The regular speed clearly says "lays animaux" the slowed version mispronounces "les". Might just be me.
No, not just you. But these sounds do not come from the same recording. I think that isolated words were recorded separately from full sentences. That explains why many times the liaisons are not accurate.
In French, words are pronounced differently depending on the next word. S is not pronounced if the word is said alone or the next word begins with a consonant. If the next word begins with a vowel, the S gets a Z sound (so... Les animaux is pronounced as Le (Z)animaux)
It's not a mispronunciation. The slow version always speaks One. Word. At. A. Time. There is never any liaison in the slow version.
Animaux is the plural as in many animals, animal is the singular as in one animal.
Are the usual gender for animals male? So far I've encountered le cheval, le chien et le chat.
I hope you don't mind me posting it here. It's a general question regarding the grammatical gender of animals.
Unfortunately, not all animals have the same gender, even if the noun "un animal" is masculine.
Again, like any noun, they often come from a Latin root, which usually predetermines their gender.
So, you have masculine animal nouns like the ones you list + feminine animal nouns (une souris, une girafe, une baleine) + a number of animals have a masculine name for the male and a feminine name for the female (un rat, une ratte - un ours, une ourse - un chien, une chienne - un chat, une chatte)
Is the French sentence correct? I always thought it should be "Les animaux boivent de l'eau"
"de l'eau" means "some water" (partitive with uncountable noun)
"l'eau" means "the water" (specific)
So I'm thinking - my animals are drinking water = "mes animaux boivent de l'eau" but - "l'eau est potable?" - "Oui les animaux boivent l'eau" because we are talking about a specific supply of water.