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Among the most prevalent charges to be found are beasts. It is important to remember that the heraldic depiction of an animal does not always match the natural appearance of the beast. A good example of this is the tiger: in ancient armorial examples one will find only the heraldic tyger, a stylized creature which bears little resemblance to a tiger's natural appearance. In more recent coats-of-arms, however, one finds the Bengal tiger, a much more naturalistic presentation of the animal.
When describing an animal it is necessary to blazon not only the creature's type but also the position in which it is presented. These positions are illustrated by the lion and by the stag, for which the various positions are differently named.

Other animals which are occasionally encountered in heraldry but for which we have no illustration currently include:

  • ibex
  • camel
  • crocodile
  • panther
    (rarely found other than as a supporter)
  • porcupine
  • rhinoceros
  • tortoise
  • sprinbok (or South African antelope)
  • zebra
  • oxen
  • cows
  • calves
  • bloodhound
  • mastiff
  • foxhound
(Note: If a dog is shown to be chasing another animal it is said to be, "in full chase" or "in full course." A dog with it's nose to the ground is described as, "on scent.")

lion passant heraldic tyger
Bengal tiger
leopard statant cat-a-mountain

wolf passant

wolf courant

lynx coward

fox passant

fox's mask

bear passant

bear's head
erased and muzzled

boar passant

horse passant

chevalier on horseback

Pegasus passant


greyhound passant

talbot passant

bull passant

stag trippant

hind statant

reindeer statant

heraldic antelope

goat passant

sheep passant

Pascal lamb

ram statant

ram's head caboshed


elephant and castle

hare salient



ape collared
and chained

brock or badger




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Page content last modified
06 July 2000