Animals in Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Updated: December 13, 2022
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Below you can find a complete list of Jan Mayen animals. We currently track 170 animals in Svalbard and Jan Mayen and are adding more every day!

Svalbard and Jan Mayen, two island regions of Norway, sit in the Arctic Ocean. The former is inhabited and supports a population of nearly 3,000, while the latter is a research island that humans only visit part of the year. The other main difference between the two is that Svalbard is an archipelago, and Jan Mayen is a single volcanic island.

As you’ve already likely guessed, Svalbard and Jan Mayen are double-thermal cold! Svalbard’s average summer temperature ranges between 39 °F and 45 °F, and the mercury plummets to about 12 °F in winters. Jan Mayen’s climate is about the same as Svalbard’s but slightly colder in the summer months.

Due to its isolated location and below-average temperatures, the terrestrial wildlife in Svalbard and Jan Mayen isn’t very diverse. However, many avian species fly area skies, and the marine life is ample.

The Official National Animal of Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Technically, Svalbard is part of the Kingdom of Norway, where the lion is the official royal animal. But the archipelago has special self-governing rights, and residents claim polar bears as their animal avatar. Being a research-only island, Jan Mayen doesn’t have a special animal.

Norway also has a national bird, the White-throated dipper, in addition to a national horse, the fjord horse.

Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Arctic foxes, reindeer, and voles maintain healthy populations in Svalbard — and they’re the only land mammals, besides humans and polar bears, on the archipelago. Dolphins, whales, seals, and walruses can also be found in surrounding waters and coasts. Moreover, about 80 bird species — including the iconic puffin — spend some part of the year living around the north Arctic islands.

The Svalbard reindeer is endemic to the islands, and at one point, it was on the verge of going extinct. Today, the species isn’t 100 percent in the clear, but the population is growing at a healthy clip.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Svalbard and Jan Mayen Today

Since Svalbard and Jan Mayen are remote, rural locales, animals are everywhere — which can prove dangerous! Notably, polar bear attacks are more common than is comfortable. In 2018, one badly injured a tour guide, and in 2021, a German man met his demise at the hands of a polar bear.

Polar bears are the most dangerous animals in Svalbard and Jan Mayen. In fact, apart from humans, they may be the only dangerous animals on the islands. However, the rugged wildlife terrain presents catastrophic threats, like avalanches. And Jan Mayen is a volcano.

Endangered Animals In Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Svalbard and Jan Mayen may not be a biodiversity hotspot, but threats presented by climate change and human encroachment still cause problems.

Animals in Svalbard and Jan Mayen on the IUCN’s Red List:

The Flag of Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Svalbard and Jan Mayen are part of Norway, and their flag is the same as the Norwegian flag. Find out more about these frigid territories as well as the rich history behind the flag that symbolizes this nation.

Jan Mayen Animals

Admiral Butterfly

Stunningly beautiful wings


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

Atlantic Cod

One of the most popular food fishes in the world


Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!


Can reach speeds of 30 km/h!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!


Detects prey using echolocation!


There are 8 different species!

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.


Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years


There are more than 350,000 different species


Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors


The most common species of bee!


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.


Males and females grow antlers


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!


First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!


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 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


They can fly 35 mph and dive 150 feet below water.


There are nearly 1.5 billion worldwide!


There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings


Many are critically endangered species!


Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together


There are around 40 different species!


First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Dog Tick

Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals


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


Has exceptional eyesight!


They are hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female organs


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!


Eiders are sexually dimorphic, with males being larger and more colorful.


A very bold and ferocious predator!


The fastest creatures on the planet!


Ferrets can be trained to do tricks like dogs!


The firefly produces some of the most efficient light in the world


Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air


There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Squirrel

Can glide up to 90 meters!


Only 12 species are considered "true foxes"


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!


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 50 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.


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!


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.


The fly has no teeth


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!

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies


Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!


Has 10 pairs of eyes!


Does not hibernate during the bitter Arctic winter!


There are around 5,000 different species!

Long-Eared Owl

Ear tufts make it look bigger!

Long-Tailed Tit

Often hangs upside down while feeding!


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!


Roamed Asia and Europe for around 100,000 years!


Able to regrow lost or damaged limbs!


Named more than 1,000 years ago!

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males


There are 13 different species worldwide


The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees


Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!


Thought to have been domesticated in 9,000 BC!


Found in mountainous regions and rocky areas

Pike Fish

Apex freshwater predators with fearsome teeth!

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!


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 300 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.


Will mate with the entire flock!


There are more than 700 different species!

Sand Crab

The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail


There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Eagle

The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner


Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!


Around 35 million in the English countryside!


The spinal column of the shrew Scutisorex somereni is so strong and reinforced that it can support the weight of an adult human.


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!

Smokybrown Cockroach

Has up to 45 eggs per egg case


There are nearly 1,000 different species!


There are around 4,000 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!


There are 140 different species!


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!

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!


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


Vipers are one of the most widespread groups of snakes and inhabit most


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!


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


There are 200 different species!

Xeme (Sabine’s Gull)

They follow after seals and whales to eat their scraps.

Jan Mayen Animals List

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Animals in Svalbard and Jan Mayen FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are There Wolves in Svalbard?

No, wolves don’t live in Svalbard. However, some people mistake Arctic foxes for wolves.

Are There Animals in Svalbard and Jan Mayen?

Yes. Though the wildlife scene is more sparse than other places due to its frigid climate, it does exist.

Do Penguins Live in Svalbard?

No, penguins don’t live in Svalbard.

Do Reindeer Live in Svalbard and Jan Mayen?

Yes, reindeer live in Svalbard, but not on Jan Mayen.

What Animals Have Gone Extinct in Svalbard?

The Svalbard reindeer almost went extinct until officials implemented conservation measures. Beyond that, prehistoric animals once roamed the lands when the world’s mass was one giant continent called Pangea.