Dreams of Animals

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Dreams of Animals

It was believed by many people in ancient times that animals had dreams. According to Pliny the Elder :

"Evident it is, that horses, dogs, kine, oxen, sheepe and goats, doe dreame. Whereupon it is credibly also thought that all creatures that bring forth their young quicke and living, doe the same. As for those that lay egges, it is not so certian that they dreame; but resolved it is that they doe sleepe."

Beyond veterinary research, there has been little study of the actual dreams of animals. Researchers believe that domestic cats, for example, experience something resembling human dreaming, though they are likely dreaming of "cat" experiences such as attacking prey. Animals, however, do have symbolic meaning in the dreams of humans. For example, dreaming of an alligator may symbolically represent an enemy; dreaming of bees may symbolize that a person is hard-working; a donkey may symbolize that a person is carrying a heavy load, or is subconsciously recognizing his own stupidity; dinosaurs may represent the past or part of a personality that has changed; and a wolf may symbolize fear in oneself. Symbolic meanings vary from source to source.


Ackroyd, Eric. A Dictionary of Dream Symbols. London, England: Blandford, 1993.

Delaney, Gayle M.V. In Your Dreams: Falling, Flying and Other Dream Themes: A New Kind of Dream Dictionary. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1997.

Reidel-Geubtner Virginia and Jo Jean Boushahla. The Dream Dictionary. New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 1992.