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Jim Panzee has a lot of different animal friends in the jungle. Because Jim is grumpy, his friends try to improve his mood by suggesting he do the things they like to do — and the things they like to do are based on what type of animal they are.

In this funny part of the story, each of Jim's animal friends says exactly what you would expect them to say. The birds want him to sing. The monkeys want him to swing. The frog wants him to jump up and down, and the hyena wants him to laugh! You can guess what each animal might say based on their own, unique traits.

Animal Similes

Let's explore different animal traits by looking at how we talk about or describe animals, like when we use similes. A simile is a figure of speech that compares two different things in an interesting way. The simile is usually in a phrase that begins with "as" or "like." An example of a simile is: She is as innocent as an angel.

Take a look at the similes below, and fill in the blank with the name of the animal you think best completes each sentence. After you've answered them all, think about why you chose your answers.

Which animal best completes each sentence: clam, bee, fox, peacock, bird, lamb, owl, dog, pig, mouse, ox, snail, beaver, eel, lion, or mule? Some might be trickier than others!

Animal Idioms

Have you ever heard someone say, "You let the cat out of the bag?" Or that "It's raining cats and dogs?" These expressions are called idioms.

Idioms are funny because they don't mean exactly what they say! They have a meaning that is different from the actual words that are used. When someone says you "let the cat out of the bag," they don't mean you literally had a cat in a bag and you let it out. They mean you have revealed something that was supposed to be a secret.

Here's a list of some common animal idioms. How many have you heard before? Which ones make sense, and which ones simply don't make any sense at all? Can you think of any animal idioms that aren't listed below?  

The elephant in the room

    This refers to a problem that is too big to ignore, but that everyone tries to avoid talking about because it is embarrassing or will cause conflict.

The lion's share

    This refers to the biggest part or portion of something.

Hold your horses!

    This means "Wait a minute! Slow down! Don't be in such a hurry."

That really gets my goat!

    Something that "gets your goat" is something that annoys you.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

    This means let's not talk about things in the past that might cause problems if you mention them today. Think of it this way: A sleeping dog is peaceful, but if you wake him up, he might get angry and bite you.

A fish out of water

    This means that you are very uncomfortable in a particular situation or environment.

Get your ducks in a row.

    This means to straighten up and get organized, and usually refers to a project or task.


    A "pig-headed" person is stubborn, close-minded, and doesn't want to change.

Weasel out of something

    This means to abandon responsibility or commitment in a way that is sneaky or cowardly.

The cat's meow

    If you think something is "the cat's meow," it means you think it is excellent, wonderful, and really great.

A little bird (or birdie) told me.

    This is a lighthearted way of saying that you've learned a secret, but you're not revealing who told you.

A bull in a china shop

    This means a very clumsy person, or someone who makes a big mess out of everything. "China" is used to describe very delicate dishes. A bull is a large and reckless animal. Combine china and a bull, and you're setting up a disaster!

A deer caught in the headlights

    This means being completely puzzled, surprised, or confused.

Animal Similes Answers

Fabulous Beasts!

Mythological creatures, sometimes called fabulous beasts, are imaginary animals that are part animal and part human. Sometimes they have parts from several different animals, like the body of a lion and the head of an eagle. Some people claim to have seen these creatures, but no proof exists that they actually exist!

Below are some examples of mythological creatures:

Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, is a hairy, ape-like creature that walks upright and roams the North American wilderness, leaving behind large footprints.

The Minotaur is a creature from Greek mythology that is half human and half bull. It lived at the center of a great labyrinth, or maze.

The Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, is a huge, hairy creature that walks upright and haunts the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas.

The Loch Ness Monster is a large aquatic animal that looks like a reptile, and lives in the waters of Loch Ness, Scotland.

A mermaid is a creature of the sea with the head and torso of a human woman and the tail of a fish.

The Centaur is a creature from Greek mythology that is part human and part horse. Its body consists of the head, torso, and arms of a man and the body and legs of a horse.

The dragon is a huge fire breathing reptile that lives in the caves, mountains, or lakes of Europe and China. Some cultures consider them a sign of destruction, while others consider them a sign of peace and prosperity.

A unicorn is a beautiful and pure woodland creature that looks like a white horse with a single spiraling horn on its forehead.

Creature Features

drawing of a griffin

Grab a group of friends or classmates and create your own mythological creature. Split into small groups of 3 to 8 people and sit in a circle. Decide who will start and go around the circle, with each person choosing at least one creature feature. Go around the circle as many times as needed to create your fabulous beast! To keep track of everything, have one person in your group record everyone's choices.

Choose the following features:

  • Head: What kind of head will your creature have, and will it have just one?
  • Body: Will your creature have a big body like an elephant or a small body like a cat?
  • Legs: How many legs will your creature have, and will they be long or short?
  • Wings: Will your creature be able to fly? If so, what kind of wings will it have?
  • Tail: Will your creature have a small bushy tail like a bunny or a powerful tail like an alligator?
  • Ears: What kind of ears will your creature have? The ears of a deer? A rabbit? A hippo?
  • Horns: Will your creature have horns, and if yes, how many?
  • Skin: Will your creature have feathers, fur, hair, scales, bare skin, or something else?
  • Special powers: You can give your creature special powers, too. Use your imagination!
  • Make Animal Masks

    finished masks of a rabbit, chipmunk, and fox

    By mixing and matching different eyes, ears, noses, mouths, and whiskers you can create a bunny, fox, cat, bear cub, or chipmunk mask — or just put the parts together to make a silly creature from your imagination! Check out our mask-making activity!

    Make Doggie Biscuits

    a begging dog

    Your dog isn't a mythological creature, but he or she is definitely an important part of your family. Treat your dog to these homemade doggy biscuits.

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