Animals in North Korea

Updated: April 14, 2021
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Below you can find a complete list of North Korean animals. We currently track 218 animals in North Korea and are adding more every day!

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — commonly known as North Korea — is unusual in that it’s arguably the most politically and culturally isolated nation in the world. Due to the country’s lack of international cooperation and commitment to secrecy, less is known about North Korea’s wildlife and animals.

Animals of North Korea

Historically, the Korean Peninsula was a biodiversity hot spot and part of the Palearctic realm. But 50-plus years of regional strife has pushed North Korea’s environment into a unique state of “catastrophe,” and many area animal populations are feared extinct. Rapid deforestation has triggered severe flooding problems, and high-octane pollution is quickly choking wildlife into regional extinction.

Despite the unusual isolationist circumstances, scientists and researchers use data from other regional countries to compile dossiers and guesstimates about North Korea’s wild animals. But such reports should never be taken as gospel because we simply don’t have the facts.

The DMZ: North Korea’s Rare Conservation Hot Spot

There is one last hope for North Korea’s animals: the demilitarized zone that divides Korea, aka the DMZ.

Over the past half-century, the 38th parallel has become a unique wildlife haven. Forests have grown back in the area, and rare animals once thought lost are resurging in the people-free stretch of land.

Technically, the DMZ is not part of either North or South Korea. However, if authorities can develop collaborative conservation initiatives, the DMZ’s natural bounty may help jump-start North Korea’s ecosystem.

The Official National Animal

North Korea is one of the few nations that doesn’t have an official national animal, but the Chollima, a mythological winged horse, popular in many Asian mythologies, is a national symbol.

The country does have a national dog: the Pungsang. A rare canine breed, Pungsangs are hunting dogs that originated in the Kaema highlands of North Korea. With their smiling faces and friendly eyes, Pungsangs rank among the cutest dogs. But international kennel clubs have a less favorable opinion of the pups, considering them to be a Siberian husky variant “only less physically impressive and with behavioral issues.”

North Korea also recognizes a national bird — the northern goshawk. It’s scientific name is Accipiter gentilis. Accipiter means “hawk,” and gentilis means “noble,” a reference to the fact that only nobles could fly the species for falconry purposes in the Middle Ages.

Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in North Korea

North Korean tourism is unusual in that it’s tightly controlled. All visitors are assigned government-appointed monitors and aren’t free to go where they want or visit nature reserves with wild animals — if there even are any. And while there is a zoo in North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang, it doesn’t have many animals, the enclosures are made of fake trees, and its biggest attraction is a chain-smoking chimpanzee named Azalea.

The Most Dangerous Animals in North Korea Today

What are the most dangerous animals in and around this country?

Endangered Animals in North Korea

Due to limited data, it’s tough to say which animals are endangered or extinct in North Korea specifically. However, scientists do have data from South Korea from which we can extrapolate information.

According to some reports, North Korea is home to 105 mammals, of which seven are endangered, six are vulnerable, and three are near threatened.

Determining the number and species of endangered and extinct animals in this region is near impossible at the moment since researchers cannot work for extended periods in the country, and North Korean scientists don’t distribute data to other nations.

North Korean Animals

Alaskan Pollock

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

Amur Leopard

The Amur leopard may be the rarest big cat on Earth!

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Antelope

Renew their horns every year!

Armyworm

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

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!

Aurochs

Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!

Banana Spider

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

Barb

There are over 1768 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Bear

There are 8 different species!

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.

Bee

Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bird

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!

Brazilian Treehopper

“Mild-Mannered Minimonsters”

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors

Bumblebee

The most common species of bee!

Butterfly

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!

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!

Chinese Geese

They are excellent “guard geese”

Chinese Water Deer

They usually have 2-3 young at a time but can have up to 7!

Cinereous Vulture

This vulture can fly at great heights. At least one was found a few thousand feet from the top of Mount Everest.

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

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 European Adder

European adders are the only snake that lives above the Arctic Circle.

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.

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!

Cricket

Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Crow

A group of these birds is called a Murder.

Deer

There are around 40 different species!

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Dog Tick

Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals

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!

Earthworm

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

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eel

Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 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

European Goldfinch

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

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

False Widow Spider

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

Fire-Bellied Toad

Found across mainland Europe and Asia!

Firefly

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

Flea

Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air

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!

Freshwater Eel

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

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Fly

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

Gazelle

Named for the Arabic word for love poems

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Gerbil

Originally known as the Desert Rat!

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Gnat

Males form large mating swarms at dusk

Goat

Most closely related to the Sheep!

Goldcrest

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!

Goose

There are 29 different species!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!

Gypsy Moth

One of the most invasive species in the world

Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Hare

Can reach speeds of over 40 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.

Hedgehog

Thought to be one of the oldest mammals on Earth!

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Herring Gull

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

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.

Horseshoe Crab

Changed little in over 500 million years!

Housefly

The fly has no teeth

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!

Jackdaw

The jackdaw tends to mate for life with a single partner

Jerboa

Tiny rodent with a kangaroo-like jump!

Joro Spider

Named after a Japanese spider demon

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

Keelback

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

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Leech

Has 10 pairs of eyes!

Leopard Cat

There are 11 different species!

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!

Long-Tailed Tit

Often hangs upside down while feeding!

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!

Mealybug

They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.

Merganser

They line their nests with their feathers

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

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.

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!

Mosquito

Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood

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.

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Osprey

They reuse nesting sites for 70 years!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Owl

The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

Parrot

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

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

Pit Viper

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

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!

Rat Snakes

Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.

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.

Rooster

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

Their fur has been considered a luxury item since the Middle Ages

Sable Ferret

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

Salamander

There are more than 700 different species!

Sambar

Male sambars will compete for mates by clashing together with their antlers

Sand Crab

The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Eagle

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

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Short-Eared Owl

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

Shrew

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

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!

Slug

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

Smokybrown Cockroach

Has up to 45 eggs per egg case

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

Spider Wasp

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

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!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.

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.

Tick

They inject hosts with a chemical that stops them from feeling the pain of the bite

Tiger

The largest feline in the world!

Tiger Beetle

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

Tortoise

Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!

Turtles

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

Ural owl

The Ural owl can rotate its head up to 270 degrees

Vinegaroon

Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted

Viper

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

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 Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

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

This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodlouse Spider

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

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Worm

Doesn’t have eyes.

Wryneck

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

Zebu

There are around 75 different species!

North Korean 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 North Korea FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What Animals Live in North Korea?

The animal most unique to North Korea is the Amur leopard — and scientists aren’t sure if individuals of the critically endangered species live within the country or if they’re just in the DMZ. Other animals in the region include white-naped cranes, Asiatic black bears, lynxes, Siberian musk deers, Korean hares, Korean crevice salamanders, Korean gorals, and Minke whales.

For a complete list of North Korean animal species, scroll down.

What Dangerous Animals Live in North Korea?

The seven most dangerous animals in North Korea are mosquitos, giant Asian hornets, jellyfish, vipers, tiger snakes, wild boars, and pufferfish.

Does North Korea Have a Zoo?

Yes, North Korea’s zoo is in Pyongyang. It goes by three names: Korea Central Zoo, Pyongyang Central Zoo, and the Central Ideals Zoo.

Does North Korea Have Tigers?

Although it cannot be confirmed, scientists believe that endangered Siberian tigers may still live in North Korea.

Are there scorpions in North Korea?

Yes, scorpions live on the Korean Peninsula, including North Korea. Moreover, they’re an important part of traditional medicines and are still used in formulas to treat colds, whooping cough, skin rashes, constipation, dysentery, nervous prostration, osteomyelitis, and tetanus.