40 Incredible Mammal Tattoo Ideas for Men & Women in 2023

As humans, we have a special affinity with our fellow mammals. Many of our most-beloved animals are mammals: dogs, cats, bears, and primates. They can be cute and furry like a fox. They can be intimidating like a gorilla. Or they can even achieve our dream to live under the sea like a dolphin. So it’s no surprise that people love to get these animals tattooed on them, they’re awesome!

But before you go and get your own mammal tattoo, let us help guide you in choosing the perfect piece of ink. Below we’ll show you the most amazing, most trendy, and best-looking mammal tattoo ideas of 2023. You’ll surely be inspired with the perfect idea of which tattoo style to get, as well as where to get tattooed on your body.

With that said, let’s begin. 

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 1

Large Watercolor Gorilla Thigh Tattoo

There is so much to love about this tattoo. Firstly, the Watercolor is stylish and at first glance, your mind doesn’t fully comprehend that this is a watercolor design. The size of this tattoo fits perfectly on the thigh and doesn’t go too far down onto the knee. It takes genuine skill to perfectly execute this style so kudos to the artist for a wonderful tattoo.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 2

Hyper Realistic Panda Tattoo

The negative bamboo leaves frame this tattoo and create a nice contrast against all the black. There’s something quite sad about the look in the panda’s eyes; maybe he doesn’t like being in a cage, but then again, what wild animal wants to be caged? Luckily it’s just a tattoo, so no pandas were harmed in the making of this fantastic piece.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 3

Witcher-Inspired Black and Gray Wolf Forearm Tattoo

Any fans of the Witcher out there? If you didn’t know, the symbols floating around the wolf are power signs that Witchers use when fighting monsters. It’s clear this client is a huge fan if they are willing to dedicate their skin to this design. I love how good the line work is and the way the fur flows like waves. At least the tattoo is in a spot where it can be shown off. I would definitely want everyone to see it!

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 4

Custom Black and Gray Jaguar Tattoo

Jaguars are extremely powerful animals and the fact that this woman got one tattooed is definitely a power move. The lack of solid lines is pleasing and complements the design and the soft shading. I enjoy the wispy abstract lines coming off the jaguar; it almost looks like smoke and adds motion to this piece. All in all, the design suits the area it was tattooed. This is a great source of inspiration for your next tattoo.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 5

Beautiful Crocodile and Elephant Thigh Tattoo

That crocodile is terrifying but really nicely executed. It’s hard to put my finger on the exact style of this tattoo but it’s clear there are elements of geometric, black and gray, floral, and dotwork. I like how soft the shading is in the elephant; it contrasts with the dark shading in the crocodile. There must be a significant story behind this tattoo because the choice of animals is very different; one is a predator and the other prey.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 6

Micro Fineline Elephant Tattoo on Calf

The line work in this tattoo is solid while the shading is subtle. I love how much fun this elephant is having and how the artist managed to capture the water splashes even though the tattoo is small and doesn’t allow for much detail. If you love elephants and want something small, this is a great design to draw inspiration from.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 7

Sketch Bull Arm Tattoo

The great thing about sketch tattoos is the fact that they’re imperfectly done on purpose. This piece looks like it was drawn on the client’s skin. It’s clear that the artist used whip shading to produce the effect they wanted with this tattoo and I believe they did an amazing job at capturing the motion of the bull. Adding white highlights to the open spaces was genius; it creates an almost paintbrush-stroke appearance. There’s no doubt the artist knew what they were doing. From placement to execution, this is an all-around beautiful piece of artwork.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 8

Fineline Realistic Bunny Sitting Among Flowers Tattoo

Perfectly accentuated with flowers, this Fineline realistic rabbit tattoo is a lovely addition to this client’s forearm. I love the highlight in its eye and the open spaces used to create the illusion of lighter patches of fur. Flowers often give off the impression of femininity but I think anyone could rock this tattoo. The artist showcased great skill and patience; imagine how long it took to do all that fur.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 9

