The Netherlands

Below you can find a complete list of types of animals in the Netherlands. We currently track 210 animals in Netherlands and are adding more every day!

The Netherlands (also known as Holland) is a small Western European country that has played an important role at the heart of post-Medieval European culture and politics. In Europe, the country sits between Belgium, Germany, and the Atlantic Ocean. It also encompasses the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius in the Lesser Antilles chain. Much of the country is located below sea level and therefore prone to regular flooding. As a result, the coastline has been altered dramatically over the years to prevent this. The Netherlands harbors quite a few species of bats, rodents, deer, water birds, songbirds, seals, and other large carnivores. Both cetaceans and sea turtles can also be seen off the shore.

The Official National Animal of Netherlands

The lion is widely regarded as a national symbol of the Netherlands. Although lions haven’t existed in Western Europe for thousands of years, this animal was a popular regal symbol of strength and power throughout European history. It has been a part of the country’s coat of arms since its independence in the 16th and 17th centuries. In addition, the black-tailed godwit is the official national bird of the Netherlands. It is a long-legged, long-billed migratory bird that wades into the water to feed.

Where to Find the Top Wild Animals

Despite its small size and high population density, the country has plenty of national parks and nature reserves for wildlife lovers to enjoy native animals of the Netherlands. More than 20 of them cover the country’s diverse ecosystems. De Alde Feanen National Park in Gelderland preserves some 4,000 hectares of lakes, grasslands, and peat bogs in which you can find more than a hundred species of breeding birds. De Maasduinen National Park and De Zoom-Kalmthoutse Heide Cross-Border Park are also good sources of woodpeckers, falcons, hawks, nightjars, harriers, and much more.

The Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park near the center of the country boasts a crazy amount of glacially-shaped forests, meadows, and lakes inhabited by deer, foxes, woodpeckers, and birds of prey. De Maasduinen National Park, located in the country’s southeast region of Limburg, has a rich selection of wildlife, including beavers, bats, toads, snakes, sand lizards, butterflies, dragonflies, and birds.

Birds in the Netherlands

Situated in northwestern Europe, the Netherlands is mostly below sea level, giving way to multitudes of wetlands that provide habitats for hundreds of residential and visiting avifauna, particularly migrating waders. Other habitats such as forests, dunes, heathland, and lakes also render excellent areas for birdwatching. Some of the top birding sites include:

  • The Delta – The southwest part of the country consists of estuaries of bisecting rivers is usually referred to as the Delta. Migrant waders and other waterfowl pass through this area on their routes, drawn to the quiet environment.
  • Lauwersmeer – Alternatively, Lauwersmeer may be considered the most popular wetland for birding and is surrounded by grasslands, adding to the various species seen here. Rare geese species such as Ross’s goose, Lesser White-fronted, Red-breasted, and Black Brent stop over in the area during migratory season.
  • Lapelaarplassen Reserve – Easily accessible from Amsterdam, this reserve is quite exciting to bird watch in, as species such as Bewick’s Swan, Brambling, Sparrowhawks, geese, and other avifauna stop over during the fall.

There are countless other areas within the country to peacefully watch birds in their natural habitat, whether they’re simply passing through or reside permanently. Birds also flit through urban and suburban areas of the Netherlands, as well.

Fish in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is positioned with its coastline along the North Sea and rests mainly below sea level. Several rivers also run through the country and connect, forming estuaries and lakes. Good food, art, history, and scenery draw visitors to the Netherlands and fishing is often disregarded. However, some truly amazing fishing exists here. Listed are some top spots for fishing and what anglers may hope to hook:

  • Rhine-Meuse Delta – Where the Rhine and Meuse Rivers merge, an estuary begins and holds quite the array of fish species, from carp and bream to perch and pike.
  • Rotterdam Seaport Area – Not only are sea bass a common catch, but other species such as mullet, shad, and sole reign prevalent in the summer. Winter brings around pouting, cod, and whiting.
  • Amsterdam – The canals of the city are not only good for bike riding and boating but they provide an opportunity for fishing in an urban setting. Zander, perch, rudd, pike, and carp are regular catches in these winding waters.
  • The Lek River – Spanning the entire country, this large and long river is a particular favourite for fishermen in search of perch.

Fishing is highly accessible through charters, shoreline fishing, and even kayak fishing trips! It is also a great way to explore the many environments of the Netherlands and to see other wildlife along the way.

