Below you can find a complete list of Afghan animals. We currently track 241 animals in Afghanistan and are adding more every day!
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is a landlocked country in South and Central Asia. It is bordered by Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China.
Afghanistan is home to unique and diverse wildlife. Some are critically endangered and others are extinct. A few are the stuff of myth and legends. Read on to find out about all the unique and interesting animals that call Afghanistan home.
Afghanistan Wildlife Summary
Afghanistan is a landlocked dry and mountainous country located at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. The rugged northern mountains are an ideal hideaway for elusive snow leopards and Himalayan bears. There are also rivers, valleys, and lush marshes. These provide sustenance and shelter to a number of endangered herbivores, such as the Marco Polo sheep and the markhor goat. In the past, these animals attracted wolves and large feline predators, big cats including tigers, lions, and cheetahs.
The Official National Animal Of Afghanistan
Afghanistan’s national animal is the snow leopard. This elusive cat lives high in the mountains. It is rarely caught on video by trail cameras. The national bird is the golden eagle. Not only is it one of the best-known but it’s also one of the most recognizable birds of prey in the world.
The snow leopard is considered one of the most elusive and endangered leopards. It is believed this is the national animal because they exhibit the same bravery and courage as the Afghan people. This cat is smaller than other cats and they do well in snowy, cold areas and rocky mountains. Snow leopards can grow to lengths of 29 to 59 inches and weigh 55 to 121 lbs.
Afghanistan also has a national dog, the Afghan hound. These hounds have narrow faces and long fur on their ears, sides, and legs. They are a favorite show dog throughout the world.
Where To Find The Top Wild Animals In Afghanistan
Afghanistan has 8 national parks where you can discover the incredible and rare wildlife seen throughout the country. The forests of Nuristan have the most unique wildlife. This province borders Pakistan and has the lowest human population. Since 2020, almost the entire province is protected as a national park.
- The Band-e-Amir National Park, located in Nuristan in the mountainous desert of central Afghanistan, was established in 2009.
- Wakhan National Park, in northern Badakhshan province, larger than Yellowstone National Park, is the second park opened in the country, opening in 2014.
- Kol-e-Hashmat Khan, in Kabul, is a wetland opened in 2015 for protecting migrating birds.
- Bamiyan Plateau
- Forests of eastern Nuristan province (Nuristan National Park)
- Standing waters of eastern Ghazni
- Darqad District of northern Takhar province
- Imam Sahib District of northern Kunduz province
Some of Afghanistan’s top animals, including snow leopards and bears, live in the Pamir Mountains and the Karakoram Mountains in the northeast section of the country. They are an extension of the Himalayas.
The Most Dangerous Animals In Afghanistan Today
Afghanistan is home to a number of venomous animals, including snakes, spiders, and scorpions. The saw-scaled viper, one of the deadliest snakes in Asia, is responsible for causing the most snakebite cases, and the carpet viper can cause deadly blood clots and bleeding. The deathstalker scorpion is one of the most dangerous scorpions in the world. And bites from spiders such as the black widow, while rarely fatal, can cause an adult human to have multiple complications.
One of the most dangerous species of scorpions, the deathstalker scorpion has a low lethal dose of venom with a powerful mix of neurotoxins. Also known as the Palestine Yellow Scorpion, this deadly scorpion can be found in desert and scrubland habitats. Its sting is extremely painful and most fatal to those that are allergic, elderly, or very young.
Endangered Animals In Afghanistan
Many of Afghanistan’s large mammals are classified as “globally threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These include big predators such as the snow leopard, wolves, and the Asiatic black bear, as well as herbivores like the urial, markhor, and Siberian musk deer.
The markhor is a wild horned goat that can be found in the mountains of Afghanistan. There are three subspecies, although they look primarily the same. They can reach weights of over 200 lbs and have incredible horns on their heads that spiral. While the markor’s numbers did shrink dangerously low and is currently on the rise, they are still in need of protection. They are poached for their horns, which are thought to have medicinal properties, and are also threatened due to loss of habitat.
Several big cats – the Asiatic cheetah, Caspian tiger, and Asiatic lion – once lived there, but they are now considered regionally extinct.
The Rarest Animal In Afghanistan
The Bactrian deer is a subspecies of the red deer and is so elusive that it was believed to have gone extinct. Known by quite a few names such as Bukhara deer, Bokhara deer, and Bactrian wapiti, they are native to Central Asia and are found in northern Afghanistan to the west of the Tian Shan Mountains. Due to the long-standing civil war of the 70s and 80s, which led to a loss of habit, there were no sightings of the deer until more recently. It is believed that today, wealthy people keep these deer as pets which is another issue in their conservation.
The number of Bactrian deer living in Afghanistan is estimated to be around 1900. In order to better reflect their status as endangered, they were merged with two additional red deer subspecies.
The Largest Animal In Afghanistan
The Asiatic black bear is also known as the moon bear, the white-chested bear, the Tibetan bear, and the Himalayan bear. With fewer than 60,000 bears remaining worldwide, this black bear is threatened by loss of habitat and agriculture. This is a medium-sized bear that grows to an average length of 51 to 75 inches, with males weighing between 220 to 440 pounds – females are generally half the weight of males. The distinguishing white mark on their chest is where they get the name “white-chested bear” and “moon bear” from – this mark is shaped like a crescent moon.
