Animals in Indonesia (Sulawesi)

Below you can find a complete list of Sulawesi animals. We currently track 133 animals in Indonesia (Sulawesi) and are adding more every day!

Sulawesi, also known as Celebes, is one of the four Greater Sunda Islands. It is a large island that is governed by Indonesia. Sulawesi borders Borneo to the west, the Philippines to the north, Maluku to the east, and Flores and Timor to the south.

Sulawesi is a mountainous island. It has only a few lowland areas and consists largely of montane rain forests. A montane rainforest is a forest that grows on mountains above 3,300 feet. These are also known as “cloud forests” because they collect water from mist and fog on the uplands.

The Official National Animal of Sulawesi

Sulawesi does not have its own national animal. The national animal of Indonesia is the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). This large reptile is a member of the monitor lizard family. The Komodo dragon is the world’s largest lizard. It can grow up to 10 feet and weigh more than 200 pounds.

Komodo dragons are the apex predators in most ecosystems where they live. Their size has made them fearless, and they have attacked humans.

Komodo dragons are classed as “vulnerable” for conservation status. In 1980, the Indonesian government established Komodo National Park to help conserve them. There are many Komodo dragons in captivity.

Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in Sulawesi

The island of Sulawesi has six national parks and nineteen wildlife reserves. Sulawesi has three marine protected areas.

Some of the best places to see tarsiers, macaques and maleos are the Tangkoko National Park. Lore Lindu National Park is a good place to see tarsiers, cuscus, and anoas. Bogani National Park conserves nesting sites for maleos and other rare birds.

The ocean waters surrounding Sulawesi are home to some of the most biodiverse coral reefs in the world. They provide feeding areas for barracudas, dolphins, whales, eagle rays, manta rays, marlins, and sea turtles.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Sulawesi Today

The most dangerous animal in Sulawesi is the Komodo dragon. Its size and strength make it dangerous to predators, and its venomous bite makes it dangerous to humans.

Sulawesi has venomous snakes, and it is also home to deadly pythons. In 2017, a python swallowed an adult male whole. When villagers killed the snake and opened it, they found the man’s body inside.

Endangered Animals in Sulawesi

Unfortunately, many animals in Sulawesi are endangered. Hunting, the illegal pet trade, and deforestation have caused habitat loss and population declines among many of its unique animals. Without serious intervention, some of them will become extinct.

  • Anoa: Also known as the midget buffalo, the anoa looks like a miniature version of the water buffalo. Sulawesi has two species, the mountain anoa (Bubalus quarlesi) and the lowland anoa (Bubalus depressicornis). Both are classed as endangered.
  • The bear cuscus (Phalangista ursina) is an endemic marsupial that lives in the island’s mountain rainforests. This sweet-looking animal resembles a sloth. Frequent targets of the illegal pet trade, these gentle mammals are classed as vulnerable.
  • The crested black macaque (Macaca nigra) is a monkey that forages on the coastline and in the trees of Sulawesi. This intelligent, sociable monkey is critically endangered.

Because of its unique animal life, Sulawesi is considered part of the global biodiversity hotspot known as Wallacea. This hotspot includes several islands, of which Sulawesi is the largest. It is also home to the highest number of endangered birds and mammals in this hotspot.

Sulawesi’s Unique Wildlife

Sulawesi is home to many beautiful animals that only exist on the island. The Wildlife Conservation Society Indonesia Program has been working with the government of Indonesia to protect the last remaining macaques, anoas, maleos, and other rare, precious animals of Sulawesi.

Sulawesi Animals

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Antelope

Renew their horns every year!

Asian Palm Civet

It mainly eats mangos and coffee!

Aurochs

Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!

Babirusa

Babirusas can stand on their back hooves to eat leaves on the lower branches of a tree.

Barb

There are over 2,000 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Bear

There are 8 different species!

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Bumblebee

The most common species of bee!

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 20,000 species!

Camel Cricket

The camel crickets that are found in the USA are light brown in color. They also have dark streaks all over their body.

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!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Cockatoo

Highly social, smart, and chatty bird.

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Common Buzzard

The most common raptor in the UK!

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!

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Cuscus

Has a long, strong prehensile tail!

Deer

There are around 40 different species!

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

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

Eagle

Has exceptional eyesight!

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eel

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

Elephant

Spends around 22 hours a day eating!

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fire-Bellied Toad

Found across mainland Europe and Asia!

