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The definition of character:

character
2. a person in a novel, play, or film.

Is there a similar word but that also includes animals?

Example sentence:

In the novel, she meets many peculiar animals and humans. These [...].

  • Mammals; taxpayers; people (according to Rudyard Kipling, anyway); units; heroes; morons. – Ricky Oct 27 '15 at 8:16
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    I think personified animals can be called as "characters" too. – Stan Oct 27 '15 at 8:23
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    Ricky-ticky-tavy strikes again. What a character! – deadrat Oct 27 '15 at 8:35
  • Characters are characters. A character can be a dog, or a ghost, or a tree, or stone, or a lampshade. – RegDwigнt Oct 27 '15 at 10:08
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Character is commonly used in the context of comics, by extension I think you can use it referring to a novel or a movie:

  • A person or animal portrayed with a personality in comics or animation: a cartoon character. (AHD)

Lassie:

  • Lassie is a fictional female collie dog character created by Eric Knight in a short story expanded to novel length called Lassie Come-Home. (Wikipedia)

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Consider the term "personae" to call the human and animal characters in a novel.

personae (pl. of persona): the characters in a play, novel, etc. Random House

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