Translation:Two animals are standing there.
As an extension of this confusion, is there a reason that the 2 comes before the animals instead of after the animals like it does in other sentences? My understanding is that since it's specifying what the two animals are doing rather than the fact that there are two animals being the focus of the sentence changes where the counter goes, but I could be wrong.
二匹の動物は (two animals being the subject/doing the verb)
動物は二匹います (of animals, there are two)
A more solid explanation would be appreciated!
It's just a matter of phrasing. In the previous sentences, the phrasing was something like, "The fish in the pond are six (hiki) swimming." This time, they are switching it up to "Six (hiki) of fish are swimming in the pond." Same meaning, different phrasing. Language is flexible.