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12 Types of Animals That Represent Wisdom

Many animals have different strengths and weaknesses. Some are better at climbing trees, others at digging holes in the ground, and there are some animals that represent wisdom in their own special way.

Different cultures have used animals as symbols of wisdom throughout history, and if you’re looking for a tattoo to express this value, this article is for you. We’ll show you a few of the animals in this category.

12 Animals that represent wisdom

1. Owls

Snowy owl
Snowy owl | Image by Volker Glätsch from Pixabay
  • Scientific Name: Bubo scandiacus
  • Tattoo meaning: inner wisdom, change, transformation, good luck

Owls are nocturnal birds that sleep during the day and hunt at night. You can find these birds in forests, mountains, and plains. They’re known for their distinct appearance, which includes large eyes, feather tufts on their heads, and unique body shape.

Owls primarily consume rodents and small birds but also insects, fish, and large birds. The owl is widely regarded as a symbol of wisdom due to its association with the goddess Athena in Greek mythology. The goddess is the god of wisdom, and it has been believed that an owl sits on her shoulder to reveal the truth of the world to her.

2. Bears

Grizzly bear claws
Grizzly bear claws | image by Scott Calleja via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Ursus arctos horribilis

Bears are large mammals with fur that are known for their strength and size. They can be found in almost every part of the world, including North America, Europe, Asia, and South America. Bears are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals.

They’re extremely powerful animals that can climb trees and swim at speeds of up to 6 miles per hour. Bears have keen hearing and smelling senses, which help in their search for food.

This animal was also influential in ancient cultures. Some people believe that bears are a symbol of wisdom and are always featured in myths and legends as teachers and guardians.

3. Ants

Black garden ant on plants
Black garden ant on plants | image by Carlos Eduardo Joos via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Lasius niger

Ants are small insects that live in colonies. They’re one of the most successful species on the planet, and they’re among the creatures that collaborate to thrive in their environment. Ants have a diverse diet, with some eating plants and others eating meat or other insects.

These animals communicate by emitting pheromones, which other ants can detect through the use of their antennae. They’re one of the animals that represent wisdom because they’re highly organized creatures, with each ant having its own role within the colony and knowing exactly what it needs to do to keep the colony running smoothly and efficiently.

4. Snakes

King cobra striking position
King cobra striking position | image credit: Max Jones @thekingcobrareport
  • Scientific Name: Ophiophagus hannah
  • Tattoo meaning: Wisdom, fertility or a creative life force, immortality

Snakes are reptiles that have no legs. They can be found in almost every part of the world, but they have different habitats. The type of snake you see will vary depending on where you are. Snakes have many different characteristics, such as eyes, color patterns, scales, and fangs.

They range in size from less than 4 inches to more than 30 feet. The diet of snakes varies with the species. The majority feed on rodents and other small animals, such as birds and rabbits.

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Some are venomous and kill their prey with their fangs, while others swallow their prey whole. Snakes are considered divine creatures in some religions, including Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, and are one of the animals that represent wisdom due to their cleverness.

5. Elephants

African bush elephants
African bush elephants

Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana

Elephants are the world’s largest land mammals. These creatures can weigh up to 6 tons and are found in Africa and Asia. These large mammals primarily consume plants such as grasses and trees, but they also consume fruit and bark.

They have one of the longest memories in the animal kingdom. These animals are revered in many cultures and are thought to represent wisdom. Elephants are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, with high emotional intelligence, which means they can detect emotional pain in others.

6. Crows

Raven perched on a small trunk
Raven perched on a small trunk | image by yrjö jyske via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Corvus corax

Crows are large black birds that live in flocks. They’re omnivores, which means they’ll eat almost anything. The birds have a very wide-ranging diet, including dead animals, so they can be found in all sorts of habitats.

These birds are intelligent creatures that have been observed using tools and solving puzzles to obtain food. Because of their intelligence and capacity for learning from the past, crows have come to represent wisdom in some cultures. Crows are even among the birds that are mentioned in old tales where the writers highlight their intelligence.

7. Lions

Lion sits on the ground
Lion sits on the ground
  • Scientific Name: Panthera leo
  • Tattoo meaning: royalty, wisdom, courage, valor, and nobility

It’s no surprise that lions are among the animals that represent wisdom. With their large and strong bodies, powerful jaws, and sharp claws, lions are one of the most impressive animals on the planet. The lion lives in grassy plains and savannas, where it hunts for prey like gazelles, zebras, and wildebeests.

Lions have a reputation for being vicious predators, but unlike other animals, these predators conserve energy in an advantageous way. Instead of hunting daily, they prefer to hunt large animals that’ll keep them fed for several days. This animal’s intelligence linked them to royalty and authority.

8. Octopuses

Common octopus
Common octopus

Scientific Name: Octopus vulgaris

Octopuses are marine mollusks that live in the sea. They have eight arms and can change color and texture to blend in, making them extremely difficult to spot. These creatures primarily consume crabs and other crustaceans, but these animals also consume fish, worms, and other mollusks.

They’re extremely intelligent, with the ability to recognize people by sight, open jars, and solve other puzzles. This intelligence has led some people to let this animal represent wisdom as they create ways to get what they want.

9. Tortoises

Russian tortoise
Russian tortoise | image by Futureman1199 via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific Name: Testudo horsfieldii

Tortoises are reptiles that live in dry places. To protect themselves from predators, they have a shell on their backs and can retract their heads and legs into the shell. These reptiles have among the longest lives of any animal.

Their diet varies according to the type of food available where they live. Some tortoises consume grasses and plants, while others consume insects and carrion (dead animals).

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For some cultures, these creatures represent wisdom. They’re thought to carry everything they require within their shells, and some believe the markings on their shells can predict the future.

10. Monkeys

Geoffroy’s spider monkey
Geoffroy’s spider monkey | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Ateles geoffroyi

You can find monkeys in various environments, including rainforests and swamps. They’re distinguished by their intelligence as well as their distinct appearance. Monkeys differ in diet and appearance, but they all share some characteristics.

These animals have long tails that allow them to move quickly through trees, and most have opposable thumbs that allow them to grasp objects easily. The three wise monkeys, which originated in Japan, are a well-known cultural symbol of monkeys representing wisdom. According to this proverb, we shouldn’t allow evil to enter our sight, hearing, words, or thoughts.

11. Foxes

Red fox on grass field
Red fox on grass field | Image by Andreas Neumann from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes

Foxes are canines that live in dens and forage for food in the wild. Depending on the species, their habitat can range from forests to deserts. They’re omnivores, eating small animals such as birds and rodents.

Foxes communicate by making bark-like sounds that are much higher in pitch. These canines represent wisdom because they’re known for being cunning and clever in obtaining what they desire. A fox tattoo is also popular for people who want to express great wisdom in avoiding problems, aka cleverness.

12. Salmon

Atlantic salmon underwater
Atlantic salmon underwater | image by Hans-Petter Fjeld via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.5

Scientific Name: Salmo salar

Salmon is a large fish found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Salmon can also be found in freshwater environments, where they’re born before migrating to the open sea. These creatures are also known for their fighting spirit, swimming upstream against strong currents to reproduce before dying.

Salmon have long been associated with wisdom in Irish mythology, where they’re known as the Salmon of Knowledge, and whoever eats them becomes the wisest man in all of Ireland.