Animals In Dreams Meaning And Symbolism Revealed

Different animals in dreams and their meanings

Animals frequently appear in dreams as symbols representing aspects of ourselves, or serving as messengers guiding us on life’s journey.

Dreams about animals can provide profound insight into our psyche, relationships, and situations if we take the time to interpret their meaning.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intriguing world of animals in dreams and their symbolism.

What Do Animals Symbolize In Dreams?

Animals in dreams generally represent instincts, emotions, and aspects of your unconscious self.

The specific animal provides clues as to what part of yourself is being expressed.

For example, bears represent raw strength and aggression, snakes symbolize transformation, and horses embody unbridled instincts and energy.

Pay attention to the behaviors and characteristics of these types of dreams for additional meaning.

Does the animal resemble your own spirit or an aspect you need to develop? Dreams prompt self-exploration through the symbolism of the animal kingdom.

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Analyzing Animals In Dreams

As you can see, deciphering the meaning of animals in dreams requires considering multiple factors:

  • The type of animal – Common creatures like dogs vs. exotic animals like kangaroos
  • Behaviors & actions – Are they being aggressive, playful, hiding, etc?
  • Your emotional state – Do you feel scared, happy, angry, comfortable?
  • Context of the dream – How the animals interact with you and the overall plot
  • Personal associations – What particular animals mean to you symbolically

You must piece together these clues to unlock the symbolic messages about your life, relationships, desires, and fears being conveyed through these animals.

Here are some additional tips for effectively analyzing dreams including animals:

  • Track recurring animal dreams – Notice if any particular animals repeatedly appear as this strengthens the symbolism
  • Look for puns or expressions – For example, a “rat race” dream may focus on feelings of being overwhelmed or trapped in your work
  • Consider recent experiences or thoughts – Waking life stresses often get reflected symbolically in dream content
  • Notice exotic or unusual animals – More uncommon creatures that catch your attention likely have potent symbolism
  • Research animal folklore & legends – This can provide clues from historical and cultural meanings associated with certain animals
  • Trust your intuition – Your gut reactions upon awakening provide clues to deciphering the meaning

While animals in dreams can have complex meanings, keep in mind that they serve as helpful messengers from your subconscious designed to guide your self-understanding and growth.

Appreciate their symbolic wisdom.

animals in dreams

Common Animals In Dreams & Their Meanings

Here’s a quick look at some frequent animal visitors in dreams and what they could represent:

AnimalPossible Meaning
DogsLoyalty, protection, fidelity, friendship
CatsIndependence, stealth, intuition, unpredictability
SnakesChange, transformation, threats, sexuality
SpidersCreativity, diligence, fear, feeling trapped
BearsStrength, solitude, motherhood, healing
BirdsFreedom, spirituality, transcendence
FishEmotions, creativity, insights from unconscious
HorsesPower, vitality, freedom, loyalty
WolvesInstinct, intelligence, appetite, social bonds
LionsCourage, leadership, power, aggression
Mice & RatsAnxiety, parasites, lack, pestilence
ButterfliesTransformation, rebirth, spirituality

Of course, the specific dream context and your personal associations also shape the meaning. But this table provides a helpful starting point for interpreting animal dreams.

Animal Behavior Meanings

Beyond the type of animal, also consider what the creatures are doing in your dream. Their behaviors and interactions provide additional insight. Here are some examples:

Animal BehaviorPossible Meaning
Attacking or chasingFeeling threatened or attacked by something or someone
Being aggressive or angryInner drives feel out of control or are overpowering current situation
Playing or being friendlyPositive, cooperative connections. Harmony with a person/situation.
Running away or hidingAvoiding issues or not wanting to face something difficult
Making strange noisesSomething feels off or doesn’t sit right based on intuition
Stealing or invadingFeeling compromised or undermined by people/situations
FlyingDesires for freedom and transcendence. Rising above limitations.

Pay close attention to how the animals interact with you or each other. This dynamic reveals more about your emotional responses and impressions.

For example, being chased by angry bees would suggest feelings of being attacked or threatened by a hostile force.

But gently interacting with a cute bunny reflects comfort, harmony, and gentle emotions.

Animal Totem Meanings

Some spiritual traditions believe each person has an animal totem or spirit animal representing their inner nature and guiding qualities.

