It seems like musicians have always been inspired by animals; there are countless songs with animals in the title.
And no, not all songs about animals are for children.
However, animal songs for adults, for a lack of a better word, are mostly metaphorical. Each animal carries a different symbolism.
But sometimes, artists are simply inspired by a certain animal. After all, the animal kingdom is pretty fascinating.
And as scientists warn we are going through a sixth mass extinction, it might be a good time to remind ourselves of the importance of all animals.
To help you do that, we’ve created a list of the best songs about animals. We hope you find it both fun and inspirational!
35 Songs About Animals
1. Maroon 5 – “Animals”
Maroon 5 has changed their style over years, but they have certainly continued to release popular hits.
And “Animals” is definitely one of the most popular animal songs.
It has a rather serious tone though.
The song talks about human nature; Adam Levine uses references to the animal kingdom to explain his love for his partner.
“Yeah you can start over you can run free
You can find other fish in the sea
You can pretend it’s meant to be
But you can’t stay away from me.”
2. Robbie Williams – “Me and My Monkey”
“Me and My Monkey” isn’t one of Robbie’s most famous hits, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most powerful songs with an animal in the title.
It’s very deep and emotional. And that becomes quite understandable after you find out it’s about the singer’s struggle with addiction.
As we’ve mentioned at the beginning, music about animals often has a deeper meaning. And “Me and My Monkey” sounds like a clever way of talking about something very personal and tough.
3. Nelly Furtado – “I’m Like a Bird”
Without a doubt, “I’m Like a Bird” is one of the best pop songs about animals.
It’s uplifting, familiar, and inspiring.
In one of her most memorable songs, Nelly Furtado pictures herself as a bird. She is in love, but she’s also restless and ready to fly away.
“I’m like a bird
I’ll only fly away
I don’t know where my soul is (soul is)
I don’t know where my home is.”
4. Mumford and Sons – “Little Lion Man”
“Weep for yourself, my man
You’ll never be what is in your heart
Weep, little lion man
You’re not as brave as you were at the start.”
“Little Lion Man” is Mumford and Sons’ debut single. And it remains one of their best songs.
The lion, as it’s common in many songs and stories, represents courage.
However, the song talks about becoming emotionally mature and realistic. It’s about the importance of accepting your own failures.
5. AURORA – “Animal”
Aurora is a Norwegian singer often inspired by the animal kingdom. She wrote a song about wolves, birds, nature in general…
In her 2019 track “Animal”, Aurora compares herself to an animal. She is lost in a concrete jungle and she hunts for love.
A lot of songs with animals talk about lack of control or wilderness. After all, many artists find the concept of total freedom very appealing.
6. The Rolling Stones – “Wild Horses”
Yes, there is something very appealing in the idea of being completely free and wild. Just like wild horses.
“Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones can be interpreted in several ways.
It could be a song about young love, struggling to let go of your vices, or simply an appreciation of these beautiful wild creatures… You should decide for yourself.
Either way, “Wild Horses” is definitely one of the band’s most emotional songs. There is something almost spiritual about it.
7. America – “A Horse With No Name”
America is another rock band inspired by the energy of a horse.
Their catchy 1971 track “A Horse With No Name” is about an escape from a dull everyday life.
As their guitarist and author of this song said, “A Horse With No Name” is “a metaphor for a vehicle to get away from life’s confusion into a quiet, peaceful place.”
“I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.”
8. Of Monsters and Men – “Alligator”
Songs by the Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men often sound like they’re influenced by the power of nature.
And their song “Alligator” is clearly a tribute to the animal kingdom. At least to some extent.
The song mentions feral feelings, restlessness, and empowerment.
9. Miike Snow – “Animal”
Miike Snow released “Animal” on their self-titled debut album in 2017.
Their lead singer Andrew Wyatt has explained that “Animal” has several meanings: the lyrics can be about dealing with your basic instincts or trying to find a place in society.
Either way, it’s a very catchy indie track and a promising first single.
