in South Africa is still underregulated and has experienced some heartbreaking exposés of malpractice in the past.

Without tight regulation, this permissive law may just cause more criminal cockroaches to crawl out of the woodwork.

Fortunately, a proposed amendment of the Meat Safety Act to approve the commercial sale of threatened-and-protected-species (TOPS) and lion meat, was minister-vetoed in late 2020. Captive lion breeding is also in the crosshairs of wildlife conservationists and advocates worldwide, and they are unrelenting in their pressure on the South African government to ban this horrendous practice.

That said—not all game farms are terrible places, and not all game farmers are greedy exploiters of their livestock. In fact, most of them adhere to prescribed regulations and follow good, lawful practices. They assist in protecting endangered wildlife and the environment, and their treatment of the animals is humane.

A Snarling Male Lion in the Bush

Leeus is steeds die konings van die woud. / “Lions are still the kings of the jungle.”

109. leeulion
110. wolfwolf
111. tiertiger
112. gorillagorilla
113. sjimpanseechimpanzee / chimp
Example Sentences:
  • Die buffel is sterk. / “The buffalo is strong.”
  • Die leeu slaap vanaand. / “The lion sleeps tonight.”
  • Sjimpansees is baie interessante diere. / “Chimpanzees are very interesting animals.”
  • Gorillas is van die aapfamilie wat in woudagtige gebiede woon. / “Gorillas are (members) of the ape family which live in the woods.”

2. Wild Animals

You’ll see that I excluded some wild animals from the following list. Gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers, and wolves are not indigenous to South Africa and live only in captivity on special game resorts or in zoos. Chimps and gorillas can be found elsewhere in Africa, most notably in mid to western African countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The only wolf that we do have roaming our savannas is a tiny fellow called the aardwolf (literally: “earth wolf”). Strictly speaking, it is not a wolf and is closer in resemblance to a hyena. It’s not even predatorial, such as its namesake, but lives on a diet of termites.

A Large Gray Wolf Howling in the Pine Woods

Gryswolwe kom nie natuurlik voor in Suid Afrika nie. / “Gray wolves don’t occur naturally in South Africa.”

Also, the only wild “tiger” occurring in the country is very cute-looking and somewhat resembles a tiny tiger. Called the miershooptier (literally: “anthill tiger”), it often makes its home in abandoned termite nests or anthills. In English, the miershooptier is called a black-footed cat or a small spotted cat. It’s the second-smallest type of cat in the world, weighing only 2.5 kilos (about 5.5 pounds) in adulthood.

Furthermore, of the approximately 12,000 lions left in South Africa, the majority currently live either on breeding farms (in cages or camps) or on wild farms and game reserves. The latter are aimed at their preservation and conservation, as well as the promotion of responsible hunting (though some critics dispute this claim). The former keep these majestic animals solely for breeding and canned hunting purposes.

2.1 On the Land

South Africa is a country with lots of uninhabited space, where plenty of wildlife can still be found—and where the animals prefer to stay. We don’t have any lions roaming the streets of our towns and cities. Below, you’ll find a list of common wild animals in Afrikaans belonging to the mammalian world and otherwise. 

2.1.a Mammals

AfrikaansEnglish
114. jagluiperdcheetah
115. hiënahyena
116. strandwolfbrown hyena
117. gevlekte hiënaspotted hyena
118. jakkalsjackal / fox
119. Kaapse jakkalsCape fox
120. rooijakkalsblack-backed jackal
121. bakoorjakkalsbat-eared fox
122. luiperdleopard
123. wildehondwild dog
124. wilde kat / vaalboskatwild cat / desert cat
125. siwetkatcivet
126. tierboskatAfrican serval cat
127. muskeljaatkatgenet
128. meerkatsuricate / meerkat
129. eekhoringsquirrel
130. waaistert-grondeekhoringCape ground squirrel
131. aapmonkey
132. blouaapvervet monkey
133. nagapiebushbaby
134. bobbejaanbaboon
135. molmole
136. vlermuisbat
137. dassiedassie
138. klipdassierock dassie
139. weselweasel
140. Afrikaanse weselAfrican weasel
141. muishondmongoose 
142. stinkmuishondstriped polecat / skunk
143. vlakhaasCape hare
144. ystervarkporcupine
145. Kaapse ystervarkCape porcupine
146. krimpvarkiehedgehog
147. aardvarkaardvark
148. bosvarkbush pig
149. otterotter
150. Kaapse otterCape otter
151. ratelhoney badger
152. ietermagogpangolin
153. skeerbekmuisforest shrew

A Skunk Running in the Veld

Die muishond kom ook voor in Suid Afrika. / “The skunk can also be found in South Africa.”