Your special totem allegedly watches over you and appears in dreams or visions.

While the concept remains unproven, here are some potential totem explanations:

Animal TotemAssociated Traits
BearInner power, strength, solitude
DeerGentleness, sensitivity, vigilance
EaglePride, focus, nobility
FoxCleverness, cunning, wisdom
HawkTruth, clear vision, intelligence
OwlInsight, truth, patience
SnakeTransformation, primal energy, secrecy
WolfLoyalty, perseverance, community

Dream encounters with animals like your supposed totem animal can represent a connection with latent talents or your core identity.

Look for recurring animal imagery across several dreams for clues to your special guide.

Rare & Mythic Animals

Dreams may also feature mystical creatures like unicorns, dragons, griffins, or phoenixes.

Their symbolism draws from legend and folklore across different cultures:

Mythic AnimalSymbolic Meaning
DragonPower, protection, domination, greed
GriffinJustice, guardianship, combination of opposites
PhoenixRebirth, renewal, resurrection
Sea serpentMystery, guarding sacred knowledge
UnicornPurity, innocence, connection to divine

Envision what qualities or meanings would arise from such magical creatures appearing in your dreams.

Are they benevolent, guiding forces, or sinister and destructive? Consider your reactions and the dream plot for cues.

These mythical beasts tend to represent extraordinary personal traits or struggles with desires for mystical knowledge and hidden truths.

They suggest believing in forces beyond the mundane world.

wooden dragon

Dreams About Big, Powerful Animals

The Symbolic Elephant

As large, powerful animals, elephants often symbolize strength, steadfastness, and patience in dreams.

If elephants appear relaxed in your dream, it may indicate you are calmly handling life’s obstacles. Aggressive one can point to a need for less force.

Elephant dreams remind you to embody the qualities you admire in them like loyalty, emotional resilience, and stability.

You have everything within to handle challenges.

When Whales Surface In Dreams

Whales represent exploring the depths of emotions and the unconscious realms in dreams. Seeing whales can reflect a need to acknowledge and integrate your feelings for greater awareness.

Dream whales also symbolize capabilities to navigate inner landscapes and harness creativity. Their medicine reminds you that you have deep resources within. Listen and you shall receive their guidance.

What Does It Mean When You Dream About Animals In Your House?

Rats Invading Dreams

If you dream of rats infesting your home, it points to areas of your inner life feeling out of control or compromised by negative thought patterns.

Dreaming of rats prompts examination of where you may be denying issues or giving away power.

Take back control in the areas indicated. Face problems to clear them for good.

Menacing Alligator Visions

Alligators lurking in your home represent hidden dangers or threats invading your peace.

This dream signals a need for caution and protection in some areas of your life.

Pay attention to intuition and signs around people or situations that may seem harmless.

Take action to secure yourself against undisclosed risks for your best interests.

Snakes Slithering Indoors

If a snake slithers into your house, it may represent a negative mindset or toxic relationship invading your space. These ‘snakes’ undermine peace and need to be exiled.

Alternatively, the indoor green snake can symbolize an important transition or opportunity disguised as a threat. Look deeper before reacting.

Inner growth comes through shedding old versions of yourself.

Dreams About Animals Attacking You

Being attacked or bitten by an animal almost always represents some perceived threat you feel towards an aspect of yourself, a relationship, or a challenge in your waking life.

The animal provides clues as to where issues may lie. Some examples:

  • A lion attack points to situations where you feel pressured to express strength or ferocity. However, a peaceful resolution may be best. Stand firm in your truth without aggression.
  • A dog bite suggests a relationship that left you feeling wounded. Examine unhealthy patterns and lack of trust that require healing so you can love freely.
  • A snake bite indicates resistance toward change or desired growth. Old habits and mindsets must be released so your higher Self can emerge. Surrender and allow necessary transformations to occur.

Animal Chase Dreams And Facing Your Fears

Being chased by animals reflects feeling threatened and overwhelmed by situations or emotions in waking life. For instance:

  • Being chased by a wolf can represent feelings of vulnerability about expressing your authentic nature fully. However, you have nothing to hide. Howl proudly!
  • Fleeing from a bear may relate to avoiding needed self-reflection. Slow down and get in touch with your instincts. Personal power awaits.
  • Running from a lion points to avoiding responsibility. Embrace the heroic qualities you need to prevail. The lion chases to stir courage.

