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Top 10 Most Anxious Animals in the World

a sad and anxious-looking dog

Top 10 Most Anxious Animals in the World

Many animals suffer from stress, anxiety, and loneliness. These problems cause the animals to act out aggressively, exhibit abnormal behaviors, or even harm themselves.

Animals need to be kept in a healthy environment where they’re not anxious and can enjoy all the benefits of living comfortably, especially when it comes to our pets.

This article will show you a list of the most anxious animals globally and how they react to this feeling. 

To find out, read more!

List of 10 Most Anxious Animals


a chimp sitting and thinking

Scientific Name: Pan troglodytes
Type of Animals: Mammal

As one of the closest to human animals, the chimpanzees also share feelings like anxiety and fear, similar to us. Although these animals are not able to speak out about these feelings verbally, they can use other methods to express them.

Studies have shown that chimpanzees who feel anxious, threatened, or simply scared express these emotions by screaming, taking an intimidating position, or showing their bare teeth, signaling everyone to stay away from them. 

In some cases, when the animal feels anxious and is at a younger age, it is not uncommon for them to hide behind their parents.

Anxiety in these animals is closely related to previous experiences. Scientists prove that the feeling in these animals is close if not equal to post-traumatic stress disorder. That often occurs while they are young and are exposed to various violent scenes or have experienced a traumatic moment in their lives.


a sad-looking dog lying on the floor

Scientific Name: Canis lupus familiaris
Type of Animals: Mammal

Next on our list are humankind’s best friends – the dogs! But, surprisingly for some people, our fluffy balls can also experience anxiety.

Like with every other animal, the most often causes of a dog’s anxiety are bad experiences or fears of something. Seeing something that reminds them of that occurrence will trigger their anxiety and stress them. That being said is far from the only reason why your pup can feel anxious; one of the most common causes is, in fact, loneliness. 

If your dog is alone and you have no other pets, it may feel anxious when you leave for work.

Dogs express their feelings by barking, howling, and hiding around the house, and they may even run into your backyard and dig a hole. Many symptoms may signify anxiety in your dog, so if you see anything out of the ordinary, look deeper into the case and take measures!

Related: List of Howling Animals


an anxious-looking baby cat

Scientific Name: Felis catus
Type of Animals: Mammal

While we are on the pet vibe, we can not miss mentioning the cats with their anxiety. 

Like other species, they most often cause a past traumatic experience as a kitten or previous owner or a traumatic event. However, surprising, in this case, is that aside from these factors, cat anxiety can be natural. Although it may sound weird, it is proven that cats can feel anxious even if there is no apparent reason for it.

The way these animals express their anxiety is interesting. Some of the ways they show it is by hiding, meowing extra loud, trembling, and even grooming themselves too much. More common ones are loss of appetite and moving nonstop around the house.

It is important to note that no matter what pet you have, it is better to do something about it if they show signs like that!


an ostrich with its beak wide open

Scientific Name: Struthio
Type of Animals: Bird

Ostriches are probably one of the most iconic birds regarding feelings like stress or anxiety. 

You probably have seen them in cartoons or in pictures shown with their head on the ground? Unfortunately, this is an entirely false myth created by a cartoon artist.

When these birds feel anxious or scared, they will most often express it by screaming, running away, or if any of these two do not work. Then, they will flop on the ground and remain still, hoping for the threat or feeling to pass – often will blend with the environment.


elephant throwing sand with its trunk

Scientific Name: Loxodonta
Type of Animals: Mammal

Elephants are one of these animals that, similarly to other species like the chimpanzees, show signs of anxiety and PTSD. The animal that never forgets is also the one that can hardly deal with the accumulated stress.

It is not rare to see male elephants with such issues, especially if they live alone or in a group where the males are more than the females. 

These highly emotional animals are socialized species and tend to move and live in groups. If something in the group is not all right, it will cause them stress and anxiety. 