2.1.b Creepy-Crawlies & Reptiles

All the creepy-crawlies and reptiles found in domestic areas can also be found in the wild. Here, they’re found in much greater numbers alongside plenty of other species.

154. skerpioenscorpion
155. gloeiwurm glowworm
156. vuurvliegfirefly
157. renosterkewerrhino beetle
158. reuse kewergiant beetle
159. stinkgogga / stinkbesiestink bug
160. oorkruiperearwig
161. luislangpython
162. boaboa
163. boomslangtree snake / boomslang
164. adderadder
165. pofadderpuff adder
166. kobracobra
167. Mosambiekse spoegkobraMozambican spitting cobra
168. rinkhalsring-necked spitting cobra
169. molslangmole snake
170. mambamamba
171. groenmambagreen mamba
Example Sentences:
  • Dié kewer stink. / “This beetle stinks.”
  • Daar is ‘n boomslang. / “There is a tree snake / boomslang.”
  • Die rinkhals kom slegs voor in Suiderlike Afrika. / “The ring-necked spitting cobra can only be found in Southern Africa.”
  • Molslange is onskadelik en kan goeie troeteldiere maak. / “Mole snakes are harmless and can make good pets.”
  • Die grootste verskil tussen boas en luislange is dat boas lewendig geboorte skenk, terwyl luislange eiers lê. / “The main difference between boas and pythons is that boas give live birth while pythons lay eggs.”

Fun Fact! Did you know that the Southern African luislang (“python”), also called the rock python, can grow up to five meters (16 feet) long? They’re not fond of being in excessive heat for long periods of time, so during the extremely hot summer months, they like to slip into cool, deep pools and stay there with only their heads above the surface. These pools and ponds are also their preferred hunting areas.

Fortunately for us, this particular species rarely grows big enough to swallow humans. (But I still wouldn’t advise allowing any adult pet python to sleep in the same bed as a child!) The snakes prefer to feed on small antelope, birds, rodents, small pigs, apes, and dassies because eating large prey would mean having to lie still for a very long time so the food could digest. Remaining inert makes the snakes vulnerable to their natural enemies, which include mongooses, hyenas, other snakes, crocodiles, and wild dogs. Southern African pythons are helpful in controlling rodent and ape populations where they live.

A Large Python Laying Coiled among Foliage

Die Suid-Afrikaanse luislang kan tot vyf meter (16 voet) lank word. / “The South African python can grow up to five meters (16 feet) long.”

2.2. In the Water

Both inland bodies of fresh water and the oceans hugging our coasts teem with their unique selection of wildlife. Keep reading to learn the names of various fish and sea animals in Afrikaans. 

2.2.a Ocean Life

South Africa is flanked by two different oceans: the Atlantic Ocean on the western side and the Indian Ocean on the eastern side.

AfrikaansEnglish
172. walviswhale
173. Southern Right walvisSouthern Right whale
174. dolfyndolphin
175. stompneus dolfynbottlenose dolphin
176. snoeksnoek
177. haaishark
178. grootwithaai / witdoodshaaigreat white shark
179. swaardvisswordfish
180. tunatuna
181. bloumarlynblue marlin
182. stokvisshallow water hake
183. diepwater stokvisdeep water hake
184. skelvishaddock
185. koningklipkingklip
186. sardynsardine
187. robseal 
188. Kaapse pelsrobCape fur seal
189. seeleeusealion
190. seekatoctopus
191. inkvissquid
192. jellievisjellyfish
193. bloublasiebluebottle / Portuguese man o’ war
194. krapcrab
195. kreeflobster
196. seeslaksea slug
197. oesteroyster
198. mosselmussel
199. seeskilpadturtle
200. seeslangsea snake
201. seesterstarfish
202. see egelsea urchin
203. seekomkommersea cucumber
204. see-anemoonsea anemone
Example Sentences:
  • Dit is ‘n dolfyn. / “That is a dolphin.”
  • Seeslange is gevaarlik. / “Sea snakes are dangerous.”
  • Die krap loop skeef-skeef. / Literally: “The crab walks skew-skew.”
  • Die Southern Right walvis kom voor aan die suidelike kus van Suid Afrika. / “The Southern Right whale occurs along the southern coast of South Africa.”
  • Die Groot Vier in die Suid Afrikaanse oseane is die Afrika pikkewyn, die Kaapse pelsrob, die Southern Right walvis, en die Groot Wit Haai. / “The Big Four in the South African oceans are the African penguin, the Cape fur seal, the Southern Right whale, and the great white shark.”

