Updated: March 17, 2023
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Below you can find a complete list of Japanese animals. We currently track 291 animals in Japan and are adding more every day!

Japan, or Nippon as it’s known to its native residents, may call to mind images of futuristic technology and vast cityscapes on first thought, but this region has just as much to offer in the realms of biodiversity and natural beauty.

For more than a millennium, Japan has held the title of “the land of the rising sun.” This Asian nation consists of over 7,000 large and small islands along the Pacific Rim, each with its own unique environment and wildlife.

Japan is home to fascinating creatures, some of which inspired the rich mythology and folklore of the land, as well as pop culture icons we know and love today. Keep reading to learn more about Japan’s rare and unique animals.

Japanese Wildlife

Two Raccoon Dogs in the forest

Tanuki, or raccoon dogs, have inspired many classic video game characters in Japan.

©663highland / CC BY-SA 3.0 – Original / License

Japan’s islands cover a wide variety of habitats and climate zones. In fact, Japan’s southernmost islands, including Okinawa, have a hot, humid, subtropical climate, while the northernmost island of Hokkaido has long, cold winters and cool summers.

This means that the country’s unique types of animals also vary greatly. There are large mammals such as bears, unique seagoing mammals like the dugong, and a few rare and amazing animals you may have never heard of – raccoon dogs, giant salamanders, cute snow monkeys, and island wildcats.

Since Japan is an island nation, the ocean and its creatures have been integral to Japanese lifestyle and culture since the very beginning. Many of the country’s most popular dishes are traditional seafood recipes like sushi, sashimi, and takoyaki.

The Official National Animal of Japan

Uncommonly, Japan does not have a set national animal. However, the national bird is the Japanese pheasant or green pheasant (Phasianus versicolor). It was given this honor in 1947 officially, but the bird has been a common fixture of Japanese culture for centuries as the companion to the folk hero Momotarō or “Peach Boy.” Green Pheasants also used to be featured on the backs of 10,000 yen bills.

The national fish of the country is the koi fish, a multicoloured variety of the Amur carp. These creatures make popular pets, with koi ponds being utilized to bring a tranquil calm to Japanese households and businesses alike.

Green Pheasant CLose-Up - National Bird of Japan

The green pheasant, despite its unicolored name, sports a vivid rainbow of feathers that are absolutely dazzling to witness.

©Robert Ang/Shutterstock.com

Where To Find The Top Wild Animals

Japanese Macaque, or Snow monkeys, are one of the most popular native animals of Japan to see during your visit. Their main habitat is at Jigokudani Yaen Kōen snow monkey park in Nagano Prefecture. The best time to see them is during the winter, December through March when snow is on the ground.

Would you like to see bears in Japan? Check out the Kuma Bokujo bear park in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido. They reside there year-round.

Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular activities in the warm southern waters. You may see tropical fish or even some of Japan’s aquatic mammals.

In historical Japan, animals held special importance to the practitioners of the country’s mostly forgotten ancient religion of Shinto. Though very few still hold on to these beliefs today, many temples from the heyday of Shinto built to honor local wildlife and the divinity believed to dwell within them still stand and make popular destinations for locals and tourists alike.

Snow monkeys are well known for relaxing in the cozy waters of Japanese hot springs.


Native Birds

Out of the 723 bird species living in Japan, around 17 are endemic and 30 are introduced. The country has multiple spots that are highly prized for avian species found in the unique habitats. Migratory birds also make their way across the country’s diverse landscapes.

One of the most valued birds in Japan, the red-crowned crane, appears in various forms of art and advertising throughout the country. However, the populations of this crane dwindled to the point of almost extinction as a result of overhunting. Over the past couple of decades, after heavy conservation efforts, numbers are climbing again and the majority of these majestic birds remain in Hokkaido, along with around 300 other species of bird.

Once extinct in Japan, the Oriental stork was reintroduced to Toyooka and populations now reach only about 170 birds. Along with these mentioned endangered birds, countless other avian species endemic to Japan are also facing threats of extinction. There are three main Endemic Bird Areas designated to conserve these species.

