Updated: Oct 20, 2021
I'm sure this comes as no surprise, but we read a LOT of books to our little one. Which means that I have read a TON of children's books that focus on animals and their babies. So I asked myself, "Do we talk a lot about the different animal names in Spanish?" While I originally thought that all you had to do in Spanish was add "ito" or "ita" to make an animal a baby (such as perrito for perro and gatito for gato), after doing some research I've found that there are, in fact, different, more specific animal names in Spanish. Hence this new three-part series on animal names, with the first two episodes focusing on the specific terms for animals and their babies, followed by the final episode focusing on collective names (group names, like herd or flock). I hope you enjoy it! Or at the very least, that it equips you to help teach the little ones in your life the different animal names in Spanish. :)
One thing to note: in Spanish, you can say "cría" to refer to an animal baby (which, as I understand it, is more common than saying "bebé"). So if you don't know if there is a specific term for a baby animal, you can just say cría, like cría de ave (baby bird or chick) or cría de tortuga (baby turtle or hatchling).
Let's start with our favorite animals, our pets. :)
El Pez, Pez Dorado*
Fry or Fingerling
Bunny, Kitten, or Kit
Cría de Tortuga
Cría de Serpiente
Snakelet, Neonate, or Hatchling
*Remember, in Spanish, you use el pescado when you're referring to fish as food. So your pet goldfish would be un pez, but the salmon you're eating for dinner is un pescado.
**Gazapo also means blooper, slip of the tongue, lie, and even a man with hidden cleverness. Who knew?
Animals at the Park
The following list highlights animals that you might run into in your daily life, especially during your walk to the park or on a hike through the mountains.
*I messed up in this blog/podcast. I said a duckling in Spanish was pavipollo or pavezno, but those are actually terms for baby turkey, or poult. I don't know why, but I have been struggling with mixing those two animals. They are completely different, I know! But there it is. Duckling is el patito or anadón, since ánade means duck as well.*
El Patito o El Anadón
Cub, Pup, or Whelp
El Cervato o Cervatillo
Calf or Fawn
La Cría de Alce
Pup or Whelp
El Saltamontes* o Chapulín (in Latinoamérica)
La Cría de Araña
La Larva, Oruga, Crisálida, o Pupa
Larva, Caterpillar, Chrysalis, or Pupa***
*Saltamontes looks like the combination of the verb saltar, to jump, and the plural noun montes, which means hills, forest, or vegetation. So while I don't know the official history of this word, it looks like it could mean "hill jumper" or "forest jumper", which would be so cool!
**According to Wordreference.com, ladybug is la catarina in Mexico, la vaquita de san Antonio in Argentina (it almost sounds like little cow; if anyone knows the history behind that, please let me know!), and la chinita in Columbia.
***Which name you use depends on which phase of the butterfly's life cycle you are referring to.
That's all for today! We'll finish up the next episode with wild animals, such as lions, tigers, and gorillas, followed by the final episode on collective animal nouns! While this episode is based on my research, it is by no means definitive! So please, if you know of more specific names, or if I missed any for these particular list, please send them my way!
Remember, learning a language is a lifelong journey.
¡Aprovéchalo, Disfrútalo y Compártelo!
Cultural Tip: Peru
Name: Republic of Peru, or Republica del Peru
Size: While it is smaller than Alaska, it is almost twice as big as Texas. Total area is more than 1.285 million sq. km.
Location: It is located in South America, south and east of Ecuador, south of Colombia, north of Chile, and west of Bolivia and Brazil. To the west of Peru is the Pacific Ocean.
Government Type: Presidential Republic. This means they have a President, President Jose Pedro Castillo Terrones, and they have a Prime Minister, but he doesn't have executive power; only the President has that. Legislative power rests with the Congreso de la Republica del Peru, or the unicameral Congress of the Republic of Peru. It has 130 seats that are, and I quote the World Factbook, "directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by closed party-list proportional representation vote to serve single 5-year terms." Clear as mud? The judicial power rests with the Supreme Court, made up of 16 judges. It is divided into three sectors: civil, criminal, and constitutional. The National Board of Justice, made up of 7 members, propose a justice, who is then nominated by the President and confirmed by Congress. Interestingly enough, justices must retire at 70.
Capital City: Lima
Religion: As of 2017, about 60% are Roman Catholic, 14.6% are Christian, and the rest are either not religious or unspecified.
Official Language: Peru has 3 official languages: Spanish (82.9%, as of 2017), Quechua (13.6), and Aymara (1.6%). Both Quechua and Aymara are indigenous languages.
Currency: Nuevo Sol (PEN)
While Peru has had numerous and diverse cultures and people groups, the ones you've most likely heard of are the Incas. This empire began small in the 12th century, but eventually spread across a large territory, including Peru, a lot of Ecuador, and parts of Chile and Bolivia. In the 16th century, the Spaniards came and crushed the Inca Empire, making Peru their viceroy. We've talked about the large push for independence across Latin America in other episodes (such as the history of Chile's Fiestas Patrias - Episode 58 - and the cultural tips on Argentinian holidays in Episodes 56 and 55), but General Jose de San Martin declared Peru independent on July 28, 1821. After that, Peru's political sphere was quite unstable, having had a dictator, several military coups, domestic terrorist groups, and now several presidents. It appears that, politically and economically, it has become a bit more stable in the 21st century.
Or at least it did; looking at the World Factbook's summary, there was still a lot of political change: President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Godard narrowly won election in 2016, but resigned in 2018 with threats over impeachment because he was involved in vote-buying (good grief!), then his VP Martin Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo became President. He then dissolved Peru's congress (he actually has the constitutional authority to do that) in 2019, with new congressional elections in 2020. Congress then impeached him over accusations of corruption and COVID-19 mismanagement. But Peruvians did NOT like the congressional president becoming President, Manuel Merino, and there were many large protests leading to his resignation. So Francisco Sagasti, the new President of Congress, became Peru's new president. Finally, Jose Pedro Castillo Terrones won the 2021 election, and is Peru's current President. PHEW! That's a lot of change in such a short time frame!
© 2021 by Language Answers, LLC
Intro and Closing Music by Master_Service from Fiverr
"Baby Animal Name's Glossary" by The Animal Facts
"Baby Animals" by Animal Facts Encyclopedia
"Los animales en inglés y español – 140 animales y más" by Daniel Welsch from Aprende más inglés: habla como un nativo
"Baby animal names | Nombres en inglés de los animales bebés" by Crianza Bilingüe
"Nombres de crías de animales - Lista con fotos" by Náyade Quero Rocamora for Experto Animal, updated March 2, 2021
"Gazapo" from the RAE online
"Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle" by Ask a Biologist for ASU
"Ciclo de vida de las mariposas" by Nick A. Romero H. January 18, 2021 for Experto Animal
"What do Ladybugs Eat?" by Feeding Nature December 21, 2020
*Ladybug" from English / Spanish online dictionary Wordreference.com
"Mariquita: Características, significado, tipos y mucho más" by Hablemos de Insectos
"Arañas: características, hábitat, reproducción, tipos y más" by Luria Sandoval for Magica Naturaleza
"Saltamontes" by Mundo Insectos
"Coyote" from BioEnciclopedia
"Puma" from BioEnciclopedia
"Alces alces" from Wikipedia
"Snakelet" from Merriam-Webster
"Peru" from the CIA World Factbook, updated September 22, 2021
"Peru: One Page Summary" from the CIA World Factbook, as of September 2020
"A BRIEF HISTORY OF PERU" by Tim Lambert for Local Histories, last revised 2020
"Peru" by Ducksters