Sensitive Cancer is the 7th sign of the zodiac. Ruled by the moon, this Cardinal sign is known for being emotional, moody, creative, intuitive, and nurturing. Strongly tied to the archetype of motherhood and family, Cancer is the one you go to when you have emotional wounds that need healing.
Like a crab, Cancer likes to approach things from the side rather than full-on, which has gained them a reputation for passive aggression.
Cancer has an animal symbol already associated with it, the crab, and of course that is the chief spirit animal of the sign. But there are other animals who, by symbolism or behavior, mirror Cancer traits. In this article, we will discuss the cancer spirit animals and why they represent this sign perfectly.
What Is A Spirit Animal?
Zodiac spirit animals are animals that have lessons for those who wish to embody the spirit of that particular sign or those who have heavy placements in that sign and could find resonance and guidance from their spirit animals.
Each sign has an array of spirit animals that speak to the essence of their sign, in different ways, and encompass the full spectrum of being that that sign entails.
What Are The Cancer Spirit Animals?
Most of Cancer’s spirit animals are associated with motherhood in some way, as befits the sign of the mother. Maternal and nurturing behavior need not be associated with any sex or gender, and Cancer men and nonbinary folk are often just as able to be an emotional support system for their communities as women.
Like the moose, a Cancer can show aggression – but usually on behalf of another, especially someone who they identify as family. Like the wolf, they are social and intelligent creatures, guided by the moon, and like the elephant, they are sensitive, and intuitive, and can hold on to memories for a very long time.
The final Cancer animal, the opossum, is another caring, adaptable creature who, like Cancer, has a knack for self-preservation.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the Cancer spirit animals.
1. The Crab
The crab is Cancer’s animal symbol, and indeed Cancer means Crab in Latin. In mythology, Cancer was the crab that pinched the foot of Heracles (better known by his Roman name, Hercules) and was subsequently killed by him, and later placed in the sky by Hera.
The crab is a worthy spirit animal for Cancer. Both have tough exteriors that hide the sweet meat inside.
Cancers, like all water signs, can have issues with boundaries, but unlike fellow water sign Pisces, whose boundaries can be a circle of stones that are easily stepped over, Cancer’s boundaries can turn into walls that they have a hard time letting down.
Unless you have the full trust of a Cancer, expect that there is some secret inner part of themselves that they are keeping hidden, so as not to be hurt.
Cancer is also the sign of the zodiac that corresponds to the concept of family and home. Cancers often have strong attachments to where they were born, and even if they move far away, always hold a nostalgic view of it.
Cancer also corresponds closely to the ocean, where crabs make their home. Even though the crabs may drift far from where they were born, they are always at home in the ocean, and within themselves.
For crabs like hermit crabs, coming out of their shell is a very dangerous, yet necessary journey. They search for the perfect home to fit themselves in, but while doing so expose themselves to all kinds of predators.
Cancer people don’t face quite the same deadly stakes when they risk coming out of their shells and moving into a life that fits them better, but to them, it seems like the scariest thing in the world.
The crab can teach Cancer that the body they live in is their home, and no matter where they go, as long as they keep this core relationship with themselves, they will never feel out of place.
Cancer can get caught up in the past with nostalgia and sentimentality more than any other sign, holding tightly to the things they love like a crab’s pincers, so it is a good practice for them to remind themselves that they exist in the here and now, but will always have the memories there to look back on, rather than to completely live in the past.
2. The Moose
Cancer is one of the moodiest signs, probably because its ruling planet is the Moon, which changes its position in the sky every night, only staying in each zodiac sign for 2 and a half days.
That fast movement through different energies results in more points of the Cancer native’s birth chart being lit up by their chart ruler (in the case of Cancer risings) which can result in moods that other signs might deem fickle.
Like Cancer, the Moose can be a moody creature, though majestic. Seemingly placid, slow, and dull-witted, moose are actually intelligent animals, that can move with surprising speed for their bulk, and their gentle exterior belies an inner fierceness that leads people to fear them more than many other forest creatures.
Similarly, those who have borne the brunt of a Cancer’s anger can end up shocked by its intensity, and want to stay out of that person’s way as much as possible afterward. If you ever see a moose in the wild, you would do best to stay out of its way, especially if they have young nearby.
These creatures are larger than most people realize and aggressive when threatened. They can also be passively aggressive – Cancer’s chosen method of aggression – by simply standing in the road and acting as an inconvenient roadblock. Those who end up crashing into a moose with their vehicle, unable to see them on dark roads, often do not survive to tell the tale.
The moose’s fierceness in protecting her young also ties in to Cancer’s themes of maternity and childhood. Oftentimes Cancers will become mad on behalf of their family, including chosen family, before they’d be angry on their own behalf.
They can be very protective of those they love, and woe to anyone who crosses someone a Cancer has made part of their family. Just like a moose in the night, you might not see them coming, but when you do, you won’t soon forget it.
3. The Wolf
Tying more into the Cancer’s love of family, the wolf is a worthy spirit animal. Besides being associated with the moon as Cancer is, wolves are also intensely social, family-focused animals.
