Supporters in heraldry are figures usually stand on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up. These figures may be real or imaginary animals, human figures, and in rare cases plants or inanimate objects.
Often these can have local significance. For instance, the fisherman and the tin miner granted to Cornwall County Council, or a historical link. An example of this being as the lion of England and unicorn of Scotland on the two variations of the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.
Human supporters can also be allegorical figures, or, more rarely, specifically named individuals.
There is usually one supporter on each side of the shield. However, there are some examples of single supporters being behind the shield.
Animal supporters are by default as close to rampant as possible if the nature of the supporter allows it (this does not need mention in the blazon), though there are some exceptions.