Snakes in the Netherlands

Experiencing a new culture with different people and nature and wildlife is always a thrill. However, it is important to look out for animals that might not be so friendly, such as venomous snakes. However, the Netherlands only has three species of snake and only one of them is venomous: the viper. Otherwise, snakes include grass snakes and smooth snakes, both of which are harmless to humans and tend to avoid them.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Netherlands Today

The Netherlands has very few types of animals considered dangerous. Many large predatory animals have been eliminated over the last several thousand years through hunting or loss of habitat. This has made it relatively safe for all human activity. Few species remain that could pose a threat to humans, including:

  • Common European Viper – This snake roams a very widespread territory across most of Europe, which leads to quite a few bites every year, but the toxicity of its venom is fortunately quite low. Biting victims can expect mild symptoms to include pain, swelling, and tingling. On rare occasions, the symptoms can escalate into something more dangerous, like nausea, vomiting, fever, and lightheadedness. Regardless of the severity, seek medical attention after a bite, since symptoms may linger for quite some time and affect one’s functionality to a crazy extent.
  • Wolves – Wolf sightings are very uncommon in the Netherlands, and those that do cross over are usually just temporary wanderers from France or Germany. However, as wolf numbers continue to recover, this species could conceivably establish a more permanent native presence in the Netherlands. While wolves almost never attack humans, they do have a tendency to hunt livestock, a main reason they were hunted to the point of extinction in Western Europe. Conservationists have tried to help wolves and ranchers co-exist by employing some protective measures to scare them away.

Zoos in the Netherlands

From boating the canals of Amsterdam to strolling through countless tulips, the Netherlands boasts an array of opportunities for fun and exploration, as well as sights and wildlife to see. Some places to visit wildlife other than wandering forests or the wetlands is in zoos and wildlife parks. Here are several of the country’s top zoos to spend some time in:

  • Royal Burger’s Zoo – Welcoming over 1 million guests each year, the zoo is quite the attraction. Eight themed areas serve to separate animals into their shared natural environments. An adventure park also welcomes kids during their visit. Exciting events happen almost daily at the zoo including manatee births, breeding fiddler crabs, and sun bears enjoying giant pumpkins.
  • Beekse Bergen Safari Park – Unlike other zoos, this zoo is set up in reverse: animals roam free while visitors are the ones entering in secure vehicles. The park is large, holding around 1,300 animals of 150 varying species. Boating and walking tours are available through some sections of the park, creating a fun and active environment within. Eagles, rhinoceros, cows, and many more species inhabit the park.
  • Diergaarde Blijdorp – Not only home to native and exotic wildlife, a stunning botanical gardens and butterfly garden also draw in visitors. At 150 years old, the zoo is one of the oldest in the Netherlands and has been awarded one of the most beautiful. The zoo also participates in conservation, rehabilitation, and reproductive endeavours. Animals in the zoo range from giraffes to penguins to sharks and many more!

Adventuring through the nature and cities of the Netherlands is truly unbeatable, however, stopping by to support zoos and their efforts in conservation of local and other species around the world is a must, as these establishments provide fun and educational experiences and insights into animals and their habitats.

Endangered Animals in Netherlands

The Netherlands has some 36,000 native animal species. Around 500 of them under protection of national law. But despite all efforts to protect the country’s wildlife, the Netherlands is currently in danger of losing several species to extinction.

  • European Hamster – This endangered rodent needs soft soil to dig its burrows. Due to habitat loss and changes in the soil, the European hamster is now in danger of disappearing from Western Europe completely.
  • European Rabbit – Although originally endemic to Spain and Portugal, this rabbit was later introduced to the rest of Western Europe, sometimes causing harm to the local soil. It is considered to be endangered after years of declining populations.
  • European Turtle Dove – This species of bird breeds in Europe and then travels farther south toward Africa for the winter. Although still quite common throughout Europe and not yet in danger of becoming extinct, the number of turtle doves is plummeting by a crazy amount. It is estimated to have fallen by 78% between 1980 and 2013. Experts have blamed changes in agricultural practices, which have made food less common, as well as wanton hunting practices.

Dutch 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!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

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

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.

Brown-banded Cockroach

Females glue egg cases to furniture

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

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 Jay

The Eurasian jay has the ability to mimic other sounds

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

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!

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!

Jackdaw

The jackdaw tends to mate for life with a single partner

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

Keeshond

Friendly, alert dogs that are loyal to their owners

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Kooikerhondje

If Kooikerhondjes look familiar, it’s because old Dutch masters like Rembrandt and Jan Steen liked to paint them.

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Leech

Has 10 pairs of eyes!

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!

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!

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

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

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!

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!

Red-Eared Slider

Sliders spend lots of time basking in the sun. As cold-blooded animals, they need the sun to heat up.

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!

Stabyhoun

It is a versatile, all-around working breed and pet.

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.

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!

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!

Woolly Rhinoceros

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

Worm

Doesn’t have eyes.

Dutch Animals List

The Netherlands FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals live in Netherlands?

The Netherlands contains plenty of native bats, rodents, hares, shrews, weasels, deer, boar, songbirds, water birds, and birds of prey. Because of its long coastline, the country also has quite a few aquatic and semi-aquatic animals, including seals, whales, and marine turtles.

What is the most common animal in the Netherlands?

Although an exact count hasn’t been done, the most common animals are probably insects such as flies or ants, while the most common mammals are likely mice and rats.

Are there bears in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands no longer has any native species of bears. It is believed that the brown bear disappeared from the country in the 11th century.

What animals once lived in the Netherlands?

Along with the brown bear, the Netherlands was once home to the European elk, Eurasian lynx, European mink, and the now extinct aurochs, a species of wild cattle. Many of these species were driven out by hunting or habitat loss.