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Squirrel

Can glide up to 90 meters!

Fox

There are 12 different species in the world!

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Gerbil

Originally known as the Desert Rat!

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Goat

Most closely related to the Sheep!

Golden Oriole

Migrates between Europe and Asia!

Goose

There are 29 different species!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!

Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Hedgehog

Thought to be one of the oldest mammals on Earth!

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

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.

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.

Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

King Cobra

They are the longest poisonous snake in the world.

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Liger

The offspring of a lion and tiger parents!

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Long-Eared Owl

Ear tufts make it look bigger!

Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Masked Palm Civet

Found throughout Asia, India and China!

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

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!

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

Mule

The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!

Neanderthal

Roamed Asia and Europe for around 100,000 years!

Newt

Able to regrow lost or damaged limbs!

Nightingale

Named more than 1,000 years ago!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Peacock

Most commonly found on the Indian mainland!

Pheasant

Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pig

Thought to have been domesticated in 9,000 BC!

Pika

Found in mountainous regions and rocky areas

Pond Skater

There are 500 different species!

Porcupine

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Rabbit

There are more than 50 different species!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

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.

Salamander

There are more than 700 different species!

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Skunk

Also known as the Polecat!

Slow Worm

Found widely throughout British gardens!

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

Squirrel

Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!

Stoat

Average adults weigh about 200 grams!

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tarsier

Each eye weighs more than their whole brain!

Termite

Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Tortoise

Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!

Vulture

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Wasp

There are around 75,000 recognised species!

Water Buffalo

Has been domesticated for thousands of years!

Water Dragon

Spends most of it's time in the trees!

Weasel

The smallest carnivorous mammal in the world!

White Tiger

None have been seen in the wild for 50 years!

Wild Boar

Males have a top tusk to sharpen the bottom one!

Wolf

Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Woodlouse

Actually a crustacean, not an insect!

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Zebu

There are around 75 different species!

Sulawesi Animals List

Animals in Indonesia (Sulawesi) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What Animals Live in Sulawesi?

Sulawesi is noteworthy for the many endemic animals that call it home. An “endemic” animal is unique to the country it lives in and can’t be found anywhere else. Many of Sulawesi’s animals only live there.

  • There are 127 mammals in Sulawesi. Of these, 79 are endemic.
  • Sulawesi has 350 native birds, and about 50 of them are endemic.
  • It has over 70 freshwater fish species, and more than half are endemic.

Because of its climate and topography, you can expect to find animals that thrive in warm, wet forests here. Animals in Sulawesi share characteristics with the animals of Asia and Australia. Here are some of its most interesting native animals.

  • Kingfishers: Sulawesi has two native species of these gorgeous birds. They are the green-backed kingfisher (Actenoides monachus) and the Sulawesi lilac kingfisher (Citura cyanotis). The lilac kingfisher is classed as near threatened.
  • North Sulawesi babirusa (Babyrousa celebensis): This endemic wild pig, sometimes called a deer-pig, has a curved tusk and hooves. Its face looks like a cross between a pig and a deer, which is where it gets its nickname. Babirusas almost became extinct because of hunting and other threats. Recent conservation efforts have helped them rebound.
  • Tarsius (Lemur tarsier): The world’s smallest primate, this tiny guy has a sweet face, enormous eyes and pointed ears. Tarsius are only found on Sulawesi or other nearby islands in Indonesia and the Philippines. These primates spend their whole lives in the trees, where they build nests and mate. They mate for life, and a tarsius will not mate again if its partner dies. These miniature mammals are threatened by habitat destruction.
  • Maleo (Macrocephalon maleo): This distinctive bird has black feathers with a pink breast. Maleos live on the beaches and sandy areas of Sulawesi. They mate for life. The Bronx Zoo is the only other place in the world that has maleos, and it is developing programs to breed them in captivity. Maleos are critically endangered.

What Is the Biggest Animal in Sulawesi?

The Komodo dragon and the Sumatran tiger are the biggest animals in Sulawesi.

Although it is small for a tiger, the Sumatran tiger can weigh up to 260 pounds.

The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) is a specific subspecies of tiger known as the Sunda Island subspecies. This group formerly included the Javan and Bali tigers, but they are both extinct.

The Sumatran tiger is native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where it lives in the forests. It has webbed feet that allow it to navigate through rivers and coastal forests. The species is listed as critically endangered. In 2016, the government of Indonesia declared the Sumatran tiger a top priority for conservation efforts.