This week we focus on Italian vocabulary related to animals, write these on flash cards to practice at home for further comprehension. 

The word for an animal farm in Italian is a false friend. It is is fattoria or fattoria degli animali (the word fabbrica means factory in Italian). If you go to a farm in Italy, you may find some of the following animals:

La capra - goat

L’asino- donkey

Il cavallo- horse

Il maiale - pig

La mucca- cow

La pecora - sheep

La tartaruga- tortoise

Il pavone- peacock

Il gallo- rooster or cockerel

La gallina- hen

Il tacchino- turkey

L’anatra- duck

Il pappagallo- parrot

L’oca- goose

The word for ‘zoo’ in Italian is also ‘zoo’ but pronounced ‘zoh’. It may also be called giardino zooligico, parco zoo, zoo safarior bioparco. Here you can find other animals, such as:

Il coccodrillo- crocodile

L’elefante- elephant

La giraffa- giraffe

L’ippopotamo- hippopotamus

Il leone- lion

L’orso- bear

Il serpente- snake

La scimmia- monkey

La tigre- tiger

La zebra- zebra

In the wild, these animals would live in the deserto(desert), giungla(jungle), foresta(forest), foresta pluviale(rainforest), savana(savannah), or paludi(wetlands or swamps).

To see animals who normally live in the mare(sea), oceano(ocean), fiume(river) or lago(lake), you can go to an acquario(aquarium). In an acquarioyou may be able to see:

Lo squalo - shark

La medusa- jelly fish

Il delfino- dolphin

Il pinguino- penguin

La foca- seal

La lontra - otter

Il cavaluccio marino- sea horse

Il polpo - octopus

La razza- ray

If you’re wondering how to talk about your pets in Italian, these are called animali domestici. Here below are some of the most common ones:

Il cane- dog

Il gatto- cat

Il coniglio - rabbit

Il criceto- hamster

Il topo- mouse

La tartaruga- tortoise

Il pesce- fish

La rana - frog

Here you can read a conversation about pets between two people in both Italian and English:

Hai un animale domestico?

No, non mi piacciono molto gli animali.

Davvero? A me piacciono molto! 

Tu hai qualche animale domestico allora?

Sì, ne ho cinque.

Quali animali domestici hai?

Ho un canarino, un ratto, un porcellino d’india, una lucertola e una tarantola.

Wow, tanti!

Sì, fanno parte della mia famiglia.

Dove abitano?

Ho delle gabbie. Puoi venire a casa mia a vederli se vuoi?

No grazie!!! 

Have you got a pet?

No, I don’t like animals very much.

Really? I like them a lot!

So have you got some pets?

Yes, I have five.

What pets do you have?

I’ve got a canary, a rat, a guinea pig, a lizard and a tarantula.

Wow, so many!

Yes, they are a part of my family.

Where do they live?

I have some cages. You can come to my house to see them if you’d like?

No thank you!!!

Italian animals make different sounds to English animals, or maybe it is more correct to say that Italians have different ways of describing the sounds animals make, compared to in English. So, what sounds do animals make in Italian? Che versi fanni gli animali in italiano?

I cani abbaiano - dogs bark (bau bau - not woof woof as in English)

i gatti miagolano - cats meow (miao)

I leoni ruggiscono - lions roar (grrrr)

Le mucche muggiscono - cows moo (muuu)

Le api ronzano - bees buzz (zzzz)

I galli cantano - roosters sing (chicchirichí)

I serpenti sibilano - snakes hiss (zsss)

Gli uccelli cinguettano - birds chirp (cip cip)

There are many sayings in Italian related to animals, here is a selection below:

In bocca al lupo - good luck (literally, in the mouth of the wolf). The response is ‘crepi!’ - let it die! 

Non c’è trippa per gatti - there is no hope of getting whatever it is you want (literally, theres no tripe for cats)

Correre dietro alle farfalle - wasting time or chasing after an unachievable goal (literally, chasing butterflies)

Sputare il rospo - spill the beans or spit it out i.e. get something off your chest (literally, spit out the toad)

Fare la civetta - to flirt (literally, to be an owl)

Avere altre gatte da pelare - to have other fish to fry (literally, to have other cats to skin)

Cavallo di battaglia - someone’s forte or strong point (literally, battle horse)

Andare a letto con le galline - To go to bed early (literally, to go to bed with the chickens)

Lento come una lumaca - slow as a snail

Ubriaco come una scimmia - drunk as a skunk (literally, drunk as a monkey)

Chi dorme non piglia pesci - the early bird catches the worm (those who sleep don’t catch fish)

I hope you have enjoyed this lesson about animals in Italian. In bocca al lupo!!