Animals in Italy

Below you’ll find a complete list of Italian animals with pictures. We currently track 151 animals in Italy and add more daily!

  • National Animal of Italy: Italian Wolf
  • Approximate Number of Animal Species in Italy (Excluding Bacteria, Viruses): 57,000
  • Most Dangerous Animal in Italy: Marsican Brown Bear

Italy Wildlife and Geography

Italy is a biodiversity hot spot that’s home to more animal species than any other European country. Impressively, a third of the continent’s fauna is represented in Italy. Why? Because the boot-shaped peninsula is the joint connecting Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. As such, it’s a cornucopia of ecological features that includes the Alps and Apennine mountain ranges, central woodlands, and southern shrublands. The fauna-rich cherry on top is Italy’s 4,900 miles (8,000 kilometers) of coastline that falls smack in the middle of the Mediterranean Basin biodiversity zone.

Italy’s wildlife is so impressive that UNESCO declared the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park a World Heritage Site in 2009.

Italy Animals

Excluding bacterias, viruses, and most microscopic invertebrates, Italy is home to about 57,000 known species, 4,777 of which are endemic to the region.

Italian Mammals

Between 102 and 126 mammal species live within Italy and its surrounding waters. According to the IUCN, of those mammals, four are  Near Threatened, nine are Vulnerable, two are Endangered, and one, the North Atlantic right whale, is Critically Endangered. 

Commonly spotted mammals in Italy include several types of shrews, Alpine marmots — which look like chubby squirrels — European snow voles, wild boars, and steinbocks.

Notably, Etruscan shrews — the smallest known mammal by mass — resides in Italy. The tiny and solitary animals weigh only .063 ounces, which is about half as heavy as a pencil. Another standout Italian mammal is the Alpine ibex. Found in northern Italian mountain ranges, males of the goat-antelope species are known for their gigantic, backward-hooking horns.

Italian Birds

How many bird species are in Italy? The latest count stands at 516, but only about 267 nest in the nation. Bluethroats, hoopoe, and the stunning European roller, with its turquoise and electric blue feather patterns, are common. Birds of prey in the region include Bonelli’s eagles, Eurasian eagle-owl, and the griffon vulture. 

Italian Reptiles and Amphibians

Scientists cannot agree on the number of reptiles and amphibians in Italy. Numbers range between 44 and 59 each. Common reptiles and lizards found in the country include spectacled salamanders, Italian newts, Italian stream frogs, Sicilian pond turtles, and the Italian Aesculapian snakes.

Italian Fish

Hundreds of fish and marine mammals swim through Italian waters. Common species include the Italian loach and Italian barbel. Jellyfish, porcelain crabs, and octopus are also plentiful.

Italian Insects

Researchers and naturalists have observed about 37,303 insects in Italy, and nearly 200 butterfly and moth species flit through the nation’s skies. Scarlet dragonflies, Cleopatra butterflies, and Praying mantis are all at home in the southern European country. 

Endangered Animals in Italy

Below is a table that details a sampling of Italian animals deemed threatened, to some degree, by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. This Italian endangered animals list is not exhaustive.

