Animals in Iraq

Below you can find a complete list of Iraqi animals. We currently track 149 animals in Iraq and are adding more every day!

Iraq is an ethnically diverse country in Western Asia that has historically served as an important crossroads of vast empires. It shares a border with Turkey to the north, Syria to the west, Iran to the east, and Saudi Arabia and Jordan toward the south. The country is comprised of two main climates: the hot and arid lowlands or alluvial plains and the cooler uplands of the northeast. The country’s two mightiest rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through Iraq and into the Persian Gulf. The area between the two rivers, which goes by the historical name of Mesopotamia, is widely regarded as the cradle of human civilization. It’s also the source of the country’s most abundant wildlife.

The Official National (State) Animal of Iraq

While Iraq has a few different national symbols, the golden eagle is the one animal that adorns the country’s coat of arms. Formally known as the Eagle of Saladin (after the 12th-century historical figure), it was adapted in the 20th century as a symbol of pan-Arabism.

Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in Iraq

Iraq has long been a difficult place for animal lovers to visit because of its history of lax wildlife protection, habitat degradation, and internal warfare. The struggle to open the Halgurd Sakran National Park, located in the mountainous north abutting Turkey and Iran, best exemplifies the country’s problems. The organizers of the park had planned for it to encompass a massive 400 square miles, including the country’s highest point, Halgurd Peak, at 12,000 feet above sea level. But many factors, including perpetual warfare, the presence of unexploded munitions, and the dwindling of many unique species in the area, have all combined to delay its opening.

Nevertheless, Iraq is not completely free of beautiful wildlife areas. The Mesopotamian Marshes, situated in the south where the Tigris and Euphrates converge, is the richest source of wildlife in the country. Historically comprised of three distinct areas (the Central, Hammar, and Hawizeh Marshes), it used to be one of the largest wetland ecosystems in the world, until Saddam Hussein drained part of the swamp and caused significant damage to the local wildlife. The drainage was eventually reversed after his overthrow, but it’s still affecting the abundance of migrating and native birds. Visitors can still find flamingos, pelicans, herons, reed warblers, the sacred ibis, African darter, and Mesopotamian crow. This area is also an excellent source of freshwater fish.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Iraq Today

The hot, arid deserts and scrublands of Iraq teem with several species of dangerous snakes and weird insects.

  • Saw-Scaled Viper – Native to the scrublands and deserts of Iraq, the Indian saw-scaled viper will defend itself with dangerous venom that causes pain, swelling, and occasional blistering. In rare cases, bleeding and coagulation can occur over several areas of the body.
  • Horned Viper – Easily identified by the unique pointed horns on its head, the horned viper will lie submerged and camouflaged in the sand, waiting to strike at prey. The venom itself can cause pain, swelling, nausea, vomiting, bleeding, and tissue death. This snake can sometimes deliver enough of a dose to kill a person. Fortunately, they are seldom encountered by people.
  • Deathstalker – Sporting a weird green or brown color, this is one of the most dangerous species of scorpions in the world. Although a single sting from the deathstalker is very painful, it would not normally kill a healthy adult. It’s usually the second sting that may prove fatal.
  • Black Desert Cobra – This all-black snake, which can be found in scrublands, deserts, and rocky terrain all over the Middle East, can deliver a powerful neurotoxin that affects the entire body.

Endangered Animals in Iraq

  • Persian Leopard – Although quite rare, his subspecies of the leopard is still occasionally seen in northern Iraq. The main threats to their existence are deforestation and hunting.
  • Persian Fallow Deer – Once widespread across the entire Western Asia region, the Persian fallow deer may already be extinct from Iraq. Only about 1,000 to 2,000 of them remain in the world.
  • Spur-Thighed Tortoise – While still somewhat common around the Mediterranean, this species of tortoise has almost completely disappeared from the northern Iraq territories in which it resided.
  • Syrian Brown Bear – Easily identified by its smaller size and light brown fur, this subspecies of the brown bear was once found across most of northern Iraq. But the combined effects of overhunting and habitat loss have made it endangered in the country.
  • Northern Bald Ibis – The northern bald ibis can look a bit weird. Featuring a bare red face, a long, curved bill, and glossy black plumage, this unique but endangered bird can be found in semi-desert or rocky habitats. While Iraq is considered to be outside of its normal migratory range, it used to appear in the country with some regularity.

Iraqi Animals

Angora Goat

Each adult Angora goat produces about 12 inches of mohair annually while kids have about 8 inches.

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Antelope

Renew their horns every year!

Aurochs

Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!

Avocet

Has a curved, upturned beak!

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

Can survive without water for 10 months!

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.

Camel Spider

Fast, carnivorous arachnid with a painful bite.

Caracal

Has 20 different muscles in it's ears!

Cashmere Goat

Cashmere goat are named after Kashmir regions of India and Pakistan

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!

Cicada

Cicadas have one of the longest insect lifespans

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Common Buzzard

The most common raptor in the UK!

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!

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Deer

There are around 40 different species!

Desert Locust

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

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!

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!

Fallow deer

The fallow deer has more variation in its coat colors than most other deer.

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!

Hare

Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!

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.

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!

Ibex

Can jump over 6 feet straight up from a standstill

Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Jackal

Can maintain speeds of 16 km/h!

Jerboa

Tiny rodent with a kangaroo-like jump!

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!

Locust

Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.

Long-Eared Owl

Ear tufts make it look bigger!

Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

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!

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth

Persian

Thought to have originated in the Middle East!

Pheasant

Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pig

Thought to have been domesticated in 9,000 BC!

Pigeon

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

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!

Skink Lizard

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

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!

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!

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.

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!

Iraqi Animals List

Animals in Iraq FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals live in Iraq?

Iraq is home to almost 80 species of mammal, including such well-known animals as the wolves, badgers, otters, martens, porcupines, muskrats, foxes, jackals, wild pigs, wildcats, and hyenas. But birds are probably the most conspicuous of all animals. It is estimated that more than 400 species of birds can be found in Iraq, many of them living in the southern wetlands. Snakes and insects are also quite common throughout the entire country. The lion, cheetah, ostrich, oryx, and wild donkey once lived in Iraq, but over the centuries they have all become extinct.

Are there tigers in Iraq?

Iraq no longer has any native tigers, but there is some evidence that the now extinct Caspian tiger subspecies did once live here. The last known sighting occurred in 1887.

Are there alligators or crocodiles in Iraq?

The country does not have many native species, but the mugger crocodile of India may have once lived in Iraq.