Not only do the creatures you encounter have significance, but the number of them and/or the patterns they form may influence their personal meaning. Numbers could also relate to the time or date of the encounter, if it seems relevant.
Colour is important as well. Notice the colours of flowers or foliage around the creature you encounter, as well as its own colours or markings. Is there a pattern? Do the colours contrast, or does the creature blend in well with its environment? Perhaps camouflage is an outstanding feature, showing appearances can be deceptive, or in harmony with the environment.
An example of a pattern is in the motion of ibis flying in a v-shaped formation, or a line of ants. Clouds could also form patterns, mountains sculpt shapes, tree branches embrace images, still water reflect shifting images – whatever is around could contain a hidden message! The world can sometimes be like a giant picture puzzle of portents, which can bring inspiration, encouragement, and be a stepping stone to introspection and spiritual understanding. The balance is to remember the world around you is something you may interpret, but ultimately, it is up to you to make your choices independent of, or perhaps inspired by, external circumstances. Omens or encounters are just a prompt for inner understanding and conscious action.
Directions – north, south, east and west, may also carry a special meaning. Does your sister live in the west? If a creature is moving in a certain direction, take note whether it is traveling quickly, slowly, indirectly, in bursts, and so on. It might be stopping to graze, or trying to gain the attention of a mate, or escaping a predator. Maybe it is ill, or very young and learning how to move through its world. This perspective based upon observation offers a much deeper interpretation.
Earth, water, air and fire – the four elements – have featured in many cultures and belief systems. The best known use of these is perhaps in the medium of astrology; Leo is fire, Aquarius water, Taurus earth, and so on. As a modern analysis of the symbols in this book, each symbol (as well as some extra ones you might meet but are not featured in the main text) has been delineated an element related to its Dreaming message or characteristics.
Here are some photos I have taken showing different elemests of number, colour and pattern.
Native Symbols - Numbers, Colours, Patterns & Directions