Animals in Norway

A coastal Scandinavian country, Norway — officially the Kingdom of Norway — is awash in wildlife. Farms carpet the lower mainland, while high mountains, lakes, tundras, rivers, wetlands, and a sea coast cover the rest. Skerries and fjords provide additional marine ecosystems where  thousands of Norway animals make their homes.

Further below, you’ll find a complete list of Norwegian animals. We currently track 170 animals in Norway and add more daily!

Norway Geography

Norway is a long, thin country in Europe’s Scandinavian region. Its territory extends north of the Arctic Circle and 32 percent of the mainland sits above the treeline. Verdant agricultural lands blanket the southern mainland, and the Scandinavian Mountains run up the nation’s spine.

Svalbard, an archipelago midway between Norway and the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean, is also part of Norway. First used as a whaling base in the 1600s and 1700s, it’s an important breeding ground for seabirds, and more polar bears live on the islands than people. A conservation haven, Svalbard has seven national parks, 23 nature preserves, and 60 percent is covered in glaciers. 

Norway’s Animals

Though the number is constantly in flux since scientists make new discoveries yearly, about 21,311 species spend time in Norway. Some live in the Scandinavian country year round; others come for the summer.

Norway Species Breakdown

  • Birds: 526
  • Insects: 16,000
  • Fresh-water Fish: 45
  • Fresh-water Invertebrates: 1,000
  • Mammals: 90
  • Marine Fish: 150
  • Marine Invertebrates: 3,500

Norway Animals: Avifauna

According to the last count of the Norwegian Ornithological Society, 525 avifauna species — aka bird species — whizz through Norway’s friendly skies. Additionally, eBird added one more to the list in 2018, making the current number 526. Many birds only spend the summer months in Norway and head to southern Europe and North Africa for the winter.

Of the 526 bird species in Norway, 244 are accidental and four were introduced by humans, including the Mandarin duck.

One of Norway’s standout birds is the Atlantic puffin. With their long, colorful beaks and clownish faces, the distinct birds look like they came from the mind of Barry Leighton-Jones. To catch a glimpse, head to Vesteralen between early June and mid August when 300,000 of them flock for breeding season.    

Norway is also home to the white-tailed eagle, which almost went extinct in the 1800s. But thanks to successful conservation efforts, the majestic bird has made a comeback. Today, the best place to see them is the Gjesvaestappen Nature Reserve.

A Nod to Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III: Decorated Military Penguin

Nils Olav is a distinguished member of the Norwegian King’s Guard — and he’s a penguin

In 1972, to commemorate the first successful South Pole expedition led by a Norwegian, the country’s King’s Guard adopted a King Penguin from the Edinburgh Zoo and named him Nils Olav. At first, the flightless bird held the rank of lance corporal. Since then, Nils Olav — of which there have been three to date — has climbed the ranks. Today, his official title is Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III!

Norway Animals: Mammals

Norway is filled with large, hooved mammals like moose and deer, in addition to the largest animal in the country, elk — or “elg” as it’s said in Norwegian. 

Muskox are also plentiful in northern regions, and if you happen upon the cloven ungulates, with their long, shaggy coats and stubby horns, you’ll better understand why they’re known as “ugly moose.” People with sensitive noses should stay away from muskox during mating season when males emit a pungent pheromone to attract the ladies. The stench may smell divine to female muskox, but a lot of humans find the odor overpowering.

Reindeer are also native to Norway. Some live domesticated lives in Sami villages; other populations roam wild in Randone and Hardangervidda National Parks. 

Eurasian lynxes, with their spike tufts of ear hair, are the only big cats in Norway.

Other Common Mammals in Norway

Norway Animals: Marine Mammals

Scores of large marine mammals make their homes in Norway’s oceans. Six seal species and 30 whale ones — including white, beaked, sperm, and baleen — can be spotted off the Norwegian coast. Dolphins and porpoise are also plentiful in the region.

When is the best time to go whale watching in Norway? Between late May and mid September.

Norway Animals: Reptiles and Amphibians

Being so far north, Norway isn’t filled with reptiles and amphibians — but it does have some. Six terrestrial reptile and six amphibian species reside within Norway’s borders. From time to time, leatherback sea turtles, the largest extant turtles, hoist themselves onto coastal beaches, and loggerhead sea turtles, which can weigh up to 1,000 pounds — occasionally waddle onto shore.

Northern crested newts, which resemble mini stegosauruses during mating season, can also be found in Norway.

Endangered Animals in Norway

The Norwegian Red List details 2,355 Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable species, in addition to 1,235 listed as Near Threatened, including:

Global warming and habitat destruction are the two biggest threats for Norway’s endangered animals.

National Animal of Norway

Officially, Norway has several national animals.

  • The moose is the main national animal of Norway.
  • The lion is Norway’s national royal animal. Denmark’s current ruling family is the House of Glücksburg, and Harald V is the current king.
  • White-throated dippers are the country’s national bird.
  • Fjord horses are the nation’s national horse.

What Dangerous Animals Are in Norway?

Unlike Australia, which has venomous animals everywhere, there are few dangerous animals in Norway. That said, the country’s large mammals — like moose and elk — are capable of doing severe damage by ramming targets if provoked.

Polar bears are also dangerous. The apex predators can outrun humans and behead us with a single swipe of their lethal paws! In the Norwegian territory of Svalbard, polar bears are such a common sight that anyone traveling outside of settlements is required to have appropriate means of frightening polar bears. The government recommends carrying a firearm. 