  1. Izu Islands – Izu thrush, Iijima warblers, Japanese pygmy woodpeckers, Izu robins, Eurasian wrens, white thrush, Pacific swifts, white-throated needletails, Japanese white-eyes
  2. Ogasawara Islands – Bonin honeyeaters, brown boobies, wedge-tailed shearwaters, rare Bryan’s shearwaters, red-footed boobies, Arctic Skuas, Lysan albatrosses, Bonin petrels
  3. Nansei Islands – Cinnamon bittern, Amami woodcock, rare Pryer’s woodpecker

Additionally, many extraordinary avifaunae can be seen flying over the mainland of Japan and in urban areas. Some common birds to see include:

  • Warbling white-eye
  • Mandarin duck
  • Falcated duck
  • Black kite
  • Fairy pitta
Red-Crowned Crane

The red-crowned crane has been a popular fixture of Japanese art for centuries.


Native Fish

For centuries, Japan has maintained a booming fishing industry. Seafood is a large part of the Japanese diet – seen in the nation’s favorite dish of sushi and in many other seafood recipes. As important as it is in cuisine, fishing in Japan is also a serious hobby and sport, with multitudes of sites to reel in incredible fish. Some restaurants in Japan even provide “urban fishing,” an immersive experience of catching the fish to be cooked without having to go out on the water. Patrons can catch their fish right inside the restaurant! Along with the urban experience, the real deal is not hard to come by. Below are popular species to fish for and where to find them:


  • Suzuki (sea bass) – Tokyo Bay during fall
  • Tuna (yellowfin, skipjack, bluefin) – Tokyo Bay during fall, Hachijō-jima
  • Mahi Mahi – Hachijō-jima
  • Giant Trevally – Hachijō-jima


  • Largemouth bass – Lake Kawaguchiko, Katsura, Sagami
  • Rainbow trout – Lake Kawaguchiko, Katsura, Sagami
  • Char – Katsura, Sagami
  • Japanese trout – Katsura, Sagami
  • King Salmon – Lake Kasumigaura
  • Smelt – Hokkaido year-round

Along with classic-style angling known worldwide, Japan is known for some unique forms of fishing, such as the fly fishing technique of “tenkara.” Additionally, fishermen of Gifu Prefecture’s Nagara River actually utilize trained cormorant birds to retrieve fish for them. Whether visitors are looking for an afternoon on the water, ice fishing, or spectacular methods of fishing unknown to other parts of the world, Japan has it all.

Cephalopods such as squid and octopi make up a much larger portion of the Japanese diet than many parts of the rest of the world. Japanese cuisine has developed many techniques for preparing fish that would be inedible otherwise, like the deadly, poisonous fugu fish, which is a traditional delicacy and requires the skills of an extremely experienced chef to prepare.

Japanese Koi in a pond.

Japanese Koi are some of the most popular pets in the country.


Native Snakes

Built on irrigated rice paddies, Japanese civilization relies heavily on water and depends on strong water sources for farming and maintaining livelihoods. These water sources are thought to be protected by Suijin, water deities, that are represented mainly as snakes. Many types of snakes exist in Japanese waterways, forests, and other landscapes. The most commonly found snakes are rat snakes which are namely large and nonvenomous. About 6 of these species are native to Japan. Farmers have historically relied on these snakes to control vermin populations throughout farms and households, preventing the destruction of crops, though more industrialized, mechanical farming techniques have put a strain on this once symbiotic relationship between serpent and farmer. Out of the many species of snakes found in the country, only 3 are venomous: the Japanese keelpack, the “Habu,” and the “Mamushi.” Below are facts regarding each of these species:

  • Keelpack – The keelpack is known for its two venoms: one used to subdue its victim, the second used to deter predators.
  • Habu – The Habu, while a venomous pit viper, is not known for being fatal. Most injuries caused by bites result in swelling and irritated limbs.
  • Mamushi – The Mamushi pit viper is the most dangerous snake in Japan. Venom from this snake causes tissue to actually liquefy. However, these snakes are shy and generally tend to avoid human contact.

When bitten by a snake, it is always important to seek medical attention, whether the snake is venomous or not, as unknown allergies or irritations may arise.


The Mamushi pit viper is the most feared serpent in all of Japan.


