Animals in Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Below you can find a complete list of Jan Mayen animals. We currently track 138 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:

Jan Mayen Animals

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Arctic Fox

Extremely thick winter fur!

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!

Badger

Can reach speeds of 30 km/h!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Bear

There are 8 different species!

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.

Caribou

Males and females grow antlers

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!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Common Buzzard

The most common raptor in the UK!

Common House Spider

House spiders have the ability to eat most insects in a home.

Common Loon

Also known as the Great Northern Diver

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!

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!

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

Ferret

Ferrets can be trained to do tricks like dogs!

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.

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!

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!

Mongrel

Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

Moorhen

Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!

Moose

Renews it's enormous antlers every year!

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!

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Pheasant

Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pig

Thought to have been domesticated in 9,000 BC!

Pika

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!

Porcupine

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Puffin

Can remain in the water for up to 2 minutes!

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!

Reindeer

Also known as the Caribou

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!

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!

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!

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!

Wolf

Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Wolverine

Releases a strong smelling musk in defence!

Woodlouse

This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Jan Mayen Animals List

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.