While the male case is more on the social side, for females, the most often cause of anxiety or stress is also when they lose their young one. That also causes their deep grief, which can only strengthen the fear, especially if they lose it to hunters.

This giant animal shows how they feel mainly with their movement. For example, you can see an anxious elephant swaying, waving, or bobbing its head monotonously. 

In some cases, this anxiety can trigger past bad memories and cause aggression in the animal. They may even attack nearby people.


a close up photo of a cheetah

Scientific Name: Acinonyx jubatus
Type of Animals: Mammal

Cheetahs are one of the wild cats that roam the world and, at the same time, the fastest of their kind. This predator can seem ferocious at first look but is also one of the most anxious animals out there. 

It is not uncommon for cheetahs to be seen with a partner dog, but have you ever wondered why?

These wild cats are solitary animals, and unlike their cousins, lions, they roam all alone. The solitary lifestyle is not something that poses a problem for wild cheetahs; however, the ones in captivity often get anxious due to the inability to socialize with each other.

This feeling is boosted in the cheetahs that live in ZOOs. That is also why they are assigned a partner in the form of a friendly doggo. 

As a result, they communicate and stay together, making the cheetah’s life easier.


a white goat on a green grass

Scientific Name: Capra aegagrus hircus
Type of Animals: Mammal

Speaking of animals that get anxious, the goat is a must mention. Goats are types of animals that everyone loves, but many people do not suspect how stressed and anxious they can feel.

When a goat gets too many of these feelings, it can express them differently. The most common ones are bleating loud and often, loss of appetite, lethargy, or the complete opposite – full of energy and attempting to run away. 

These animals have many ways to show how they feel and, in this case, can even be aggressive or simply faint. You probably have seen numerous videos of scared goats that faint – well, this happens when the feelings overcome them.


a person holding a scared opossum

Scientific Name: Didelphidae
Type of Animals: Mammal

Did someone say play dead? The opossums are masters in it! 

This creature is one of the easiest to scare, and it always feels anxious, especially when it suspects a predator nearby or feels threatened.

The opossum plays dead. The pull is the instinctive defensive mechanism nature gave them and is very helpful in protecting them from attackers.

When they get scared, the opossums fall to the ground and stop breathing, it is like their brain turns off, and a smelly death liquid starts leaking from their mouth and bottom. These different effects give up more for their actions and make any predator leave them away. 

So do not make them anxious unless you want to be exposed to a smell that can kill your nose sense.


a bulky toad sitting on a concrete

Scientific Name: Bufonidae
Type of Animals: Amphibian

We bet this one came unexpectedly to you, but ye, even toads can be anxious! 

Like the other animals on the list, toads get eager quickly, mainly due to stress. That is a common cause for them as they are easily frightened by predators or anything that passes by and feels threatening to them.

There are many ways to find out if a toad is anxious. Most often, they will try to run for their lives, will crack, some may change color, and some even become paralyzed when a film on their backs is playing dead.

These are caused mainly by anxiety and stress and can be seen as various examples of the different sub-species. 

For example, if you turn a toad on its back, it may freeze and stay immobilized due to the fear and anxiety you have caused it!


a brown hen with its beak open

Scientific Name: Gallus gallus domesticus
Type of Animals: Bird

The last member on our list of anxious animals is the chicken. Nervous chickens are easy to spot. These animals are often exposed to stress in open, unrestricted environments and closed ones. 

The difference is between the levels of anxiety and stress they experience, determining how severe their effects can be.

When these birds get anxious, you will often see their fettering start being abnormal; they will even preen out on their feathers, and they may start eating their eggs or attack weak chickens around themselves. 

All of these are symptoms of the unhealthy environment in which the chicken lives. They may cause further stress and anxiety exposure leading to death.

When stressed, chickens may stop laying eggs for a while. That is one of the first symptoms and is the best time to handle the issue. After that, the thing you have to do is change their environment and check for anxiety-causing issues!

Read Also: The Most Cowardly Animals

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