Screaming Geometric Gorilla Head Tattoo on Thigh

This one is very pleasing to the eye because everything is so symmetrical with the lines being almost perfect. The shading is nice and consistent but I feel it could be a little bit darker. Other than that, the placement is excellent and I’m quite fond of the bamboo embellishing the gorilla’s head.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 10

Blackwork Floral Skull and Nature Scene Tattoo on Side of Thigh

Some Native American tribes associate the bull skull with lifelong protection from natural elements while in many western cultures, it’s considered an omen of death. I like the addition of flowers as they add contrast between death and rebirth. The mountain scene in the middle of the skull is well done and creates a focal point for this busy tattoo.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 11

Micro Realistic Deer Skull Back Tattoo

It amazes me that there are artists with the skill to create the illusion of gold out of different shades of yellow and brown. How extraordinary is that drip? The golden hues contrast perfectly with the black deer skull and the subtle highlights in both the gold and skull are unquestionably superb.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 12

Black and Gray Ornamental Deer Tattoo over Woman’s Triceps

Adding a frame to a design is always pretty and gives any tattoo a feminine touch. I like how the artist overlapped the frame with the deer’s antlers; it brings it to the foreground and almost gives off the feeling that the deer is coming out of the frame toward you. The subtle shading is ideal for this piece. I truly enjoy tricep tattoos and this one fits the size and shape of the client’s arm flawlessly.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 13

Abstract Bear Fineline Shoulder Tattoo

The flow of this tattoo is amazing; it looks like the bear is walking off of the client’s shoulder. I love the graceful strokes of red and black. They add a unique flair and remind me of how Kitsune tattoos are designed. The whip shading in the legs is a pleasant addition and breaks away from this piece becoming a Fineline tattoo.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 14

Realistic Panda Eating Bamboo Tattoo

Micro realistic tattoos are very much on the rise and there are so many great artists offering this style of realism. The only issue with realistic tattoos is that they are quite vulnerable to fading. Regardless of fading, this tattoo is solid. The element that really pops is the amazing texture of the fur. The touch of green contrasts with all the black and gray and is a good choice on the artist’s part.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 15

Minimalist Elephant Line Work Tattoo on Upper Back

The line work in this tattoo is consistent but there is one line that is slightly jagged. However you’d have to stare at it for a very long time to notice. I really like the Sak Yant incorporated into this design as it blends well with the line work. Well done to the artist for pulling this tattoo off; fine lines can be extremely difficult.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 16

Cute Minimalistic Elephant Tattoo on Lower Calf

Is this not the most adorable tattoo you’ve ever seen? The flowers are too cute for words and the contrast between the solid black and the dotwork shading makes each flower stand out. I feel as though this tattoo should have been placed somewhere with less space but maybe the client is planning on doing more to this leg in the future. Either way, the artist did a fantastic job with their line work and the addition of white was a lovely idea.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 17

Matching Linework Elephant Tattoos on Wrist

Another Linework elephant tattoo; his time there are two of them. I love how they’re looking at each other. These definitely fit the criteria of the sketch style but are also very minimalistic. The Linework is smooth and I really like the variations in line weight. If single-line tattoos are your thing and you’re looking for matching tattoo inspiration, here’s the inspiration you’ve been looking for.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 18

A Sketch Style Small Dog Tattoo on Side of Calf

Sometimes you want something simple that fully embodies your idea. The artist did a wonderful job at customizing this sketch tattoo using both bold and fine sketchy lines and minimal shading to capture the client’s vision.
Placing this piece on the side of the leg was a brilliant choice as it’s a nice flat area to tattoo and the client will be able to show off their new ink easily.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 19

Cute Kitty Dotwork Tattoo on Forearm

This is possibly the cutest Dotwork tattoo I’ve seen in a while. Is it a cat in a jar or a cat made out of a jar? Who knows? One thing is for sure, the artist went above and beyond by creating a piece that used barely any lines and mostly pepper shading to encompass the design. It’s quite a light tattoo so hopefully it stands the test of time.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 20

