Animal Skull Tattoo

20+ Animal Skull Tattoos And Their Meanings

Animal Skull Tattoos

If you are engaged in social media, you may have noticed your scrolling leading you through a variety of animal skull tattoos.

Animal tattoos often speak to a person’s primal side or the qualities they’d like to embody.

With animal skull tattoos, the symbolism may shift.

In the animal kingdom, creatures act on pure instinct.

Survival is what drives them, something that is as much about death as it is about life.

An animal skull tattoo may represent someone who is in touch with and accepting of, life’s natural cycles.

Bear Skull Tattoos

If you’re considering getting a bear skull tattoo, you’ve probably been through something you’re proud of making it through.

Bears are symbolic creatures in many spiritual traditions.

They represent themes of strength, protection, and pride.

Bear Skull Tattoo

They are also often a talisman of choice for mothers, who identify with how fiercely a mother bear protects her young.

Bear skulls as tattoos are a beautiful symbol of rising from challenge with strength and dignity.

These tattoos often come after a significant life experience and hold the sentiment that someone came out the other side.

Bear Skull Tattoo with Flower Tattoo

A bear tattoo can also symbolize the birth/death cycle.

Many creatures hibernate, but a bear is an animal typically associated with this process.

Hibernation is a kind of false death.

It represents how the cycle of life keeps going, even after the fact.

Bear skull tattoos are an excellent choice for people who believe in the afterlife or want to.

Bear Skull Tattoo

While there are many different tattoo designs and many different nuances to consider to land specifically on the design that shows the exact intent of your story, just the idea of getting a bear skull tattoo is a really artful and beautiful way to show your strength.

The main themes that you’ll see are bear skulls that look like they’re roaring, which is a symbol of strength.

Grizzly bear skull tattoos are especially representative of strength, wisdom, and luck in hunting, due to the legends of the Native American tribes.

Polar bear skull tattoos can show everything a regular bear tattoo can exemplify, with the added benefit of showing that you can overcome great adversity without even showing your struggle.

A bear skull tattoo combined with a flower tattoo makes for a beautiful example of regrowth and strength of the skull along with the new era and new life of the floral aspect.

Snake Skull Tattoos

A snake skull tattoo is a tasteful and artful choice for a tattoo design.

A snake skull tattoo has a really poetic double meaning.

The skull aspect can represent death and decay, and the other side of it can represent eternal life (per the Native American tradition and folklore) and wisdom.

So, this tattoo itself has a lot of duality and duplicity.

It’s a pretty classic tattoo motif anyway, and so there’s a lot of flexibility to keep the tattoo classic, even if it has a new twist.

Snake Skeleton Tattoo

A snake skull tattoo is perfect for large pieces connecting with the rest of a snake skeleton or keeping it simple with the snake skull and picking a smaller place and keeping it more personal.

Something really interesting about a snake tattoo is the different meanings it can hold for different people and cultures.

In western culture, a snake is more a symbol of death and rebirth while in other cultures it’s a symbol of healing.

The cobra skull tattoo is a symbol of wisdom and a healthy dose of intimidation, as wearing a venomous beast on your body can have a trophy-like appearance.

Snake Skeleton Tattoo

Snake skull tattoos represent transformation, metamorphosis, and the old version of you coming to a close.

Snake skeletons tattoos can also be symbolic of the fact that even predators meet an eventual end.

There’s a lot of creativity involved with these tattoo designs, which makes them very personal to you.

The snake skull tattoo is a versatile way to show your wisdom and your ancient roots, grounded in history yet always morphing and changing into something else wonderful.

These tattoos are incredibly illustrative to look at

This tattoo design is a poignant reminder that there was life on earth before you, and it will continue after you are gone.

Bull Skull Tattoos

A favorite in the Western American states, the bull skull tattoo is bad-ass.

Bull skulls can represent tenacity, a feeling of charging ahead or “grabbing life by the horns” while you still can.

Bull Skull Tattoo

Bull skulls are popular among Texans, who will sometimes incorporate an American flag or Texas imagery into the design.

Bull skull tattoos are also a unique choice for those born under the sign of Taurus.

Cat Skull Tattoos

Cats have nine lives, or so they say.

There are many mystical superstitions around our feline friends, so a cat tattoo will always have cosmic implications.

A cat skull tattoo is a compelling image.

It doubles down on the magic of a cat on its own.

It says you believe in life after death and that you plan to return to earth in a new form.

It can also be a memorial to a special cat in your life.

Cat Skull Tattoo

Cow Skull Tattoos

This tattoo design can be as elaborate or as simple as you want and it can accommodate any size or budget.