The Most Dangerous Animals in Japan Today

You should always give wildlife plenty of space. Japan is home to some potentially threatening animals, such as Asian black bears and brown bears. The wild boar will also bite and pursue threats. If you see these animals in the wild, keep a safe distance.

A number of venomous snakes live in this country. These include the Japanese pit viper or Mamushi and the Okinawan habu. Bites from giant centipedes and redback spiders, as well as giant hornet stings, can be dangerous and may require medical attention.

Even though these creatures can be deadly to humans if provoked, it is important to remember that humans are a much greater threat to them than they are to us, as many of Japan’s native wildlife has suffered greatly from the country’s rapid industrialization and changes in farming practices over the last 100 years.

A sting from an Asian Giant Hornet is incredibly painful compared to most wasp and bee stings.

©Gary Alpert / CC BY-SA 3.0 – Original / License

Largest Animal in Japan

Hailing from Japan’s second-largest and northernmost island of Hokkaido, the Ussuri brown bear is the most massive creature in the country. Though these bears can reach the intimidating size of 6 to 9 feet tall and over 1,000 lbs, they are primarily vegetarian and rarely eat other mammals unless provoked by them.

Ussuri brown bears have a long history of peacefully interacting with Hokkaido fishermen, with mother bears taking their cubs to the shores of nearby waterways to rest and relax without disturbing the humans who share their habitat. Adult males of the species are known to be larger and much more aggressive.

Ussuri brown bear

The Ussuri brown bear is one of the largest species of bears.


Zoos in Japan

Along with its incredible biodiversity and variety of landscapes unique to the country, Japan also accommodates animals from around the world in its 89 zoos. Out of these zoos, there are several favorites, recognized for their immersive experiences and distinctive exhibits. Listed below are a few examples of the top zoos in Japan.

  1. Wakayama Adventure World (Wakayama) – A “mega-park” including a safari park, amusement park, and even an aquarium, this zoo is a must-visit. Species range from giraffes to bottlenose dolphins to giant pandas. The safari allows visitors a realistic view into natural habitats and behavior while kids can also enjoy a ride on a rollercoaster or a horse!
  2. Asahiyama (Hokkaido) – Known for its orangutan trapeze, penguin aquarium, and free-fly bird enclosure, this zoo is the second-most visited in Japan as well as the northernmost. Wildlife native to the area also roams exhibits in the zoo, such as deer, eagles, and cranes.
  3. African Safari (Oita) – Accessible by tour bus or personal vehicle, visitors are able to see animals roaming in exhibits resembling their natural habitats. Visitors may also be able to feed certain animals, following strict guidelines and rules. Lions, giraffes, cheetahs, and elephants reside in this African inspired establishment.
  4. Tama Zoological Park (Tokyo) – In 1958 this zoo was originally established to represent animals in a more natural habitat as part of the Ueno Zoo. The zoo is divided into three gardens – Asia, Australia, and Africa – all displaying animals native to these areas. An insectarium also draws visitors into its exquisite butterfly house.
  5. Tobe Zoological Park (Ehime) – Best known for “Peace,” the polar bear born and raised at the zoo, this park is home to about 765 animals of 150 various species. Hippos, tigers, and monkeys are also popular attractions, along with the restaurant overlooking elephants in their habitat.

Endangered Animals

Japan is home to a number of rare species endangered or becoming extinct. These include native animals of Japan, like the Japanese short-tailed bat, Southeast Asian long-fingered bat, Bonin flying fox, Amami rabbit, Tokunoshima and Ryuku spiny rats, Ryukus Islands tree rat, Etigo mole, Orii’s shrew, Izu tit, Okinawan woodpecker, Yanbaru long-armed scarab beetle, sword-tailed newt, Anderson’s crocodile newt, Ryuku leaf turtle, Sakishima grass lizard, banded ground gecko, Hakuba and Oita salamanders, Holst’s frog, greater and Okinawa tip-nosed frogs, and the Amami Oshima frog.

There are many wildlife sanctuaries and National Parks throughout the country which have been established to conserve and protect the most vulnerable of native species. Many of the rarest species are found in the tinier, southern islands in the Okinawa prefecture where the tropical climate gives rise to incredible biodiversity.

woodpecker facts incredible

Critically endangered Okinawan woodpecker feeds on some beautiful red leaves.