Fun Fact! Did you know that it’s rather easy to treat a bluebottle sting? These aquatic animals have long tentacles with barbs that inject venom on contact. Their stings look like whiplashes across the skin lined with small red dots, and they’re exceptionally painful. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the stings are harmless and easily treatable.

An online search for the correct treatment of a bluebottle sting proved confusing, as contradictory advice abounds even among official, non-commercial sites. For instance, many sources insist that sting victims are never to pour vinegar on bluebottle wounds, as it will exacerbate the pain. However, some recent, well-designed scientific studies contradict this.

A Beached Bluebottle Jellyfish

Jy wil nie op ‘n bloublasie trap nie! / “You don’t want to step on a bluebottle!”

First, let’s look at how to avoid getting stung in the first place. Then, we’ll discuss how to decrease pain and suffering in the event of a sting. There are a few things you shouldn’t do:

Don’t…

  • …swim in water you know is likely bluebottle-infested.
  • …go to the beach unprepared, especially if you know you might encounter bluebottles. Pack clear vinegar, a bottle of fresh water (not for drinking), and a long item with which to remove tentacles (think chopsticks or a grill tong).
  • …touch or pop the bladder of a beached bluebottle. (Dead bluebottles can still sting.)
  • …rub the sting wound with sand or apply any pressure before taking step 2 under the next heading below. (At this point, even light pressure will instantly increase the venom load, which means more pain.)
  • …rinse the wound with alcohol, shaving cream, baking soda, or urine, as these can also increase the venom load in some bluebottle species.

Now let’s look at sting treatments, as advised by the researchers of a recent, excellent study conducted at the School of Medicine, Hawaii University. The researchers studied and tested the efficacy of first-aid measures for bluebottle stings, and their advice was echoed in a South African review article that was recently published in the Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology journal.

A Glass Bottle Containing Clear Vinegar

Gebruik onverdunde asyn op ‘n bloublasiesteek. / “Use undiluted vinegar on a bluebottle sting.”

Immediately After a Sting:

  1. There may not be any, but rinse off adhering bluebottle tentacles with seawater or undiluted vinegar. Ideally, avoid using freshwater for this step, as it could result in more venom cells releasing their toxins into the skin.
  2. If some tentacles don’t rinse off, they’ll need to be removed manually. If you’ve used vinegar to douse the tentacles, it will inhibit their ability to continue stinging and protect the helper too, but this has not been proven in vivo, it seems. Some sources claim that it’s safe for adults to remove tentacles with their bare fingers, while other sources caution against this, as one could get stung oneself. To be safe, consider using an item like chopsticks, a dry stick, or even grilling tongs for this step.
  3. With the tentacles gone, it’s time to remove the tiny barbs. First, douse the wound again with undiluted vinegar. The Hawaiian study has found that vinegar completely inhibits the embedded cells from discharging their venom, even when pressure is applied. Common, shop-bought vinegar is fine for this purpose.
  4. Now, scrape off any tiny barbs still adhering to the skin with the edge of something like a knife, a razor blade, or even a credit card. You could use tweezers for this, as well. Removing the barbs will help the victim avoid secondary stinging and further injury.

As Soon as Possible After a Sting: 

Submerge or douse the wound with hot water (as hot as can be tolerated), for as long as possible. This will reduce pain, as heat breaks down the pain-causing venom in the body. In fact, this step is helpful in virtually all aquatic sting wounds. Take a large bottle of water to the beach and let it sit in the sun to heat, so you can have hot water ready in the event of a sting.