If you’re looking for something small and sweet, a simple cow skull tattoo shape won’t cost too much, take up much space or take too long to apply.

Cow Skull Tattoo

If you’re looking for a statement tattoo piece, there are so many ways to add dimension and interest to the basic cow skull design.

Indigenous peoples used the cow’s skull as a symbol of gratitude and respect for the animal.

Cows are also often associated with maternal instincts.

A cow skull tattoo may be a symbol of motherly love and protection.

Though the design has always been a staple in tattoo culture, it has recently been thrust into the public eye because of Post Malone’s bold neck tattoo, a cow skull with horns that extend along the sides of his neck.

Cow Skull Tattoo

As with any skull tattoo design, cow skull tattoos can symbolize a lack of fear when it comes to death.

Deer Skull Tattoos

Deer have a graceful, spiritual quality.

To successfully hunt an agile deer is a badge of honor for many hunters.

A deer skull tattoo can represent respect for the animal’s grace and the nourishment it provides.

For some, it symbolizes a feeling of dominion over the animal kingdom.

Deer Skull Tattoo

Conversely, deer skull tattoos may represent someone who believes in protecting animals.

In this case, the design may remind of a commitment to a vegan diet or other environmental efforts.

If you are getting a buck skull tattoo, pay attention to the position of the horns.

A buck with its horns up is regal, defiant, and content.

A buck with its horns pointed downward may be ready to fight.

What’s your stance?

Dog Skull Tattoos

In many ancient spiritual traditions, a dog stands guard on the other side.

A dog skull tattoo may symbolize the spiritual transition between life and death.

You may have a curiosity about what awaits you, and choose this design to represent that feeling.

Being a common symbol of loyalty, dogs can also represent your devotion to someone on the other side.

Similar to the cat skull designs above, dog skull tattoos can be an interesting pet memorial piece.

Dog Skull Tattoo

Elephant Skull Tattoos

Elephant tattoos often symbolize divinity on earth.

Baring all of its beauty, the elephant skull tattoo is a powerful image of all that makes them unique. 

The most obvious meaning behind an elephant skull tattoo is mortality.

Because of their spiritual implications and large, powerful stature, the elephant skull tattoo design represents fearlessness.

Elephant Skull Tattoo

You know death is an inevitable part of life, and you are ready to face it head-on.

An elephant skull tattoo fits perfectly on limbs, due to its long, slender face.

From a statement tattoo piece on the side of the leg to a smaller design on your inner arm, your elephant skull is an extremely personal image you will feel connected to.

Fox Skull Tattoos

The fox is a universal symbol of cunning and mischievous acts.

Wearing a fox tattoo often means that you’re something of a trickster- or at the very least more than meets the eye.

A fox skull tattoo may represent your desire to be in control of that side of yourself.

It can also symbolize someone who “cheats death” on the regular- in other words, it’s a fantastic design for daredevils.

Fox Skull Tattoo

Lion Skull Tattoos

Undeniably strong in the most innate and pure form, a lion skull tattoo is a big statement.

A regular lion tattoo focuses on the strokes and texture of its fur, whilst a skull tattoo cannot rely upon any form of conventional beauty.

Lion Skull Tattoo

Rather, the lion skull tattoo reaches within to show the mechanisms of the lion.

Many lion skull tattoos show the lion mid-roar, frozen in time and showing us their spirit from a more vulnerable angle.

Whilst the lion skull is a tattoo with enough imagery to provoke a discussion for many hours at a party, the tattoo can be further designed by color and style. 

Watercolor tattoo designs are a popular choice for those who want color without it being cartoonish.

The lion skull tattoo represents familial ties through its innate behavior.

Lion Skull Tattoo

Like all animal skull tattoos, death is arguably the most obvious meaning.

However, this does not necessarily mean a lion skull tattoo is a bleak reflection on the loss of life.

Lion Skull Tattoo

The lively lion expression as a skull combines the activeness of life and the physical effects of death.

By integrating the two, the lion skull tattoo becomes a statement that life and death exist hand-in-hand. 

Goat Skull Tattoos

Goats are defiant.

They don’t follow the rules, and most actions they make are for their own gain.

They’re tough little guys.

The earliest farmers caught onto this, and many passages in the Bible pit sheep against goats.

Sheep being the docile believers, and goats being the troublemakers.

Goat skull tattoos are a popular choice for rebels, occultists, and rebellious occultists.

This design is often a playful image or political statement, especially for those who lobby for a greater separation between church and state.

Goat Skull Tattoo
Goat Skull Tattoo

Horse Skull Tattoos

Horses represent a wild, untamed spirit.

They can also symbolize death or apocalyptic themes a la the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

A horse skull tattoo may stand for your desire to live free while you’re on earth.

