Animal Tokens are somewhat rare items exclusive to the original Donkey Kong Country. As the name implies, animal tokens are tokens of the Animal Buddies that are golden and sparkly in design. They appear in random locations in various levels and, to collect one, the player just has to walk on it. It will then float up to the top of the screen, make a noise and disappear. The token will appear along with any other tokens the Kongs have collected and, if three of the same type have been collected, the Kongs will be teleported to a secret room.
Upon getting three of the same type, a bonus room is accessed that depends on the animal. For example, if the Kongs have collected three of Expresso's tokens, they will go to Expresso's bonus area. The bonus area is a timed mini-game where the Kongs transform into the corresponding animal and must collect mini-animal tokens as fast as they can. There is a generous ninety-nine second time limit, although it drains fast. For every 100 mini-tokens collected, the player will get a free Extra Life Balloon. Any leftover tokens will not be counted for, and do not carry over to later games. There is also a giant animal token located in a secret area in each bonus area, which will double the player's current score.
These tokens have not made any other appearance aside from Donkey Kong Country, likely because of how easy it is to backtrack to early levels, retrieve old tokens that reappear once a level is exited and stock up on lives. It is possible to get multiple lives, particularly with Expresso's game, to ease harder levels.