In this week’s Pray section, a story tells of families from New Jersey who will sleep in buildings at the Philadelphia Zoo as a cost-cutting measure on a trip to hear Pope Francis.

The zoo buildings house insects and birds.

Will any of those critters they are sharing quarters with be ones that are named in the Bible?

While we don’t know the specific animals at the zoo, has a list of biblical animals on the Catholic Encyclopedia site.

In Scripture, birds are given generic terms — birds and fowl. Insects weren’t a group of their own though. Flying insects would have been viewed as birds, and ground bugs would have been in other groups.

Here is a list of some of the birds and insects on the list and Bible references. (Yes, some of the insects aren’t actually insects. They are buggy though.)

Visit to see the list of not only insects and birds, but all animals from Scripture .

Insects (and others)

ANT: Proverbs 6:6 and 30:25

BEE: We are told that the Promised Land flowed with milk and honey. And where there is honey, there are bees. Genesis 43:11, Exodus 3:8, 1 Samuel 14:25, Judges 14:8 and Ezekiel 27:17. The Catholic Encyclopedia adds, “Deborah, the Hebrew name for bee, was a favourite name for women.”

BEETLE: Leviticus 11:22 and Jeremiah 51:14-27

CRICKET: Deuteronomy 28:42

FLEA: 1 Samuel 26:20 indicating the most insignificant cause of trouble that may befall a man.

GNAT: Exodus 8:16-17. Some translations call it a mosquito.

GRASSHOPPER and LOCUST: Leviticus 11:22, Numbers 13:33, Isaiah 40:22

HORNET: Exodus 23:28, Deuteronomy 7:20, Joshua 24:12

SPIDER: Job 8:14; Isaiah 59:5


COCK, HEN: In Matthew 23:37, Jesus Christ compared his care for Jerusalem to that of a hen for her brood. Then in Mark 14, Luke 22, and John 13 and 18, a rooster crowing played a large role in Peter’s denial of Jesus.

CORMORANT: Leviticus 11:17 and Deuteronomy 14:17

DOVE: The dove is the most mentioned bird in Scripture, appearing more than 50 times. The first reference is in the story of Noah and the flood (Genesis 8:8-12). In Luke 2:22-24, it was the sacrifice that Mary and Joseph made for Jesus’ purification at the Temple. And a dove is the form that the Holy Spirit took in the Gospels at the baptism of Jesus.

EAGLE: The Catholic Encyclopedia says, “It seems even probable that the Hebrews did not distinguish very carefully these different large birds of prey, and that all are spoken of as though they were of one kind.” Four species of eagles were known to live in Palestine. A popular memory verse is Isaiah 40:31; “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

HAWK: In the Bible, this includes the falcon and all the smaller birds of prey. Leviticus 11:16 and Job 39:26

OWL: Isaiah 34:11-15

PARTRIDGE: 1 Samuel 26:20 and Jeremiah 17:11

PEACOCK: 1 Kings 10:22 and 2 Chronicles 9:21 indicate peacocks were imported, probably from India.

PELICAN: Psalm 102:6

QUAIL: Quail was one of the foods God provided to his people. Exodus 16:11-13