Animal facts

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

Interested in finding out more about the animals represented in the tarot cards? Here are some more fun facts about them!


The Fool - Baby Sea Turtle

Whether hatchlings are male or female depends on the temperature in the nest. Warmer temperatures produce females and colder temperatures produce males. When they emerge from the nest, they rely on the natural light from the horizon in order to reach the water.

The Magician - Spiney Bush Viper

Spiny bush vipers are native to central Africa and are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, southwest Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. They tend to inhabit rainforests, swamps, and woodlands where they can use their prehensile tail to hold onto branches or hang upside down.

The High Priestess - Wolf

Wolves are the largest members of the dog family. This keystone species plays a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. They have been known to track and trace their prey for hours well into the night.

The Empress - Black-necked Stork

The Black-necked Stork is the only species of stork endemic to Australia. Its beautiful dark feathers have an iridescent green-and-blue sheen. Black-necked Storks bond for several years. The species was found to inhabit a large portion of eastern New South Wales in the past but is now extinct throughout much of this area.

The Emperor - African Elephant

Elephants are the largest land mammals on earth. They can live up to 70 years and are some of the most emotionally complex animals on the planet. African elephants are slowly evolving to become tuskless due to decades upon decades of violence caused by the trading of ivory around the world. In the 1970’s there were 1.3 million elephants; now there are only an estimated 400,000 left. While elephants once spanned much of Africa, today most are kept in conservation to protect them from hunters and other human-related dangers.

The Heirophant - Scottish Blackface Ram

The blackface ram is an old breed of sheep with origins dating as far back as 800AD. They are very hardy and can put up with cold, wind and rain. Their wool was used by monks in the twelfth century for their own clothing and it continues to be used to make clothes in the modern era. The origins of the breed are uncertain, but we do know that it was developed on the Anglo-Scottish border.

The Lovers - Leafy Seadragons

Native to the waters off south and east Australia, leafy sea dragons are closely related to seahorses and pipefish. As with sea horses, sea dragon males are responsible for childbearing. From the moment they hatch, leafy sea dragons are completely independent and only grow to the size of a teacup. Listed as near-threatened, sea dragons face capture by divers wishing to keep them as pets.

Chariot - Harpy eagle

Harpy eagles are magnificent predatory birds and can carry off prey as large as fourteen pounds. Harpy eagles are monogamous and pairs may mate for life, usually breeding once every two years and living in enormous nests that they continually add onto over the course of their lives.

Justice - Horned owl

Despite its regal appearance, horned owls are one of the most common owls in North America, found in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, cities, and almost anywhere that isn’t the Arctic or tropics. Their large eyes boast thousands of rod cells, giving them incredible night vision. Adept hunters, horned owls are capable of turning their heads 180 degrees and have special feathers around their faces that direct sound to their ears, allowing them to pinpoint prey from far away.

The Hermit - Lynx

The lynx belongs to a species of four short-tailed cats that predominantly live in the forests of Europe, Asia, and North America. Most species of lynx, despite being hunted extensively for the commercial fur industry, are not at risk of extinction or endangerment. The Eurasian lynx has seen declined populations due to extensive poaching. Today it is thought that there are around 45,000 Eurasian lynx roaming in the wild, and the IUCN has classified the species as near threatened since 2002. The Iberian lynx, however, is one of the most endangered felines in the world, and as of 2013 possibly fewer than 300 remained in southern Spain.

Wheel of Fortune - Egyptian beetle

Scarab beetles are part of a large group of insects and can be found on all continents except Antarctica. They commonly inhabit farms, grasslands, forests, and deserts, but tend to avoid areas with extreme temperature fluctuations. These creatures have been used since antiquity to denote items of importance, most likely due to their metallic, gem-like carapaces and their associations with divinity and royalty.

Strength - Caribou-Reindeer

Caribou (or reindeer depending on where one is located) are large members of the cervine family and typically live in northern regions in North America, Central Europe, or Asia. They have wide, fur-covered feet that help them stay warm and move through rocky or snowy terrain. The hooves have a hollow like shape with sharp edges. These characteristics allow their hooves to act as snowshoes during the winter and allow them to swim through strong currents. While most species of caribou are in good standing, the woodland caribou are an endangered species, mostly due to habitat loss.

