Animals in Indonesia (Sulawesi)

Updated: January 24, 2023
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Below you can find a complete list of Sulawesi animals. We currently track 174 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

Admiral Butterfly

Stunningly beautiful wings


First evolved 100 million years ago!


Renew their horns every year!


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

Asian Palm Civet

It mainly eats mangos and coffee!


Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!


The babirusa is the only mammal with vertically growing canine teeth!

Banana Spider

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


There are over 1768 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!


Detects prey using echolocation!


There are 8 different species!

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.


Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years


There are more than 350,000 different species


Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!


The most common species of bee!


There are thought to be up 17,500 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.


May have been domesticated up to 10,000 years ago.


The larvae of a moth or butterfly!


There are nearly 3,000 different species!


There are about 3,000 documented species!


First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!


Highly social, smart, and chatty bird.


Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Common Buzzard

The most common raptor in the UK!

Common House Spider

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

Common Spotted Cuscus

Has a long, strong prehensile tail!


They can fly 35 mph and dive 150 feet below water.


There are nearly 1.5 billion worldwide!

Cow Reticulated Python

Cow reticulated pythons hatch solid white, then develop spots as they mature.


There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings


Many are critically endangered species!


Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together


Have changed little in 200 million years!


Crocodylomorphs include extinct ancient species as well as 26 living species today.


There are around 40 different species!


First domesticated in South-East Asia!


First domesticated 5,000 years ago!


Found in Europe, Africa and Asia!


It's larvae are carnivorous!


Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight


Has exceptional eyesight!


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


There are nearly 2,000 different species!


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


Spends around 22 hours a day eating!

Emerald Tree Monitor

They lay their eggs in termite nests!


The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fire-Bellied Toad

Found across mainland Europe and Asia!


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


Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air


There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Squirrel

Can glide up to 90 meters!


Only 12 species are considered "true foxes"


There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Fly

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


Named for the Arabic word for love poems


There are thought to be over 2,000 species!


Originally known as the Desert Rat!

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!


Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!


Most closely related to the Sheep!

Golden Oriole

Migrates between Europe and Asia!


There are 29 different species!


There are 11,000 known species!

Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!


Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

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.


Thought to be one of the oldest mammals on Earth!


Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!


Stunning bird with a stinky way to deter predators!


Has evolved over 50 million years!


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


The fly has no teeth


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.


Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!


There are an estimated 30 million species!

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

King Cobra

They are the longest venomous snake in the world.


Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!


The offspring of a lion and tiger parents!


There are around 5,000 different species!

Long-Eared Owl

Ear tufts make it look bigger!

Long-Tailed Tit

Often hangs upside down while feeding!


Macaque females will pass on their social rankings to their daughters


They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Masked Palm Civet

Found throughout Asia, India and China!


There are 2,500 known species worldwide!


They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.


Some species have a poisonous bite!


Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!


Range in size from just 1 to 3 foot!


Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

Monitor Lizard

Some species are thought to carry a weak venom!


There are around 260 known species!


Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!


There are 250,000 different species!


Found on every continent on Earth!


The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!


Roamed Asia and Europe for around 100,000 years!


Nematodes range in size from 1/10 of an inch to 28 feet long


Able to regrow lost or damaged limbs!


Named more than 1,000 years ago!

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males


There are 13 different species worldwide


The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees


Can live for up to 100 years!


Most commonly found on the Indian mainland!


Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!


Thought to have been domesticated in 9,000 BC!


Found in mountainous regions and rocky areas

Pond Skater

There are 500 different species!


There are 30 different species worldwide!


Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!


There are more than 300 different species!


Omnivores that eat anything!

Rat Snakes

Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.

Redback Spider

The redback spiders found in New Caledonia differ from other populations in that they don’t practice sexual cannibalism and don’t bite people as much.

Reticulated python

These popular pets can get big enough to kill their owner.


It's horns are made from keratin!

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!


There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!


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.


Will mate with the entire flock!


There are more than 700 different species!


There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Eagle

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


Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!


Around 35 million in the English countryside!


There are 2,000 different species worldwide!


Also known as the Polecat!

Slow Worm

Found widely throughout British gardens!

Smokybrown Cockroach

Has up to 45 eggs per egg case


There are nearly 1,000 different species!


There are around 4,000 known species worldwide


There are 140 different species!


Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!


Average adults weigh about 200 grams!


Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.


Each eye weighs more than their whole brain!


Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Tiger Beetle

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


Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!


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

Vampire Crab 

Vampire crabs do not depend on saltwater for their development; instead, they live near freshwater rivers and in forests amongst rocks and dense vegetation.


Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted


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


There are 30 different species worldwide!


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!


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!


Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.


This animal can roll up into a ball


There are 200 different species!


There are around 75 different species!

Sulawesi Animals List

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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 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.