Dreams About Animals Dying

Dreaming of animals dying often carries symbolic meaning versus literal translations. For example:

Examine what parts of yourself or life may require mourning and rebirth. Endings precede new beginnings.

Dreams About Animals Suffering

Seeing animals suffer in dreams often represents some part of yourself similarly troubled and in need of attention.

Ask yourself what attributes the dream animal represents to identify the region of yourself or life needing healing. Then take constructive action.

Dreaming About Animals: Interpretation & Symbolism Behind

Delving deeper, here are some of the most frequent animals that appear in dreams and possible interpretations for each:


Dogs represent loyalty, protection, fidelity, and friendship.

If a dog appears docile or happy in your dream, it may reflect positive friendships or feelings of comfort and security.

A threatening, angry dog could symbolize issues with people or situations you feel threatened by. Your emotional bonds with others are being tested.

Specific dream scenarios featuring dogs include:

  • Playing with a dog – Having a fun, positive friendship, or social connection. Feeling accepted.
  • Dog growling – Feeling threatened by someone or something in your life. Experiencing strained relationships.
  • Being bitten by a dog – Betrayal by a friend or difficulty trusting others. Feeling attacked or mistreated.
  • Walking a dog – Responsibilities related to relationships in your life. Keeping things steady.
  • Losing a dog – Losing touch with friends or lacking meaningful bonds. Feelings of abandonment.

The breed, size, and color of the dog also modify the meaning.

For example, a black or angry pitbull may symbolize fear of darker emotions or aggression, while a happy golden retriever represents joy and friendship. Consider your associations.


Independent, mysterious, and unpredictable, cats in dreams often symbolize femininity, creativity, and power.

They can reflect grace, stealth, and hunting instincts. Dreaming about animals such as kittens represents feminine energy and intuition versus masculine traits like logic and dominance.

Some common cat dream scenarios include:

  • Playing with a cat – Embracing your feminine, creative side. Having a free-spirited attitude.
  • Cat hissing or scratching – Feeling threatened or attacked. Experiencing tensions with feminine aspects of life or other people.
  • Feeding a cat – Nurturing your intuitive, playful side. Making space for creativity.
  • Cat giving birth – Giving life to something new. A project or aspect of yourself is growing.
  • Losing a cat – Letting go of intuitive or creative capacities. Feeling disconnected from feminine power.

The color of the cat also modifies the interpretation.

A black cat may symbolize bad luck, fear, or the unknown, while a white cat represents purity, light, and goodness. Think about your impression of the cats.

gray cat with blue eyes


Probably the most complex animal symbol, snakes generally represent transformation, sexuality, threats, and dangerous or forbidden knowledge.

Snake in dreams can reflect your relationship with change and primal energies. Some common snake dream scenarios include:

  • Snake biting – Facing a threat or challenge that feels dangerous. Possibility of transformation.
  • Multiple snakes – Feeling overwhelmed by threats or upcoming changes. Too much may be going on at once.
  • Killing a snake – Overcoming fears. Defending yourself against perceived dangers or people who seem threatening.
  • Being chased by a snake – Running from major life changes or confronting phobias. Feeling threatened.
  • Saving Baby snakes – New beginning, fertility, or temptation. An idea or prospect is starting to emerge.

The type of snake also modifies the meaning. For example, a red or black snake may symbolize primal feminine energy and sexuality, while a white snake could represent intellectual wisdom.

green snake on a branch


Spiders in dreams symbolize creativity, diligence, fear, and feeling trapped or overwhelmed. Dream spiders can represent people or situations that seem menacing or inescapable.

They reflect things like career demands, overwhelming tasks, fears, or bad habits that have a hold on you.

Some common spider dream scenarios include:

  • Spider web – Feeling trapped or helpless to escape a person or situation. Caught in bureaucracy and complications. Can’t move forward easily.
  • Multiple spiders – Anxiety about loss of control. Too many demands or problems to handle. Feeling out of your depth.
  • Spider biting – Fear of loss or damaged reputation. Anxiety about someone or something harming you in some way.
  • Killing a spider – Standing up to fears. Overcoming some threat or unhealthy pattern. Removing an annoyance from your life.

