Animals in Croatia

Updated: February 23, 2023
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Below you can find a complete list of Croatian animals. We currently track 236 animals in Croatia and are adding more every day!

Croatia is a small U-shaped country that sits at the crossroads of central and southeastern Europe. It shares a border with Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatia also sits directly adjacent to Italy across the Adriatic Sea. Most of the country is comprised of lowland territory, including the Pannonian plains in the north and the Adriatic Basin in the south along the coast. These two regions are cut in half by the central mountain range, the Dinaric Alps, which include the highest point in the entire country, Dinara, at 6,000 feet. Croatia contains some 50,000 to 100,000 species of both plants and animals, some of them completely unique to the country. Wolves, bears, foxes, wild boars, weasels, and wild cats inhabit the inland forests and plains. Reptiles and marine life live near the coast. Wild goats live at higher elevations as well.

The Official National (State) Animal of Croatia

Pine marten standing in a tree, Canada.
The pine marten has played a key role in Croatia’s economic history

The European pine marten is Croatia’s national animal. Known as kuna zlatica in Croatian, it has also lent its name to the nation’s currency, the kuna. The mustelid which is known for the splash of cream or white fur at its throat, its brown fur,  and a bushy tail, also played a key role in Croatia’s economic history. Its pelt which takes on a silky quality in winter was used to pay a tax known as kunovina.

At present, this highly prized mammal and source of national pride can be found stalking mice by night in national parks such as Papuk Nature and Plitvice Lakes. The mustelid and cousin to the weasel which is also referred to as the “golden one”, also serves as a natural pest control agent as well.

The Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), is widely admired for its beautiful song

©insecta62 / Creative Commons

Croatia’s national bird is the common nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos). At a first glance, this bird which is only slightly over half a foot in size, does not seem particularly striking. Especially since it is covered in a dull brown plumage with the sole exception of its tail which is reddish. Until it opens its beak that is and releases what is considered one of the most beautiful sounds in nature. The bird which is migratory in nature spends the winter in West Africa, before returning to Europe in time for spring and summer.

Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in Croatia

Brown Bear Close Up
Nine percent of Croatia’s surface consists of natural refuges where its wildlife can be found

©Piotr Krzeslak/Shutterstock.com

Croatia is home to more than 400 protected areas, including eight national parks, two reserves, and 11 nature parks. They encompass around 9% of all Croatian land.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Croatia Today

horned viper camouflaged on ground
The horned viper which is one of the most dangerous snakes on the continent can be found in Croatia

©iStock.com/premat

Croatia contains several species of venomous snakes and spiders.

  • Horned Viper – This species lives in rocky hillsides all across the country. As one of the most dangerous snakes in all of Europe, the horned viper can deliver a powerful toxin that may lead to pain, swelling, and discoloration.
  • Common European Viper – Although it does not have the most potent poison, this viper is quite common all over Europe and so it’s responsible for the most bites. In Croatia, it lives in river lowlands, plains, and mountains. Symptoms of its bite can include pain, swelling, tingling, and blisters. Cardiovascular failure may occur in a very small number of cases.
  • Meadow Viper – This species inhabits grasslands and meadows at higher elevations. Because of its rarity and the relatively low potency of its toxin, the meadow viper doesn’t pose as much of a danger as other species of vipers, but bite victims should always seek immediate medical attention.
  • Black Widow Spider – The bite of the European black widow can be quite painful and annoying. In uncommon cases, it can cause muscle spasms, cramping, and an increased heart rate, but death from its bite is exceptionally rare.

Endangered Animals in Croatia

wolf
The Eurasian wolf which is a subspecies of gray wolf, is making a comeback in the Croatian wild

©Next is nicer-K-R7/Shutterstock.com

While Croatia has a long list of protected species, several animals are currently endangered or at some risk of becoming extinct.

  • Mediterranean Monk Seal – This seal was once a fairly common sight around the Croatian coast, but overhunting, pollution, and coastal development have made it endangered. Less than 600 or 700 individuals inhabit the entire Mediterranean Sea.
  • Olm – This unique snake-like aquatic salamander dwells exclusively in the caves of the Dinaric Alps. Unlike many other amphibians, the olm spends nearly its entire life underwater. As a result of its very particular environmental requirements, this salamander is highly sensitive to pollution. As numbers fall, it is in danger of becoming extinct in Croatia.
  • Eurasian Lynx – A unique subspecies of the common Eurasian lynx that became extinct from Croatia in the early 20th century due to habitat destruction and illegal poaching. In the 1970s, it was reintroduced to Slovenia and then spread to Croatia from there. A few hundred now remain in the entire Dinaric Alps region.
  • Eurasian Wolf – This subspecies of the gray wolf almost completely disappeared from the region in the 19th and early 20th centuries. But after being reintroduced in the 1990s, the wolf has rebounded slightly in the north of the country.
  • Dalmatian Turtle – This subspecies of Hermann’s tortoise is native to the Adriatic coast on the Balkan side. Habitat loss, pollution, and poaching endanger it.
  • Eurasian Beaver – By the turn of the 20th century, the beaver was nearly extinct due to fur and oil trading. As numbers rebound, it’s becoming more common across Croatia and the rest of Europe.

