[[Image:Animal_realm.jpg|frame|Depiction of the animal realm from a thangka of the Wheel of Life)] Animal realm (Skt. tiryak; Wyl. dud 'gro) — the realms of the animals among the six classes of beings. Animals either inhabit the great oceans ('animals living in the depths'), or live mostly on the earth, in water, in trees, in the realms of the gods or humans ('scattered animals').
It is a special path. All the beings within the Six Realms which do not belong to any other five realms are categorised in this path. Animals can exist in all other five paths.
Animals have minimal intelligence and consciousness. They live in adaption to the nature. As their behaviour follows instinct without deliberation, their karma is neutral, i.e. neither good nor evil.
We frequently see the behaviour of animals. Many animals fight with each other and many also consume each other. Animals also suffer from hunger and disease. Furthermore, they suffer the hot, cold, windy and rainy fluctuations of the weather. This kind of suffering is hard for humans-the supreme beings of all creatures to imagine. The deaths of animals are full of misery. Mostly they are pursued and killed by their same species or a different species. Mosquito, flies, lice and worms die of disintegration. Chickens, ducks, fish, goats and pigs are killed and cooked. Almost everything that flies in the sky, swims in the sea, or crawls on the earth, cannot escape becoming the food of humans. Even earthworms have caught the attention of humans. It looks as if even earthworms cannot escape ending up as a main dish on restaurant menu!
Animal beings are marked by stupidity, prejudice and complacency. They live sheltered lives, avoiding discomfort or anything unfamiliar. Rebirth in the Animal Realm is conditioned by ignorance. People who are ignorant and content to remain so are likely headed for the Animal Realm, assuming they aren't there already.