The kind of spider also influences the dream’s significance. For instance, a tarantula may reflect greater anxiety and fears than a small common house spider.


Bears represent strength, solitude, motherhood, and healing. In dreams, it can symbolize power dynamics, isolation, or nurturing tendencies.

Their presence reflects dominant energy and primal instincts. Some standard bear dream scenarios include:

  • Bear cub – Protective maternal instincts. A fresh start with healing energy. Feeling nurtured.
  • Angry bear – Feeling threatened by a dominating or powerful force. Struggle with masculine power.
  • Bear attack – Overwhelming fear of loss of control. Feeling endangered by strong emotions or a person/situation.
  • Playing with a bear – Making peace with dominating or primal aspects of yourself or others. Feeling harmony with strength.

A grizzly bear reflects great power and ferocity whereas a sleeping or docile one represents calm and gentle power.

brown grizzly bear


Birds represent hopes, goals, freedom, independence, and spirituality.

Seeing birds in dreams reinforces lightness, inspiration, and transcendence versus being mentally or emotionally grounded.

Different birds also have specific meanings. Some common bird dream scenarios include:

  • Bird flying – Desires to break free of constraints. Rising above limitations.
  • Bird singing – Joy, harmony, and peacefulness. Feeling uplifted.
  • Catching a bird – Restricting freedom or spiritual drives. Capturing inspiration.
  • Bird attack – Fear of freedom. Feeling threatened by hopes or goals. Critics block efforts.

Eagles represent pride and nobility while crows suggest deception, conflict, or fear. Consider the variety of birds for added intention.


Fish reflect emotions, creativity, and the unconscious mind. They represent insights arising from deep within.

Observing fish in dreams encourages exploring emotions and broadening perception. Some expected fish dream scenarios include:

  • Swimming with fish – Being in tune with emotions and imagination. Experiencing creative flow.
  • Fish tank – Containing or limiting emotional expression. Feeling restricted.
  • Catching and eating fish – Overcoming creative blocks. Harnessing unconscious insights.
  • Dead fish – Disconnection from emotions or imagination. Feeling numb.
fishes in the ocean


Symbolizing power, freedom, nobility, and connection with natural forces, horses represent vitality and passion in dreams.

They can reflect desires to break free of constraints and rules to live more freely.

Independent spirits or strong sexual energy may also appear as horses. Some typical horse dream scenarios include:

  • Riding a horse – Feeling strong, spirited, and full of vitality. Embracing freedom.
  • Falling off a horse – Losing confidence. Freedom curtailed. Feeling powerless.
  • Watching horses – Longing for power and freedom. Admiring nobility.
  • Horse bucking – Struggling with independence and self-control. Passion may be too wild.

White horses represent mysticism and magic while black horses may symbolize sexuality.

Wild, unbridled horses reflect untamed passions whereas gentle, tame horses represent calm control.

white horse galloping


Savvy and instinctual, wolves represent loyalty, social bonds, and primal instincts.

Seeing wolves in dreams reflects pack mentalities, strong appetites, and cunning intelligence.

Wolves symbolize acting on gut instinct versus rational thought. Some common wolf dream scenarios possess:

  • Lone wolf – Isolation or independence. Separating from the pack. Relying on gut feelings.
  • Pack of wolves – Strong sense of community and bonding with others. Strength in numbers.
  • Wolf howling – Calling out for connection. Seeking contact.
  • Being chased by wolves – Feeling pursued by primal forces or animal instincts. Loss of control.
  • Befriending a wolf – Embracing intuition and “animal magnetism”. Social bonds.

Consider if the wolves appear menacing or playful – this modifies the interpretation significantly. Ferocious wolves represent fears of following primal urges.

white wolf


Symbolizing courage, power, and authority, lions represent leadership and aggression in dreams.

Their presence reflects ambition, strength, determination, and confidence.

Dominant personalities or bosses may appear as lions. Here are some interpretations:

  • Roaring lion – Feeling courageous. Having a strong voice and presence.
  • Lion attack – Feeling threatened by aggressive personality. Fears of dominance.
  • Playful lion cubs – Innocent use of power. Positive leadership potential.
  • Being a lion – Embodying authority and confidence. Rising to lead. Claiming power.
  • Lion tamer – Controlling strong personalities or impulses in yourself or others. Mastery of power.

