I remember already having this somewhere, but there's no disadvantage in bringing it up again.
In terms of symbolism and mythology, the animals are associated with the following traits:
- wild and untamable except for very pure souls.
- symbolizes grace and purity.
- rumored to have the powers to make poisoned water potable and heal sickness.
- unrivaled strength and perseverance.
- often also considered a noble and protective animal, the celtic bear god Artaois being the namesake of the well-known mythological figure King Arthur himself.
- in scandinavic mythology, the bear is also connected with the state of "berserker", which literally means "bear shirt" in viking language and stands for the fact that once truly enraged, a bear is a nearly unstoppable force.
- folklore of the Native Americans also designates the bear as a "keeper of dreams" and it is a highly respected and powerful totem in their culture.
- known to be very agile, speedy and versatile.
- rather elusive and reserved in behaviour.
- prefer to avoid fights if possible, but are very fierce if a fight is unavoidable, a famous hunter once stated that when a Leopard truly decides to fight, it might be more dangerous than a Tiger.
- in mythology, the Leopard is sometimes regarded as the symbol of Jesus Christ himself, as an enemy of snakes and dragons, which are said to be symbols of Satan.
- in ancient Greece and ancient Rome, Leopards were regarded and respected as symbols of determination and speed as well as being companions to the god Dionysus(greek)/Bacchus(roman).
- has a very mixed history in regards to mythology:
- often regarded as a symbol of scheming, treachery and temptation in several religions,
- but also as a symbol of immortality, fertility and healing, which is shown for example in the Rod of Asclepius, a widely known symbol for medicine.
- said to be very clever and also a symbol of wisdom and knowledge.
- often depcited as a symbol of cunning and trickery, but also as familiar animals possessing magic powers.
- highly intelligent.
- particularily interesting is finnish mythology, which paints the fox as cunning trickster which isn't evil, but outsmarts the true "evil" by proving that intelligence conquers both brute strength (bear) and malevolence (wolf).
- similar to that is the interpretation of chinese and japanese mythology which paints the fox as a mischievous trickster that may indeed be dangerous, but not necessarily evil by default.
- in the middle ages though, especially in Europe, the fox was designated as the symbol of the devil himself.