Seek Medical Help If:

    the sting is severe and covers a large area of the person’s body (especially in children);
    the pain persists; or 
    other symptoms develop after taking the aforementioned first-aid measures.

Side-effects and allergic reactions are extremely rare, but individual physiology differs, and a large venom load could cause problems in some cases.

A Bottlenose Dolphin Jumping Out of the Water

Bottelneus dolfyne is sierlike diere. / “Bottlenose dolphins are graceful animals.”

2.2.b Freshwater

The inland bodies of water have an equally impressive list of inhabitants. 

AfrikaansEnglish
205. waterskilpadturtle
206. seekoeihippopotamus
207. krokodilcrocodile
208. NylkrokodilNile crocodile
209. rivierpalingriver eel
210. waterslangwater snake
211. salmsalmon
212. katviscatfish
213. foreltrout
214. reënboog forelrainbow trout
215. karpcarp
216. basbass
217. geelvisyellowfish
218. rooiborskurpertilapia
219. kabeljoucod
220. moddervislabeo
221. Oranjerivier moddervisOrange River mudfish
222. makrielmackerel
223. naaldekokerdragonfly
224. waterhondjiewater walker
225. waterjufferdamselfly
226. hottentotsgotpraying mantis
Example Sentences:
  • Die makriel swem. / “The mackerel are swimming.”
  • Ons eet kabeljou. / “We are eating cod.”
  • Naaldekokers is baie mooi vir my. / “Dragonflies are very pretty to me.”
  • Die hottentotsgod se voorpote is wapens waarmee hy sy prooi gryp. / “The front legs of the praying mantis are weapons with which it grabs its prey.”
  • Daardie rivier is gevaarlik om in te swem want daar kom krokkodille voor. / “That river is dangerous for swimming because crocodiles are found there.”

A Dragonfly

Al het hulle ses lang bene, kan naaldekokers nie goed loop nie. / “Even though they have six long legs, dragonflies can’t walk well.”

2.3 In the Sky

South African birds are a paradise for ornithologists. Especially for a walk in the veld or the mountains, remember to bring good binoculars or a camera, a bird guide, and a notebook.

AfrikaansEnglish
227. houtkapperwoodpecker
228. arendeagle
229. visarendfish eagle
230. visvangerblack cormorant
231. valkfalcon / hawk
232. uilowl
233. aasvoëlvulture
234. kraanvoëlcrane
235. bloukraanvoëlblue crane
236. ooievaarstork
237. pelikaanpelican
238. kiewietplover / lark
239. tarentaalguineafowl
240. mossieCape sparrow
241. spreeusparrow
242. fisantpheasant
243. flaminkflamingo
244. reierheron / egret
245. hadedahadeda ibis
246. gompoukori bustard
247. gonsvoëlbuzzard
248. horingbekvoëlhornbill
249. suikerbekkiesunbird / sugarbird
250. bontvisvangerskingfishers
251. sekretarisvoëlsecretary bird
252. seemeeuseagull
253. albatrosalbatross
254. pikkewynpenguin
255. Afrika pikkewynAfrican penguin
256. vinkfinch
257. kraaicrow
258. koekoekcuckoo
259. lysterthrush
260. swaanswan
261. kwartelquail
Example Sentences:
  • Die koekoek sing. / “The cuckoo is singing.”
  • Daar sit ‘n seemeeu. / “There sits a seagull.”
  • Op die water gly ‘n swaan rustig. / “On the water, a swan is drifting peacefully.”
  • Hoor hoe die lysters sing in die tuin. / “Listen to the thrushes singing in the garden.”
  • Kwarteleiers is ‘n gewilde dis aan ons tafel. / “Quail eggs are a favorite dish at our table.”

A Colony of African Penguins on Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Boulders Beach in Simonstad, Kaapstad, huisves groot kolonies Afrika pikkwyne. / “Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, Cape Town, is home to large colonies of African penguins.”

3. Animal Body Parts

Just like the human body, the bodies of animals, insects, and reptiles have different parts.