Think about your emotional state during lion dreams – feeling confident suggests positive meaning versus feeling fearful which reflects perceived threats of powerful people or drives.

Mice & Rats

As unwelcome creatures, mice and rats in dreams reflect anxieties, fears of lack or loss, and a sense of being undermined or betrayed.

They can represent people who undermine you or unhealthy habits that invade your life.

Here I put together the most common interpretations:

  • Being chased by mice or rats – Feeling pursued by anxiety and fears. Things seem out of control.
  • Rats biting – Overcoming anxieties. Taking back control. Removing bad habits.
  • House infested with mice or rats – Feeling overwhelmed by negative thoughts or problems. Too much to handle.
  • Mouse or rat biting – Feeling attacked, undermined, or betrayed. Experiencing loss.

Spotting a few mice may reflect minor anxiety versus a swarm of grey rats representing very intense fears and problems.

Consider the quantity and reactions.

mouse in the nature


Symbolizing transformation, spirituality, hope, and new beginnings, butterflies in dreams reflect growth, change, and feelings of rebirth.

Seeing butterflies encourages embracing new directions in life with grace and lightness. Common dream scenarios involving butterflies may include:

  • Butterfly emerging from the cocoon – Major personal transition or transformation. A new chapter unfolding.
  • Butterfly flying – Floating through life transitions with ease. Letting go and embracing change. Feeling free.
  • Different colors – Bright, vibrant colors represent positive change while dark, muted colors may reflect difficult transitions.
  • Catching a butterfly – Preventing personal transitions or growth from fully developing. Holding back.
  • Butterfly landing on you – Transformation and change coming from within. Trusting the process.

The number of butterflies also modifies the meaning. One butterfly signifies small changes, while many butterflies represent total metamorphosis.

blue butterfly

The Mysterious Octopus

With their shifting colors, the expulsion of ink, and ability to regenerate limbs, octopuses can represent adaptability, mystery, and regeneration in dreams.

Dreaming of an octopus may indicate it’s time to embrace change and heal ourselves on a deep level.

An octopus attack can symbolize feeling overpowered or suffocated by a person or situation in waking life.

It may reflect the need to develop our assertiveness and set better boundaries.

The Meaning Of Cow Dreams

As gentle, nurturing animals, cows in dreams can represent motherhood, fertility, and providing nourishment. Dreaming of healthy, grazing cows may indicate abundance and prosperity ahead.

Being chased by a cow can suggest you are avoiding dealing with an issue or are fearful of confrontation.

They are often seen as symbols of passivity and obedience, so an aggressive cow may represent a docile part of yourself asserting its will.

Wasp Dreams And Danger Circumvented

With their painful, unwanted stings, wasps in dreams symbolize fears around attack, betrayal, and loss. These dreams suggest:

  • Feeling threatened by people or situations presently or on the horizon
  • Rumors or relationship issues create anxiety
  • Perceived risks to stability that may require a quick response
  • Time to identify who or what is antagonistic before getting stung

Take protective measures where caution is advised. Remove nests before they become entrenched and more dangerous. Trust intuition.

Frog Symbolism

Representing adaptability, frogs in dreams relate to successful transitions. Frog dreams indicate:

  • Adjusting well to changes in relationships or life situations
  • Modifying approach to improve results
  • Letting go of how things used to be done
  • Coming through challenging times stronger and wiser

Trust in your resilience. The frog spirit signals you will navigate difficult changes and emerge better able to enjoy newfound pools of opportunity. Stay flexible.

green frog on a leaf


Resilient and equipped to survive harsh conditions, cockroaches symbolize perseverance and indestructibility in dreams. These types of dreams reveal:

  • Ability to endure difficult times and emerge intact
  • Areas of life requiring cleansing and purification
  • People or situations testing your mettle and tolerance
  • Tenacious aspects of yourself demanding full expression

Let cockroach medicine strengthen inner resolve and the capability to persist through every challenge.

Yet beware of contamination complacency allows. Even roaches must stay clean.

