Do Animals Have Personalities?

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

We don't know whether animals insult their enemies by calling them human beings, but we call on quite a few animals to describe other people in uncomplimentary ways. Here are some animals that seem to embody less desirable human characteristics.

Bats: To call someone “batty” or say a person has “bats in the belfry” is to call the person crazy. When a ringing church bell disturbs bats who live in a belfry (the tower where a church bell is rung), they fly around in a frenzied way. The belfry is seen as a person's head; the disordered movements of the bats are his or her thoughts.

Birdbrain: A stupid person is often called a birdbrain since a bird's brain is normally small—about the size of the bird's eye.

Jellyfish: A person who has a weak character is called a jellyfish, because jellyfish have no spines (they can't stand up straight) and are composed of water and a jellylike substance (soft, wobbly, and insubstantial).

Leech: A person who attaches himself or herself to another and takes without giving anything in return is often called a leech, since a leech is a blood-sucking worm.

Lone wolf: Someone who is described as a lone wolf is an outsider, one who keeps to himself or herself. Since, like people, most wolves live in families and travel in packs, a single wolf is unusual and has either strayed from the pack or been driven away.

Pig: A sloppy or messy person is often called a pig, for pigs often wallow in the mud or dust in order to keep cool.

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