10 Funny Spanish Idioms With Animals

Cuando el gato no està los ratones bailan

Here’s a phrase which has a similar counterpart in English. The translation is “when the cat’s away the mice dance”. In English the mice only get to play.

Estar como una cabra

When somebody is doing something weird. The literal translation is “to be like a goat,” and the English equivalent is saying someone is a little nuts or crazy.

Tener un humor de perros

It is literally translated as “to have a mood of dogs,” and it means to be in a bad mood.

Dormir como una marmota

Literally means “to sleep like a marmot”. A deep and peaceful sleep might be described as “to sleep like a log” in English.

No hay perro ni gato que no lo sepa

It translates to “there’s no dog or cat that doesn’t know it”. Another animal based idiom to describe “common knowledge” is “eso lo sabe hasta el gato”, which literally means “even the cat knows that”.

Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente

Literally means “the shrimp that sleeps is carried away by the current”. One equivalent phrase in English is “you snooze, you lose”.

Armar màs ruido que un buey por un tejado

The translation is “to make more noise than an ox on a roof”. The closest English idiom is “like a bull in a china shop”.

Ser más pobre que una rata

Which translates to “to be poorer than a rat”. A needy person may be said to be “as poor as a church mouse”.

Ir a paso de tortuga

The translation is “walk as a turtle”. In English we say “to proceed at a snail’s pace”.

Comer como un oso

In English we describe a voracious eater as someone who “eats like a pig”. In Spanish the animal of comparison is a bear.