Animals in Morocco

Updated: April 9, 2021
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Below you can find a complete list of Moroccan animals. We currently track 219 animals in Morocco and are adding more every day!

Morocco has a variety of native and introduced animals, although it lacks many large mammals. The Mediterranean climate of the coast and Rif mountains contrasts with the forested Atlas mountains and the arid climate of the Western Sahara. 490 recorded species of birds, over 90 species of reptiles, over 20 species of bats, a dozen species of whales and dolphins, and 105 species of mammals are just some of the fauna within its range of terrain and climate types boasting 40 ecosystems.

The Official National Animal of Morocco

The Barbary lion is the official national animal of Morocco, and it represents the Moroccan. It is commonly depicted in clothing featuring the Moroccan flag colors, while the Moroccan coat-of-arms has two lions supporting the shield. The Barbary lion is also called the Atlas or Nubian lion and is native to the Atlas and Rif mountains and the forests of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Unfortunately, since the killing of the last Barbary lion in 1922, this species is extinct in the wild.

Where To Find The Top Wildlife in Morocco

The top wild fauna in Morocco are those native to the country or to North Africa itself and are mostly terrestrial, forest and desert-dwelling. Due to the harsh climate, the government protects its many ecosystems with national parks, national reserves, sanctuaries, lakes, and other nature and wildlife areas that are open to the public. Toubkal National Park near Marrakesh is the oldest and most visited, while Parc Zoologique National in Rabat has a breeding program for the almost-extinct Barbary lion. You can see Nile crocodiles at the Crocodile Park. People taking desert tours are likely to see the Fennec fox, Dorcas gazelle, golden jackals, addax, gerbils, rodents, snakes, and lizards.

Generally, however, the top 10 wild fauna in Morocco are:

  • Fennec fox, a fox noted for its huge ears and native to the Sahara desert
  • Common gundi, a small rodent that lives in rocks
  • Barbary ground squirrel, a small rodent that lives in burrows
  • Sand cat, also called sand dune cat, a species that resembles the domestic cat but with a desert habitat
  • Moorish wall gecko, also called European common gecko, crocodile gecko, Salamanquesa, and common gecko, found in urban areas
  • Barbary sheep, a subspecies of the wild sheep
  • Crested porcupine, a terrestrial animal
  • Egyptian mongoose, a mongoose species that live in forests, scrubs and savannahs
  • Barbary macaque, also called Barbary ape, an Old World true monkey with a variety of habitats
  • North African hedgehog, also called the Algerian hedgehog, closely resembles the European hedgehog and lives in mixed-forest habitats

The Most Dangerous Wildlife In Morocco Today

Although there aren’t very many dangerous animals in Morocco, it doesn’t mean you should overturn rocks and logs with abandon. There is some dangerous wildlife you are more likely to encounter while hiking or traveling in the desert or mountains:

  • Scorpions: 30,000 scorpion bite victims are reported every year with a death rate of 3.8%, predominantly in Marrakesh. Out of 50 species, 22 are venomous.
  • Snakes: The puff adder, Indian cobra, Egyptian cobra, and horned viper are the most venomous of the 200 venomous species from the more than 3,000 snake species in the country, with their bites causing paralysis and death; hundreds of snakebites are reported every year.
  • Flic-flac spider: This is a species of huntsman spider that lives in the Erg Chebbi sand dunes and although it’s not deadly, its bite causes infection.
  • Palm rats: Also called black rats or roof rats, they live in and around palm trees, carry diseases, and can attack people.
  • African golden wolf: Established as a new canine species, this wolf lives in the Atlas Mountains and eats large mammals.
  • Striped hyena: Also called Barbary hyena, it eats the leftovers from hunts as well as fruits and vegetables.

Unusual Wildlife in Morocco

Tree-climbing goats eat the fruit of the Argan tree, the nuts from which Argan oil is made. Since the fruit is inaccessible from below, the goats have learned to climb the tree branches. You can spot them in the Sous Valley of southwestern Morocco.

The Berber skink or sandfish is another unusual animal. This yellow and black-striped species of lizard appear to swim through the sand of the Sahara desert.

Extinct Wildlife in Morocco

The Barbary lion has been extinct in the wild since the 1920s. The West African crocodile, also called the desert crocodile or sacred crocodile once lived in Morocco and several other African countries but is now extinct in Morocco. This species of crocodile is related to and often confused with the Nile crocodile, but smaller in size. Finally, the West African giraffe became extinct in 600 CE.

Endangered Wildlife In Morocco

Morocco has 11 threatened bird species and 18 threatened mammal species. Common threats are overhunting, poaching, and global warming. Some of the mammal species listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List are:

Moroccan Animals

Addax

The hooves of the addax are splayed and have flat, springy soles, one of the adaptations that help it walk over sand.

Aidi

This dog has a thick coat of fur despite its origins in Morocco, a country known for its hot temperatures.

