Animals in Greece

Below you’ll find a list of Greek animals alongside fantastic pictures. We currently track 159 animals in Greece and add more daily!

Although most of us think of coastlines when we think of Greece, the country has a mixed topography. It has snowy mountains, subtropical forests, rocky and sandy coasts, wetlands, and grasslands. Besides its mainland, Greece comprises more than 3,000 islands.

This means you’ll find a huge number of unique animal and plant species. According to one report by the World Wildlife Fund, Greece has more biodiversity than any country in Europe.

The Official National Animal of Greece

Greece’s national animal is the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis ). Greece is home to three other dolphin species: the striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), and the Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus).

In the Corinthian Gulf, common dolphins, striped dolphins and Rossi’s dolphins live together in mixed communities. This is the only mixed dolphin community in the world.

Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in Greece

There are many scenic areas where you can spot wildlife and birds in Greece. Dadia Forest is home to many important bird species, including peregrine falcons and hoopoes.

The Nestos Delta is home to otters, bears, deer and wolves. Flamingos and cormorants also nest here.

Lake Kerkini is an excellent spot for birdwatching. It is a wetlands sanctuary for more than 300 bird species. It’s a watering spot for lizards, wild bison, and other animals.

Northern Greece has two well-known wildlife sanctuaries. Pindos National Park is one of the few places where you can see bears in Greece. Prespa National Park is a refuge for lynxes, wild cats, and deer.

The Agia Marina Donkey Rescue on the island of Crete takes care of orphaned and abandoned donkeys. It was established in 2004.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Greece Today

Greece does not have many animals that are dangerous to humans. For instance, it has many sharks, but most of them are harmless.

There are some marine animals that can spoil your swimming.

Stingrays live in the waters surrounding Greece. Their venom won’t kill you, but it is very painful. If you see them in the water, keep a safe distance from them.

If you go scuba diving, keep an eye out for the scorpionfish. This deadly predator can blend with its surroundings and wait for its prey to approach. Although it’s a small fish, its venom can be fatal to humans.

Extinct and Endangered Animals in Greece

Lions once lived in Greece, but they have been extinct since the fourth century. The Eurasian beaver has been extinct since the nineteenth century.

  • The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is the only earless seal found in tropical regions. Half the world’s monk seal population lives in Greece. They are critically endangered, and only a few hundred exist in the wild.
  • Loggerhead turtles: These huge turtles (Caretta caretta) go back to prehistoric times. They have lived in our oceans for more than 100 million years. Like all sea turtles, loggerheads are endangered.
  • Basking shark: After the whale shark, the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) is the second-largest fish in the sea. This odd-looking fish has remained unchanged since prehistoric days. This docile fish feeds on plankton and is harmless to humans. Basking sharks are protected by most maritime laws.
  • The wild cat of Crete (Felis silvestris) is an endemic subspecies of the European wild cat. It is unique to the Greek island of Crete. This beautiful, elusive cat was once considered extinct, but biologists have discovered a small population on the island.

A Wonderful Mix of Wildlife

Greece has an amazing mix of animals. Goats and donkeys are popular domesticated animals. The waters are home to huge, gentle sea creatures, and its forests are filled with rare birds, bears, deer and lynxes. Greece’s natural areas are the best places to see these unique animals in their natural setting.

Greek 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!

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!

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!

Brown Bear

A dominant predator in it's environment!

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!

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!

Common Buzzard

The most common raptor in the UK!

Common Frog

Found throughout the European continent!

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!

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!

Edible Frog

Are known to guard the muddy banks!

Eel

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

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

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!

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!

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!

Highland Cattle

Natively found in the Scottish Highlands!

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.

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!

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Lemming

Does not hibernate during the bitter Arctic winter!

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!

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!

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

Parakeet

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

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.

Pond Skater

There are 500 different species!

Pool Frog

The rarest amphibian in the UK!

Porcupine

There are 30 different species worldwide!

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!

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

Salamander

There are more than 700 different species!

Sand Lizard

Males turn green in spring!

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

Snowy Owl

One of the largest owl species in the world!

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!

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tawny Owl

The most widespread owl in Europe!

Teddy Bear Hamster

The oldest recorded teddy bear hamster was six and a half.

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 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.

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!

Weasel

The smallest carnivorous mammal in the world!

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!

Greek Animals List

Animals in Greece FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What Kind of Animals Live in Greece?

Since prehistoric times, the Greek people have had a close connection to animals and wildlife.

Eurasian Lynx: The Eurasian Lynx is Europe’s third largest predator after bears and wolves. This medium-sized wild cat has black, pointed ears and large, fluffy feet. The Eurasian lynx has a “least concern” conservation status.

Golden jackal: These members of the dog family are known as “nature’s cleaners” because they eat waste products. They eat rodents, carrion and fallen fruits. Golden jackals have fur that ranges from creamy yellow to dark gold. Once hunted as pests, golden jackals now flourish in Greece.

Gray wolf: Once the most widespread wolf species in the world, gray wolves were hunted to extinction in many European countries. Greece is one of the few European countries with a healthy gray wolf population.

Goats: According to the European Union’s Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries report, Greece has more goats than any country in the European Union. Goats are important sources of meat and of dairy products like Greek yogurt and feta cheese. There are more than 3 million goats in Greece.

What Dangerous Animals Live in Greece?

Venomous snakes: Greece has 23 snake species, and only a handful of them are venomous. The ohia snake (Vipera ammodytesis) is the best-known poisonous snake in Greece.

Scorpions: These stinging arachnids have been around since prehistoric times. Scientists believe they evolved 300 million years ago and have remained unchanged. A scorpion can live up to a year without any food.

How Many Species of Animal Live in Greece?

Greece has:

  • 115 mammal species.
  • 446 bird species.
  • 22 amphibian species.
  • 64 reptile species.
  • 476 marine fish species.
  • 162 freshwater fish species.
  • 30,000 to 50,000 invertebrates.