10. Florence and the Machine – “Dog Days Are Over”
“Happiness hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her stuck still no turning back “
And happiness hits us when we hear this song.
“Dog Days Are Over” is an indie anthem and a pure boost of positivity.
And according to the band’s lead singer Florence Welch, it’s a reference to the star Sirius (also known as the “Dog Star.”)
When it was closest to Earth, Sirius allegedly made animals very sleepy. When it moved away, they regained their energy.
So, the phrase “dog days” actually has nothing to do with dogs.
11. Coldplay – “Birds”
Bird is a symbol of freedom, so it’s only logical that one of Coldplay’s animal-themed songs is about birds.
They released in on their “colorful” 2015 album “A Head Full Of Dreams”.
The song is very sweet and hopeful. They must have had a head full of dreams while they were writing it.
12. First Aid Kit – “Wolf”
A lot of songs with animals in the lyrics refer to wolves.
Wolf is a symbol of freedom, loyalty, family, and protection.
And “Wolf” by First Aid Kit is a nice example of a song inspired by this magnificent animal.
In fact, First Aid Kit’s folksy music seems to be influenced by nature and the animal kingdom a lot.
13. Jefferson Airplane – “White Rabbit”
When it comes to popular animal songs, “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane is definitely a legendary one.
The song uses imagery from “Alice in Wonderland” and it depicts curiosity and liberation as well as the effects of being stuck in an unreal world.
“Go ask Alice
When she’s ten feet tall.
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you’re going to fall.”
14. Cat Stevens – “I Love My Dog”
Some songs about animals don’t have any hidden meanings and metaphors.
In his 1967 track, Cat Stevens simply expresses love for his dog.
Well, dogs do deserve their own songs. They are truly remarkable creatures and loyal companions.
By the way, check out our list of the best songs about dogs here!
15. The Cure – “Love Cats”
Surprisingly, The Cure also has a song about animals.
“Love Cats” is a quirky track released as a stand-alone single in 1983.
“We slip through the streets
While everyone sleeps
Getting bigger and sleeker
And wider and brighter.”
See also: Songs About Cats
16. The Cinematic Orchestra – “Arrival of the Birds”
“Arrival of the Birds” by British group The Cinematic Orchestra is a very powerful and sentimental track.
Its melody sounds so pure and timeless.
The song was used in the film “Theory of Everything” and several other films and commercials.
17. Leonard Cohen – “Bird on the Wire”
Leonard Cohen released “Bird on the Wire” on his 1969 studio album “Songs from a Room.”
He was probably one of the best lyricists that ever lived, and this song is just one of the proofs of his unique creativity.
“Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.”
18. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Slow Cheetah”
“Slow Cheetah” is probably one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ most underrated songs.
It’s a bit slower than most of their biggest hits, but it’s no less memorable.
And you have to admit, the title of the song is quite unique.
19. Angus & Julia Stone – “Grizzly Bear”
Angus & Julia Stone are known for making dreamy indie songs.
And “Grizzly Bear” is one of them. It’s gentle, relaxing, and a bit nostalgic.
20. Arlo Parks – “Black Dog”
Black dog is usually associated with something bad. Its spiritual meaning is related to death and evil.
In her song “Black Dog”, Arlo Parks mentions the black dog in a similar context.
“I take a jump off the fire escape
To make the black dog go away
At least I know that you are trying
But that’s what makes it terrifying.”
21. Crazy Town – “Butterfly”
When thinking about animal-related songs, you probably don’t think of Crazy Town right away. Or maybe you do.
Either way, “Butterfly” was definitely one of the biggest hits of the early 2000s. And it can still be occasionally heard on the radio stations and clubs.
22. Sofi Tukker – “Hey Lion”
Speaking of club music, Sofi Tukker is undeniably one of the most promising (relatively) new names.
Her debut album “Soft Animals” can be categorized as a jungle pop, and the track “Hey Lion” is definitely a very animalistic song.
It’s very catchy and captivating.
23. Shakira – “She Wolf”
When it comes to pop songs about animals, Shakira wrote one of the most famous ones.