American Cockroach

Despite its name, actually originated from Africa and the Middle East

Angelshark

The angelshark’s range has contracted by more than 80% in the past century.

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Antelope

Renew their horns every year!

Armyworm

They are so named because they "march" in armies of worms from one crop to another in search of food

Banana Spider

People spin clothing and fishing nets out of these spiders’ silk.

Barb

There are over 1768 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Bearded Vulture

These birds eat a diet of bones

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.

Bee

Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Biscuit Beetle

The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Brazilian Treehopper

“Mild-Mannered Minimonsters”

Brown-banded Cockroach

Females glue egg cases to furniture

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors

Bumblebee

The most common species of bee!

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 17,500 species!

Caecilian

Some species' babies use their hooked or scraper-like teeth to peel off and eat their mother's skin

Camel

Can survive without water for 10 months!

Caracal

Has 20 different muscles in it's ears!

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants can lift up to seven times their own weight with their teeth!

Carpet Viper

The Carpet Viper probably bites and kills more people than any other species of snake.

Cat

First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!

Caterpillar

The larvae of a moth or butterfly!

Catfish

There are nearly 3,000 different species!

Centipede

There are about 3,000 documented species!

Chameleon

There are more than 160 different species!

Cheetah

The fastest land mammal in the world!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Cichlid

There are more than 2 000 known species!

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Codling Moth

Pupae are able to undergo diapause to survive poor fruit yield years and winter.

Common Buzzard

The most common raptor in the UK!

Common Furniture Beetle

The common furniture beetle feeds exclusively on wood

Common House Spider

House spiders have the ability to eat most insects in a home.

Common Raven

A group of ravens is called an unkindness or a conspiracy.

Cow

There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings

Crane

Many are critically endangered species!

Cricket

Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Crow

A group of these birds is called a Murder.

Desert Locust

Solitary locusts are grey while gregarious locusts are yellow with stripes.

Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle

The Devil’s coach horse beetle can emit a noxious substance to deter predators

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Dog Tick

Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals

Donkey

First domesticated 5,000 years ago!

Dormouse

Found in Europe, Africa and Asia!

Dragonfly

It's larvae are carnivorous!

Duck

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight

Dunkleosteus

Dunkleosteus had a bite force strong enough to cut through pirey.

Earthworm

They are hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female organs

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eel

Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

Egyptian Vulture

They steal large ostrich eggs and use rocks and pebbles to crack the shells.

Electric Catfish

The electric catfish can discharge an electric shock up to 450 volts

Elephant

Spends around 22 hours a day eating!

Elephant Shrew

Found exclusively on the African continent!

Eurasian Bullfinch

The shy eurasian bullfinch prefers to forage very close to cover.

Eurasian Jay

The Eurasian jay has the ability to mimic other sounds

European Bee-Eater

They can eat up to 250 bees per day!

European Goldfinch

They are frequent visitors to backyard feeders, especially those containing niger seeds.

European Polecat

Its fur changes color in the winter!

European Robin

Male robins are so aggressive and territorial that they will attack their own reflections.

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

False Widow Spider

False spiders actually prey on black widow spiders and other hazardous spiders

Fennec Fox

Found in the African Sahara Desert!

Fiddler Crab

The fiddler crab gets its name from the motion the males make with their over-sized claw during the mating ritual.

Firefly

The firefly produces some of the most efficient light in the world

Flamingo

Sleeps on just one leg!

Flea

Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Fox

There are 12 different species in the world!

Freshwater Eel

Freshwater eels are actually catadromous, meaning they migrate to saltwater to spawn

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Fly

Fruit flies are among the most common research animals in the world

Gazelle

Named for the Arabic word for love poems

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Gerbil

Originally known as the Desert Rat!

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Gnat

Males form large mating swarms at dusk

Goat

Most closely related to the Sheep!

Golden Eagle

Their calls sound like high-pitched screams, but they are quiet most of the time.

Golden Oriole

Migrates between Europe and Asia!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!

Gypsy Moth

One of the most invasive species in the world

Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Hare

Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!

Hawk Moth Caterpillar

Many hawk moth caterpillars eat toxins from plants, but don’t sequester them the way milkweed butterflies do. Most toxins are excreted.

Hedgehog

Thought to be one of the oldest mammals on Earth!

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Honey Badger

One of earth's bravest creatures!

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Hoopoe

Stunning bird with a stinky way to deter predators!

Horse

Has evolved over 50 million years!

Horsefly

Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.

Housefly

The fly has no teeth

Human

Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!

Huntsman Spider

Some huntsman spiders have an interesting way of moving around. Some cartwheel while others do handsprings or backflips.

Hyena

There are four different species!

Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Jacana

The jacana has the ability to swim underwater

Jerboa

Tiny rodent with a kangaroo-like jump!

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Leech

Has 10 pairs of eyes!

Liger

The offspring of a lion and tiger parents!