AfrikaansEnglish
kophead
horing/shorn(s)
oogeye
eyes
oreears
snoetsnout
snorbaard/ewhisker(s)
voeler/sfeeler(s)
bekthe mouth of any animal, except a bird’s
snawelbill / beak
tandeteeth
slagtand/eincisor(s) OR fang(s)
tentakel/stentacle(s)
nekneck
lyf / liggaambody
borschest 
voorlyfupper body / torso
tiet/eteat(s) / breast(s)
tepel/snipple(s)
agterlyfrump
sterttail
been / beneleg(s)
voorbeen / voorbenefront leg(s)
agterbeen / agterbenehind leg(s)
poot / potepaw(s)
voorpoot / voorpotefront paw(s)
agterpoot / agterpotehind paw(s)
klou/eclaw(s)
nael/snail(s)
flipper / vinflipper / fin
kieugill
kiewegills
veer / verefeather(s)
stertveer / stertveretail feather(s)
dons / donsveredown (feathers)
pelscoat
haar / harehair 
skub / skubbescale(s)
Example Sentences:
  • Visse het skubbe. / “Fish have scales.”
  • Donsvere is sag. / “Down feathers are soft.”
  • Voels het nie tande nie. / “Birds don’t have teeth.”
  • ‘n Blink pels dui gewoonlik op ‘n gesonde dier. / “A shiny coat usually shows that an animal is healthy.”
  • Presies waar sit ‘n baber se tentakels? / “Exactly where are a catfish’s tentacles situated?”

4. Common Afrikaans Animal Expressions, Idioms, and Sayings

  1.  Hy lyk of die kat sy kos gesteel het.
    “He looks like the cat stole his food.”

    This describes someone who looks disappointed, discouraged, or dejected.
  1. Jy kerm soos ‘n kat oor ‘n derm!
    “You complain like a cat over a piece of intestine!”

    Use this comment when someone complains and moans about trivialities and nonsense, or when they don’t want to stop complaining. The rhyme in Afrikaans gives it a humorous effect.
  1. Al dra ‘n aap ‘n goue ring bly dit maar ‘n lelike ding.
    “Even when a monkey wears a golden ring, it remains an ugly thing.”

    This saying means that no matter how much an unattractive, uncouth person or object is spruced up or presented, they remain ugly.

    Note: Be cautious how you use this idiom, though. Some might find it offensive.

A Female Monkey Sitting with Her Baby in a Tree

Al dra ‘n aap ‘n goue ring bly dit maar ‘n lelike ding.
“Even when a monkey wears a golden ring, it remains an ugly thing.”

  1. Addergebroedsel
    “Offspring of adders”

    This strong, colorful term that sounds like it belongs in a Greek drama is used to describe sly, unreliable, or even dangerous people. In a sentence, you would say:

    Moet nie daardie politikusse glo nie; hulle is addergebroedsel.
    “Don’t believe those politicians; they’re the offspring of adders.”
  1. Dis ‘n bees van ‘n pampoen!
    “That is a bull of a pumpkin!”

    This expression is used to describe anything exceptionally large or impressive. One can replace pampoen with many other nouns to indicate its extraordinary size or extent.
  1. Selfs bobbejane het daar ‘n kierie nodig.
    “(To walk) there, even baboons need a walking stick.”

    This saying is used to describe a road or place that is practically impassable.
  1. Susan en Pieter gaan bokke bymekaar jaag.
    “Susan and Peter are going to herd their goats.”

    This is an old way of saying that a couple is getting married.
  1. Donkie skel vir Langoor uit.
    “Donkey scolds Langoor.”

    This idiom is similar to the English, “The pot is calling the kettle black.” Langoor (literally: “long ears”) is a popular name for a donkey, especially in Afrikaans children’s fiction. So, the idiom is used to describe someone who criticizes another for something they’re guilty of themselves.
  1. ‘n Gebraaide duif / eend / gans vlieg niemand in die mond nie.
    “A fried pigeon / duck / goose won’t fly into anyone’s mouth.”

    With this idiom, we say that nothing is accomplished without effort. Interestingly, a similar-sounding saying is used in reference to someone who’s effortlessly lucky:

    Gebraaide ganse vlieg sommer in haar mond.
    “Fried geese simply fly into her mouth.”

A Rooster Sitting on a Fence and Crowing

Die winkel is net ‘n hanetree van ons huis af. / “The shop is only a rooster’s step from our house.”