©Richard Cook/Shutterstock.com

Rarest Animal in Japan

The most endangered animal in all of Japan is found on one of its tiniest, southernmost islands close to Taiwan. Known as the Iriomote Cat, these incredibly rare felines look similar to common housecats and are restricted to one population of 100-250 individuals on their namesake island.

Iriomote cats dwell under the cover of mangrove trees where they stalk local wildlife like crabs, lizards, fruit bats, and snakes for food. The Japanese government has taken extensive measures to preserve this precious population of wild cats by turning their habitat into a National Park and campaigning to remove roadkill from the area so that Iriomote Cats will not fall ill from ingesting it.

Leopard cat male close up in the nature

Some scientists believe the Iriomote Cat may be a subspecies of the more common

Leopard Cat



Japanese Animals

Admiral Butterfly

Stunningly beautiful wings


An innate sense of direction!


Very clean, intelligent and loyal!

Alaskan Pollock

It's one of the most commonly eaten fish in the world

Amano Shrimp

Popular kept in aquariums to keep them clean


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 Cockroach

Originally discovered in Japan

Asian Giant Hornet

The largest wasp in the world!

Asian Lady Beetle

Asian lady beetles infest indoor spaces, but they do not reproduce indoors.

Asiatic Black Bear

Known to eat 160 different tree-borne fruits in Thailand!


Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!

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!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.


Detects prey using echolocation!


There are 8 different species!

Beauty rat snake

Beauty Rat Snakes are relatively harmless if left undisturbed, only attempting to bite out of fear.

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!

Biscuit Beetle

The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Box Jellyfish

Venomous marine animals

Brazilian Treehopper

“Mild-Mannered Minimonsters”

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors


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.

Carpenter Ant

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


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!

Chinese Geese

They are excellent “guard geese”


Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Coconut Crab 

The largest terrestrial arthropod in the world

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.

Coral Snake

There are over 80 species of coral snake worldwide.


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

Cosmic Caterpillar

Cosmic caterpillars have spots on their back that look like eyes to scare off predators.


There are nearly 1.5 billion worldwide!


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!


A group of these birds is called a Murder.

Crucian Carp

Can survive drought by burying itself in mud.


There are around 40 different species!


Desmostylus has no living descendant.

Diving Bell Spider (Water Spider)

Diving bell spiders can breathe underwater using an air bubble on their abdomen


First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Dog Tick

Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals


First domesticated 5,000 years ago!


Found in Europe, Africa and Asia!

Dragon Eel

Dragon eels have double jaws and two sets of razor-sharp teeth


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

Dusky Shark

The Dusky Shark sometimes eats trash discarded by humans.


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!


Eiders are sexually dimorphic, with males being larger and more colorful.

Emperor Goose

Their calls sound like a nasally “kla-ha, kla-ha, kla-ha.”

Eurasian Bullfinch

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

Eurasian Eagle-owl

The Eurasian Eagle-owl is the second largest owl in the world with a wingspan up to six feet!

Eurasian Jay

The Eurasian jay has the ability to mimic other sounds

Eurasian Lynx

Eurasian lynxes can survive extreme weather up to elevations of 18,000 feet

Eurasian Nuthatch

Its song has been compared to a toy horn.

European Goldfinch

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


The fastest creatures on the planet!

False Widow Spider

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

Fiddler Crab

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

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"

Freshwater Eel

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


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!

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach

Giant Salamander

Cryptobranchus giant salamanders breathe mostly through their skin.

Giant Trevally

The largest fish in its genus

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!


Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!


Males form large mating swarms at dusk


Most closely related to the Sheep!


The goldcrest never starts moving and needs to consume for most of the day to survive. Therefore, in the colder months, it's best that eat 90% a day.

Golden Eagle

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

Golden Oriole

Migrates between Europe and Asia!


There are 29 different species!


Gourami fishes show parental care for their young


There are 11,000 known species!

Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!

Gypsy Moth

One of the most invasive species in the world

Habu Snake

Unlike most pit vipers, the habu snake lays eggs instead of giving birth to live young.


Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!


Can reach speeds of over 50 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.