The Hanged One - Silver Eye Bird

Common only to New Zealand, the silvereye bird is a small, green bird prevalent among forests and cities alike. The silvereye bird uses webs to create their nests and are characterized by the iconic ring of silver around their eyes. These birds were first recorded in New Zealand in 1832 and as there is no evidence that it was artificially introduced, it has been classified as a native species. Its Māori name, tauhou, means ‘stranger’ or more literally ‘new arrival’.

Death - Axolotl

Axolotl are a unique species of salamander found exclusively in the waters of Xochimilco near Mexico City. Unlike other salamander breeds, axolotls live permanently in water and retain some of their tadpole anatomy in a phenomenon known as neoteny. Axolotls are very physiologically fascinating creatures and are commonly used in experiments regarding the regrowing of limbs and cell research.

Originally an apex predator in their environment, the critically endangered axolotl now suffers from the introduction of large fish into its lake habitat, but the main thing threatening the species revolves around the draining and contamination of much of the waters of the Xochimilco Lake complex.

Temperance - Purple Rock Crab

The purple rock crab, also known by its Latin name as Leptograpsus variegatus, is a species of crab found in Australia, South America, New Zealand, and numerous islands in the Pacific Ocean. The crab lives in upper intertidal rocky zones and is often spotted running along exposed rock, hiding in cracks or under boulders. They are one of the largest shore crabs and therefore boast very powerful claws.

Devil - Praying Mantis

The praying mantis is a common insect known and named for its prominent, blade-like front legs that hang down in a position reminiscent of prayer. Female mantis are famously known to consume their male counterparts before and after mating, and humorously enough, this rarely seems to stop males from following the call of nature regardless.

Tower - Lionfish

Lionfish are native to the Pacific Ocean and have recently appeared on the eastern coast of the United States after escaping from private aquariums. In North America they are regarded as invasive animals because they have no natural enemies and can easily eliminate native species when competing for territory and food.

The Star - Jellyfish

Jellyfish have been around for millions of years, even before dinosaurs lived on the Earth. They are found in almost every ocean on the planet and can even exist in the lowest depths of the ocean. Jellyfish come in many colors ranging from pink, blue, and purple, and some are even known to be bioluminescent.

The Moon - Rabbit

Rabbits are found in most environments on the planet and are a common prey animal. They are very social creatures and live in groups beneath the ground, digging extremely intricate tunnel systems called warrens where they live and raise their young. Rabbits are also well known for their rate of reproduction. Female rabbits are can give birth to up to 14 baby rabbits in a single litter.

The Sun - Capybara

Clocking in at a startling weight of up to two hundred pounds, the capybara holds the record for the world’s largest rodent. They are semi-aquatic mammals found throughout much of northern and central South America, and are closely related to guinea pigs. Though considered to have a stable population overall, in some areas capybaras are severely threatened by people who hunt them for their skin, and some local populations have been wiped out completely.

Judgement - Cicada

Cicadas are found only in the eastern half of the United States. They live a relatively long time depending on if they are annual or periodical cicadas, and their lifespan tends to range from 4 to 17 years with periodical cicadas living the longest. Oftentimes mistaken for the more harmful locust, a group of cicadas is known as a plague or cloud.

The World - Koi

Koi fish predominantly come from Eastern Asia where they symbolize a bevy of positive ideals like wealth, prosperity, love, success in business and life, and good fortune. They come in a variety of colors and can be white, black, blue, red, cream, and yellow. These fish have very long lifespans, and some—if cared for well—have been known to outlive their owners. The oldest koi in history, Hanako, lived to be 226 years old. Most koi, however, only live 30 to 40 years.



Ace of Wands - Dragonfly

While modern dragonflies only have wingspans of around two to three inches, prehistoric dragonfly fossils show wingspans of over two feet long. Dragonflies are capable of hovering in place like a helicopter so well that they are even capable of mating mid-flight.

Two of Wands - Blue Jays

Blue jays are songbirds native to North America and are characterized by their sharp blue crests and iconic jay song. They are thought to be beneficial to ecosystems as their jay call alerts all surrounding animals to prospective dangers. They are even capable of mimicking the songs of predator birds in order to intimidate them.

Three of Wands - Sugar Glider

Sugar gliders communicate by leaving scent trails and can even vocalize and communicate via physical contact with other members of their colony. They prefer sweet foods like nectar, pollen, acacia, and eucalyptus tree sap but have been known to consume insects and spiders for added protein as well. Sugar gliders are bred as pets but enjoy a stable population in the wild as well.

Four of Wands - Bowerbird

The bowerbird is a bird dedicated to its courtship rituals. Male bowerbirds will build elaborate nests to attract mates and are known to perform intricate dances to better their odds. Nests can be woven and tented, and oftentimes the male will fill it with different accessories, like shells, leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, berries, and even bits of plastic.

Five of Wands  - Blue Dragon/ Blue Glaucus

The blue glaucus’s iconic bright blue color acts as camouflage against the dark depths of the ocean below while its gray-toned top blends with the color of the sky through the water. This is an example of something called countershading and it helps the blue glaucus avoid both surface and swimming predators.

Six of Wands  - Peacock

Male peacocks boast elaborate and ostentatious tail feathers that serve as a signal to peafowl that they would make a suitable mate. Surprisingly enough, a study in The British Journal of Animal Behaviour recently postulated that when a peacock fans its tail feathers during a mating dance, its feathers also quiver, emitting a low-frequency sound inaudible to human ears.

Seven of Wands - Tardigrade

Known as water bears or moss piglets, tardigrades are one of the hardiest creatures on the planet. They are known to survive temperatures below 1 K (−458°F or −272°C) while others can withstand extremely hot temperatures up to 420 K (300 °F or 150 °C). It has been postulated by scientists that even if all human life ended on Earth, the tardigrade would likely still survive— and thrive!

Eight of Wands - Peregrine Falcon

The peregrine falcon is not only the world’s fastest bird of prey, but also the world’s fastest animal at large, capable of flying at speeds of more than 300 km (186 miles) per hour. Following the banning of the pesticide DDT, a chemical that reduced the hardness of falcon eggs and made them susceptible to breakages, falcon numbers have stabilized out of the danger zone.

Nine of Wands - Horse

Horses have been domesticated for over 5,000 years and can sleep both standing and laying down. They can live to be over thirty years old. Horses viewed as “wild” are simply descended from escaped European horses that have gone feral. Despite this fact, there is fossil evidence that horses native to North America existed over 8,000 years ago.

Ten of Wands - Beaver

Beavers are the second-largest rodent after the capybara. There used to be more than 60 million North American beavers, but due to hunting for its fur, its glands ( for medicine), and keeping them from interfering with land development through dam creation, the population has declined to around 12 million.

Page of Wands - Red Panda

The red panda is very taxonomically difficult to classify. In the course of its study, the red panda has been classified as a relative of the giant panda and the raccoon. These days, red pandas are considered members of a unique family—the Ailuridae. Red pandas are currently marked as endangered due to deforestation.

Knight of Wands - Dolphin

Dolphins are intensely social creatures with intricate communities. They hunt their prey using echolocation and some species of dolphins can produce up to 1,000 clicks per minute while hunting. 

Queen of Wands - Chinchilla

Chinchillas are small rodents with incredibly dense fur, which is actually the thickest fur of all land animals with fifty hairs growing from a single follicle. Chinchillas were hunted nearly to extinction in the previous century because of the fur trade and are today still listed as critically endangered species.

King of Wands - Lion

Lions can sleep for 16-20 hours each day and only hunt once every few days, during which the female lions take charge and hunt the bulk of prey for the pride. The number of African lions in the wild is declining and they are at risk of extinction due to organized hunting. Over the last ten years, their numbers have gone down by 30%.



Ace of Pentacles -Glass Frog

Glass frogs have translucent skin that showcases their liver, heart and intestines when looked at from below. Bones in certain species are green or white in color, and it is thought that this is meant to help camouflage them from predators.

Two of Pentacles - Mountain Goat

A bit of a misnomer, mountain goats are not goats at all, but are actually closer related to antelopes or bovines than the typical goat. They can jump about twelve feet in one leap and are the largest mammal in high altitude environments. After the first 22 months of life, mountain goats can be aged by counting the rings on their horns.

Three of Pentacles - Ants

There are over 12,000 ant species worldwide and are some of the longest living insects in the world. The queen of a specific ant species is even known to live for as long as thirty years. Ants can be found on every continent except for Antarctica.

Four of Pentacles - Armadillo

There are 21 species of armadillo ranging from 6 inch long types to giant armadillos which grow over 5 feet long. Despite a common misconception, only one species, the three-banded armadillo, can roll itself into a hard armored ball to defend itself against predators.

Five of Pentacles - Polar Bear

Despite first assumptions, polar bears are not actually white. They have black skin and hollow, colorless hair. Their hollow fur reflects light and traps the sun’s heat to help keep them warm. They are excellent swimmers and have partially webbed toes. Polar bears are under threat from hunting, habitat destruction, and worst of all, global warming.

Six of Pentacles - Meerkat

Meerkats are very community-oriented creatures that take turns babysitting the young, foraging, and watching for predators in shifts. They have excellent eyesight and the black spots around their eyes reduces sun glare and allows them to keep watch over large swatches of desert.

Seven of Pentacles - Raven

Thought to be one of the smartest animals, ravens are capable of communication, problem-solving, and are known to use tools to get to food. They can mimic human speech better than parrots if raised in captivity, and are known to mimic other bird species in order to attract prey and lower the guards of nesting birds in order to sweep in and devour eggs or vulnerable chicks.

Eight of Pentacles - Baya Weaver

Baya weavers are very social, community-oriented birds that fly in close formation and stick close to one another when foraging for seeds among the plains. They are most famously known for their elaborate hanging nests which they tend to build over water.

Nine of Pentacles - Cat

The first known domesticated cat lived over 9,500 years ago and was found in a gravesite in Cyprus. Agile and quick, cats have an interesting gait in that they step both right feet first, followed by both left feet, so they move half of their body forward at once. Only giraffes and camels share this walking technique.

Ten of Pentacles - Bowhead Whale

Bowhead whales are one of the longest living mammals on the planet. One individual caught off the coast of Alaska in 2007 was found to have a harpoon point embedded in it that dated back to 1880. Bowheads have begun to recoup their population but are still actively threatened by pollution and global warming.

Page of Pentacles - Cricket

Crickets are most known for their chirping, a sound caused by rubbing their wings together, not their legs. As the temperature increases, crickets chirp faster and faster, and if timed, one can even tell the exact temperature based on the number of chirps. Simply count the chirps during a 14 second stint and add forty to get the temperature in Farenheit.

Knight of Pentacles - Bumblebee

Experts in the act of flight, bumblebees flap their wings over 200 times a second. Their metabolisms are so high that they must eat constantly to stay alive, and it is said that a bumblebee with a full stomach is only forty minutes away from starvation, giving them a good reason to buzz around as busily as they do!

Queen of Pentacles - Alpaca

Alpacas are strictly herd animals raised for wool, and therefore do not exist in the wild. Well-cared for alpacas can live for up to twenty years, and their wool is considered hypoallergenic, flame-resistant, and water-repellant. For all their domestic uses, they can be a bit ornery to raise. Alpacas love to spit when annoyed and have great aim when doing it.

King of Pentacles - Bull

A common misconception for bulls is that they can be incited by the color red, famously wielded by bullfighters in Spain, but actually, bulls are red-green colorblind and antagonized by the movement of the cloth, not the color. Their aggression stems from the need to gain dominance over herds of cows for breeding rights, and they can be dangerous if not handled with great care.



Ace of Cups - Otter

Sea otters are known to carry stones with them at all times, both for recreation and for aiding in opening up the hard shelled abalones, sea urchins, clams, mussels, and crabs. They actually form attachments to specific stones and can be seen keeping them in an armpit when not in use. Some even keep their favorite stone throughout their life.

Two of Cups - Penguin

Penguins usually swim around 10miles per hour and can dive to 800 feet into the water, though emperor penguins can dive an impressive 1,850 feet. This sort of diving is aided by their intensely dense bone structure. They are one of the few creatures able to drink seawater without issue and they have a special gland that allows them to expel out the excess salt.

Three of Cups - Quokka

Quokkas are members of the marsupial family and they are described as the world’s happiest animal due to their bright smiles. It is a little bit of a misnomer, however, as children visiting their habitat on Rotte Island are routinely treated for bites and scratches after getting too close to them.

Four of Cups - Chambered Nautilus

Chambered nautilus are related to cephalopods but are much longer lived than their squid cousins, some species living up to 20 years old. They boast around 90 arms that let them latch onto fish, crabs, and dead animals that stray too close to them, and their eyes have been described as ‘pin-hole cameras’, their vision cycling between blurry or dim depending on how they focus their pupils. They track mainly through their sense of smell instead.

Five of Cups  - Locust

Related to grasshoppers, locusts have a very storied history. Commonly associated with plagues and famines, locusts have been known to emerge in enormous swarms and feast on fields of crops, causing astronomical damage to the agricultural industry.

Six of Cups - Gulabi Goats

Gulabi goats are a unique breed of goat characterized by their long, hanging ears. They are a popular breed in Pakistan, and are actually made by crossbreeding four distinct breeds of goat: Rajhanpuri, Pateri, Kamori, and Beetal. They are very friendly and are commonly kept as pets as well as for milk and meat.

Seven of Cups - Narwhal

Commonly referred to as the unicorn of the sea, narwhals look like something out of myth and were hunted for their tusks in order to sell them as proof that unicorns existed. Their tusks are actually an enlarged tooth with sensory capability and up to 10 million nerve endings inside.

Eight of Cups - Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish are intensely curious and intelligent members of the cephalopod family capable of changing their color and texture at will to perfectly match their environment. They are completely colorblind. Scientists believe they are able to perform this feat of color magic due to them being able to see polarized light.

Nine of Cups - Royal Poodle

A royal poodle is the largest size of standard poodle available. They can grow to stand around 25 inches at the shoulder and weigh over sixty pounds when fully grown. Like all poodles, this particular type is hypoallergenic and very intelligent. Poodles were originally bred as hunting dogs and are fairly high energy as a result.

Ten of Cups - Fennec Fox

Fennec foxes are the smallest species of fox in the world and boast a pair of 4-6 inch long ears that aid them in hearing prey and predators. It also helps to dispel heat during hot days in the deserts where they make their home.

Page of Cups - Sardines

Sardines are members of the herring family and travel the ocean in large schools, feeding on plankton as they go. Named after the Island of Sardinia where they used to be readily available for fishing, sardines are most commonly caught for human consumption, but their oil is also used to produce paint, varnish, and linoleum.

Knight of Cups - Bird of Paradise

Birds of Paradise are most well known for the elaborate courtship dances performed by the males of the species, as well as the intricate and artful feather displays that gave them their heavenly name. It is believed that the absence of predators in their environment led to these birds evolving for ornamental purposes.

Queen of Cups - Snail

Snails can have lungs or gills independent of their environment, with some sea snails having lungs while some land snails have gills. Famously viewed as the slowest creatures on earth, the average garden snail has a top speed of roughly 50 yards per hour, as as they move they leave behind a trail of slime that reduces friction and allows them to crawl upside down.

King of Cups - Flamingo

Famously pink, flamingos are born whitish-grey and get their color from their diet. Pigments in their food are responsible for the red and pink colors of their feathers and come from the shrimps, algae, and crustaceans they consume.



Ace of Sword - Swan

Trumpeter swans are the largest native waterfowl in the United States and are one of the heaviest flying birds in North America. Their wingspan can reach up to ten feet in length, and they mate for life. Despite their beauty and grace, swans are incredibly territorial creatures.

Two of Swords - Betta Fish

Also known as Siamese fighting fish, bettas are incredibly intelligent and can be taught to perform tricks. In the wild, their colors are muted until they are agitated, but captive betta fish have been bred to display vibrant red, green, and royal blue colors.

Three of Swords - Swallow

Swallows are very common small birds that live all over the world. It takes a pair of swallows up to 1,200 journeys to build a nest. Much folklore surrounds the swallow. It is thought to be a good omen to see the first swallow in a year, and several Russian songs were written to celebrate their return after the long, cold winter.

Four of Swords - Sloths

Sloths are famously known for their lack of movement, to the point that their name is one of the seven deadliest sins. These creatures sleep up to 20 hours a day and move so slowly when awake that algae can grow on their fur. Primarily arboreal, sloths only come down from their trees once a week to use the bathroom.

Five of Swords - Manta Ray

A manta’s wingspan can reach 20 or more feet across and they weigh as much as 3,000 pounds. The manta, unlike other rays, does not have a spine on its tail for defense. They have very large brains relative to their body size, and their only known predators are sharks, killer whales, and human beings. They have a vulnerable status and their greatest conservation threats involve pollution, being hunted for medicinal ingredients, and entanglement in fishing nets.

Six of Swords - Anglerfish

Female anglerfish are the only ones with the protruding, dangling bit of flesh that serves as an illuminated lure. In contrast, males exist as parasitic mates. Once they have bitten into a female, the flesh around their body dissolves until only their testes remain.

Seven of Swords - Black Widow

Black widow spiders are venomous, but rarely fatal, a contrast to the usual reputation attributed to them. Male black widows also work hard not to become post-coital meals by seeking out well-fed virgins as mates. A female that has already eaten has no need to kill and consume a mate, and it is thought that a fatter mate likely yields more offspring too.

Eight of Swords - Mole

Despite being the size of chipmunks, moles are capable of digging 18 feet in just one hour, and despite common misconception, moles do in fact have eyes. They are practically useless due to being covered in fur, but they do exist. Mole saliva is paralytic and it is common for moles to paralyze insects and worms and store them in a part of their tunnel for later.

Nine of Swords - Centipede

The name “centipede” originates from Latin and translates into “hundred legs”. Despite its name, most species of centipedes possess far less than that with most only having 15 to 30. As active predators, centipedes seek our and hunt prey. Their usual targets are insects, spiders, worms, and mollusks, but the larger species of centipedes have been known to eat frogs, small birds, and even bats.

Ten of Swords - Red Spiny Starfish

Capable of regenerating lost arms, red spiny starfish are definitely hardy creatures. Regeneration can take years though, and harm from infection or other predators is common. Starfish have tiny tubular feet with suction cups on them as well as an eye on the tip of each arm. Despite having five eyes, their eyesight is very poor.

Page of Swords - Cockatoo

Touted as the loudest members of the parrot family, cockatoos are endemic to Australia and Asia and are incredibly social birds. They have been witnessed to use tools to get to food, and unlike many birds, cockatoos are known to break specific branches to just the right size for the job at hand.

Knight of Swords - Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermillion flycatcher males court females by bringing them gifts of captured butterflies or other flashy insects. Flycatchers are endemic to the Southern US and Latin America but have a propensity to wander. Some have even been spotted as far north as Minnesota, Maryland, and British Columbia.

Queen of Swords - Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are the smallest of all migratory birds and have been known to travel alone for over 500 miles at a time. They are the only birds capable of flying backwards, and interestingly enough, are incapable of smelling. They seek out viable food sources based on color, of which they have excellent eyes for.

King of Swords - Crow

Crows are extremely intelligent birds that are known for their problem-solving skills. It has been witnessed that crows even teach other crows how to identify humans who have harmed them or been mean in the past so that they too can avoid them. A large group of crows is called a murder, adding to their mythos as bad omens.