Animal roleplay may be either a non-sexual or an erotic sexual role-play (when it may also be called petplay, ponyplay, ponyism, kittenplay, or pup-play). In its erotic sexual role-play form, one or more of the participants takes on the role of a real or imaginary animal in character, including appropriate mannerisms and behavior, and sometimes a partner will act as another animal, or, in a sexual context, may take the role of rider, trainer, or caretaker (or even breeding partner).
The principal theme of animal roleplay is usually the voluntary transformation of a human being to animal status, and focus on the altered mind-space created. The most common examples are probably canids (pup, dog, wolf), felines (cat, kitten, lion) or equines (pony, horse). Animal roleplay is also used in a BDSM context, where a person may be humiliated by being treated as an animal.
In psychodrama, animal roleplay may be used for a person to explore their personality, as a form of role reversal.