Afghan Animals List
- Admiral Butterfly
- Afghan Hound
- Angora Goat
- Asiatic Black Bear
- Banana Spider
- Barn Owl
- Barn Swallow
- Bed Bugs
- Biscuit Beetle
- Black Widow Spider
- Brazilian Treehopper
- Brown Dog Tick
- Camel Cricket
- Camel Spider
- Carpenter Ant
- Carpet Viper
- Cashmere Goat
- Cinereous Vulture
- Codling Moth
- Common Buzzard
- Common Furniture Beetle
- Common House Spider
- Common Raven
- Crab Spider
- Desert Locust
- Dog Tick
- Dung Beetle
- Egyptian Vulture
- Eurasian Eagle-owl
- European Bee-Eater
- European Goldfinch
- False Widow Spider
- Fire-Bellied Toad
- Flying Squirrel
- Fruit Fly
- German Cockroach
- Glass Lizard
- Golden Eagle
- Golden Oriole
- Green Bee-Eater
- Griffon Vulture
- Gypsy Moth
- Hawk Moth Caterpillar
- Honey Badger
- Honey Bee
- Huntsman Spider
- Indian Cobra
- Jumping Spider
- Leopard Cat
- Leopard Gecko
- Long-Eared Owl
- Long-Tailed Tit
- Mole Cricket
- Monitor Lizard
- Myna Bird
- No See Ums
- Orb Weaver
- Peregrine Falcon
- Pheasant-tailed Jacana
- Pond Skater
- Praying Mantis
- Rat Snakes
- Rhesus Macaque
- River Turtle
- Russian Tortoise
- Sable Ferret
- Saw-scaled Viper
- Sea Eagle
- Short-Eared Owl
- Siberian Ibex
- Skink Lizard
- Slow Worm
- Smokybrown Cockroach
- Spider Wasp
- Stick Insect
- Striped Hyena
- Swallowtail Butterfly
- Tangerine Leopard Gecko
- Tarantula Hawk
- Tiger Beetle
- Tree Frog
- Water Buffalo
- Water Dragon
- White Ferret / Albino Ferrets
- White Tiger
- Wild Boar
- Wolf Spider
- Woodlouse Spider
Animals In Afghanistan FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Kinds of Animals Live in Afghanistan?
Afghanistan is home to a variety of animals, including snakes, scorpions, flying squirrels, great gerbils, Himalayan brown bears, weasels, otters, bats, Indian crested porcupines, palm civets, lynx, snow leopards, big cats, deer, mountain goats, hyenas, ibex, pikas (a small rabbit-like mammal), and foxes. An estimated population of 1,000 wolves lives in Afghanistan.
One of Afghanistan’s most famous animals is the camel spider, also called the wind scorpion or sun spider. Despite its common name, this arthropod is not a true scorpion or a true spider. It has long legs, an elongated, ridged abdomen, and large mandibles. The largest camel spiders are about 5 to 6 inches (12 to 15 cm) in length.
What makes the camel spider famous? In 2004, a photo went viral of a U.S. soldier holding two camel spiders. The photo tricked the eyes with false perspective – the legs in the background make the arthropods look ten times their actual size! With the photo, camel spider myths began to circulate. The truth is, they can’t run faster than a human, they have no venom, they don’t scream, and they’re not dangerous to people or camels. Ants are their favorite food.
What Is the Most Dangerous Animal in Afghanistan?
Afghanistan is home to the world’s most dangerous scorpion, called the deathstalker. It is also known as the Naqab desert scorpion, Palestine yellow scorpion, or Omdurman scorpion. It is generally one to three inches long (30 to 77 mm).
What makes this small scorpion so dangerous? Its venom is a mix of neurotoxins – chlorotoxin, charybdotoxin, scyllatoxin, and agitoxins one, two, and three. The sting is extremely painful for healthy adults and it can be deadly for children, the elderly, or those with medical conditions. Antivenom can be used to treat a deathstalker scorpion sting.
Perhaps the most dangerous animal in Afghanistan is the carpet viper. At just 2 feet in length, the carpet viper is a small snake. But its venom can cause deadly bleeding and blood clots if antivenom is not administered.
Are There Tigers in Afghanistan?
The Caspian tiger, a tiger subspecies analogous to the Siberian tiger, once roamed the Middle East and parts of Asia, including northern Afghanistan. It lived wherever water collected and marshes formed, attracting its prey.
During the 1800s, people began overhunting the Caspian tiger. Around the same time, natural disasters and disease reduced the populations of prey animals such as wild pigs. During the early 1900s, rewards were paid for tiger skins, as governments wanted to clear them from farmlands.
A small population of Caspian tigers survived and roamed the Piandj River, located between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The last sighting occurred in 1998.
Today, Caspian tigers are presumed to be extinct. However, efforts are being made to breed and release tigers back into the area, repairing the broken ecosystem.
Are There Dangerous Animals in Afghanistan?
As is true of most places, there are animals in Afghanistan that can harm humans. These include black widow spiders, the deathstalker scorpion, the carpet viper, and the saw-scaled viper.