Crane Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

Animals are fantastic subjects for tattoos because there are an array of different animals that symbolize different traits and characteristics. Most of us have a favorite animal or feel we connect with something.

A spirit animal if you will. The key is to find the one that represents the characteristics that you value. It can be how they act in the wild, their symbolism or even what they look like. There is always some kind of connection out there.

On the other hand, people don’t always get tattoos for their connection with the animal. They might just like how it looks or want to embody some of the traits that the animal symbolizes or holds. More aggressive people, they might like what a lion or a shark symbolizes or it’s attacking nature. Some might also like the look of some furry and cuddly animals. They might just think they are cute and want to see them tattooed on their body.

This is why getting a tattoo of your favorite animal is such a cool thing. When done the right way, you get to see your favorite animal in whatever style you like for the rest of your life.

In this case, we are going to be talking about the crane tattoo. We will talk about the crane, so you get an idea of some of the natural characteristics of this beautiful bird. We will also get into the symbolism of the crane and what it means to those people that are rocking a crane tattoo. This elegant bird is the subject of many variations of tattoos.

These variations might represent different meanings or just for looks but we’ll talk about a few of those. We hope you feel more informed about the crane tattoo meaning by the end of the post.

About the Crane

The crane is a bird that looks like a close relative to the stork or heron, however, they aren’t related. The crane is split into 15 species and four genres in total. You can find the crane on all continents except for Antarctica and South America.

You can find the crane living in marshes and the plains. Like many animals these days, the number of cranes is dwindling because of the loss of habitat. The cranes on the endangered species list are the Mississippi Sandhill Crane, Whooping Crane, Florida Sandhill Crane and the Siberian Crane.

If the crane isn’t endangered, many of them are being threatened at the very least. The plight of the whooping crane in North America was one of the species that compelled the U.S. government to pass legislation to protect all endangered species.

Cranes aren’t picky eaters. They’ll eat what’s around and what their body requires. Their food ranges from amphibians, berries, insects and small rodents to grains and plants.

Some cool facts about the crane include the migration distance of the Siberian Crane. They have the longest bird migration by flying over 3,000 miles between their wintering grounds in eastern Siberia and their breeding ground in southeastern China. However, not all cranes migrate that far.

This includes the crowned crane, blue crane and the wattled crane who move within their home of Africa. It’s safer this way for the crane to not have to migrate as far because this is one of the most dangerous parts of their life. Dealing with shootings, powerline collisions and loss of habitat.

Crane chicks learn how the migration process works with their parents. The parents teach the chicks the migration route, so they will be able to do it on their own going forward. Keeping with the theme of small cranes migrating, the demoiselle crane is one of the smallest species of cranes and migrates over the Himalayas. It will cross the mountain range and fly up to 26,000 feet in the air.

Crane Tattoo Meaning

One of the main symbolic meanings attached to the crane tattoo has to do with their mating rituals and fidelity. The crane tattoo is often said to be a symbol of a successful and loyal marriage. The crane’s story’s long life span makes it a great representative of longevity. Having this tattoo represents a long and happy married life for some and this is why you might see more than one crane depicted in a tattoo.

The crane is a very popular symbol in Asian culture. Therefore, they are a popular subject in the art of folding paper. The practice of making paper cranes out of folding paper is said to offer healing, happiness, good fortune and success. It was made popular by Sadako Sasaki who was one of many victims of the Hiroshima bombing. Offerings of paper cranes connected as long chains are often given as offering to shrines and temples.

The crane tattoo is also symbolic of a bird that is able to fly to the heavens. The crane tattoo symbolizes the higher because it was said it took the deceased home to heaven. In ancient times in China, the crane was used to symbolize highest-ranking people at the time.

Crane Tattoo Variations

There are some variations of the crane tattoo that tell the story of the meaning. Many of the crane tattoos you will see will have Asian ties but there are also other variations as well and below are a few that we enjoy.

Asian Crane Tattoo

As stated above, the crane is a very powerful symbol in Asian culture. The symbol is an esteemed one and represents only things that are divine and of high power. The image is often depicted in the style of Irezumi or other local styles. These tattoos look great and make for nice backpieces.

Paper Crane Tattoo

The paper crane tattoo is symbolic of many positive characteristics that we talked about above including good fortune, success and happiness. Not only is the paper crane one that holds a great deal of meaning, it is also really cool-looking and quite unassuming. It is the kind of tattoo that you can hide but show when you feel the time is right.

Watercolor Crane Tattoo

One other crane tattoo that we enjoy is when the watercolor style is used. Because of the habitat of the crane, the watercolor style seems to fit. It ends up being a really beautiful tattoo when it’s done right.

We understand these are only a few examples but hopefully, between these examples and the pictures below, you will get some good ideas for your next tattoo.

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