Humans have always been fascinated by animals. Love or Hate, they usually provoke a strong reaction in people, from the Jerks who turns to mush when confronted by a playful puppy to the tough guy who freaks out when he encounters something slithery (Like a Snake Or Worm). Most mythologies feature animals in starring roles; some belief systems feature animals as guides, oracles, gods or totems representing certain qualities or certain people.
So of course animals are going to turn up as symbols in popular media.
This animal isn't around to be cuddled, kicked, or to assist in taking over the world... well, it might be, but only as a side job. The real purpose of these animals is that of most motifs: they're there to underline a theme, or make a statement about a certain character. They might not even be physically present at all. The "animal" might be the name of a football team, a charm on a bracelet, or an ornament on the mantelpiece.
Animals are used to depict characters more often than they describe a person. Even in the real world, describing a person by comparing them to an animal is a good way to convey your opinion of them: phrases such as "lion-hearted," "eagle-eyed," or " doity rat" are popular to the point of cliche. Therefore, many Animal Motifs are used. The wimp who spends his time watching the tigers or lions at the zoo will most likely be stronger than you think. As for the girl doodling big black spiders with suspicious red hourglasses on their underbellies... well, think twice before accepting her invitation to a date.
are a motif that tends to be gendered. Men are usually compared to animals that are clearly predatory: wolves, lions, and bears, for example. Women generally get the cute and fluffy animals as motifs, such as bunnies and suchlike. However, women have historically had a strong association with the cat which, while cuddly and furry, is also a predator. Cats are therefore a common motif for female characters, but one aspect of the feline mystique will most likely be emphasized over the others the woman will either be a predator, seductress, or a sweet little kitten.
Women are also frequently associated with foxes, also a predatory animal, although it is the fox's attractive nature or reputation as a trickster that is being invoked. A woman represented by a large, predatory animal is twice as dangerous as her male counterparts - after all, women are traditionally characterized as pretty and helpless, not aggressive and scary
Did I forget to mention that Some characters can be based on things like Reptiles, Amphibians, Insects, Birds, Fish or Arachnids.
Many countries use Animal Motifs The United States has the Bald Eagle
, of course, while Russia has the Bear
, the United Kingdom the lovable Bulldog
, India has the Tiger
, Thailand has the Elephant
, The Tribe of Judah Israel the Lions of Judah
and China has its whiskered Dragon
. Canada has the mightyBeaver
, Spain has the Black Bull
, while France is unofficially associated with the Gallic Rooster
. Empires with great reach or which were viewed as secular and religious authorities often adopt the Double-Headed Eagle
, they are the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the old Russian Empire and many more.
Australia has TWO Animal Motifs the Kangaroo and Emu