You don’t want to be bound up or shackled down by commitments or conventions.

Horse Skull Tattoo

Ram Skull Tattoos

A ram’s large, imposing horns make for an epic tattoo design.

And sometimes, that’s all there is to it.

Other interpretations may be power, leadership, and fearlessness.

It means that, in your time on earth, you are going to charge forward without reservation.

And people had better make way.

Ram Skull Tattoo

Wolf Skull Tattoos

Wolf tattoos symbolize leadership abilities, keen hunting skills, and a sense of community.

These qualities earn them a great deal of respect, especially in Indigenous people’s belief systems.

The wolf skull may represent the idea of a spiritual guide, having a creature from another plane who protects and walks with you.

Having a wolf skull tattoo may symbolize the desire for spiritual guidance or protection as you transition from life to death.

The wolf skull tattoo suggests the experience of the afterlife, injecting a sense of assurance and power beyond our own physical being.

The tattoo proves that we can overcome the darkest times with our own strength. 

Wolf Skull Tattoo

In other words, your wolf skull tattoo may reveal more of your true core than you think, making it a raw, genuine representation of you. 

A wolf skull howling tattoo could be a reminder for you both that loneliness is a temporary feeling and the connection can withstand whatever may get in our way physically.

If you wish for color, but not too much, flower tattoos can bring some brightness without having to compromise the black and white of the wolf skull.

Tiger Skull Tattoos

Tiger tattoos are a popular motif in tattoos that evoke masculinity, strength, and raw power.

A tiger skull tattoo may, like others above, symbolize a feeling of defiance when it comes to death.

You aren’t afraid to meet your mortality, and you plan to go down swinging.

Tiger Skull Tattoo
Tiger Skull Tattoo

Saber Tooth Tiger Skull Tattoos

Saber-tooth tigers are extinct, but their memory lives on due to their distinct aesthetic.

Like the tiger above, the saber tooth tiger tattoos represent strength.

Because of their extinction, however, they also have a legendary quality.

The saber-tooth is almost like a comic book character in that it’s a fearsome creature we have to see in our mind’s eye.

Saber-tooth tiger skull tattoos may represent wanting to live on as a legend after your time.

Or it may just be a tattoo that looks cool to you.

Saber Tooth Tiger Skull Tattoo
Saber Tooth Tiger Skull Tattoo

Bird Skull Tattoos

It’s hard to say what contributed to the bird skull tattoo becoming such a popular design, but it’s probably an amalgamation of several factors:

Skulls are a tattoo staple but everyone wants their ink to be original.

We have a fascination with birds, and will often get wings or birds as tattoos to pay homage to that fascination.

All in all, it seems to be a symbolism of death, freedom of the soul, and the freedom that comes from accepting your fate.

There are no rules, but bird skull tattoos tend to be presented in a black pen and ink style.

Bird skull tattoos are an aesthetically pleasing and slightly dream-like design that can be incorporated into other tattoo symbols or left to stand on their own.

The bird skull tattoo is full of meaning, power, and almost all of them symbolize a deeper meaning of life, valuable courage, and the power to rise again after any trouble that might destabilize their balance.

Owl Skull Tattoos

Owls and skulls are compatible tattoo motifs.

The owl tattoo represents nocturnal instincts, wisdom, and psychic abilities, which, paired with the skull tattoo, implies a belief in the “other side.”.

An owl skull tattoo symbolizes a knowingness beyond the mundane.

A person with an owl skull tattoo may be interested in metaphysical or spiritual studies, someone who wants to take a peek behind the curtain.

The design of the owl tattoo can be done in multiple forms, starting with the owl’s eyes, the owl’s head, or the whole bird, and it can be personalized in any color.

Owl Skull Tattoo

Hummingbird Skull Tattoos

On the bright side of bird skull tattoos, the hummingbird is a colorful symbol of joy, good luck, happiness, and consciousness.

The small bird is known for its independence, always traveling alone, and for its resilience despite the apparently insignificant size.

Hummingbird tattoos are used to emphasize the beautiful aspects of life in a variety of ways.

In terms of design, the image of the hummingbird skull can be integrated into any type of tattoo story, and it looks good on almost any body part.

For those who want to capture the whole image of the bird, the addition of color is a good idea, as the hummingbird is full of bright colors.

Hummingbird Skull Tattoo

Vulture Skull Tattoos

One of the most powerful birds of the animal kingdom, the vulture image reveals trust, the ability to rise, intelligence, and guardianship.

Many times the vulture is seen as a messenger at the border between life and death, between the known and the unknown, between the mythical and the physical.

