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Animal in Chinese is dòng wù /动物.
yī zhī dòng wù / 一只动物 - an animal
dà xiàng / 大象 - elephant
cháng jǐng lù / 长颈鹿 - giraffe
xī yì / 蜥蜴 - lizard
When you are talking about one animal you will generally say yī zhī / 一只.
zhī / 只 is the measure word for a single animal.
zhī / 只 - (measure word for an animal)
yī zhī dà xiàng / 一只大象 - one elephant (an elephant)
If you are talking about more than one animal, use yī xiē / 一些.
yī xiē / 一些 - (measure word for more than one animal)
yī xiē dòng wù /一些动物 - some animals
yī xiē niǎo / 一些鸟 - some birds
Here are some more animals:
yú / 鱼 - fish
xióng / 熊 - bear
niǎo / 鸟 - bird
And here are some creepy crawly insects:
mì fēng / 蜜蜂 - bee
máo máo chóng / 毛毛虫 - caterpillar
hú dié / 蝴蝶 - butterfly
DID YOU KNOW...there are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac?
Each animal has its own year and there's a 12 year cycle, one year for each animal. 1996 is the year of the rat, then 1997 is the year of the ox and so on. So if you were born in 2003 that's the year of the goat because it's the eighth animal and 2003 is 8 years after 1997.
Here they are in order, from first to last:
lǎo shǔ / 老鼠 - rat – 1st animal
niú / 牛 - ox - 2nd animal
lǎo hǔ / 老虎 - tiger - 3rd animal
tù zǐ / 兔子 - rabbit - 4th animal
lóng / 龙 - dragon - 5th animal
shé / 蛇 - snake - 6th animal
mǎ / 马 - horse - 7th animal
yáng / 羊 - goat - 8th animal
hóu zǐ / 猴子 - monkey - 9th animal
jī / 鸡 - rooster - 10th animal
gǒu / 狗 - dog - 11th animal
zhū / 猪 - pig - 12th animal