Animals in Portugal

Below you can find a complete list of Portuguese animals. We currently track 163 animals in Portugal and are adding more every day!

Portugal’s unique position in the world means that you can see many North African and European animals there. While many animals thrive in this fauna, others are endangered or extinct animals. The most threatened animals often live in rocky areas, forests, and wetlands. There are over 36 mammal species, 25 reptile species, and 19 amphibian species that live in Portugal.

The Official National Animal of Portugal

While Portugal does not have a national animal, many residents think of the rooster as the national symbol. Legend says that a horrible crime had been committed. A stranger passing through the town was condemned for a crime that he did not commit. After the judge sentenced him, he declared that if he were innocent, a cooked rooster would crow when he was hung. It did, so now many believe that the rooster is a symbol of faith, good luck, and justice.

Others believe the Iberian wolf is the national symbol. The isolation of Portugal’s Iberian Peninsula has caused this wolf to develop differently from many wolves globally. This animal that lives mainly in the country’s northern part has dark marks on its tail and upper part of its front legs. It also has a white mask around its upper lip.

Where To Find The Top Wildlife in Portugal

There is only one national park in Portugal, but it is a terrific place to see wildlife. Peneda-Gerês National Park is a fantastic place to see foxes, wild boars, ibex, squirrels, and deer. Throughout the year, over 140 bird species visit this park.

Another fantastic place to go is Arrábida Natural Park because it is home to 213 species of vertebrates: eight amphibians, 16 reptiles, 154 birds, and 35 mammals. This park is home to wildcats, weasels, Bonelli’s eagles, and Eurasian Eagle owls, and you may spot rare red squirrels here.

Another terrific option is Tagus Estuary Natural Reserve. This location is the largest wetland in Portugal and one of the most important in Europe because of its three ponds that attract various migratory birds. Officials have spotted over 250 bird species in this area, including flamingos.

The Most Dangerous Animals In Portugal Today

Portugal’s dangerous animals can be so small that you might not even notice them or large enough to scare you when you look at them. These include:

  • Castor bean ticks – Castor bean ticks, sometimes called sheep ticks, usually are less than 1-inch in diameter, but they can carry many deadly diseases, like Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.
  • Portuguese Man o’ Wars – This animal’s tentacles can reach up to 150 feet. Not only will you feel intense pain if bitten, but you may experience fever, shock, and impaired heart and lung function.
  • Wild boars – Once confined to the southern part of the country, wild boars are moving north. While they are usually nocturnal, you may see wild boars during the day in some areas, and they may carry swine flu.
  • European scorpions – While a European scorpion’s bite is always painful, some carry diseases that can make humans very sick.

Endangered Animals In Portugal

There are extinct and endangered animals in Portugal. Some extinct animals have been reintroduced, like the red squirrel, and are now endangered. While we will not deal with the long list of extent, endangered animals include:

Portuguese Animals

American Cockroach

Despite its name, actually originated from Africa and the Middle East

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!

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!

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!

Desert Locust

Solitary locusts are grey while gregarious locusts are yellow with stripes.

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!

Ermine

A very bold and ferocious predator!

Estrela Mountain Dog

Very protective and stubborn!

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!

Fiddler Crab

The fiddler crab gets its name from the motion the males make with their over-sized claw during the mating ritual.

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!

Genet

The Genet has retractable claws like a cat

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!

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

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!

Porpoise

Surprisingly, not a dolphin!

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!

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!

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!

Portuguese Animals List

Animals in Portugal FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals live in Portugal?

There are almost 500 species of wildlife found in Portugal, including wild boars, wild goats, fallow deer, foxes and Iberian hares. Additionally, farmers raise at least 13 cow breeds, including the Arouquesa and Barrosã breeds that enjoy protected geographical status. Also, the Bísaro pig breed originates in the country.

What dangerous animals live in Portugal?

While many might argue that the most dangerous animals in Portugal are large ones, like foxes and wild boars, more people are injured annually by small ones, like the castor bean tick and the European scorpion.

What is the national animal of Portugal?

There is no official animal of Portugal.

Are there bears in Portugal?

People have reported brown bears wandering into Portugal from Northern Spain. A bear sighting in 2019 was the first confirmed by wildlife officials in more than 100 years. Wildlife officials believe that there may be more bears based on tracks they have found.