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Charges: Beasts

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:

  • camel
  • cows or calves
  • crocodile
  • dogs: bloodhound, foxhound, mastiff
  • ibex
  • panther (rarely found other than as a supporter)
  • oxen
  • porcupine
  • rhinoceros
  • sprinbok (or South African antelope)
  • tortoise
  • zebra

(Note: If a dog is shown 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.")

  • antelope
    heraldic antelope statant

  • ape
    ape collared & chained

  • bat

  • bear
    bear passant

  • bear's head
    bear's head erased & muzzled

  • boar
    boar passant

  • brock
    brock or badger

  • bull
    bull passant

  • cat a mountain
    cat-a-mountain passant guardant

  • greyhound
    greyhound passant

  • talbot
    talbot passant

  • sea-dog

  • elephant
    elephant and castle

  • fox
    fox passant

  • fox mask
    fox's mask

  • goat passant
    goat passant

  • horse
    horse passant

  • chevalier
    chevalier on horseback

  • sea-horse

  • pegasus
    Pegasus passant

  • leopard
    leopard statant

  • lion passant
    lion passant

  • lynx coward
    lynx coward

  • otter

  • coney

  • hare
    hare salient

  • stag trippant
    stag trippant

  • hind statant
    hind statant

  • reindeer statant
    reindeer statant

  • sheep
    sheep passant

  • lamb
    Pascal lamb

  • ram
    ram statant

  • ram's head
    ram's head caboshed

  • fleece

  • squireel

  • tyger
    heraldic tyger passant

  • Bengal tiger
    Bengal tiger passant

  • urcheon

  • wolf passant
    wolf passant

  • wolf courant
    wolf courant

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Positions of Beasts as Exemplified by Lions

Most other animals use the same descriptive terms for their positioning as do lions. The primary exceptions are stags, other members of the deer family, and horses.

  • lion passant

  • lion passant guardant (top); passant reguardant (bottom)
    passant guardant (top); passant reguardant (bottom)

  • lion statant

  • lion statant guardant
    statant guardant

  • lion couchant

  • lion rampant

  • lion rampant guardant
    rampant guardant

  • lion rampant reguardant
    rampant reguardant

  • lion rampant with two heads
    rampant with two heads

  • two lions rampant combatant
    two lions rampant combatant

  • lion rampant queue-fourché
    rampant queue‑fourché

  • hare
    rampant double queued

  • coney
    rampant, tail nowed

  • squirrel

  • ape
    sea lion

  • salient

  • sejant

  • sejant erect
    sejant erect

  • dormant

  • tricorporate

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Positions of Beasts as Exemplified by Stags

Other animals for which the positioning is described with these terms include other members of the deer family and horses.

  • stag trippant

  • stag springing

  • stag courant

  • stag at gaze
    at gaze

  • stag lodged

  • stag head caboshed
    stag's head caboshed

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