Animals in Switzerland

Below you can find a complete list of Swiss animals. We currently track 165 animals in Switzerland and are adding more every day!

Animals that are built to navigate rocky terrain, colder climates, and high altitudes can be seen across the mountainous country of Switzerland. Notably, the Alpine ibex, chamois, mountain hare, golden eagle, and Alpine marmot.

Once extinct in Switzerland, the unique mountain goat referred to as the Alpine ibex was reintroduced from Italy at the beginning of the 20th century. They are now found in abundance throughout the Swiss Alps, preferring rocky habitats far away from any predators.

The Official National Animal Of Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the few countries that does not have an official national animal. In Swiss culture, cows are important though they have never been declared the national animal on an official level. Similarly, the blackbird is another popular animal with no real claim to the official title.

While each of the 26 Swiss member states has its own coat of arms, on which heraldic animals can be seen, unique is the country itself in its lack of a national flower and official national motto.

Where to Find The Top Wild Animals In Switzerland

  • Chamois – This impressive Swiss goat-antelope is one of the few large animals that never became extinct. Excellent rock climbers, these resilient creatures are found in the Alps at high altitudes, choosing to descend occasionally to feed.
  • Mountain Hare – One species of the hare that has adapted to multiple habitats, they can be found in both mountainous and polar regions. Though they are found across national parks, it is harder to spot these creatures compared to other wildlife as their white coats blend seamlessly with the Swiss snow. As a result of tourism-based development, mountain hares are now settling in plains and forests, a far reach from their natural habitats.
  • Red Deer – The largest hooved wild animal in Switzerland can be found in the Swiss Alps and across many national parks. Once extinct in the country, as well, a hunting ban from the 1800s has led to renewed population growth in the species.
  • European Mole – These Swiss natives are found all across Europe and prefer habitats with deep soil that allows them to tunnel across woodlands and other similar regions.
  • Barn Owl – This unique bird is one of the most widespread animals on the entire planet. Polar and desert regions, pacific islands, and Indonesia are the only places in the world that this owl cannot be found. They are found in Swiss woodlands where they hunt for small rodents and can travel about 900 miles across Europe when they please.
  • Alpine Marmot – A member of the squirrel family, this species is found in the higher elevations of the Swiss Alps. As excellent diggers, they make their home in burrows which serve as a great location to hibernate for the winter. Often seen following the paths of humans along the mountainside, their comfort with people has become so strong that they have been known to wander into homes on the Alps.
  • Brown Bear – The highest chance of seeing a brown bear in Switzerland occurs near the Italian and Austrian borders, as there are only a few in the country itself. These bears are making a comeback in the Western European nation as they continue to migrate from Italy but seem to have a long road ahead of them yet.

The Most Dangerous Animals In Switzerland Today

The most dangerous animal in Switzerland today is the aspic viper (also known as asp viper, asp, European asp, European viper, or Jura viper.)

This snake can be found in nearly any of Switzerland’s regions, due to its ability to exist at high altitudes, in mountainous and hilly regions, forests, meadows, and most woodlands areas.

Recognizable by their distinctly short tail and broad, triangular head, there are various dorsal markings that one might notice on this species. At around 25 inches (60-65 cm) their bite can be extremely painful and, if untreated, result in death in nearly 4% of cases. Paralysis of bitten limbs, difficulty breathing, and vision issues are just a few results of this bite.

Endangered Animals in Switzerland

Switzerland, like much of the rest of Europe, lost a significant portion of its wildlife between the 1600s and 1800s. Thanks to rehabilitation programs and conservation policies, many animals that were once extinct in the country have been reintroduced, while some have naturally reentered Switzerland.

However, unfortunately, this does not mean that there exists a lack of endangered species.

Brown bears were hunted to extinction in the country in 1904 and were not reintroduced successfully until the early 2000s. In just 2017, the first wild brown bear migrated to the Swiss countryside from Italy, but this species remains endangered in Switzerland all the same.

Golden eagles, commonly referred to as the “king of the air” are grand creatures with a wingspan of six feet. They also were once on the verge of total extinction, but now remain endangered with about 300 pairs located throughout the country.

Swiss Animals

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Appenzeller Dog

Herding dog by nature!

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!

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bernese Mountain Dog

Very loyal, faithful and affectionate!

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!

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!

Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Native to parts of the Swiss Alps!

Ermine

A very bold and ferocious predator!

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

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!

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Protective and gentle by nature!

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!

Japanese Beetle

Can clear an entire fruit tree in 15 minutes in a swarm

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!

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!

Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Marmot

A marmot spends 80% of its life below ground

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

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!

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

Saanen Goat

The saanen goat is the most popular milk breed.

Saint Bernard

Gentle, loyal and friendly!

Salamander

There are more than 700 different species!

Sand Lizard

Males turn green in spring!

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 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

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Swiss Animals List

Animals in Switzerland FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals live in Switzerland?

The animals that call Switzerland home are typically those accustomed to cold conditions, rocky terrain, and high elevations. This is why so many birds, relatives of goats, small animals, and bears are found across the country. Those who are especially agile, have extra fur or fat, or possess the ability to burrow typically do best in this European country.

Are there wild animals in Switzerland?

Switzerland is home to a great deal of wildlife, much of which was introduced or migrated back over from other countries between the 19th and 21st centuries.

Does Switzerland have dangerous animals?

Switzerland does not have much dangerous wildlife in the traditional sense. The aspic viper, while venomous, is fatal, only if untreated, in about 4% of instances.

What animals live in the Swiss Alps?

Animals like the Alpine ibex and other relatives of goats are found along the rocky mountainsides. Birds like the bearded vulture, golden eagle, and barn owl are also common in these areas.