Do you love nature and all things animals? Do you want to make it your pastime to get intimate or close up to these wondrous beasts?
Today we’re going to give you some inspiration by telling you about 16 of the best hobbies that involve animals and to help you get closer to our living world.
Some of these hobbies you may already be familiar with and some of them you won’t.
Perhaps you’re looking to add some extra hobbies that involve animals on top of existing ones.
Whatever your reasons are we’re sure you’ll feel inspired by the time you finish looking through our list to help you get to grips with your passions.
20 Beastly Hobbies That Involve Animals And Nature
1. Birdwatching (Birding)
The process of birdwatching or birding as a hobby is to study our friendly neighbors in the sky to witness how they move, how they hunt, and what kind of habitats they reside in.
This is often done with a pair of birding binoculars that can give you a closer perspective without frightening them off, and so you can watch them in a more natural manner.
Birders enjoy all kinds of beautiful moments such as being able to witness the hatching of chicks, watching chicks get fed, and being able to observe intricate detail or feather patterns that are usually hard to spot from a distance.
Other than binoculars it can be worth getting a DSLR camera with a telephoto lens to capture those moments as you can easily look over them again or make a cool book of birds for your friends or family to look at.
If you’re just getting started with birding it can also be worth grabbing a book of birds to get an idea of what you’re looking at as there are so many different varieties of birds out there.
2. Wildlife Photography
If you’re thinking of going to the zoo then you’re probably already considering taking pictures of the animals there to keep as memories.
Some people take it further and go for dedicated safaris in exotic countries to observe animals in their natural habitats which can make for a better image.
Wildlife photography is the process of shooting pictures of animals to capture them in certain moments, usually in their natural environment.
This hobby takes a good amount of dedication but can really pay off and help get you closer to nature than you could ever imagine.
If you’re wanting a hobby that involves animals then this may be the best one overall as there’s no end to the amount of diversity in our natural world and it will keep you busy for a lifetime.
If you’re drawn to the mysterious creatures of the sea then snorkeling can really help you get up close and personal with a wide variety of sea life in their natural environment.
Snorkeling is best done under the supervision of a watcher or with a friend as the sea can be treacherous especially if it’s cold or there’s a strong tide.
Provided you’re doing it in a safe manner then there can be simply no equal experience to going underwater as its really like going into a complete different world.
Many sea creatures look completely different from anything like ourselves and snorkeling creates a good opportunity to witness what evolution can come up with.
You’ll need a decent face mask for snorkeling which includes a breathing tube for when you come up for air. You can also grab a pair of flippers to assist your swimming strength in the water which is highly recommended if you’re new.
Lastly, if you want to save the moment then we recommend grabbing a waterproof camera to take some snaps for when you get home.
4. Horse Riding
If you’re wanting to truly interact with a magnificent beast then there’s no better option than to start horse riding.
Horse riding allows you to truly feel the strength and motion of how horses move which cannot be simulated in any other way.
You can feel the breathing of the horse and the way its powerful muscles move to propel it forward.
It’s recommended you find a horse riding club nearby (with a quick Google search) so you can get trained up on the proper technique as horse riding can naturally come with some risk.
Most clubs will provide you with the appropriate clothing and safety equipment as its usually included in the fee for the experience.
Beekeeping has been making a comeback recently due to waves of exposure in big media that is promoting why bees are so essential to our natural environment.
Bees are unlike many creatures because they operate in unison with each other, a phenomenon that is often described as a “hive mind”.
This collective consciousness helps the bees to communicate with each other and they are also known to be exceptionally sensitive to vibration.
Here’s a great video explaining how this communication takes place:
Beekeeping is an intricate hobby that requires a good deal of knowledge before you get set up which is why we recommend grabbing a book on beekeeping to make sure your endeavor is as successful as possible.
6. Animal Shelter Volunteering
If you want to interact with animals in a cost-effective way that lets you give back to society then volunteering at a local shelter can be an excellent way to do that.
You can find animal shelters for specific types of animals such as cats and dogs which is usually the case but you may be able to find some that shelter more exotic animals such as spiders or snakes.
Animals often have unique personalities and temperaments much like humans do which is why volunteering can give you a quick snapshot into the world of animal behavior.
The best way to reach out to find these shelters is by doing a quick Google search for local animal shelters in your area and giving them a ring directly to see if they need any assistance.
Hiking is one of the most popular hobbies that allow you to explore nature because you can literally walk through any landscape you want.
Many places around the world fall host to different animals and wildlife so if you have a keen eye then you’ll be able to spot them as you go on your walking adventure.
It’s a good hobby if you love nature but it’s also a good way to stay in shape for relatively no cost.
Make sure you invest in a good pair of hiking boots as they will provide the support and grip you need for walking across different terrain types.
It’s also worth considering having a survival kit on hand just in case any emergency situations should arise.
If you want to create a habitat for wildlife such as bees or bugs then getting into gardening can be a good way to do this and is also beneficial for your overall wellbeing too.
Here’s a great article from the BBC which explains what bees do and why they’re so important to the human ecosystem.
Gardening is a good way to get to grips with plants and nature because it teaches you how they grow whilst also being a way to unwind after a long week at work.
You’ll more than likely need some prior knowledge before you get started which is why it’s recommended to pick up a book on gardening to teach you some of the basics.
With that said, you can start with something as simple as one or two plants before you go in headfirst trying to build an entire garden.
If you’ve ever wanted to eat truly organic food then foraging could be a great option for you; it also helps you relive the experience of how humans would have eaten prior to modern advancements such as farming.
Foraging can be a great pastime which can also be combined with hiking allowing you to go for long walks in nature. You’ll also (depending on where you live) be able to enjoy fresh berries picked straight from the source which can be delicious especially through the warmer months.
Foraging can also help you get closer to animals as they are often spotted foraging for their own food such as berries or fungus.
Bear in mind that foraging can also be potentially dangerous as mushrooms and certain types of berries can be poisonous.
It’s recommended that you contact an expert forager to give you a guide on how to forage properly without endangering your health.
You can also grab a book on foraging that should help you spot potentially edible sources.
If you want to get closer to animals or nature then sometimes there’s no other way to do it but spending a night out in the wild.
Animals come in all shapes, sizes, and with different preferences to daylight. Sometimes you can only get the experience of a certain animal at nighttime as they may be nocturnally inclined.
There’s something quite raw and primal about camping as it’s not just the sights but also the sounds of the wilderness which can be beautiful but also haunting.
We recommend going camping during warmer months as it’s safer and a better experience as you can stay outside for longer to take everything in.
You can also get the family involved and make it a bit of a getaway from the usual bustle of city living.
11. Competitive Obedience Training
If you’re especially fond of dogs (or your own dog) then you may want to train it up for competitive obedience competitions which have you showing off your dog handling skills and your dog’s athletic ability.
This is a great way to establish an unbreakable bond with your pooch and will give you absolute control in those moments where you most need it.
It’s also an incredibly rewarding pastime as it helps you learn how dedicated you are and how well you are able to deliver effective training.
It also gives you important insight into dog behavior and their capabilities to learn which is invaluable if you’re an animal lover.
Similar to beekeeping, ant-keeping falls into its own niche category because ants behave in a way that is very unique and interesting to observe compared to other species of animals.
That’s not to say that other animals are not interesting but ants can create beautiful structures as they slowly etch out a home for themselves within the confines of a formicarium.
Ant-keeping requires a certain mindset (or type of person) to be enthused by the prospect of having hundreds or thousands of bugs within their homes, but it can be rewarding to witness the efficiency of ant colonies at work.
13. Bird Necessities
Pun very much intended, but birds need a few basic things to make for good living.
Although this isn’t a strict hobby it can be a great way to observe birds which links into bird watching directly.
It can also be a great way to help our winged friends thrive and survive in environments that are becoming increasingly hostile towards them due to the increased urbanization around the world.
A decent bird feeder can be installed quite easily against a wall or fence but are also sold as standing objects to be placed in the ground too.
You’ll also be able to get a birdbath for a relatively low cost that can also be installed in your own garden space.
Luckily, this kit allows you to accomplish both goals with one total bird keeping post.
Becoming a taxidermist is often looked at as an obscure practice mainly due to people’s uncomfortable relationship with death.
Taxidermy is the process of preserving the shape and overall look of the animal after it has died to keep it looking as lifelike as possible.
This can be especially comforting for people after a favorite family pet has died as it can stay part of the family or have a place in the home even after it has passed on.
Taxidermy is an extremely invested process and you’ll need to do thorough research if you want to start learning the trade.
It’s often worth speaking to a professional taxidermist to get an understanding of the job first before you consider going down this route.
15. Animal Farming
Provided you treat the animals with care then animal farming can be an extremely fun and rewarding process as it gets you closer to the whole lifecycle of the animal.
You can invest your time in all kinds of animals but the most popular are chickens as you’ll be able to harvest the eggs as an organic source of healthy fats and proteins if you end up eating them.
Best of all, you know exactly what you’ve fed them and how well they’ve been treated meaning you’ll feel a lot less guilty when reaping the benefits of eating the food they produce food for you.
Not everyone eats the products they produce and some people keep typical farm animals as pets.
16. Animal Rescue
Rescuing an animal means you’re taking on the responsibility of looking after a pet that has ended up without a permanent home.
This might be temporary or it might be forever as we know how easy it is to get close to our furry or slimy friends!
Some of these pets or animals may not have had the best experience with humans so it’s important that you have good personal traits such as patience, lovingness, and the ability to put in hard work to help exercise them if they need it.
We recommend speaking to animal shelters directly to find out what kind of experience you’ll need to offer the animal before rescuing it as it could become a stressful situation for both yourself and the animal.
Hopefully now this list has enlightened you to some of the great hobbies that involve animals and how rewarding they can be.
Working with animals is not always an easy task and will require a certain level of care or focus to make sure you’re doing your best.
You can prepare yourself by watching lots of videos on YouTube, reading book material, and contacting the appropriate institutions directly to discuss how you can carry out your hobby best.
If none of these hobbies have caught your eye or you think working with animals might be too much responsibility, check out our top 13 hobbies that involve technology or 15 of the most social hobbies.
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You can also browse our full list of hobbies for further inspiration and hobbies similar to the ones mentioned in this article.