Greece

Below you’ll find a list of types of animals in Greece alongside fantastic pictures. We currently track 210 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 many 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, actually the only mixed dolphin community in the world!

Where To Find the Top Wild Animals

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.

A Wonderful Mix of Wildlife

Greece has an amazing mix of animals, some native to the country and some introduced. Native animals of Greece include brown bears, wolves, lynx, deer, Martens, and wild boar. 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.

Native Birds

Enveloped in mild climate, the diverse habitats of the country are great for many different animals species. Greece has 196 Important Bird Areas, home to 455 bird species, nine of which are endangered. While spring is the ideal time to visit, bird watching is truly a year-round opportunity in Greece. Below are several of the most popular locations in the country for avifauna sighting:

  • Lasvos Island: Surrounded by clear blue waters, covered in pine and hardwood forests, and lacking human presence, this island is a desired refuge for around 330 bird species. For instance, cinereous bunting, Kruper’s nuthatch, gull-billed tern, glossy ibis, Ruppell’s warbler, and red-footed falcons migrate to the island in spring and autumn.
  • Lake Kerkini: One of the best birdwatching sights in Europe, this artificial reservoir is situated in Northern Greece and is a popular pitstop for migratory and mating birds. Peregrine falcons, black woodpeckers, purple herons, blue cranes, and spoonbills dot the lake in spring and summer.
  • Gialova Lagoon: Deemed a Protected Area in 1997, the lagoon as thus become a flourishing spot for bird watching and trail walking. Along with surrounding wetlands, species such as flamingoes, imperial eagles, plus osprey, and peregrine falcons roam the waters or the skies.

Native Fish

Up until 2015, there were no legal guidelines for captains wanting to use fishing tourism as a means of income. Nowadays, it’s more than possible to fish the incredibly blue Greek waters and seafood is a staple in diets of locals and visitors. Surrounded by three different seas, almost anywhere you visit is bound to yield world-renowned fish. Some examples and where to find them include:

Other commonly captured species are barracuda, grouper, and mahi mahi. Charter fishing is the easiest way to fish Grecian as a tourist, located in almost al fishing or port towns in the country. Freshwater fishing is also relevant, producing catfish, whitefish, and trout species.

Native Snakes

Spread throughout the mainland and the 200 other Greek islands are around 21 species of snake, 6 of which are venomous. The dry, hot climate is perfect for these reptiles and some of the most beautiful and unique species call this country their home. Listed are several non-venomous and venomous snakes found in Greece and some interesting tidbits about them.

Venomous

  • Milos Viper – endemic to Milos, Kimolos, Sifnos, Polyegos
  • Ottoman Viper – one of the most venomous and most aggressive in Greece
  • Nose-horned viper – one of the largest snakes in Greece

Non-venomous

  • Smooth snake – similar in appearance to adders
  • Aesculapian snake – tree-climbers
  • Javelin sand boa – used as a projectile weapon in Ancient Greece

Snake bites are rare in Greece but do uncommonly occur. If bitten by any snake, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Greece Today

Luckily, there are not many types of animals in Greece that are dangerous to humans. For instance, many sharks are found off the coast, but most of them are harmless. However, there are some marine animals that can spoil your swimming.

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

If you go scuba diving, keep an eye out for the scorpionfish. These deadly predators can blend with surroundings and wait for prey to approach. Although small in size, scorpionfish venom can be fatal to humans.

Extinct and Endangered Animalse

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 and native only to the Greek island of Crete. This beautiful, elusive cat was once considered extinct, but biologists have discovered a small population on the island.

Zoos in Greece

Greece is known for its biodiversity of animal and plant life, making it a top on travellers’ lists. Main activities in the country involve the water, beaches, and sight-seeing. However, notable wildlife is also found in the wild and in protected or captive areas. The only zoo in Greece is the Attica Zoological Park, featuring animals from around the world. Many aquariums exist on the mainland and the islands, a few including:

  • Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Center
  • Corfu Aquarium
  • CRETAquarium

When it gets too hot to tour the cities’ ruins and historical sights, check out these establishments and their exotic, exciting species.

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!

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!

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.

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

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

Dwarf Hamster

dwarf hamsters love to explore at night.

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!

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!

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

There are 12 different species in the world!

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!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Gnat

Males form large mating swarms at dusk

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!

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.

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!

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

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

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!

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 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!

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!

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.

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.

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!

Whinchat

The whinchat can imitate the songs of at least a dozen other tpes of birds!

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.

Greek Animals List

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.

What is the largest island of Greece?

The largest Greek island is Crete, and it has an area of 3,260 square miles. That makes it the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea!