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Indonesian Animal Words: The Ultimate Vocabulary List

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We’ve all heard of the island of Bali in Indonesia.

It’s one of the world’s most exotic travel destinations. The beaches, nature, and greenness are heavenly, and this imagery is the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of “Indonesia.”

Another fascinating component of Bali is its fauna, with the Komodo dragon being its most famous species. The dragon has been named the largest lizard, and the deadly venom in its saliva makes it one of the most lethal predators in the world.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to Indonesian animal words that will help you talk about the variety of unique animals that live in Indonesia as well as the most common animals abroad. Orangutans, Sumatran tigers, Bali starlings…these animals, and many more, will make for an appealing conversation topic during your next trip to Indonesia. 

Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Indonesian Table of Contents
  1. At Home (Pets)
  2. On the Farm (Farm Animals)
  3. In the Wild / Forest / Safari (Land Animals)
  4. In the Ocean (Aquatic / Marine Animals)
  5. Bugs and Insects
  6. Birds
  7. Reptiles & Amphibians
  8. Animal Body Parts
  9. Animal-Related Idioms and Slang Expressions
  10. Conclusion

1. At Home (Pets)

Woman Petting Dog

Raising pets is not as common in Indonesia as it is in the West. Housepets are an expense that the majority of the population cannot afford; their main concern is putting food on the table, not feeding and caring for a dog or cat. House pets are mostly raised in the countryside, where families use them for their eggs, milk, and other animal products.

The tradition of owning pets (especially dogs and cats) is not really part of Indonesian culture, though birds are an exception. Free movement of pets in and out of the house is not something Indonesians would tolerate, especially given that 86.7% of Indonesia’s population is Muslim. 

In Islam, dogs are deemed Najis (unclean) animals. A Muslim believer, when touched or licked by a dog, is required to change their clothes and wash the body parts that made contact with the dog. If you’re planning to have Indonesian friends or cleaning staff over at your apartment, they may expect you to keep your pet at a distance, given that they would want to avoid touching it.

If you want an environment with more tolerance for your pet, the Balinese are an ethnic group that does usually raise dogs. This is because they believe dogs’ barking keeps away bad luck.

It’s also worth noting that Batak and Manado ethnic groups happen to eat dogs, and Chinese Indonesians (along with Christians) tolerate dogs more than their fellow Muslim countrymen.

Here are the names of animals in Indonesian that you might find kept as pets in your country: 

Kucing“Cat”
Anjing“Dog”
Hamster“Hamster”
Kelinci“Rabbit”
Mouse“Mouse”
Tikus“Rat”
Marmot“Guinea pig”
Ikan mas“Goldfish”
Burung beo“Parrot”

2. On the Farm (Farm Animals)

Black-and-White Cow

Farming and agriculture is one of the key sectors of the Indonesian economy. While it has been highly industrialized, farming still remains a vital source of income and nutrition for Indonesian households.

In fact, the agricultural sector of Indonesia contributed around 14.5% of the country’s total GDP in 2013, and approximately 30% of Indonesia’s land area is dedicated to farming activities. The country is the largest producer of cloves, cinnamon, and palm oil.

When it comes to traditional local farming, animals are usually involved in the farming process or raised on farms for their milk, eggs, and meat. 

It’s well worth noting that pigs are not very popular in Indonesia given the country’s Muslim majority, but we still included it on the following list of Indonesian animal words.

Sapi“Cow”
Babi“Pig”
Domba“Sheep”
Kambing“Goat”
Kuda“Horse”
Induk ayam“Hen”
Kalkun“Turkey”
Angsa“Goose”
bebek“Duck”
Ayam jantan“Rooster”

You can also head over to our Learn with Pictures lesson Farm Animals for more information and vocabulary! 

3. In the Wild / Forest / Safari (Land Animals)

Brown Bears

If Indonesia were famous for one thing, it would be for its diverse nature and beautiful wilderness. In fact, Indonesia has over 17,000 islands, resulting in its rich medley of different landscapes. 

Islands like Sumatra and Kalimantan have considerably more rainfall than the rest of the country, and therefore more rainforests. And there are plenty of animals in the Indonesian rainforest! You can find many of the predators and big animals traditionally found in Asia, such as leopards and lions in parts of Java or Sumatra. Papua is also home to some traditionally Australian reptiles and animals such as crocodiles, tree-kangaroos, ring-tailed possums, and more.