  1. ‘n Hanetree
    “A rooster’s step”

    This expression is used when we want to say that one thing is a very short distance from another. It sounds like this in a sentence:

    Die winkel is ‘n hanetree van ons huis af.
    “The shop is a rooster’s step away from our home.”
  1. Wanneer die hoenders tande kry
    “When chickens grow teeth”

    When someone uses this ironic idiom, it means that something is very unlikely to happen. It can be used as-is in a comment, or in a sentence like this:

    Hy sal eers verander wanneer die hoenders tande kry.
    “He will change only when chickens grow teeth.”

    Another saying with the same meaning is:

    Wanneer die perde horings kry.
    “When horses grow horns.”

A Beautiful Fox Standing in the Snow

Jakkals prys sy eie stert! / “Fox praises his own tail!”

  1. Die hond se gedagtes kry
    “To get the dog’s thoughts”

    This odd expression is used in reference to one’s thoughts of suspicion. Like this:

    Hy was aanvanklik optimisties oor die projek, maar die kontrak het hom die hond se gedagtes gegee.
    “He was optimistic about the project at first, but the contract made him suspicious.”
  1. As ‘n mens ‘n hond wil slaan kry jy maklik ‘n stok.
    “If you want to beat a dog, you’ll easily find a cane.”

    This means that if you really feel like harming or hurting someone, you’ll easily find a way to do so.
  1. Jakkals prys sy eie stert.
    “Fox praises his own tail.”

    This vivid saying is used to comment when someone boasts excessively about their own accomplishments or attributes.
  1. Die kalf is in die put.
    “The calf is in the well.”

    In the olden days, when Afrikaans Christian folks were forced to work on a Sunday (such as when there was an emergency on the farm), they would use this saying. These days, we use it to indicate that doing something that’s (strictly speaking) disallowed or unplanned is inevitable due to an emergency. You could use it in the following context, for instance:

    Ons word nie eintlik in die kantoorgebou toegelaat oor naweke nie, maar die kalf is in die put. Die versoek vir hierdie uiters dringende verslag het onverwags vroeg gekom.

    “We are not really allowed to enter the office building over weekends, but it is inevitable. The request for this very urgent report came unexpectedly early.”
  1. Nie ‘n kat se kans nie
    “Not a cat’s chance”

    This saying is used to convey that the chances of something happening are very limited or non-existent.

    Hy het nie ‘n kat se kans met daardie meisie nie.
    “He doesn’t have any chance with that girl.”

The Naked Torso of a Very Skinny Guy

Hy is so maer soos ‘n kraai. / “He is as thin as a crow.”

  1. So maer soos ‘n kraai
    “As thin as a crow”

    If you want to say that someone is physically very thin, this is the idiom you’d use.
  1. Mossie, maar man
    “(Only a) sparrow, but (a real) man”

    When a boy or a man of small stature distinguishes himself as courageous, intelligent, and persistent in the face of a challenge, this saying would describe them well. Also, think of a cheeky chihuahua furiously barking at (and often scaring off) a much larger dog—tiny but impressively courageous! Mossie (“sparrow”) is used interchangeably with muggie (“gnat”).
  1. Dis net die oortjies van die seekoei.
    “Those are only the ears of the hippo.”

    The hippopotamus’ natural habitat is close to water, in which it often swims to keep cool and feeds on vegetation. When the animal rests, it lies just under the surface with only a small part of its head visible above water. We use this metaphor when only a small part of something is known or observable, meaning that the largest part is unknown or hidden—just like the large hippo’s body under the water.
  1. Slaan twee vlieë met een klap
    “Hits two flies with one smack”

    If you’re in town to have coffee with a friend, but you also make use of the opportunity to run an errand, then you’ve “hit two flies with one smack,” so to speak. This is a comment on using time and opportunity economically. Consider this sentence:

    Slaan sommer twee vlieë met een klap; kom kuier wanneer jy weer in hierdie omgewing is vir werk.
    “Why not be economical with time; pay me a visit when you come this way again for work.”

5. Why not learn about animals in Afrikaans with AfrikaansPod101?!

I hope you learned something interesting from this article. What’s your favorite animal? Name it in Afrikaans in the comments!

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  2. The Best Afrikaans Verbs List at Your Fingertips!
  3. Best List of Must-Know Afrikaans Pronouns
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About the Author: Christa Davel is an experienced, bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer and copy editor, who’s currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s been writing for InnovativeLanguage.com since 2017.

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