Thought to be one of the oldest mammals on Earth!


Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Herring Gull

They are loud, spirited birds with raucous cries that sound like bursts of laughter.


Known for its bravery and ability to withstand the cold.

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Honey Buzzard

Honey buzzards are medium-sized raptors that earned their names by raiding the nests of bees and wasps.


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!


The jackdaw tends to mate for life with a single partner

Japanese Beetle

Can clear an entire fruit tree in 15 minutes in a swarm

Japanese Chin

Alert, intelligent and independent!

Japanese Macaque

Has cheek pouches for storing food!

Japanese rat snake

The albino Japanese rat snake is a symbol of good luck.

Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is sometimes referred to as a cloud dog.

Japanese Squirrel

The Japanese squirrel hoards its food for the winter

Japanese Terrier

Japanese Terriers are also called Nippon Terriers

Joro Spider

Shares its name with a Japanese "spider demon"!

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

Kai Ken

Kai Ken are a very rare breed of dog from Japan, though pure breeds are even harder to come by.


The checkered keelback of the east Indies can detach its tail and grow it back, much like a lizard.

King Eider

The species name, spectabilis, is Latin for “showy” or “remarkable,” referencing the attractiveness of the adult male’s plumage.

King Rat Snake

When threatened or frightened, the king rat snake has the ability to produce a foul-smelling substance out of self defense.

King Salmon

Largest of the Pacific salmon


Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!


Once raised to hunt dangerous game like boar, today's kishu ken are more likely to be used as guard dogs.

Koi Fish

In Japanese, the word koi sounds like the word for love. So the fish is a symbol of love among other good things.

Kokanee Salmon

A non-anadromous type of sockeye salmon


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!


Has 10 pairs of eyes!


The offspring of a lion and tiger parents!


There are around 5,000 different species!


Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.

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!


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

Mamushi Snake

The Mamushi snake, which is also known as the Japanese moccasin or the Japanese pit viper, can grow to be over two feet long.

Masked Palm Civet

Found throughout Asia, India and China!


There are 2,500 known species worldwide!


They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.


They line their nests with their feathers


Some species have a poisonous bite!


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.


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!


Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood


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!


no stomach to digest food


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

Neptune Grouper

The largest recorded specimen ever caught was 17" long


Able to regrow lost or damaged limbs!

Night Heron

When they feel threatened juvenile night herons vomit their stomach contents.


Named more than 1,000 years ago!

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

Ocean Perch

As a scorpionfish, the ocean perch has spines along its back!

Onagadori Chicken

The Onagadori, the chicken with the world's longest tail, was declared a Natural Monument of Japan in 1952.

Oranda Goldfish

Oranda goldfish are one of the most popular fancy goldfish breeds

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

Pacific Spaghetti Eel

They have excellent eyesight

Palaeoloxodon namadicus

Palaeloxodon namadicus was the largest land mammal ever found


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


Can live for up to 100 years!

Peacock Butterfly

The eyespots on this butterfly’s wings deter predators from attacking.

Peppered Moth

Teachers in schools often use the evolution of the peppered moth as a good example of Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth


Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

The pheasant-tailed jacana is the only species in its family that migrates long distances.


Thought to have been domesticated in 9,000 BC!


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


Found in mountainous regions and rocky areas

Pink Salmon

The smallest of the North American salmon

Pit Viper

Pit vipers's fangs fold up into their mouths when they don't need them.

Pompano Fish

They are bottom-feeders

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!

Raccoon Dog

The only hibernating canine!


Omnivores that eat anything!

Rat Snakes

Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.

Red-Eared Slider

Sliders spend lots of time basking in the sun. As cold-blooded animals, they need the sun to heat up.

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.


It's horns are made from keratin!

Ribbon Eel

Can fit its body into a tiny crevice of a reef

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!

Rough-Legged Hawk (Rough-Legged Buzzard)

Its scientific name, lagopus, is Ancient Greek for “hare” and “foot,” referring to its feathered feet and toes.

Sable Ferret

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


There are more than 700 different species!

Sand Crab

The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail


There are around 2,000 known species!

Scottish Fold Cat

The cutest mutation in the animal kingdom

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!