“She Wolf” is a song about freedom and inner wildness.
However, like in this song, a wolf is also associated with some form of disguise (probably thanks to “Little Red Riding Hood.”)
24. The Beatles – “I am the Walrus”
We wonder what The Beatles had in mind when they decided to name their song “I Am the Walrus.”
Oh well, it seems to have turned out just fine!
25. Jack White – “Ice Station Zebra”
Jack White also had an interesting idea for his animal song title.
However, he did borrow it from novelist Alistair MacLean.
Nevertheless, the former White Stripes frontman released an interesting song with narrating lyrics.
26. Peter Gabriel – “Kiss That Frog”
“Sweet little princess, let me introduce his frogness
You alone can get him singing,
He’s all puffed up, want to be your king.”
Only Peter Gabriel can say “frogness” in a song and sound cool.
He got the idea for the song from a book “The Uses Of Enchantment” by Bruno Bettelheim, in which the author analyzes fairy tales in terms of Freudian psychoanalysis and sexuality.
It’s definitely one of the most unique songs about animals of the 90s.
27. Bob Marley – “Buffalo Soldier”
As you could probably guess, “Buffalo Soldier” isn’t a song about animals.
It refers to the black U.S. cavalry regiments, known as “Buffalo Soldiers.” Marley saw them as a symbol of black resistance.
And although it’s one of Marley’s best-known songs, “Buffalo Soldier” wasn’t released until the 1983 posthumous release of “Confrontation.” Kind of fascinating, right?
28. Beach House – “Zebra”
Beach House is known for gentle, dreamy indie songs.
Their animal-themed song “Zebra” is one of their most famous tracks. It mentions black and white horses.
And it is somehow reminiscent of peaceful freedom and eternal summer.
29. The Beatles – “Black Bird”
Yes, The Beatles wrote several songs with an animal in the title.
And “Black Bird” is a very hopeful and sentimental one.
Although they wrote a lot of great lyrics, there is something really special about “Black Bird.”
“Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.”
30. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Gold Lion”
Released in 2006, “Gold Lion” became one of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ biggest hits.
It’s very energetic, catchy, and powerful.
It’s yet another song inspired by the symbolism of lions.
31. The Tokens – “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
Speaking of lions and songs about animals, it doesn’t get more iconic than “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
The song was originally written and recorded in Zulu, by Solomon Linda, and the English version by The Tokens became a number-one hit.
And the famous “oh wimoweh” line is actually a misheard version of the original chorus “Uyimbube” which means “you are a lion.”
So, the next time you hear this song, try to sing the original lyrics!
32. The Doors – “Peace Frog”
“Peace Frog” is another song with an animal in the title that talks about everything but animals.
It tells a story of a group of Indians who got into a car accident. And it reportedly tackles the topic of abortion. And it might be a protest song.
33. Thom Yorke – “Black Swan”
When it comes to Thom Yorke’s solo career, “Black Swan” is surely one of its highlights.
And as one of the recent studies has found, Thom Yorke is among the singers with the highest vocabularies. So it’s no wonder that he chose a black swan for his animal song title.
34. Ten Walls – “Walking With Elephants”
After being released as a digital download, “Walking With Elephants” by the Lithuanian producer Ten Walls quickly became a hit.
And it’s still one of the favorite club hits.
35. Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon”
“Karma Chameleon” is undeniably a timeless hit.
The Culture Club frontman Boy George used references to chameleons as a way of speaking about the fear of alienation.
Nonetheless, it’s definitely one of the most famous songs about animals and a nice ending to today’s playlist!
Hopefully, our favorite animal-themed songs helped you appreciate animals even more.
Even though most of these songs use animals as a metaphor, they can also show you how inspiring certain animals can be.
Dogs are our dearest friends, birds represent freedom, lions have the strength and courage we strive for…
We can really learn a lot from animals. And we should all collectively do what’s in our power to protect them.
So, sit back, enjoy our animal song list, and think about what you can do for the wellbeing of animals.