Single Needle Realistic Horse and Butterflies Tattoo on Forearm

Nick is an artist based in New York, U.S.A, who specializes in micro-realism tattoos. He created this fine piece of art with a single needle which is quite impressive. The butterflies were a sweet touch and add a bit of femininity to this tattoo alongside the different tones of gray and softness in the shading. I love the placement on the forearm and wonder if this is a portrait of the client’s pet horse or if they just really like horses.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 21

Unique Half-Sleeve Black and Gray Deer Tattoo on Forearm

The double exposure in this piece is outstanding and something you don’t see every day. While this is quite a busy tattoo, it’s not messy and the attention to detail in each element is remarkable. I would love to know if this tattoo has a symbolic meaning to the client. Altogether this is a phenomenal tattoo.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 22

Realistic Black and Gray Bull Tattoo on Forearm

Who would’ve thought a bull could be considered cute? It must be the silky shading or pretty flowers adorning it. After all, they’re a symbol of strength and virility. I like the contrast between the lightness of the flowers and the dark shading of the bull. It really makes the flowers pop. The only thing I would’ve changed about this tattoo are the horns that appear flat as there’s no texture.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 23

Stunning Taurus Sketch Tattoo on Outer Forearm

This one is perfect for all you Tauruses out there. Many people like to get their star sign inked but it’s often fairly simple and boring. This is a great choice if you’re looking for something a little different. Because it’s designed in a sketch style it makes it suitable for both men and women. I love the white highlights, and randomly placed dots.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 24

Colorful Neo Traditional Panther and Script Tattoo on Calf

While this is in the style of Neo Traditional, the color palette says otherwise. The artist’s black packing skills are flawless and the thick, crisp lines are something to behold. I can’t imagine how painful this must have been for the client though as the calf is quite a sore spot to ink. But to walk away with such a cool tattoo is definitely worth it.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 25

Mystic Floral Deer Skull Tattoo on Woman’s Arm

The Polish tattoo artist Agnieszka Siemko enjoys doing designs based on nature but a lot of her work is very obscure and that’s what makes her art special. Here you can see how nature inspires her work. The minimal shading in the skull accentuates it among the ferns and flowers. Her use of dotwork is impeccable and the mushrooms coming out of the deer skull add to the idea of death and decay that I feel this tattoo is trying to portray. However, there is a contrast to death as the plants growing around the skull could symbolize rebirth.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 26

Neo Traditional Mythological Rabbit Tattoo on Thigh

The Jackalope is a mythical creature found in North American folklore; its name deriving from the jackrabbit and antelope. I love the hints of crimson added to the eye and raspberries as it’s a lovely contrast against the solid black and shading. The artist Marcel is a Neo Traditional tattooer from Amsterdam. If you ever find yourself in the Netherlands and want something in this style, go check him out!

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 27

Soft Watercolor Shiba Inu Portrait Tattoo on Forearm

The artist hit the nail on the head with this soft Watercolor portrait tattoo of the Japanese Shiba Inu breed. Using bright colors accentuates the sketchy style while the whip shading adds the final touches to make this piece pop.
The forearm is the perfect placement for the shape and size of this tattoo and we have a feeling the client is going to be showing this off to everyone.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 28

Realistic Doe Forearm Tattoo

There have been many deer on this list, but then again, they are a popular mammal to tattoo as they often remind people of forests. The falling petals and leaves on and around the doe’s head makes it seem like it’s peeking out of the flowers. Using negative spacing to create the flowers adds to the softness of this piece. The highlight in the nose and eye gives it a wet look. The artist has shown a depth of their tattooing skill as realism is not an easy style to perfect.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 29

Feminine Dotwork Elk Leg Tattoo

There has been one other tattoo on this list that embodied a frame; this one however is made up of leaves and twigs. The negative space used for the moon and ‘mist’ gives this design a mystical feeling and I sense that’s what the artist was going for. It’s clear that the elk is the focal point and the Dotwork shading softens the tattoo. It creates a gorgeous contrast between the darkness of the elk and the rest of the piece. The calf is the perfect shape for this tattoo. Impressive Work

