Spanish expressions using animals

A key part of learning a language, sounding fluent and being able to understand native speakers is knowing a few colloquial phrases and expressions which cannot be translated or understood literally. Here are some Spanish expressions using animals:

Perro: Dog

A otro perro con ese hueso: You’re pulling my leg / You’re kidding me.
A perro flaco todo son pulgas: It never rains but it pours.
Ser muy perro: To be very lazy.
Andar como perro sin dueño: To be lost.

Gato: Cat

Aquí hay gato encerrado: There’s something fishy going on here.
Ponerle es cascabel al gato: To take the plunge.
Dar gato por liebre: To trick, swindle, cheat, rip off.
Jugar al ratón y el gato: To play cat and mouse. [In Spanish: To play mouse and cat.]

Mono: Monkey

Estar cabreado/a como un mono: To be very angry.
Con la plata baila el mono: With money the monkey dances (anybody can do anything with money).
Tengo el mono: I have withdrawal symptoms.
Ser el último mono de la banasta: To be the runt of the litter.
Hacer el mono: To fool around. / To horse around.
Tengo un mono de …: To be looking forward to …

Conejo: Rabbit

En donde menos se espera, sale el conejo en carrera: Things will happen in the most unexpected places.
Un consejo hasta de un conejo: The worst men often give the best advice.

Pez: Fish

Como pez en el agua: To feel at home doing something. / To be in your element.
El pez por la boca muere: Silence is golden. / Even fish would stay out of trouble if they kept their mouths shut.
El pez que se muerde la cola: A vicious circle / A never-ending circle.
Un pez gordo: A bigwig / hot shot / VIP.
Estar pez (en algo): To know nothing at all about something.

Pájaro: Bird

Más vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
A vista de pájaro: A bird’s-eye view.
De un pájaro, dos alas: Two sides of the same coin.
Eres un pájaro: As sly as a fox.
Cambiarle el agua al pájaro: To go to the toilet / (women say) To powder their nose.
En una mirada a vuelo de pájaro: At first glance / At first sight.
Matar un pájaro de un solo tiro: To kill two birds with the one stone.

Caballo: Horse

A caballo regalado no se le mira el diente/el pelo: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Carrera que no da al caballo, en el cuerpo se la tiene: There’s a lot of race left in that horse.
Enamorada como un caballo: To be head over heels in love.
Tengo ganas de comerme un caballo: I could eat a horse.

 
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