The top 10 most popular animal tattoos in the world

And the meanings behind them

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / August 30 2022

Ever loved your pet so much that you want to commemorate their existence forever with a tattoo? 

Or perhaps you’re obsessed with the wild majesty of earth’s creatures and wouldn’t mind an elephant inked on your back? Or maybe you just think a snake tattoo would look really cool?

Regardless of your connection to the varied species present within the animal kingdom, if you’ve ever considered getting an animal tattoo, you’re not the only one.

According to All About Cats research, searches for animal tattoos are in the millions but there are a handful of mammals and birds, plus a flying insect and a reptile, that keep trumping the rest. 

These are the top 10 most popular animal tattoos in the world…

#1 Butterfly – 5,472,000 global searches

Butterflies took out the top spot of the list. The delicate, feminine creature represents transformation and metamorphosis, but is also a universal symbol of beauty. Fact: there is something undeniably elite about a pretty person with a butterfly tattoo.

#2 Snake – 2,637,000 global searches

Historically speaking the snake has always been an icon of healing, rebirth and immortality that represents the cyclical nature of life. But a snake tattoo also amplifies your cool factor by about 1000 per cent. 

#3 Lion – 2,466,000 global searches

Though we’ll admit we’ve only ever seen lion tattoos on the bodies of Leos (Cara Delevingne we’re looking at you), the big cat is also a symbol of bravery and courage in the face of great adversity. 



#4 Wolf – 2,349,000 global searches

Much like the wolf’s natural propensity for loyalty, a tattoo of the animal tends to bear the same meaning. The wolf is tied to connotations of protection, devotion and love. 

#5 Tiger – 1,495,000 global searches

As an apex predator that likes to roam the jungle alone, tigers typically denote an energy of raw power, plus strength, freedom and independence. 

#6 Bird – 1,203,000 global searches

Birds in general have a spiritual meaning, as they represent a connection between heaven and earth. They can also be an emblem of freedom and happiness. 




#7 Cat – 1,003,500 global searches

Ever heard the saying a cat has nine lives? Turns out this popular proverb is linked to the cat as a symbol of resilience and luck.

#8 Owl – 1,056,000 global searches

A popular tattoo for those who’ve experienced a considerable mindshift, the owl is interpreted as a figure of great wisdom, mystery and magic. They are also considered to be spiritual guides and totems. 

#9 Eagle – 1,331,000 global searches

An eagle tattoo is associated with an unbridled sense of freedom in life, that leaves one feeling safe and secure in all their endeavours.



#10 Elephant – 1,059,000 global searches

A tattoo of the animal kingdom’s resident gentle giant alludes to an energy of strength, loyalty, good luck and divinity. 


Been wondering what Kendall Jenner’s tattoos mean? These are all of her tiny inkings explained. 

Main image credit: @harrystyles

Briar is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.

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