The symbolism of the wolf mother is used in legends and stories, from the founding of Rome to the Jungle Book. The Luna Wolf is the name given to the mother wolf of the pack, who is the only one that gives birth to pups.
Contrary to the long-held misconception of alpha wolves, beta wolves, and omega wolves, wolves in the wild have a simpler structure to their pack, and it’s all about family.
Most wolf packs in the wild consist of a breeding pair and their pups, including wolves up to 3 years old who haven’t left to make their own pack yet. They form incredibly close bonds with their families, with older sisters and brothers sometimes being left to watch their younger siblings while the adults go hunting.
Cancers are usually very close with their families, including chosen family if they have no relationship with their birth family. They are loyal and dependent and will defend their pack no matter what.
They often function as the maternal member of their group, regardless of sex or gender, and are only comfortable when they know everyone is taken care of. If this results in them being a little clingy and overbearing, well, that’s just the Cancer way. They ultimately have everyone they love’s best interests at heart.
Being a cardinal sign, Cancer also has what it takes to be the leader of the pack if need be, though they function as the nurturing heart of the group more than the taskmaster. In captivity, where wolf pack hierarchies become a little more rigid, the alpha female is the one who is in charge when the alpha male goes off for any reason.
4. The Elephant
Elephants are a matriarchal society, ruled by many mothers and grandmothers, which makes them the perfect Cancer spirit animal. Like Cancer, they are incredibly emotional, empathetic, wise, and intuitive.
Elephants are also very social creatures who value their family as well as their friends. Groups of elephants will often travel far and wide in order to meet up and socialize with other groups, and greet their old friends happily. They even remember humans who have been kind to them and treat them as friends.
Like Cancer, elephants can be very tuned in to the emotions of those around them, as well as their own. They feel many emotions that humans do, like anger, fear, grief, joy, compassion, and love. And like Cancer, elephants can hold a grudge like no other. They have incredible memories and can recognize individuals they met years before.
Cancers often fulfill a nurturing role in their groups, and are the ones that their friends go to when in need of a cuddle or cheering up. The elephant shares this emotional intelligence and sensitivity, and can even tell when other elephants are upset, and try to comfort them.
Elephants show their emotions in surprising ways. They have been seen mourning the loss of a member of their troupe, and often bonded elephants will die shortly after their mate, seemingly of a broken heart.
This inability to get over grief and sadness is where Cancer can take a lesson from the elephant: it’s alright to mourn what you have lost, but don’t let that keep you from continuing to live your life.
Moving on from past hurts is important, and letting others in after you have been hurt is crucial, lest you end up alone and sad, with only memories left to bring you any comfort.
5. The Opossum
Finally, the opossum, Cancer’s last spirit animal. The opossum is a hugely misunderstood creature, who most people think of as pests. In fact, they are very helpful to any ecosystem they inhabit, as they eat disease-spreading ticks, and are themselves unable to be infected with rabies, though many people assume that they are rabies spreaders.
In truth, opossums are sensitive animals who have a lot of emotions. They can be tenacious little guys when in need of a meal, but they can also be caring to others they have formed bonds with. They are also highly adaptable, despite being so vulnerable.
Like most animals that are Cancer Spirit Animals, opossums are also devoted mothers. Being marsupials, they keep their children close to them in a pouch after they are born and carry them around on their back when they’re a little older and on the move.
Opossums also have a knack for self-preservation that Cancers share. We all know how possums will play dead when faced with danger.
Similarly, Cancers very often resort to the Freeze response when put into an uncomfortable situation, unable to make any moves, because they lack the innate aggression to fight or flee. This, of course, depends on other zodiac placements, but those with a lot of Cancer in their chart are often not known for being outwardly aggressive.
Opossums can be rather moody, sometimes preferring to be shy and solitary, while sometimes being cuddly and affectionate, especially when they have been rescued and have formed a bond with a human.
From the opossum, Cancer can learn that it’s okay to take a little me time, but sometimes, you do need to stand up for yourself.
As mentioned earlier, Cancer tends to get more upset on other peoples’ behalf than theirs, but for a sign that can have high walls, they also let people and situations get under their skin – or shell – and being able to let go of that can help Cancer to navigate life. Sometimes, letting their tender heart be exposed is the best thing a Cancer can do.
Which Cancer Spirit Animal Are You?
Now that you’ve seen all of the Cancer spirit animals, which animal do you think embodies Cancer the most? Are there any other animals that stand out as having these Cancer traits? And if you have heavy Cancer placements, which spirit animal resonates with you the most?
If you want to learn more about zodiac spirit animals, check out these articles:
- The Leo Spirit Animals Explained
- The 5 Spirit Animals That Represent Aries
- 5 Sagittarius Spirit Animals That Guide This Zodiac Sign
- What Are The Pisces Spirit Animals?
- 5 Amazing Spirit Animal Guides for Capricorns
- 3 Spirit Animals That Perfectly Represent The Aquarius Sign
- Discover Your Virgo Spirit Guide
- Spirit Animals That Perfectly Represent Taurus