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 30

Blackwork Wispy Fox Forearm Tattoo

In Japanese folklore, the Kitsune is a mythical fox that possesses paranormal abilities and can have up to nine tails. This one appears to have seven. It seems as though this fox isn’t very happy but then again it could also be in a protective stance. I love the hints of shading in the paws; the contrast it creates against the blackwork is stunning.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 31

Realistic Grizzly Bear Leg Sleeve Tattoo

You’ve got to admit, this is an awesome tattoo. Imagine how long it must have taken to be complete? There’s so much detail that I don’t even know where to begin commenting. The wetness created by the white highlights in the bear’s mouth is incredible. I wouldn’t want to mess with this bear!
Out of all of the realism tattoos on this list, I think that this one takes the cake.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 32

Handpoked Dotwork Forearm Tattoo

The only handpoked tattoo on this list and it’s so brilliantly done that you wouldn’t think it was accomplished with anything but a machine. How good is this artist though? This entire tattoo is made up of dots and yet at first glance you would never say so. I love that it looks like the horse is coming out of the person’s skin. Very nice!

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 33

Fineline Eight Tail Fox Tattoo

Another Kitsune inspired tattoo however, this one has no color staying true to the Fineline style. The pepper shading in the paws and ears contrasts with the softer shading in the tails. Consistent line work is a very important criterion for a tattoo to be considered good and Aiko did an amazing job.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 34

Mother and Baby Black and Gray Elephant Tattoo on Calf

What makes this tattoo so special is not only the real emotion that’s been captured, but also the way the artist incorporated mandalas in a very natural way. The shadows created by the darker shading is amazing and adds depth to this loving scene.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 35

Pretty Feminine Reindeer and Flowers Arm Tattoo

What a lovely feminine tattoo. The lines are steady and the shading is great. What’s really significant about this tattoo are the shadows. They truly bring the piece to life by taking something flat and transforming it into a life-like masterpiece. The arm was ideal for the composition of this tattoo.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 36

Single Line Horse Forearm Tattoo

Single line tattoos seem to be on the rise; they’re dainty and almost any design can be turned into one. The heaviness of the lines in this piece vary and I’m not sure if the artist meant to do that or if it was a way to fix mistakes they weren’t happy with. Either way, the forearm was a good placement choice and the inconsistent line weights give this tattoo an abstract feel.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 37

Little Bat Holding a Pomegranate Thigh Tattoo

The colors in this tattoo are absolutely gorgeous and so bright. Who wouldn’t want an adorable bat protecting it’s pomegranate as a tattoo? Brooke is the creative genius behind this lovely Neo Traditional piece and she comes all the way from Anaheim, California. Her color blending skills are on full display, not to mention her steady hand. Go check out her Instagram for more inspo!

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 38

Precious Panda With a Camera Micro Tattoo

You’ve reached the end of this awesome list. And as they say, leave the best for last, right? This micro realistic panda is too cute. Look at his adorable paws clutching onto the camera like he’s about to take a photo of you! What makes him even cuter is his squint eyes. I hope you’ve enjoyed the list and found some great inspiration for your next tattoo.

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 39

Cute Fineline Color Realistic Cat Portrait Tattoo

Another great micro realistic pet portrait by Fresia. The best part of this tattoo is the refined look on the cat’s face; he could definitely rock a monocle and a top hat. Doesn’t the well done texture of his fur make you want to reach out and give him a scratch on the chin?

Best Mammal Tattoo Ideas 40

Adorable Pet Dog Micro Realistic Portrait Tattoo

The Argentinian artist captured Milo stunningly. Fresia is known for her micro-realism and watercolor tattoos, and I believe she did a stellar job with this pet portrait.
The sketched hearts add personality to the design revealing that the client obviously truly cherishes their dog. Placing something that means a lot to you on the inside of your arm allows it to be closer to you making this piece that much more special.