Animals and symbols

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Hello and welcome to Learn English Vocabulary. My name is Jack and I’m making this podcast for you to learn or revise English vocabulary. 

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Today, I’m going to talk about animals and some B1 vocabulary. 

This podcast is going to be in the form of a quiz. I’m going to describe an animal and I want you to try to guess what animal I’m talking about. I’ll let you try to work it out for a moment and then I’ll tell you the answer. At the end of the podcast, I’ll do one more, but you’ll have to wait till tomorrow’s podcast to find out if you’re right.

Animals are often used as symbols. So I’m going to start each clue by saying what the animal symbolises. I’m getting these symbolic meanings from the internet and I’m not sure where they really come from. What’s important is you learn the English words for the animals. If the animals symbolise something different in your country, why not leave a comment on the podcast page on and let me know.

The symbol of power

I’ll start with the symbol of power or in some cases, the symbol of laziness. This animal is a very popular pet and likes to chase mice and birds. There are loads of famous cartoon characters that are this animal and photos and videos of these animals were some of the first viral internet posts. 

Do you know what animal I’m talking about?

The answer is a cat. I think that was too easy and not really B1 vocabulary, but it got the ball rolling.

The symbol of hard work

The next animal is a hard worker and the symbol of industry. These animals are fantastic little insects that buzz around the countryside from flower to flower, pollinating crops and collecting nectar which they take back to their hives and turn it into honey.

Do you know what animal I’m talking about?

The answer is a bee. There are lots of different bees. Honey bees are amazing because they make honey, but bumblebees are great too because they are like little cuddly toys.

The symbol of good luck

The next animal is the symbol of good-luck. It’s very exciting for me whenever I see one of these because we don’t have many in the UK. We get little ones, but I’ve only ever seen a few. These animals are reptiles and they are like tiny dinosaurs. In hot countries, you see these animals hanging around lights at night waiting for bugs.

Do you know what animal I’m talking about?

The answer is a lizard. I used to live in a hot place and we had lots of gecko lizards that would chirp and fight on the ceiling. 

The symbol of justice

The next animal is the symbol of justice, but I’m not sure why. These animals have eight legs, but they are not spiders. They have pincers a bit like a crab at the front and a curly tail with a sting. Some of them are quite dangerous as they have powerful venom that can kill a person. 

Do you know what animal I’m talking about?

The answer is a scorpion. We don’t have these animals in the UK which is something I’m quite happy about. 

The symbol of loyalty

The symbol of loyalty is a large graceful bird that lives mostly on rivers and lakes. It’s a large white bird with webbed feet that usually has an orange beak, though there are some with yellow beaks. 

Do you know what animal I’m talking about?

The answer is a swan. 

The symbol of sensitivity 

The next animal is the symbol of sensitivity. This is another one that I don’t understand. I love these little animals and we have lots of them in the UK. They are small mammals with a coat of spikes all over their backs. When you scare these animals, instead of running away, they roll into a ball so that their spikes protect them.

Do you know what animal I’m talking about?

The answer is a hedgehog. 

The symbol of imagination

The symbol of imagination; I really have no idea. These symbols make no sense to me. Anyhow … This animal lives in and around the sea and it’s a bit like a dog. They are mammals and live in colonies on rocky out crops. They are pretty cute, especially when they are babies. There are lots of different types and the biggest are huge with big wobbly noses.

Do you know what animal I’m talking about?

The answer is a seal. I saw one of these last week when I was on holiday off the coast of Scotland. It just popped up in the sea , looked at me for a bit then dived underwater and was gone.

OK, so there you have seven animals, the cat, bee, lizard, scorpion, swan, hedgehog and seal. So now it’s time for a bonus, but I’m not going to tell you what it is till tomorrow.

The symbol of death

So this animal is the symbol of death. It’s a small mammal that can fly around. People used to think these animals were blind, but they can see. However, they also use echolocation to catch their prey, which is really cool. They are also associated with a famous superhero.

If you know what animal I’m talking about, let me know in the comments on the podcast page on or on the LearnEnglishVocabulary facebook page.

I’ll tell you the correct answer tomorrow.


If you have enjoyed this podcast, please leave me a comment or a review and don’t forget that you can read the transcript for this podcast and complete some language activities on

Thanks for listening.

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