Are there Mountain Lions in Norway?

A common question from travelers is whether mountain lions are in Norway. Mountain lions do not live in Norway as they’re found exclusively in the Americas. Norway does have some large predators, such as brown bears, lynxes, and wolverines. The wolf population of Norway is estimated at about 100 wolves and lives along the Swedish border and in designated zones in the southeast of the country. 

Norway Animals FAQ

Are There Predators in Norway?

Yes. Recognized wildlife predators live in Norway, including brown bears, polar bears, Eurasian lynxes, wolverines — which can take down animals twice its size — and wolves.

Are There Venomous Snakes in Norway?

Yes. There are two types of venomous snakes in Norway: the common European viper and the adder.

Do Norwegian People Eat Moose?

Yes! Norwegian people are big into moose meat, and they love moose burgers!

Norwegian Animals


First evolved 100 million years ago!

Arctic Fox

Extremely thick winter fur!


They are so named because they "march" in armies of worms from one crop to another in search of food


Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!


Has a curved, upturned beak!


Can reach speeds of 30 km/h!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.


Detects prey using echolocation!


Builds a dam from sticks and leaves!


There are more than 350,000 different species


Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Brown Bear

A dominant predator in it's environment!


The most common species of bee!


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.


Males and females grow antlers

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants can lift up to seven times their own weight with their teeth!


First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!


The larvae of a moth or butterfly!


There are nearly 3,000 different species!


There are about 3,000 documented species!


Natively found in the European mountains!


First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!


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!


There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!


There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings


Many are critically endangered species!


There are around 40 different species!


First domesticated in South-East Asia!


First domesticated 5,000 years ago!


Found in Europe, Africa and Asia!


It's larvae are carnivorous!


Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight


A friendly and relaxed dog!


Has exceptional eyesight!


There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Edible Frog

Are known to guard the muddy banks!


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


A very bold and ferocious predator!


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


Ferrets can be trained to do tricks like dogs!

Fire-Bellied Toad

Found across mainland Europe and Asia!


There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Squirrel

Can glide up to 90 meters!


There are 12 different species in the world!


There are around 7,000 different species!

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!


Most closely related to the Sheep!

Golden Oriole

Migrates between Europe and Asia!


There are 29 different species!


There are 11,000 known species!


Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!


Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!


Thought to be one of the oldest mammals on Earth!


Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Highland Cattle

Natively found in the Scottish Highlands!

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Hooded Seal

Hooded seal pups are called bluebacks because the color of the fur on their back is blue-gray. This pretty color made people want to make fur coats out of them and made them a target for hunters.


Stunning bird with a stinky way to deter predators!


Has evolved over 50 million years!


Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.


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.


There are an estimated 30 million species!


Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!


Does not hibernate during the bitter Arctic winter!


There are around 5,000 different species!


Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.

Long-Eared Owl

Ear tufts make it look bigger!


They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Marsh Frog

Has bright green skin!


There are 2,500 known species worldwide!


They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.


Some species have a poisonous bite!


Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!


Has characteristics of two or more breeds!


Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!


Renews it's enormous antlers every year!


There are 250,000 different species!


Found on every continent on Earth!


The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!


Muskox have several physical characteristics that allow them to survive in the Arctic climate.


Roamed Asia and Europe for around 100,000 years!


Able to regrow lost or damaged limbs!


Named more than 1,000 years ago!

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

Norwegian Buhund

The Norwegian Buhund once worked on Norse homesteads

Norwegian Elkhound

This breed traveled with the Vikings!

Norwegian Forest

Has a long, thick double coat of fur!

Norwegian Lundehund

This breed is also called the Norsk Lundehund and the Norwegian Puffin Dog

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males


There are 13 different species worldwide

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth


Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!


Thought to have been domesticated in 9,000 BC!


They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.


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.

Polar Bear

Could be extinct within the next 30 years!

Pond Skater

There are 500 different species!

Pool Frog

The rarest amphibian in the UK!


There are 30 different species worldwide!


Surprisingly, not a dolphin!


Can remain in the water for up to 2 minutes!

Purple Emperor Butterfly

Inhabits deciduous forests!

Puss Moth

Caterpillars squirt formic acid!


Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!


There are more than 50 different species!


Known to wash their food before eating it!

Raccoon Dog

The only hibernating canine!


Omnivores that eat anything!


Also known as the Caribou

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!


There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!


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.


There are more than 700 different species!

Sand Lizard

Males turn green in spring!


There are around 2,000 known species!


Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!


Around 35 million in the English countryside!


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!


They glide around on one foot, which is aided by the slime they produce


There are nearly 1,000 different species!


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!


There are 140 different species!

Spider Wasp

They prey on spiders to feed their larvae or they parasitize other spider wasps.


Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!


Average adults weigh about 200 grams!


Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tawny Owl

The most widespread owl in Europe!


Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!


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.


Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!


Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.


There are 30 different species worldwide!


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!


The smallest carnivorous mammal in the world!

White-Tailed Eagle

It is one of the biggest birds of prey.

Wild Boar

Males have a top tusk to sharpen the bottom one!


Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.


Releases a strong smelling musk in defence!


This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodlouse Spider

Unlike most spiders, woodlouse spiders don’t build a web.


There are 200 different species!

Norwegian Animals List