Animals in France

Below you can find a complete list of French animals. We currently track 256 animals in France and are adding more every day!

France is a large Western European country that shares land borders with Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, and the Mediterranean Sea. Before it became a united country, the land was held under the sway of the Romans and the Celts. The French ecosystem is largely composed of forests, plains, and light hills, while several mountain ranges and inactive volcanoes, including the vast Pyrenees and Alps, extend across the southern parts of the country. This article will only cover the wildlife of mainland France and not its overseas territories.

The Official National (State) Animal of France

The official animal of France is the Gallic rooster. The use of this animal actually stems in part from a linguistic accident. The Latin words for rooster and Gaul (the historical region of France in Roman times) were both the same: gallus. Over the centuries, the image of the crowing rooster (featured in the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus) became bound up with Catholic symbolism in France. Starting with the French Revolution, it later became an enduring symbol of the republic.

Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in France

France contains 11 national parks and many smaller regional reserves, which encompass more than 10,000 square miles and around 30% of all French land. Here’s a short sample of them.

The Most Dangerous Animals in France Today

France is home to a few venomous animals that may pose a risk to people’s health.

  • Asp Viper – A relatively long snake with grey, brown, and black skin, the asp viper is native to an unbroken stretch of territory between Spain and Italy. The snake is not particularly aggressive, but symptoms of its potent venom include pain, dizziness, blurred vision, and tissue death. Approximately 4% of all untreated bites eventually prove to be fatal.
  • Common European Adder – While not exactly the most toxic snake, this adder is quite common throughout Europe, and so bites happen on a frequent basis. Symptoms of its bite include intense pain, swelling, tingling, and blistering. Rarely, victims may experience nausea, vomiting, fever, loss of consciousness, and more. Complete cardiovascular failure may occur in very rare cases.
  • Portuguese man o’ war – Sometimes found off the coast of France, this unique jellyfish has a powerful sting that can cause painful red welts on the skin. Fever, cardiac distress, difficulty breathing, and even death can rarely occur.

Endangered Animals in France

While the French government does make a considerable effort to protect many endangered species, several animals are still at risk of becoming extinct:

  • European Rabbit – This species is endemic to southern France and the Iberian Peninsula (one particular subspecies of the European rabbit is only found in the marshes of Camargue). It was later introduced into other parts of the world, where it had a negative effect on some local wildlife. However, this species is endangered in its original habitat from a combination of overhunting, habitat loss, and diseases.
  • Mehely’s Horseshoe Bat – This species of bat prefers to roost in limestone caves near large bodies of water. However, the disturbances and destruction of its roosting sites have caused numbers to decline. It is not known whether this species is extinct in France.
  • Pyrenean Desman – Closely related to the moles and shrews, the desman is a small semi-aquatic mammal with a long snout, a long, flattened tail, and sharp claws for digging. While this unique species is still listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, the desman is very rare in France. It only lives in the Pyrenees Mountains near the border with Spain.
  • Iberian Lynx – This wild cat species was more common across southwest Europe in the 20th century. But overhunting, habitat loss, disease, and the decline of its main prey have all conspired to make the Iberian lynx endangered. It may now be completely extinct from mainland France.

Rivers in France

France is home to hundreds of rivers and streams cutting across its countryside. While rivers like the Seine and the Rhône are most famous internationally, the country is also home to a number of other rivers with stunning natural settings and wildlife. Let’s take a peek at some notable rivers in France:

  • Loire River – Home to 165 species of birds (64% of nesting bird species in France) and 57 species of fish.
  • Garonne River – The last remaining breeding grounds for the critically endangered European sea sturgeon.
  • Dordogne Rover – Features wildlife like sturgeons, salmon, otters, swans, cormorants, egrets, and kingfishers.

French Animals

Alpine Goat

Alpine goats are the most common type of goat used for milk, cheese, and other dairy products

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Arctic Char

Arctic char is the northern-most fish; no other fish lives anywhere further north!

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.

Asp

It was the symbol of royalty in Egypt, and its bite was used for the execution of favored criminals in Greco-Roman times.

Aurochs

Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!

Avocet

Has a curved, upturned beak!

Badger

Can reach speeds of 30 km/h!