Linnet

While linnets are monogamous during mating season, they do not mate for life. While breeding pairs are together, the males are highly territorial and will defend the nesting site and the surrounding area.

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Locust

Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.

Macaque

Macaque females will pass on their social rankings to their daughters

Maggot

Will only live in wet areas

Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Mallard

With an appropriate tail wind, the mallard can travel hundreds of miles a day

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Mealybug

They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

Mole Cricket

Adult Mole crickets may fly as far as 5 miles during mating season and are active most of the year.

Monarch Butterfly

During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.

Mongoose

Range in size from just 1 to 3 foot!

Mongrel

Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

Monitor Lizard

Some species are thought to carry a weak venom!

Monkey

There are around 260 known species!

Moorhen

Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!

Mosquito

Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

Mule

The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!

Nightingale

Named more than 1,000 years ago!

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Ortolan Bunting

The tradition of hiding your face with a napkin or towel while eating this bird was begun by a priest who was a friend of the great French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

Osprey

They reuse nesting sites for 70 years!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Owl

The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

Parakeet

Monk parakeets are the only parakeets that actually build nests. They’re also the only parakeets to nest in great colonies.

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth

Pheasant

Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pigeon

They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.

Praying Mantis

The mantis can turn its head 180 degrees.

Puff Adder

This large snake is so-named because it will puff up its body to appear bigger than it is when directly threatened by a predator or person.

Puss Moth

Caterpillars squirt formic acid!

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Rabbit

There are more than 50 different species!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

Red Deer

A male red deer shows his age in his antlers, which become longer and more branched every year.

Redstart

They build their nests off the ground in tree holes, cavities, stone walls, and roofs

Rhinoceros

It's horns are made from keratin!

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!

Robin

There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!

Rodents

The capybara, the world’s largest rodent, likes to be in and around bodies of water. Because of this, the Catholic Church in South America decided that it was a fish, and people were allowed to eat it during Lent and First Fridays.

Rooster

Will mate with the entire flock!

Sable Ferret

Ferrets were used during the Revolutionary War to keep down the rat population.

Sand Cat

They can survive for weeks without drinking water because the get moisture from their prey.

Sand Crab

The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail

Scimitar-horned Oryx

Believed to be the inspiration for unicorn myths!

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Eagle

The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Short-Eared Owl

The short-eared owl is one of the most widespread owl species in the world, covering five continents.

Shrew

The spinal column of the shrew Scutisorex somereni is so strong and reinforced that it can support the weight of an adult human.

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Skink Lizard

Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.

Slug

They glide around on one foot, which is aided by the slime they produce

Smokybrown Cockroach

Has up to 45 eggs per egg case

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Song Thrush

A male song thrush can have over 100 phrases in his repertoire of songs and can imitate pet birds, telephones and other man-made objects.

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

Spider Wasp

They prey on spiders to feed their larvae or they parasitize other spider wasps.

Spinosaurus

The Spinosaurus is the biggest carnivorous dinosaur ever discovered!

Squirrel

Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!

Stork

They can’t sing like other birds.

Striped Hyena

The striped hyenas usually mark their territories with the help of the scent gland secretions from their anal pouch.

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.

Termite

Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Thrush

The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.

Tick

They inject hosts with a chemical that stops them from feeling the pain of the bite

Tiger Beetle

The adult tiger beetle is one of the fastest land insects in the world

Tortoise

Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!

Turtles

Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.

Vinegaroon

Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted

Viper

Vipers are one of the most widespread groups of snakes and inhabit most

Vulture

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Wasp

There are around 75,000 recognised species!

Water Buffalo

Has been domesticated for thousands of years!

White Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Woodlouse

This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodlouse Spider

Unlike most spiders, woodlouse spiders don’t build a web.

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Worm

Doesn’t have eyes.

Wryneck

They feign death by making their bodies limp and closing their eyes.

Zebu

There are around 75 different species!

Zonkey

The offspring of Zebra and Donkey parents!

Zorse

The offspring of a Zebra and Horse parents!

Moroccan Animals List

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Animals in Morocco FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals live in Morocco?

Several species of birds, reptiles, insects, rodents, cats, dogs, working and farm animals (horses, sheep, goats, camels), as well as marine wildlife, live in Morocco.

What is the most dangerous animal in Morocco?

The most dangerous animal in Morocco is either of 4 of the most venomous snake species: Puff adder, Indian cobra, the Egyptian cobra, and the horned viper.

Do giraffes live in Morocco?

No. West African giraffes went extinct in the country in 600 CE due to the harsh Saharan climate.

Are there elephants in Morocco?

Yes, although there are only 3 in the country, Morocco has been listed as a habitat range state for West African elephants.

What wildlife live in the desert in Morocco?

The Fennec fox, single-humped camel (also called Arabian camel or dromedary), Dorcas gazelle, jerboa, desert hedgehog, Dab lizard and Berber skink are the most well-known desert fauna in Morocco.