But the two most popular species of wildlife in Indonesia are orangutans and Komodo dragons; we’ve saved Komodo dragons for the reptiles section, but orangutans (which have the same name in Indonesian) are included in the following list:

Orangutan“Orangutan”
Harimau sumatera“Sumatran tiger”
Beruang“Bear”
Serigala“Wolf”
Rusa“Deer”
Kelinci“Hare”
Rubah“Fox”
landak“Hedgehog”
Tupai“Squirrel”
Babi hutan“Boar”
Singa“Lion”
Harimau“Tiger”
Jaguar“Jaguar”
Harimau kumbang“Panther”
Gajah“Elephant”
Jerapah“Giraffe”
Monyet“Monkey”
Gorila“Gorilla”
Kanguru“Kangaroo”
Koala“Koala”
Panda“Panda”
Kemalasan“Sloth”
Anjing laut“Seal”
Pinguin“Penguin”
Beruang kutub“Polar bear”
Walrus“Walrus”

4. In the Ocean (Aquatic / Marine Animals)

Deep Waters

For many tourists, a trip to Indonesia means plenty of snorkeling and scuba diving. This is attributed to Indonesia’s beautiful coasts and clear waters, but the sea creatures you may encounter are just as fascinating. Whale sharks, manta rays, green turtles, blue-ringed octopuses, and the list goes on…

To help you talk about these animals in Indonesian, we’ve compiled a brief list for you: 

Ikan“Fish”
Hiu“Shark”
Lumba-lumba“Dolphin”
Ikan paus“Whale”
Singa laut“Sealion”
Ubur-ubur“Jellyfish”
Gurita“Octopus”
Kuda laut“Seahorse”
Bulu babi“Urchin”
Bintang laut“Starfish”
Remis“Mussel”
Timun laut“Sea cucumber”

5. Bugs and Insects

Bee Kingdom

Indonesia is mostly a tropical country, so rainfall is constant all year long and the temperature is 26°C (78.8°F) on average. This weather makes Indonesia the perfect home for a variety of bugs and insects. Be ready to deal with mosquitos when you visit Indonesia (if you haven’t already)!

Lebah“Bee”
Tawon“Wasp”
Nyamuk“Mosquito”
Lalat“Fly”
Laba-laba“Spider”
Belalang“Grasshopper”
Kecoa“Cockroach”
Kupu-kupu“Butterfly”
Semut“Ant”
Ngengat“Moth”
Siput“Snail”
Siput“Slug”

6. Birds

Ever heard of Bali starlings? They’re one of the most beautiful birds you may ever encounter, and they’re native to Indonesia’s island of Bali.

Unfortunately, this species is critically endangered. It’s believed that there are only 100 adults still alive in the wild. You can see this bird for yourself at West Bali National Park or in one of Bali’s breeding centers.

Here are nine bird names with their Indonesian translations:

Jalak Bali“Bali starling”
Camar“Seagull”
Gagak“Crow”
Elang“Eagle”
Merpati“Dove”
Burung hantu“Owl”
Kucica“Magpie”
Burung gereja“Sparrow”
Merak“Peacock”

7. Reptiles & Amphibians

Whether you’re a fan of reptiles or not, you’ll certainly encounter one at some point during your travels in Indonesia.

Here’s a vocabulary list of amphibian and reptile names in Indonesian:

Katak“Frog”
Kodok“Toad”
Buaya“Crocodile”
Kadal“Lizard”
Kura-kura“Turtle”
Penyu“Sea turtle”
Ular“Snake”
Komodo“Komodo dragon”

8. Animal Body Parts

By now, you should be more familiar with the different animals found in Indonesia and what they’re called in the native language. We’ll now go over a few common animal body parts, as these words will help you better describe the animals you come across on your adventures! 

Ekor“Tail”
Rambut“Hair”
Bulu“Fur”
Gigi“Tooth”
Taring“Fang”
Cakar“Claw”
Tanduk“Horn”
Kuku“Hoof”
Bulu“Feather”
Sayap“Wing”
Paruh“Beak”
Mulut“Mouth”
Sirip“Fin”
Sungut“Tentacle”
Surai“Mane”
Belalai“Trunk”
Gading“Tusk”
Antena“Antenna”
Kaki“Leg”

9. Animal-Related Idioms and Slang Expressions


When you do everything a person tells you to without questionSeperti kerbau dicucuk hidungnya 
Like a buffalo pinned by the nose
States that even great people have flawsSepandai-pandai tupai melompat, suatu saat pasti akan jatuh juga.
No matter how well a squirrel can jump, it will eventually fall.
When a person can easily see flaws in others, but not in themselvesSemut di seberang lautan tampak, gajah di pelupuk mata tak tampak.
An ant across the sea is visible; an elephant on the eyelid is invisible.
Doing something for someone with hidden motivesAda udang di balik batu. 
There’s a shrimp behind the rock.
When you can’t calm down, or when you overreact in a funny waySeperti cacing kepanasan 
Like an overheated worm

Want to make your Indonesian conversations even more colorful? Then try learning the expressions listed on our Essential Idioms That Will Make You Sound Like a Native Speaker and Top 10 Conversational Phrases vocabulary lists! 

10. Conclusion

Congratulations for getting this far. You’re now armed with enough Indonesian animal words to become the next zoo guide at Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo! To practice, drop us a comment with the name of your favorite animal (or animals) in Indonesian.

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