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Normally, the verb "est" (3rd pers. sing. = "is") is pronounced "è", and is slightly different from the preposition "et" (= "and"), which sounds like "é".
Since in some parts of France, the two are pronounced more or less the same, and since our TTS system ("text to speech") pronounces both identically, we accept both "est "and "et" as correct solutions (but we alsways display the most accurate solution, which is "est").
(apologies for the misplaced reply, but I cannot seem to reply any further into the thread)
That's just my point - that is not the sound the recording for this phrase is playing back. It is solely the ending [e] sound that is being played back here - there is no [l] sound at all.
Nouns in french language have a gender, masculine or feminine, and "animal" is masculine. The indefinite article for masculine nouns is "un" so there is no need for elision because it does not end in a vowel. If it was the definite article "le" then you would need an elision "l'animal".
EDIT: I have removed the incorrect reference reference to "animale"