Animal Alternative Names IUCN Classification Region Threats Interesting Fact
Corsican Hare Apennine Hare, Italian Hare Vulnerable Southern and Central Italy Habitat Loss, Hunting, Food Competition Once Regarded As a Subspecies of the European Hare
Sardinian Long-Eared Bat NA Vulnerable Three Caves in Central Sardinia Tourism Disturbance, Habitat Loss Only Surviving Mammal Species Endemic to Sardinia
Corsican Red Deer Corsican Deer, Sardinian Deer Near Threatened Corsica Island, Sardinia Island Habitat Loss Smallest of the Red Deer Subspecies
Brown Cave Salamander Gene’s cave salamander, Sardinian cave salamander, Sardinian salamander Vulnerable Sardinia Habitat Loss Habitat Loss
Italian Cave Salamander NA Near Threatened Northern and Central Apennine Mountains Habitat Loss Prefers to Live around Limestone Rock
Monte Albo Cave Salamander Stefani’s salamander Near Threatened Sardinia Habitat Loss Reproduces Through Direct Development of Terrestrial Eggs
Sardinian Brook Salamander Sardinian mountain newt Endangered Sardinia Habitat Loss, Pollution, Tourism Disturbance Stays Close to Water at All Times
Apennine Yellow-Bellied Toad NA Endangered Throughout Italy Habitat Loss Hibernates from November to April
Aeolian Wall Lizard Raffone’s Wall Lizard Critically Endangered Aeolian Islands Competition with Italian Wall Lizard Only Four Populations Remain
Salmo Carpio  Carpione, Carpione del Garda Critically Endangered Only in Lake Garda Overfishing, Pollution, Competition Didn’t Survive in any Other Lakes to which it Was Introduced
Salmo Fibreni Fibreno Trout Vulnerable Lago di Posta Fibreno Habitat Loss Freshwater Trout
Common Bent-Wing Bat Schreibers’s Long-Fingered Bat, Schreibers’s Bat Vulnerable Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East Pesticides, Habitat Loss Named after Austrian Naturalist Carl Franz Anton Ritter von Schreibers
Italian Wolf Apennine Wolf Vulnerable Apennine Mountains, Western Alps Human-Wolf Conflict, Poaching Protected Since 1970s
Marsican Brown Bear Apennine Brown Bear Critically Endangered Apennine Mountains Human-Bear Conflict, Habitat Loss Has a Different Hibernation Routine than Other Brown Bears

Italian officials keep an eye on conservation and the country supports 20 national parks and 130 regional parks. Additionally, lawmakers have carved out 150 federally protected wildlife territories, 270 state ones, and 16 marine reserves. 

Most Dangerous Animals in Italy

Italy is bursting at the seams with fauna species, and some are dangerous! Although, compared to a country like Australia, which is awash in lethal animals, Italy’s creatures are comparatively tame. 

The six most dangerous animals in Italy are:

  1. Marsican Brown Bears
  2. Eurasian Lynx
  3. Asp Vipers
  4. Jellyfish
  5. Weever Fish
  6. Black Widow Spiders

National Animal of Italy

The Italian wolf — also known as the Apennine wolf — is the national animal of Italy. It’s symbolism dates back to the mythological story of Romulus and Remus. According to legend, a shewolf discovered the infant twins and kept them alive via interbreed suckling. Eventually, humans took the boys in, and they went on to found Rome.

Italian wolves are a subspecies of grey wolves and native to the Italian Peninsula. Today, between 600 and 700 individuals are alive and well. But in the not too distant past, only about 70 Italian wolves were left. Thanks to public and private conservation efforts, the species is making a comeback.

Italian Animals

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

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!

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bergamasco

Bergamascos are excellent problem solvers; they were bred to be independent as they work alongside their nomadic shepherd owners.

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Bolognese Dog

From the northern Italian city of Bologna!

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.

Cane Corso

Cane Corsos nearly became extinct in the mid 1900’s, but the breed was revived by a group of Italians. Even so, they still didn’t become known in many other parts of the world until after 1988.

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 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!

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.

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.

Ibex

Can jump over 6 feet straight up from a standstill

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is a miniature dog with a big motor and personality!

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!

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!

Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Maltese

Originally bred in Europe!

Marmot

A marmot spends 80% of its life below ground

Marsh Frog

Has bright green skin!

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

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!

Neapolitan Mastiff

Fearless and extremely protective of it's home!

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.

Olm

Inhabits dark underwater caves

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

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!

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.

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!

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!

Squirrel

Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Stag Beetle

More than 1,200 different species!

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!

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 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!

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

Actually a crustacean, not an insect!

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Italian Animals List