The Largest Animal in Croatia

bear with cubs
The Eurasian brown bear is Croatia’s largest animal.

©ArCaLu/Shutterstock.com

The largest animal in Croatia is the Eurasian brown bear (Ursus arctos). Capable of growing to about 550 – 600 lbs, it is known for its rather broad diet consisting of grass, nuts, berries, carrion, and fish. About 900 members of this species call this coastal nation home with the majority of them being found in the Dinaric-Pindos region. 

In the Dinarides or Dinaric Alps, these bruins are particularly fond of the groves of beech and fir which are a favorite wintering spot and in which females bring their young into the world. Gorski Kotar, a verdant highland region is also another favorite haunt of these ursines, some of which have elected to settle down in its lush, hilly environs.

 The Rarest Animal in Croatia

The rarest animal in Croatia is the Eurasian Lynx (lynx lynx).  This wildcat which is the largest of the lynx family, can be recognized by fur which is reddish-brown with dark spots on its upper body and pale cream on its chest, belly, and throat, ears with black tufts, and a short thick tail which darkens towards the tip. The lynx’s’ upper body fur turns silvery gray in winter, all the better to help it blend into the winter wonderland around it and survive the frost into spring. 

Capable of standing at over 2 feet at the shoulder and measuring over four feet in length, it is the size of a medium-sized dog. At present, it also shares the verdant beauty of Gorski Kotar with the brown bear. However, its population is threatened since Croatia’s population of lynxes only numbers between 40 – 60.

A key contributor to the issue is the lack of genetic variation available for Nature to work with to produce healthy, robust offspring. Poaching and possible collisions with vehicles are also other risks it has to contend with.

Flag of Croatia

Croatia's flag
The flag of Croatia represents the colors of the kingdoms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia

©Railway fx/Shutterstock.com

Throughout Croatia’s war-torn history, it has had many different flags. Croatia’s current flag is referred to as the tricolor and features horizontal red, white, and blue stripes, with a shield in the center. The stripes themselves are a combination of the colors of the kingdoms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia.

The shield, which references the original flag of the Kingdom of Croatia, is checkered with a red and white pattern. Above this image, sits a crown made up of five small shields, each representing the areas of Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Slavonia, Istria, and Croatia.

National Parks in Croatia

Croatia is home to stunning natural beauty and several national parks

©xbrchx/Shutterstock.com

Croatia features charming historic towns, stunning beaches, lush forests, waterfalls, and secluded limestone caves. And what better way to learn about the country’s landscape than to visit one of its national parks?

That’s right, the land of a thousand islands is home to eight national parks and eleven nature parks at which you will be able to discover the fauna which are its pride and joy — and its flora too. And you can start right here with the former: these eight beautiful national parks in Croatia!

Croatian Animals

Admiral Butterfly

Stunningly beautiful wings

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!

Balkan Lynx

The Balkan lynx communicates mostly with its ears

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

Beewolf wasp

They hunt bees

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

Croatian Sheepdog

They are an ancient breed dating back to the 7th century and made their way to Croatian lands giving them the name Croatian Sheep Dog.

Crow

A group of these birds is called a Murder.

Dalmatian

Have an energetic and playful nature!

Dalmatian Mix

These canine’s spots are distinctive in their placement, including different shaped markings, making them unique.

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!

Ermine

A very bold and ferocious predator!

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 Robin

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

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

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

Gadwall

They make many sounds when trying to attract a mate.

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!

Griffon Vulture

Can spot a dead animal from thousands of feet away

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.

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.

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.

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.

Olm

Inhabits dark underwater caves

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

Pine Marten

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

Pompano Fish

They are bottom-feeders

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!

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.

Tornjak

Tornjaks are very adaptable and can live harmoniously in packs as they get along well with other dogs.

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.

Yellowhammer

It interbreeds with the pine bunting

Croatian Animals List

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About the Author

I love good books and the occasional cartoon. I am also endlessly intrigued with the beauty of nature and find hummingbirds, puppies, and marine wildlife to be the most magical creatures of all.

Animals in Croatia FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What dangerous animals live in Croatia?

Croatia is home to several species of venomous snakes, spiders, and scorpions.

What is the most dangerous animal in Croatia?

The most dangerous wildlife in all of Croatia might be the horned viper.

What sharks are in Croatia?

The Adriatic Sea contains some 20 to 30 species of sharks, including the blue shark, the shortfin mako shark, the angel shark, and the basking shark. Several reports also indicate that the great white shark may sometimes appear around the waters of Croatia.