Goat Dreams And Interpretation

Goats represent independence, nonconformity, curiosity, and adaptability in dreams. Here are the main points:

  • Desires to live freely on your own terms
  • Time to embrace your authentic individuality
  • Karmic lessons around self-sufficiency versus support
  • Developing discernment around allies and poor investments

Follow the goat spirit by questioning convention and prevailing assumptions. Forge your own path while learning moderation and prudent selection.


Representing longevity, persistence, and ancient wisdom, turtles counsel patience and resilience in dreams. Turtle dreams suggest:

  • Progress will unfold steadily if you persist with calm determination
  • Look beyond immediate concerns to a larger, long-term perspective
  • Ancient spiritual insights offer guidance for current situations
  • Withdraw inward to nourish inner stillness and deep listening

When the turtle spirit appears, aligns with timeless truth. Shelter instincts and intentions until conditions are right for emergence. You’ll know when.

turtle in the sea


With their connection to decay and disease, dreaming of flies represents contamination, guilt, and impurity.

They suggest cleansing away unwanted influences and releasing shame or guilt.

Sometimes a fly dream relates to feelings of annoyance around a person or situation interfering in your life.

Whatever the case, flies prompt you to deflect irritating issues.

Decoding Dreams About Chicks

Baby chickens or chicks represent new phases, opportunities for growth, and rebirth of hopes in dream symbolism. Seeing chicks popping out of eggs signifies fresh starts and renewed optimism about the future.

Alternatively, chick dreams may point to naivety or immaturity in some areas of life. Events are prompting you to emerge more fully into mature awareness and responsibility.

Shark Dreams And Primal Fears

As apex ocean predators, sharks represent primal fear, threats, and uncertainty in dreams. Shark attack dreams relate to:

  • Deeply rooted anxieties bubbling to the surface
  • Feeling endangered by a person or challenging situation
  • Loss of peace from rumination on how things could go wrong
  • Issues require attention before catastrophic damage occurs

Shark dreams prompt the identification and release of fears poisoning your thoughts, confidence, and wellbeing. Don’t let them consume you.

The Symbolic Buffalo

Representing abundance and prosperity, the buffalo comes galloping into dreams bearing vitality and manifestation power.

Buffalo unites you with your inner resources to achieve goals.

Alternatively, they can relate to learning persistence.

Your dream buffalo brings a spirit of dedication, raw strength, and the ability to provide for all your needs.

Dangerous Black Widow

Representing feminine power in its guise as a destroyer, black widow spider dreams relate to the ‘devouring mother’ or women’s rage turning toxic.

You or someone around you may be manipulating or undermining versus nurturing others.

This dream brings an urgent message to harness your power responsibly. Offer care and guidance, not control.

Anger projected inward also needs clearing.


With their hard outer shells and vulnerable flesh within, crabs represent the need for self-protection and discretion in dreams.

Crab dreams suggest creating barriers to safeguard your tender emotional nature.

Alternatively, crabs can relate to not expressing their sensitivity openly enough with others.

These animals encourage finding the balance between appropriate vulnerability and wise self-protection.

crab on the shore


Maggots represent contamination and the need for internal cleansing in dreams. Maggot dreams indicate:

  • Destructive thought patterns or behaviors require replacement
  • Areas of neglect and putrefaction seeking rehabilitation -improper alliances and attachments breeding decay
  • Core essence compromised by invasive spiritual influences

Maggot prompts immediate purification of mind, body, and soul. Cleanse thoroughly to create an undefiled sanctuary for your true Spirit again.

The Grey Cat

Grey cats represent intuition clouded by fear and self-doubt in dreams.

You may be ignoring inner guidance or your connection to the divine due to anxiety or a lack of confidence in yourself.

Make friends with the wisdom and messages coming through.

The grey cat reminds you of just how powerful your innate senses are once you cultivate awareness and trust.

Animals In Dreams Summary

In summary, animals in dreams reveal themselves to us, often highlighting regions of growth, transition, and need for attention.

By tuning into messages from the animal kingdom unconscious, we glean greater wisdom about our needs, strengths, relationships, and direction.

Keep a dream journal and review it regularly for guidance.

By studying dream animals, we better understand our relationship to life’s great mysteries, other beings, and ourselves.

Our soul speaks to us in these ignored nightly dramas.

May this guide help you decipher their significance so you can continue learning and evolving each day.