Animals in South Korea

Below you can find a complete list of Korean animals. We currently track 156 animals in South Korea and are adding more every day!

South Korea is a small country located in East Asia. Bounded on three sides by the sea, it also shares a long land border with the formerly unified country of North Korea. Beyond the dense cities, the countryside teems with unique wildlife. Approximately 70% of the country is covered by hills and mountains, including the three largest ranges of Taebaek, Sobaek, and Jiri Massif. The remaining landmass is covered by grassland, wetland, and forest biomes.

The Official National (State) Animal of South Korea

The Siberian tiger is the official national animal of South Korea. An important historical and cultural symbol, the tiger unfortunately hasn’t existed in Korea since the early 20th century. In addition, the Korean magpie is the national bird of South Korea. A relative of the crow, the magpie is a symbol of luck and good fortune. It also served a similar mythological purpose as the tooth fairy.

Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in South Korea

South Korea has more than 20 beautiful national parks across the country’s rich biomes. They still contain plenty of undisturbed wild animals for visitors to experience and explore. Here’s just a small list of them.

The Most Dangerous Animals in South Korea Today

South Korea is relatively free of large carnivores that may pose a danger to people. But a few venomous insects and snakes can still be found throughout the country.

  • Asian Giant Hornet – Having gained notoriety worldwide as the “murder hornet,” the Asian giant hornet can deliver a painful neurotoxin. While a single hornet cannot produce these toxins in sufficient quantities to kill a human, multiple stings can be life-threatening to non-allergic people in very rare circumstances. The threat is multiplied in people with allergies. Fortunately, only a handful of people die every year from their stings.
  • Japanese Pit Viper – Also known as the mamushi, this snake is native to China, Japan, and the Koreas. Death is relatively rare, but it can deliver a painful toxin that may require a week of treatment in the hospital.
  • Yellow-bellied Sea Snake – Located throughout the entire Indo-Pacific region, the yellow-bellied sea snake has a highly potent toxin that may cause muscle pain, stiffness, vomiting, and drowsiness. In very rare cases, it can lead to paralysis and death. Anyone bitten by this species needs to seek immediate medical attention.

Endangered Animals in South Korea

While South Korea has made strides to protect its wildlife, many of its large carnivores have dwindled or become completely extinct from the country.

  • Korean Fox – This subspecies of the red fox was once native to Korea, Russia, and northeast China. But habitat loss and poaching have caused numbers to decline precipitously from the early 20th century onward. Conservationists are now attempting to reintroduce this species into many parts of its former range.
  • Amur Leopard – This endangered subspecies of the leopard is one of the rarest cats on the planet. Since the last Korean leopard was seen in 1970, many people consider it to be locally extinct. A small population of less than a hundred still survives in Russia and China.
  • Ussuri Black Bear – A subspecies of the Asian black bear, this animal lives in the broadleaf forests of alpine biomes in the Koreas. Since the numbers of these bears have dwindled from habitat loss and hunting, conservationists have made efforts to reintroduce them back into parts of their former habitat.
  • Red-Crowned Crane – Among the rarest cranes in the world, the red-crowned crane migrates from Siberia to Korea and China for the winter. It is considered to be a symbol of prosperity and peace, but now it’s in danger of becoming extinct.
  • Siberian Musk Deer – Although still fairly common through many parts of northeastern Asia, the number of the Siberian musk deer has fallen significantly in Korea from habitat loss and hunting.

Korean Animals

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

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 2,000 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!

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.

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”

Cockroach

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.

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!

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!

Falcon

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!

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 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!

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!

Jerboa

Tiny rodent with a kangaroo-like jump!

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

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!

Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Mallard

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

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.

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!

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

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Peacock Butterfly

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

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

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.

Sable

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

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!

Slug

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

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!

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.

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.

Vinegaroon

Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted

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

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!

Zebu

There are around 75 different species!

Korean Animals List

Animals in South Korea FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals live in South Korea?

South Korea is home to many types of wild deer, weasels, seals, bats, rodents, snakes, insects, freshwater fish, and marine animals. Dolphins and whales are particularly common off the coast of South Korea.

What animal is South Korea famous for?

The magpie, Asian hornet, and black bear are perhaps some of the best known species that still inhabits the country. While the Siberian tiger is sometimes associated with South Korea, this endangered species is no longer found in the country.

Are there any dangerous animals in South Korea?

South Korea has several dangerous and venomous species that may cause several deaths every year.

Are there tigers in South Korea?

South Korea was once home to the Siberian tiger as recently as the early 20th century. But the combined effect of habitat loss and hunting has almost eradicated the tiger from the entire peninsula.

Are there monkeys in South Korea?

South Korea does not have any native monkey species, even though nearby China and Japan both have some.