Animals are recurrent creatures in The Legend of Zelda series, comprising of many different species and orders. Animals in the series take on numerous forms and roles; most Animals are closely based off of their real-world counterparts and frequently appear as wildlife, while others may be anthropomorphic and are sentient, such as those that live in the Animal Village. Most Animals are nonviolent unless provoked, and some are even helpful to Link.
- Main article: Bird
Birds appear in a number of Zelda games. Most Birds in the series are small, but also appear in a wide variety of species. Notable species include Cranes, Ducks, Hawks, Owls, Pheasants, and Seagulls. As well as simply appearing as wildlife, some Birds also fulfill other roles that are often helpful to Link, such as transporting him by flight to other areas or providing guidance. There are also a number of enemies in the Zelda series that are closely based on real-world birds, such as Crows, Guays, Kargaroks, Takkuri and Vultures, to name a few.
Cuccos are chicken-like fowl that have frequently appeared throughout the series. In certain games, particularly in 3D games, Link is able to use Cuccos to glide from ledge to ledge if he holds one above his head and leaps from a high place, allowing him to access hidden areas. Cuccos are also well known for their tendency to attack Link if he repeatedly tries to harm them.
Loftwings are a species of Bird unique to the Zelda series, appearing in Skyward Sword. These large Birds serve as the main transportation for the residents of Skyloft. Each resident of the floating isle owns their own Bird.
- Main article: Cat
Cats appear in a few Zelda games, most often within town settlements where they are either pets of the civilians or strays without an owner. Cats are generally friendly towards Link, even assisting him whenever he possesses the ability to talk to one. They are non-aggressive animals that will usually not attack Link in most games, with the exception of The Minish Cap when he is Minish-sized.
Dogs, known as Mutts in Link's Awakening, appear in a few Zelda games, usually within town or village settlements and as the pets of the civilians. Dogs are often shown to be affectionate animals who act friendly to Link, even sometimes following him. Dogs will usually not attack Link unless when provoked, such as those in Link's Awakening when attacked, and if Link happens to be a Deku in Majora's Mask.
- Main article: Fish
Fish are aquatic animals that live in water, either in fresh or salt water. They have served a multitude of roles throughout the series. In many games Fish appear as items that may either be traded, sold or used to forward Link's main quest or a side-quest. Some games also feature a Fishing mini-game where Link may fish for several unique species of Fish using a Fishing Rod, either at Fishing Holes or at sea in the World of the Ocean King. Enemies based on Fish have also appeared, including Gyorgs, Piranhas and Skullfish, to name a few.
Seahorses are a species of Fish that appear in Majora's Mask. This Fish is able to converse with Link, and begs that he reunites the separated pair.
- Main article: Frog
Frogs are amphibians that are usually found in rivers and ponds. Frogs most often fulfill a role as singing as part of a choir, such as the Frog choir led by Mamu, the Five Fabulous Frogs, and Don Gero's Frog Choir. These choirs are either related to forwarding Link's quest or are part of an optional side-quest. Enemies based on Frogs or Toads have also appeared in the series, including Gekko, Toadpolis, and the Deku Toad.
- Main article: Horse
Horses have appeared throughout the Zelda franchise in several games and other media. In the games, Horses most commonly serve as mounts that may be ridden to travel faster or reach otherwise inaccessible places. Epona is a notable and reoccurring Horse in the series who frequently appears as Link's steed and companion.
- Main article: Bug
Insects, also known as Bugs, appear in many Zelda games in a myriad of roles. Numerous orders and species of Insects have appeared, with notable ones including Bees, Butterflies, Dragonflies, and Fireflies. Most Insects in the series appear as collectible items, which may be hunted to exchange, sell or use to craft other items. Some Insects are collected as part of a side-quest, such as the Golden Bugs of Twilight Princess. Insects have also commonly appeared as hostile enemies in the series as well, with Mothula being a notable example.
- Main article: Monkey
Monkeys appear as helpful animals that come to assist Link in some way, most often by opening a path for him to an otherwise inaccessible area. Some Monkeys require payment in exchange for their help, such as the case with Kiki, who either asks for Rupees or Bananas. Most Monkeys in the games possess the ability to speak and converse with Link, with the exception of Twilight Princess. Link's Awakening also features a hostile Monkey enemy, who appears only in Toronbo Shores.
Pigs and Boars appear only in a very few Zelda games. Pigs first appear in The Wind Waker, which are kept as both livestock and pets by the islanders. These animals fulfill a role similar to that of Cuccos, as Pigs are normally harmless but attack if Link antagonizes them. Boars are wild porcine that appear as wildlife in Breath of the Wild.
Enemies closely based on real-world Boars have also appeared in the series. Bullbos are enemies that appear in Twilight Princess and Spirit Tracks, and are frequently used as mounts by Bulblins. Moinks are another Boar-like animal that have cow spots. This animal is normally docile, but attacks when provoked.
- Main article: Rabbit
Rabbits appear in a couple games under different roles. Rabbits most commonly appear as wildlife, but have also appeared as anthropomorphic animals, namely those that live in the Animal Village in Link's Awakening and in the land of Labrynna in Oracle of Ages. In Spirit Tracks, they are wild animals that Link must catch as part of a side-quest. In A Link to the Past, Link is also transformed into a Bunny when he enters the Dark World without the Moon Pearl's protection, or when exposed to Rabbit Beams.
Other Animals that have also appeared in the series include:
- Beaver Brothers
- Chain Chomps, iron ball-like creatures and enemies with dog-like behaviors. In Link's Awakening, they are kept as pets.
- Crocodilians; Sale and Schule Donavitch.
- Kangaroo; Ricky is a Kangaroo.
- Keatons, fox-like creatures that have appeared as helpful Animals and as enemies.
- Remlits, cat-like creatures that are docile by day and hostile at night.
- Snakes; Blue and Red Snake.
- Turtle and Mama Turtle
- Wolves; Wolf Link and the Golden Wolf.
Numerous enemies based on real-world Animals have also appeared throughout the Zelda series, with some closely adopting the behaviors and likeness of their real-world counterparts, and others only sharing physical similarities. A few enemies with Animal-like traits include:
- Octoroks, monsters that resemble octopi with large snouts.
- Keese, monsters that closely resemble bats.
- Rats, monsters closely based on their namesake.
- Real Bombchu, rat-like monsters that either use Bombs to attack or are explosives themselves, named after Bombchus.
- Wolfos and White Wolfos, monsters that closely resemble wolves.
- Froaks, monsters that resemble puffer fish.
- Stingers, monsters that closely resemble mantas.
- Megmats, monsters that resemble armadillos.
- Ropes, monsters that closely resemble snakes.
- Sand Crabs, Lobarrier, and Karat Crabs; monsters that resemble giant crabs.
- Skulltulas, Walltulas, Deelers and Gold Skulltulas; monsters that resemble spiders.