Learn IELTS Vocabulary: Animals
Animals have proved a popular IELTS Speaking topic over the years.
The following questions are all followed by model answers. Pay close attention to the words you don’t know and the words in bold. Definitions for the words in bold appear at the end of the page.
Before reading the model answers, you might like to download this free PDF quiz and have a go at completing the blanks.
Part 1-style questions
Examiner: Do you like animals?
Candidate: It depends on what kind of animal we are talking about. I like farm animals – the kind you encounter when having a walk in rural areas. Lambing is an extraordinary time of the year – and I love to see the lambs suckling up to their mothers.
Examiner: What kind of animal would you like to have as a pet?
Candidate: I love dogs. In fact, I have a dog that I got from an animal shelter. It had been a stray, so even though it was no longer a puppy, It needed to be house-trained. I love dogs because they are very companionable and obey commands like “Sit!” “Heel!” or “Fetch!”
Examiner: What animal don’t you like?
Candidate: I don’t like exotic pets. Snakes scare me to death. I don’t like the way they slither around; I always think they might try to sink their fangs into me or wrap themselves around me.
Describe an interesting animal you have seen.
You should say:
— where you saw it
— what the animal looked like
— what happened
and explain why you think the animal was interesting.
There aren’t many large cats roaming wild in Europe, but I once saw one in the Scottish highlands!
It was a Scottish wildcat. It looks similar to a large tabby cat, but its tail is thicker and has a blunt tip with black stripes. Scotland has mosaics of well-hedged farmland – which is precisely the kind of territory wildcats prefer.
They are fairly shy animals and have been on the brink of extinction for a while. Because of this, conservationists have bred them in captivity and have been slowly releasing them into the wild. A lot of farmers complained initially, but they have only really posed a threat to free-range chickens. In fact, they have proved useful in reducing populations of pests such as rabbits and rodents, their favoured prey.
Wildcats cannot be tamed under any circumstances. This is very special.
In Scotland, there has been a high degree of hybridisation with domestic cats – which is how I met one. A male wildcat was showing an interest in my pet tabby!
Part 3-style questions
Examiner: How can animals cause problems for humans? [Evaluate]
Candidate: They only really pose a problem when they pose a threat to our safety or hunt animals we herd. The wildcat I mentioned earlier is very shy, but it was hunted by farmers who felt they posed a threat to their livestock.
Examiner: What kind of animals do people keep as pets in your country? [Identify]
Candidate: In my country, many people keep birds – for example, parrots or budgies. They keep them in a cage, and sometimes they even take them for walks. At times they are allowed to fly free within an apartment – but you have to make sure you keep all the windows closed, or they may escape.
Examiner: Do you think animals will still be important in the future?[Predict]
Candidate: Absolutely – they are essential for a balanced ecosystem. It’s a tragedy that we have pushed many animals into extinction. Maybe in the future, we can start to bring some of them back with cloning technology.
Definitions for IELTS Achievement Vocabulary
Lambing — the time of year when baby sheep (lambs) are born
suckling up — getting close to a breast to drink milk
an animal shelter — a home where unwanted ore homeless animals are looked after
a stray — a pet that has become homeless
a puppy — a baby dog
house-trained — an animal that has been trained to go outside when it needs the toilet
companionable — friendly and sociable
exotic — something that is interesting or exciting because it comes from a faraway place
slither — move smoothly over a surface like a snake
fangs — large sharp teeth
roaming — to move or travel without any particular purpose
a tabby — a grey or brownish cat with stripes
blunt — not sharp
a mosaic — a picture or pattern made by placing small pieces of stone or tile together
well-hedged — an adjective describing an area that has been enclosed with hedges or small shrubs
brink of extinction — when there are only very few of a living thing left
breed in captivity — making an animal pregnant and bringing up the babies in a controlled environment
free-range chicken — a chicken that is allowed to roam around a field freely
a pest — an insect or other animal that attacks and damages things
a rodent — a type of small animal that has long sharp front teeth, for example, a mouse
to prey — an animal that is caught by another animal and eaten
to tame — to make an animal feel comfortable around humans and responsive to their commands
hybridisation — the process of breeding one type of animal or plant with another type
domestic — not wild
to herd — to make a group of animals move together to another place
livestock — animals such as cows, sheep, and pigs that are kept on farms
a budgie — a small bright blue, green, or yellow bird often kept as a pet
an ecosystem — a community of living things that interacts
cloning technology — technology that allows you to the DNA of a living thing to create an exact copy
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