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are one of six native dog breeds from Japan.


This dog was declared a Japanese Natural Monument in 1937.

Short-Eared Owl

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


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


There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Sika Deer

Sikas can make 10 different sounds, from soft whistles to loud screams.

Skink Lizard

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

Slow Worm

Found widely throughout British gardens!


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

Smallmouth Bass

A fierce fighter!

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!

Spider Wasp

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

Spotted Garden Eel

Males battle each other over females and territory

Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly is often confused for a moth, but it’s actually a type of planthopper


Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!


Average adults weigh about 200 grams!

Strawberry Hermit Crab

When strawberry hermit crabs find shells that are larger than their own, they gather in a line from biggest to smallest. Once the biggest one sheds its shell, the next one in line will claim it, which is repeated down the line.


Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.


Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!


Some theropods had feathers and may have been ancestors of modern birds.


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


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


Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Trapdoor spider

Ambush their prey using a trapdoor made of silk

Tree Cricket

They make music with their wings

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.


Their guano is used in face creams!

Ural owl

The Ural owl can rotate its head up to 270 degrees


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 Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

White-Tailed Eagle

It is one of the biggest birds of prey.

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.

Wood Turtle

Temperature determines the sex of turtle eggs


This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodlouse Spider

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


There are 200 different species!


Doesn’t have eyes.


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

Yokohama Chicken

Yokohama chickens have snow white feathers with tails reaching up to 4 feet in length.


There are around 75 different species!

Japanese Animals List

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About the Author

My name is Corinna! In my profile photo you can see me with one of my two cats, Bisky! The other's name is Yma and she's a beautiful black Bombay kitty. I'm 24 years old and I live in Birmingham, AL with my partner Anastasia and like to spend my free time making music, collecting records and reading. Some other animals I've owned were a hamster, 2 chihuahuas and many different kinds of fish.

Japan FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What Is Japan's Most Famous Animal?

It could be argued that Japan’s most famous animals are those of mythology. The Japanese dragon has a serpentine shape, likely based on sea snakes. Other myths speak of fox spirits that can transform into humans.

Many of these animal spirits are reflected in anime and other media. For example, the cute characters of the Pokémon franchise, such as Pikachu, could be said to be Japan’s most famous animals. Some of these creatures, like Ninetails, are based on animals of myth, which are in turn based on real animals. Others were derived directly from childhood experiences catching bugs in Japan. All embody the cute ideals of kawaii art.

What Kinds of Animals Live in Japan?

Japan is home to about 130 mammal species. The largest are the Ussuri brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the Asian black bear (U. thibetanus).

The Japanese macaque lives farther north than any other monkey in the world. It is often referred to as a snow monkey, famous for bathing in natural hot springs to stay warm during winter snows.

Japan is also home to a few very unique small to medium-sized mammals. One is the raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides). It is a canine, related to the fox, but its markings resemble those of the North American raccoon. There are also two wildcats, the leopard cat and the Iriomote cat. Each of these housecat-sized wildcats lives only on a single island.

Other familiar mammals include the red fox, the Japanese marten, sika and Japanese serow deer, and wild boar. Unique ocean-dwelling mammals include the Steller’s sea lion, dugong, and finless porpoise.

Over 600 species of bird have been seen in Japan. These include red-crowned cranes, Japanese woodpeckers, copper pheasants, green pheasants, the Okinawa rail, the Izu thrush, and the Bonin white-eye. Like the wildcats, some of these birds are endemic to only a single island or a few small islands.

There are about 73 species of reptiles and 40 amphibians in Japan. The Japanese giant salamander is one of the largest amphibians in the world. Sea turtles and sea snakes may be seen in coastal waters. The tropical islands are home to several species of viper, and non-venomous snakes, lizards, and freshwater turtles are found throughout Japan. The Chinese alligator has been spotted in Japan, and fossil evidence has been found of an extinct crocodilian called Toyotamaphimeia machikanensis.

More than 3,000 types of freshwater and saltwater fish have been observed in Japan.

What is Japan's Animal Symbol?

The snow monkey or Japanese macaque is Japan’s national animal.

But many people also see the animals of the zodiac as symbols of Japan. The zodiac includes twelve animals: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar.