Animals in Bulgaria

Updated: December 7, 2022
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Below you can find a complete list of Bulgarian animals. We currently track 232 animals in Bulgaria and are adding more every day!

Bulgaria is a small Balkan country in the southeastern corner of Europe. Established in the fifth century, it is one of the oldest countries in the world. Bulgaria’s boundaries include Romania to the north, the Black Sea to the east, Turkey and Greece to the south, and Serbia to the west. It is a land of unspoiled beauty with rugged mountain ranges, a coastline, and the Danube River. Almost a third of the country is forested.

Bulgaria has diverse flora and fauna. There are nearly 110 species of mammals, more than 400 native bird species, 37 reptile species, and 214 native species of butterflies here. Bulgaria’s native wildlife includes bears, wolves, wild boars, red foxes, and hedgehogs.

Some animals unique to Bulgaria are the marbled polecat, gray dwarf hamster, red deer, and steppe polecat. Bulgaria’s native birds include storks and pelicans. Fish species include the Balkan trout and common minnow.

The Official National Animal of Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s national animal is the lion. A lion appears on the country’s coat of arms, and the currency’s name comes from the Bulgarian for “lion.”

The king of the beasts is also the national animal of Senegal and Cameroon. In one sense, it’s a curious choice because there are no lions in Bulgaria. The only big cats native to the country are the Eurasian lynx and European wild cat. Lions, however, are a symbol of power, courage, and authority. They feature in the folklore and symbolism of many cultures.

Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a popular tourist attraction because of its scenic beauty and the opportunity to see wildlife in nearly unspoiled settings. The Bulgarian government and private nonprofit groups have set aside national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to protect the country’s native animals.

Rila National Park is a refuge for rock partridges, chamois, capercaillie birds, choughs, wall creepers, owls, bats, and martens.

The Srebarna Nature Reserve is a freshwater lake and bird sanctuary close to the Danube River. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. Herons, cormorants, swans, and other waterfowl make their homes on the marshy flats here. St. Ivan’s Island is a national park and marine reserve that provides shelter to bird species and the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal.

Bulgarian horses are allowed to run free in the summer, and you can see herds of them on the Stara Planina valley below the mountain. During the summer months, you can see the horses running wild in the mountains, especially in Stara Planina, which is the local name for a mountain range in the Balkan Peninsula.

Dancing Bear Park is a bear sanctuary that was established by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and Four Paws International. It is a large, forested area in the Rila Mountains near the town of Belitsa.

The sanctuary is a home for abused bears that have been rescued from zoos and from human performers who train them to “dance.” Bear dancing as entertainment is illegal in the Balkans and Europe. The sanctuary takes in bears from around the region, and there are now about 20 rescued brown bears living there. You can visit the sanctuary to see them.

Besides the bears at the sanctuary, Bulgaria has one of the largest bear populations in Europe. Bears are the largest carnivore in Bulgaria.

Extinct and Endangered Animals In Bulgaria

The imperial eagle is one of the most endangered raptors in Europe. These birds have a protected area in one of Bulgaria’s sanctuaries. Despite this, there are only about 24 nesting pairs in existence there.

Bulgaria’s native saker falcons are almost extinct because of the illegal falconry trade. The government has put protections in place to reverse the population decline.

The Mediterranean monk seal is an endangered species that lives in the Black Sea. These seals are endangered everywhere. Conservationists believe only a few hundred exist in the wild.

Endangered mammals in Bulgaria include the long-fingered bat and the European rabbit.

The Carpathian wisent was a subspecies of the European bison that lived in the Carpathian mountains, Bulgaria and Transylvania. It became extinct in 1852.

Bulgaria’s Beautiful Animals

Bulgaria’s vast forests and mountain ranges are ideal places to see the country’s animals. The forests are home to wolves, squirrels, bats, bears, and bison. Dolphins and seals swim in the Black Sea, and hundreds of birds and butterflies fill the skies. With only a handful of threatened or endangered species, Bulgaria’s beautiful animals seem to have a bright future in store.

Flag of Bulgaria

The Bulgarian flag is tricolor, containing three horizontal stripes in red, white, and green. White represents freedom, love, and peace. Through its charity work, the country strives to embody these values. The green stands for agricultural abundance. Due to the four different climates throughout the country, Bulgaria can plant a wide variety of vegetation. Lastly, the red is representative of their struggle for independence.

Bulgarian Animals

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Armyworm

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

Aurochs

Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!

Avocet

Has a curved, upturned beak!

Badger

Can reach speeds of 30 km/h!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

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!

Brown-banded Cockroach

Females glue egg cases to furniture

Brown Bear

A dominant predator in it's environment!

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!

Chamois

Natively found in the European mountains!

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!

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 Frog

Found throughout the European continent!

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.

Common Loon

Also known as the Great Northern Diver

Common Raven

A group of ravens is called an unkindness or a conspiracy.

Common Toad

Most active in wet weather!

Cormorant

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

Cow

There are nearly 1.5 billion 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

Crow

A group of these birds is called a Murder.

Deer

There are around 40 different species!

Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle

The Devil’s coach horse beetle can emit a noxious substance to deter predators

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!

Edible Frog

Are known to guard the muddy banks!

Eel

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

Egyptian Vulture

They steal large ostrich eggs and use rocks and pebbles to crack the shells.

Eider

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

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

European Bee-Eater

They can eat up to 250 bees per day!

European Goldfinch

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

European Robin

Male robins are so aggressive and territorial that they will attack their own reflections.

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fallow deer

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

False Widow Spider

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

Ferret

Ferrets can be trained to do tricks like dogs!

Fire-Bellied Toad

Found across mainland Europe and Asia!

Fire salamander

Its name comes from the fact that people once believed it was born in fire

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

Only 12 species are considered "true foxes"

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Fly

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

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!

Glowworm

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!

Grey Heron

Male grey herons are picky about their mates. They'll reject a female that they don't fancy.

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 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.

Hedgehog

Thought to be one of the oldest mammals on Earth!

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Highland Cattle

Natively found in the Scottish Highlands!

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.

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.

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.

Ibex

Can jump over 6 feet straight up from a standstill

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Jackal

Can maintain speeds of 16 km/h!

Jackdaw

The jackdaw tends to mate for life with a single partner

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Lazarus Lizard

Lazarus Lizards can communicate through chemical and visual signals.

Leech

Has 10 pairs of eyes!

Lemming

Does not hibernate during the bitter Arctic winter!

Linnet

While linnets are monogamous during mating season, they do not mate for life. While breeding pairs are together, the males are highly territorial and will defend the nesting site and the surrounding area.

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!

Marsh Frog

Has bright green skin!

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.

Mongrel

Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

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.

Nose-horned viper

The fangs of a nose-horned viper can be as long as half an inch

Old House Borer

Depending on the habitat and climate, these beetles can live between 2 to 10 years, often staying in their larval stage for several years, making them extremely dangerous to wooden structures.

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Ortolan Bunting

The tradition of hiding your face with a napkin or towel while eating this bird was begun by a priest who was a friend of the great French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

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

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

Pike Fish

Apex freshwater predators with fearsome teeth!

Pine Marten

A pine marten can jump from tree to tree similar to a squirrel.

Pond Skater

There are 500 different species!

Pool Frog

The rarest amphibian in the UK!

Porcupine

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Praying Mantis

The mantis can turn its head 180 degrees.

Purple Emperor Butterfly

Inhabits deciduous forests!

Puss Moth

Caterpillars squirt formic acid!

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Rabbit

There are more than 300 different species!

Raccoon

Known to wash their food before eating it!

Raccoon Dog

The only hibernating canine!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

Rat Snakes

Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.

Red Deer

A male red deer shows his age in his antlers, which become longer and more branched every year.

Redstart

They build their nests off the ground in tree holes, cavities, stone walls, and roofs

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.

Roe Deer

The roe is one of the most popular game animals in Europe

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 Ferret

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

Salamander

There are more than 700 different species!

Sand Crab

The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail

Sand Lizard

Males turn green in spring!

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 4,000 known species worldwide

Snowy Owl

One of the largest owl species in the world!

Song Thrush

A male song thrush can have over 100 phrases in his repertoire of songs and can imitate pet birds, telephones and other man-made objects.

Spadefoot Toad

They spend most of their time underground!

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!

Stork

They can’t sing like other birds.

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tawny Owl

The most widespread owl in Europe!

Termite

Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Thornback Ray

The skate with the biggest spines!

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 Beetle

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

Tiger Moth

The bright colors of this moth are a signal to predators that it has a terrible taste.

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

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 Vole

The largest Vole species in the UK!

Wax Moth

The Wax Moth larvae are more dangerous than the adult.

Weasel

The smallest carnivorous mammal in the world!

White Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

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.

Xeme (Sabine’s Gull)

They follow after seals and whales to eat their scraps.

Yellowhammer

It interbreeds with the pine bunting

Bulgarian Animals List

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About the Author

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 Bulgaria FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which Dangerous Animals Live in Bulgaria?

Brown bears are the most dangerous mammals in Bulgaria, but they don’t attack humans unless they’re threatened or provoked. Most brown bear attacks are by mother bears protecting their young. Gray wolves can also be dangerous if provoked, but they too prefer to avoid humans.

Are There Wolves in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria has a healthy wolf population. Experts believe there are more than 1,200 gray wolves living in the mountains. Like bears, they are shy and rarely mingle with humans.

Do They Have Bears in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria has one of Europe’s largest populations of European brown bears. Some experts say there are 400 to 700 bears living in the forested mountain areas there.

Besides this, Bulgaria has a bear sanctuary for rescued bears. Because these abused bears were taken when they were cubs, they can’t survive entirely in the wild. The sanctuary gives them a chance to spend their remaining years in a natural setting.

Are There Snakes in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria has 17 species of snake, and five of them are venomous. Bulgaria’s snakes include the gray water snake, grass snake, and smooth snake. Only two, the horned viper and common viper, have venom that’s strong enough to hurt humans.

Are There Hyenas in Bulgaria?

There are no hyenas in Bulgaria. Red foxes, gray wolves, and golden jackals are the only members of the Canidae family native to Bulgaria.