Barbet

This dog has the nickname ‘Mud dog’ because it likes to play in muddy, swamp-like areas.

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.

Basset Fauve de Bretagne

A friendly and intelligent hunting dog that loves nothing more than to spend time with its owner.

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Beauceron

The Beauceron is named after the place of its origin (Beauce) in France

Beaver

Builds a dam from sticks and leaves!

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

Berger Picard

Berger means shepherd in French

Bichon Frise

Gentle mannered, playful and affectionate!

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!

Blackpoll Warbler

They migrate for the longest distance of any warbler.

Blue Picardy Spaniel

The Blue Picardy is also known as the Epagneul Bleu de Picardie in French

Bouvier Des Flandres

The name Bouvier des Flandres means cowherd of Flanders in French

Brittany

The breed was formerly known as the Brittany spaniel

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

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 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!

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

Crow

A group of these birds is called a Murder.

Crucian Carp

Can survive drought by burying itself in mud.

Deathwatch Beetle

The adult deathwatch beetle taps on the wood to find a mate.

Deer

There are around 40 different species!

Devils 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

Dogue De Bordeaux

Extremely loyal and devoted to it's master!

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!

Epagneul Pont Audemer

Hard-working, gentle and affectionate!

Ermine

A very bold and ferocious predator!

Eurasian Beaver

Eats 20% of its weight daily!

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 Bee-Eater

They can eat up to 250 bees per day!

European Corn Borer

Female can lay up to 600 eggs in her 14-day lifespan

European Robin

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

European Wildcat

A group of wild cats is called a destruction

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

Fer-de-lance Snake

The Most Dangerous Snake in the Americas

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

There are 12 different species in the world!

French Bulldog

French bulldogs are known to be very sensitive, harboring emotions that they love to express

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Fly

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

Galapagos Shark

Galapagos sharks are cannibalistic and sometimes eat their young, so the pups stay away from the adults in shallow water.

Genet

The Genet has retractable claws like a cat

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 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.

Griffon Vulture

Can spot a dead animal from thousands of feet away

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!

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!

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!

Leedsichthys

Leedsichthys is one of the largest fish ever discovered

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!

Loach

Have sharp spines below their eyes

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!

Marmot

A marmot spends 80% of its life below ground

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!

Muskrat

The muskrat can stay underwater up to 17 minutes at a time

Natterjack

Can lay up to 7500 eggs

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

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.

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Owl

The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

Papillon

Originally called the Toy Spaniel, the Papillon is one of the oldest breeds in the toy group. They can be found in artwork dating back to the 16th century.

Parakeet

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

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

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

A small dog with a big, lively personality.

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!

Poodle

Intelligent, alert and active!

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.

Pugapoo

The pugapoo is the fusion of a pug and a poodle.

Purple Emperor Butterfly

Inhabits deciduous forests!

Puss Moth

Caterpillars squirt formic acid!

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Rabbit

There are more than 50 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 Kite

This bird moves its tail to steer its body like a rudder on a boat.

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!

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!

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

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!

Stag Beetle

The stag beetle consumes rotting and decaying wood when it is in the larva stage.

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!

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!

Toy Poodle

The word poodle is derived from German, and it means to splash or puddle.

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.

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!

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

A Wirehaired Pointing Griffon’s coat makes it look like it has a mustache and beard!

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!

Woolly Rhinoceros

The woolly rhinoceros roamed the earth between three and a half million and 14,000 years ago.

Worm

Doesn’t have eyes.

French Animals List

Animals in France FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals live in France?

France is particularly rich in rodents, shrews, moles, bats, deer, boar, carnivores (like badgers and weasels), song birds and water birds, insects, freshwater fish, and some species of frogs. Whales and dolphins can sometimes be seen off the coast as well.

What is the most dangerous animal in France?

The most dangerous animal is probably the asp viper. If left untreated, about 4% of bites can eventually prove fatal.

What is the biggest animal in France?

The largest animal in all of France is the brown bear. Weighing an impressive 300 to 500 pounds, they are restricted to the far south of the country in the relatively isolated Pyrenees Mountains. Some people may be frightened of brown bears, but unless the animal feels threatened, attacks on people are incredibly rare.