Do you know all the Thai animals? Or all the animals in the Thai language? Not yet? Ok great, so let’s broaden our vocabulary horizon by learning some of the traditional Thai animals and their names.
In the Land of Smiles, nature is remarkably diverse. If you came to visit already you know that already, but if you haven’t let me tell you, it is incredible! It’s a stunning country with such a diverse range of flora and fauna spread throughout it, from picturesque islands and beaches to dense jungle rainforests and sprawling national parks. It’s only normal that the list of animals you will find is similarly diverse, given the country’s diversity. From swimming to slithering animals, big and small, there’s something for everyone’s interest.
Are You Ready For Your Thai Vocabulary Safari Tour?
The word for animal is pronounced sàt (สัตว์.)
Elephant – ช้าง (cháang)
The official national animal of Thailand is the Asian elephant. It’s also the name of a popular beer brand. You will see the image of the elephant on every chang beer, so that shouldn’t be a hard one to remember.
Elephants have played many important roles throughout Thailand’s history. Their major contributions ranging from royal parades and logging led to their revered status as being Thailand’s national animal. Elephants are the national symbol of Thailand for several reasons; they are admired for their strength, endurance, and intelligence. They have long had a role in Thai society: elephants were used in warfare centuries ago, and they also hauled logs and farm produce.
Tiger – เสือ (sʉ̌ʉa)
Tigers are a type of cat. While most tigers in Thailand are kept in captivity, you might get lucky (or unlucky, depending on the encounter) and see one in the wild. Though there are fewer than 300 in the wild, news that they have been discovered to be breeding has boosted expectations of a rise in their numbers. Tigers in captivity are subjected to torture and inhumane treatment, same as Elephants, so be aware of that and don’t support this cruelty by visiting animal shows or going on an Elephant ride.
Bears – หมี (míi)
Thailand is home to both Asian black and sun bears, but there aren’t many of them. Although they are not critically endangered, their status is precarious, and foundations are working to ensure that bear populations grow and that others are educated about them. Bears can be found all over Thailand, including tourist hotspots. Surat Thani’s Khao Sok National Park
Reptiles – สัตว์เลื้อยคลาน (sàt-lʉ̂ʉai-kláan)
“Thailand is home to over 350 species of reptiles, consisting of many kinds of turtles and tortoises, lizards, snakes and crocodiles, and different geckos. The biggest one of the gecko family is the Tokay. Before you see one, you’re more likely to hear it first – its call (which sounds like “tokay” hence the name) can often be heard after it gets dark in Thailand. They are beautifully colored, with orange dots, a real treat to find, but you shouldn’t try to touch or grab one – they have quite a mean bite and often won’t let go without once they got you!
Gecko – ตุ๊กแก (Túk-kæ)
The Asian water monitor is the largest lizard to be found in Thailand growing up to two meters long. Whilst they can be seen on many of the islands, in rainforests, and on beaches, they can also be found in urban locations. Bangkok’s Lumphini Park is famous for its water monitor population.
Lizard – จิ้งจก (jîng jɔɔk)
Lizards are the very common if not the most common reptiles in Thailand. In Bangkok especially they are a big part of natural pest control. The giants of the lizard family are the monitor lizards. You can recognize them immediately by their characteristic heads and large size. There are only one species of monitor found in Bangkok, which is the Asian Water Monitor.
A Snake – งู (nguu)
like the king cobra is found all over Thailand and isn’t all that uncommon. Growing up to five meters in length, they can be deadly but they are shy and unlikely to attack unless threatened. It’s thought that baby king cobras are more dangerous than the adults as they can’t control the venom they use, often packing a very high dose when they bite. But don’t be scared, chances are much higher that they will have a monkey – ลิง (ling) for breakfast than you being on their menu of choice.
Many tourists spend their time in big cities like Bangkok or popular tropical islands like Phuket, or Koh Phi Phi where they will come across some of these animals but even more stunning scenery and wildlife can be discovered outside of these more crowded areas. Many species can be seen in their natural habitats in national parks like Khao Lak as well as other protected areas in Thailand.
Animals That You May Come Across On Your Thailand Trip
- Buffalo – ควาย (kwaai)
- Monkey ลิง (ling)
- Tiger– เสือ (sʉ̌ʉa)
- Leopard – เสือดาว (sʉ̌ʉa-dao)
- Cheetah – เสือชีต้า (sʉ̌ʉa-chee-dtâa)
- Zebra – ม้าลาย (máa-laai)
- Lion สิงโต (sǐng-dtoo)
- Cat แมว (maew)
- Dog หมา (mǎa)
- Mouse หนู (nǔu)
- Horse ม้า (máa)
- Cow – วัว (wuua)
- Pig – หมู (mǔu)
- Rat – หนูนา (nǔu-na)
- Bird – นก (nók)
- Butterfly – ผีเสื้อ (sʉ̂ʉa
- Bee – ผึ้ง (phûng)
- Ant – มด (mót)
- Chicken – ไก่ (kài)
- Duck – เป็ด (bpèt)
- Goat – แพะ (pɛ́ɛ)
Spider – แมงมุม (mɛɛng-mum)
- Frog – กบ (kòp)
- Snail – หอยทาก (hɔ̌ɔi-tâak)
- Fish – ปลา (bplaa)
- Shark – ปลาฉลาม (bplaa-chà-lǎam)
- Dolphin – ปลาโลมา (bplaa-loo-maa)
- Whale – ปลาวาฬ (bplaa-waan)
Thailand Is Home To Over 10% Of The World’s Animal Species
There are over 285 mammal species in Malaysia, including elephants, lions, leopards, Malaysian sun bears, sambars, deer, and otters, as well as gibbons, monkeys, and macaques. Sheep, goats, wild cattle, and wild hogs can all be found in the country.
There Is So Much More To Discover
These are just a few examples of the animals you will find in Thailand. I mainly chose the ones you will likely see and meet during a stay here. All of these should be quite easy to learn as well, so you should find yourself talking to people about animals in no time. Want to practice more vocabulary like this? Use the Ling Thai app to test yourself and see where your strengths and weaknesses are. From there, use Ling to build up your understanding further. You’ve got this!