6 Common Animal Names That Sound Way Cooler In French

Some of these are trop bizarre.
Animal Names In French

The animals on this list likely won’t be new or exotic to you, but the French translations will help you see these critters in a whole new light. Ready to take a trip to the language zoo? On y va (let’s go!):


Chauve means bald, and souris is a mouse, so can you guess the English translation? No, it’s not a hairless rat. Chauve-souris means bat in French. It doesn’t make much sense, because last we checked bats had hair, but these idiosyncrasies are part of the beauty of language learning.

Animal Names In French — Bat


The hint here comes from Medusa, the monster in Greek mythology whose hair was made of snakes. Méduse is the French word for jellyfish. The imagery of snake-hair certainly makes these animals seem more fearsome.

Animal Names In French — Jellyfish

Raton Laveur

This one makes more sense the longer you think about it. Raton is the French word for a rat, and laveur means washing, so a raton laveur is a rat who washes. But what animal does that describe? It’s a raccoon. Remember, they like to wash things.

Animal Names In French — Raccoon


First off, I know what you’re thinking, and no, it has nothing to do with that. Crapaud is the French word for toad. It has the unfortunate legacy of being used as a derogatory term for a French person. In French-speaking Louisiana, it also means booger. Sorry toads 🙁

Animal Names In French — Toad


Rouge is the French word for red, and gorge is the word for throat. Which animal has a red throat? It’s the robin.

Animal Names In French — Robin

Papillon De Nuit

Papillon means butterfly in French, and nuit is night, so this animal is a butterfly of the night. Or, as we know it, a moth.

Animal Names In French — Moth

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