Through the years, a superstition that Friday the 13th is anything but the luckiest day of the year has developed in some cultures. If Friday the 13th gives you the heebie-jeebies, you can focus on the other side of superstition for some relief.

Throughout many cultures, the animal kingdom offers a variety of species as symbols of good luck or fortune that can help turn your day around. How each of these beliefs developed can lead to many enjoyable hours of reading, but we’ll just touch the surface.

Rabbits are considered good luck in many cultures. Carrying around a rabbit’s foot is not required for these little ones to be lucky. They’re especially fortunate when it comes to matters of childbirth and fertility.

Do you remember the talking cricket from The Adventures of Pinocchio? Crickets are symbols of good luck. They are also viewed as a symbol of rebirth and protection. They may be little, but ever notice how crickets stop chirping when something approaches? They just gave you notice to beware.

Lizards, in a similar way, are viewed as protection from the unseen things in life. If you saw a lizard scurry away, it was viewed as a sign that you, too, should be on your way.

Dolphins are also a symbol of good luck and protection, especially for sailors. If you want your protection in a larger form, tigers are also viewed as protective icons against certain bad events, including theft and fire.

Speaking of larger species, elephants are symbols of good luck, fortune and wealth in India. Bulls are also viewed as good luck symbols in many cultures, representing virility, strength and good health. Deer, on the other hand, are known for their endurance, grace and long life. The horse, which played quite a role in the progress of humans, is a symbol of power and beauty.

Many cultures recognize the bear as extremely lucky. This apparently developed because it was thought the bear must have special powers to be able to give birth, as well as sustain itself during the long winter months. Pigs are good luck for businesses, especially a pig in clover. This symbolism has a connection to agriculture, where having many pigs was a sign of prosperity. Frogs are associated with rain. Rain is needed for crops to grow, so frogs are also viewed as lucky. They also bring good fortune in areas of fertility, transformation and travel.

If it’s tranquility, wisdom and long life you’re seeking, a goldfish is your lucky charm. For financial stability, wisdom and luck, try a tortoise. If you’re more of a bird person, cranes, eagles and falcons are lucky. The Egyptian scarab, also known as a dung beetle, represents good luck and rebirth. The sun is a powerful symbol in many cultures or religions, ancient Egyptian religion included. The scarab has a special connection to the sun. Scarab beetles roll their eggs in mud or dung. The sun then bakes the balls, thereby incubating the eggs.

While this may be contrary to the feelings of some, spiders and bats are also good luck in a number of cultures. Bats even symbolize a long, happy life. It seems it’s all how you look at things, especially considering that in Spain it’s Tuesday the 13th that’s viewed as unlucky and in Italy, 17 is the number to avoid.

No matter what your beliefs, I’ve always found a nice walk through the zoo or even some time in the backyard communing with nature helps to calm those nervous feelings. Come visit the zoo anytime you’re in search of the tranquility nature can provide.


Kristi Newland is the executive director of Lee Richardson Zoo.