The vulture skull tattoo design is most often tattooed in black and white with many designs including other tattoo motifs, like rose tattoos or snake tattoos.

Other designs include the whole bird, in its natural colors and with an accent on its powerful, deep eyes.

Vulture tattoos are an inspired idea for body areas like the chest, back, or limbs.

Vulture Skull Tattoo
Vulture Skull Tattoo

Flamingo Skull Tattoos

Flamingo birds are known for their special appearance and their out-of-the-ordinary color pink.

Most often, these birds symbolize harmony, getting in touch with the emotions from the inside, but also having fun, enjoying life and everything it has to offer.

By their nature, flamingos are not solitary birds, and they represent very well the need to connect, socialize and coexist.

In terms of tattoo design, the flamingo skull can be associated with its unique color: pink, or remain black and white.

Tattoo ideas involving flamingo skull almost always include the whole image of the bird and can be combined with the image of the ocean or sand.

Flamingo Skull Tattoo

Eagle Skull Tattoos

The eagle goes above every other bird as it can fly higher than all of them and it has a deeper meaning of power, connection with the unseen, freedom, and courage.

Choosing a tattoo of the eagle means wanting to go further than the limits, wanting to break free, or to go where no one has gone before.

The eagle skull tattoo designs stand out because of the unique appearance of the head, especially the peak and can be associated with colors like grey, black or white, the natural colors of the bird.

Eagle tattoos are a good fit for any body part as they carry a deep meaning.

Eagle Skull Tattoo

Hawk Skull Tattoos

The hawk is a powerful symbol in Native American culture, and it is known for its strength, focus, and spirituality.

The hawk is a spiritual animal and it is associated with the power to lead when the time is appropriate.

Its vision can see beyond the palpable things, but the hawk also can observe everything that surrounds him.

The tattoo designs of the hawk’s skull involve simple lines and are easy to integrate into a wider, deeper tattoo sequence.

The best colors that fit the hawk’s tattoo are black and brown.

Hawk Skull Tattoo
Hawk Skull Tattoo

Raven Skull Tattoos

Similar to the owl tattoo, ravens are very compatible with skulls.

Raven tattoos are often associated with death, loss, and grief.

Because they can speak, a raven can imply themes of prophecy, mediumship, and second sight.

A raven skull tattoo may be a suitable memorial, and many people get tattoos as a way to work through their grief.

The raven skull tattoo is also an ideal tattoo design for someone who has a connection with the other side.

The raven is one of the most meaningful bird tattoos and it has not only been used in famous poems, but also in movies and songs.

Tattoos involving the raven are often colorized in deep blue or black and are mixed with other tattoo motifs related to magic and mysticism like the moon tattoo, rose tattoo, or tree tattoos.

Raven tattoos are most often chosen for arms or back.

Raven Skull Tattoo

Pelican Skull Tattoos

The pelican symbol is derived from an ancient legend that says the mother pelican cut her own breast with its peak in order to feed its babies with the blood.

The legend makes the pelican bird one of the masters of sacrifice, pure love, and devotion.

These exact qualities make the pelican to be associated with God, and its symbol represents true love.

Pelican tattoos, either the skull or the whole bird can be used to represent the love of parents or for parents, the capacity to sacrifice, and loyalty.

The pelican can be integrated into tattoos that represent romantic love or family.

Pelican Skull Tattoo
Pelican Skull Tattoo

Crow Skull Tattoos

The main symbol of the crow is the power of change.

Crows are related to the change of weather and on a deeper meaning to the change and transitions in life.

Crow tattoos can represent the destiny of life, magic and mystery, and also a higher form of intelligence.

Crows are perceived as being tricky, crafty, but always courageous.

The crow skull images and drawings are most often used in tattoos simply, without any other elements, inked in black.

In a few instances, crow skull tattoos are depicted with feather tattoos, sunflower tattoos, or other symbols of nature tattoos.

Crow Skull Tattoo
Crow Skull Tattoo


Animal skull tattoos have an array of meanings and emotions attached to them, making them ever-popular amongst tattoo fanatics and first-timers alike. 

From strength and power to vulnerability and the ethereal, animal and bird skull tattoos are incredibly versatile tattoo designs that have no one set meaning.

This leads to many visual and mental interpretations. 

Other prominent meanings include protection, belonging, loyalty, guidance, and leadership.

Therefore, the animals and birds are examples of knowledge and comfort, fearless in even its most fragile, undressed form (the skull).

Consequently, tattoo designers and their clients have imagined (and re-imagined) the style of animal skull tattoos by incorporating different artistic styles and objects. 

They prove perfect as statement tattoo art on a large surface of the body, too. 

Related posts: