It isn’t easy navigating through the jungle of ink ideas out there. Fortunately, it’s hard to go wrong with a traditional animal tattoo piece.
Ever since the dawn of time mankind has been gracing the earth alongside countless living creatures.
From fish deep in the blue ocean seas to the pets napping on the carpet our own homes, every animal serves as a remind of our connection to nature and the great outdoors.
Interestingly enough, scientists have found species dating back some 542 million years ago. Aside from the phyla, others have found early sponges in the 665-million year ago rocks found at the Trezona Formation and West Central Flinders.
Perhaps it explains why neurons throughout the amygdala of our brains tend to respond more positively to imagery of animals when compared to buildings and people. While it might be easy to associate it with survival at first, the results from the studies were the same for both dangerous and gentle creatures alike.
Yet, when it comes to tattoos, it’s quite easy to understand why animals remain popular choices for all sorts of gentlemen. In reality, there’s just so many pick from including tigers, lions, frogs, and birds among others. All of which come with their owning meaning and symbolism.
Regardless of which you choose, I’m sure you’ll enjoy these top 100 best animal tattoos for men below. In this cool collection of masculine ink designs you’ll find plenty of inspiration teeming with liveliness.
1. Forearm Animal Tattoos
When considering a new piece of ink, the placement of a tattoo is just as important as the design. In the same way that you wouldn’t put a chandelier in a two car garage, where a tattoo is located goes a long way in terms of the overall appeal of a piece. One location that has grown more popular in the past decade is the forearm.
In the past, the outside forearm was a common place to find simple American traditional designs, like swallows, roses or hearts, however in more recent times the range of designs and concepts that can be applied to the forearm has exploded. As these striking animal inspired designs demonstrate, any number of styles and approaches—from photo-realistic black and gray designs to stylized pieces that use vibrant colors—can be successfully applied to the forearm.
2. Bicep Animal Tattoos
The bicep has been a common location for tattoos for centuries and maintains appeal to this day. There are a couple of reasons that the bicep is such a popular location, the first being the larger size of this portion of the arm in comparison to the forearm. Thanks to this size, the bicep is better suited than the forearm for larger designs.
The upper arm is also popular because of the discretion that it provides the wearer in regards to when the tattoo is visible. There is little chance of anyone catching a glimpse of a bicep piece while at the office, but at the gym or the beach, these tattoos will be on full display. The prominent musculature of the bicep also helps make it a popular location, especially for these untamed animal tattoos.
3. Arm Animal Tattoos
People have been inking their arms for as long as they have been getting tattoos, and it makes sense. First of all, the arms are always in view, providing the wearer ample opportunity to display their ink, and thanks to the variety of modern wardrobe options the discerning tattoo enthusiast can choose who and who doesn’t get to see their tattoos. There is also a deeper philosophical significance that can be considered. The arms are how we interact with the world, from filing taxes to taking shots; it only makes sense that we would choose to decorate them.
4. Chest Animal Tattoos
Another historically popular location for tattoos is the chest. This is for a number of reasons, the first of which is the large size of the chest. The broad, flat expanse of skin is perfectly suited for large vibrant designs, as these striking animal tattoos demonstrate.
The other, deeper appeal of chest tattoos has to do with the location of the human heart. There are few ways to establish a more instantly recognizable and profound significance than by placing an image or word above the heart. For this reason it is not uncommon to see loved ones’ names, portraits or inspirational quotes on the chest, and the fact that these animal pieces are placed over the heart prove just how important they are to the wearers.
5. Back Animal Tattoos
While the back is not necessarily the most popular place to get tattoos, the breath taking effect of seeing a large, detailed back piece is undeniable. While many people associate large, cohesive back pieces with traditional Japanese irezumi, the variety of styles and approaches that different artists use for these large designs show that there is a back design for everyone.
The back is by far the largest of all the canvases on the human body, and because of this it is perfectly suited for stunning animal inspired designs. The amount of detail that can be achieved is impressive and the opportunities to incorporate vibrant colors guarantee that these designs will turn heads for years to come.
6. Animal Thigh Tattoos
The thigh has become a popular place for tattoos in recent years and it is no surprise why. The upper leg is a great choice for tattoos thanks to its larger size in comparison to other parts of the leg like the ankle and calf. This larger size means that more and more people are choosing to get big designs that take up the entire thigh, to great effect.
Some people choose to get pieces on the side of their thigh, running up their leg and finishing near the waist band, while others use a forward facing placement that makes for a striking appearance when viewed from the front. The prominent musculature of the thigh can also provide a talented artist several natural lines to incorporate into the design.
7. Sleeve Animal Tattoos
Some people choose to get small and medium sized tattoos over the course of years, slowly filling in space with filler pieces and background designs to complete their sleeve. Other people use their entire arm as the canvas for one, massive design that runs the length of the whole limb.
Whatever strategy is used—or some mix of both—the full sleeve has continued to gain popularity over the last twenty years, and it’s no surprise why. The different muscle groups in the arm provide the artist a plethora of natural lines that can be utilized in a design to help draw the eye up and down the entire arm and create a more dynamic tattoo. Full sleeves are perfectly suited for these unique, animal inspired tattoos.
8. Neck Animal Tattoos
In the past neck tattoos were reserved for criminals and bikers, but thanks to the growing popularity and changing attitudes about ink, it is likely you know a friend or acquaintance with one. While neck tattoos are gaining popularity, they are still usually one of the last places people get tattoos and serious thought should be given before taking the neck tattoo plunge.
That being said, these animal designs show off just how appealing these tattoos can be. Whether on the side of the neck or facing forward on the throat; color or black and gray; neck tattoos are guaranteed to turn heads and elicit gasps everywhere you go.
9. Elbow Animal Tattoos
Another location for tattoos that has outgrown its clichéd outlaw past is the elbow. Twenty years ago just about the only tattoo design that you would see on an elbow would be a spider web, carrying strong connections to the prison tattoo sub-culture. Nowadays elbow tattoos are limited only by the skill of the artist and the imagination of the client.
One popular trend for elbow tattoos—on the inside and outside of the elbow—incorporates the movement of the joint into the design of the tattoo. The elbow also provides the wearer with a considerable amount of discretion regarding the tattoos visibility thanks to the relatively high placement on the arm.
10. Stomach and Side Animal Tattoos
In recent years the side of the body has become a more popular location to get tattoos for a few reasons. First of all, the side of the torso is a large canvas; depending on the proportions of the individual, often times the torso is only surpassed by the back for available skin.
The side of the torso is also interesting thanks to the variety of lines and shapes in the different parts of the body. From below the waist band, over the stomach and abdomen, across the rib cage and into the arm pit: this diverse range of muscles, bones and skin can help a skilled artist make a more interesting and dynamic tattoo. Finally, the powerful significance of having a lion “on your side” is undeniable.
11. 3D Animal Tattoos
The boundaries of what is possible in the world of tattooing are constantly being pushed. Thanks to the thousands of skilled and dedicated artists that are constantly redefining the limits of the medium there are new styles and trends debuting daily around the world.
One of these developments is achieving the effect of three dimensions thanks to some clever techniques and tricks. Through the use of drop shadows and forced perspective these talented artists are able create tattoos that give the impression of resting above the skin, while others use forced perspective to create an effect of being able to climb into a design. While this strategy can be applied to any number of subjects and designs, it is perfectly suited for these savage animal tattoos.
12. Shoulder Animal Tattoos
The shoulder has maintained its popularity for tattoo placement over the decades, but over the years the stereotypical flash images of hearts and “mom” tattoos have been replaced by innovative designs covering a broad range of subjects and concepts. One reason that the shoulder continues to be a popular choice for tattoo placement is the well-defined musculature of the area.
The large size of the shoulder means bigger designs that would be cramped and inappropriate on the forearm can be applied. The shoulder is also a great option thanks to the ease with which a shoulder piece can be incorporated into a bicep piece—or even full sleeve—further down the line. These animal inspired pieces demonstrate just how effectively tattoos can be applied to the shoulder.
13. Animal Leg Tattoos
The legs contain some of the largest muscles in the entire body, and because of this leg tattoos have been growing more and more popular. The variety of natural musculature in the legs—from the ankle and calves all the way up the thigh into the waist—provide artists a number of lines to utilize when designing a tattoo. The roles the legs play as the foundation of the human body also give these tattoos a deeper significance.
Click on the links below for more awesome animal tattoo galleries:
- Animal Tribal Tattoo Ideas
- Animal Skull Tattoo Designs
- Top 63 Lion Sleeve Tattoo Designs
- Geometric Animal Tattoo Ideas