Animals in Switzerland

Updated: March 9, 2023
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Below you can find a complete list of Swiss animals. We currently track 249 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 watching and standing

The chamois is an impressive Swiss goat-antelope that can be found in high altitudes of the Swiss Alps.

©Michal Blaho/

  • 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

Juvenile asp viper (Vipera aspis francisciredi) in a defensive behavior.

The asp viper (Vipera aspis francisciredi) is the most dangerous animal inhabiting Switzerland.

©Claudio Pardo/

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

Fastest Birds in the World: Golden Eagle

The golden eagle is an endangered animal in the country of 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.

The 7 Largest Swiss Animals

Eurasian Brown Bear

The Eurasian brown bear is the largest predator still living on the continent of Europe.


When looking for large wild animals in Germany, they really don’t compare in size to animals of other continents like Africa. But there are some animals that tip the scales, which we’ve listed below:

  • European Bison: The rarest of European animals, it can be found in the western area of Switzerland. It weighs an average of 1,398 lbs for males and 935 lbs for females.
  • Eurasian Brown Bear: These rare beasts can weigh up to 1,060 lbs and stand a bit over 8 feet tall.
  • Red Deer: Red deer can grow up to 4 feet tall and weigh as much as 530 lbs.
  • Wild Boar (Eurasian Wild Pig): This wild pig can stand as tall as 4 feet and weigh as much as 220 lbs. In Switzerland, they can be found in the Jura, the northern Swiss plateau, Ticino, and Valais.
  • Gray Wolf: European gray wolves average up to 150 lbs and can reach heights of 33 inches. There are an estimated 30-35 in Switzerland.
  • Alpine Ibex: This wild mountain goat species can weigh up to 258 lbs and reach a height of 40 inches.
  • Chamois: This goat antelope can get up to 31 inches tall and weigh as much as 121 lbs.

The Flag of Switzerland

Swiss flag waving on a mountain peak in Switzerland

Swiss flag waving on a mountain peak in Switzerland.


The flag of Switzerland is one of the most easily recognized flags in the world with its red background and white center cross. The flag itself is unique in that it is a perfect square rather than a rectangle which most flags use. In modern times the Swiss flag has become a symbol of peace.

The design came about in 1840, patterned after the white cross that was utilized by the Holy Roman Empire. Previous to 1889 when it was adopted as the flag for the country, the flag was the official flag of the Swiss army in 1848.

Swiss Animals

Admiral Butterfly

Stunningly beautiful wings


First evolved 100 million years ago!

Apennine Wolf

Wolves do not howl at the moon. They howl to communicate with other members of their pack.

Appenzeller Dog

Herding dog by nature!


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


It was the symbol of royalty in Egypt, and its bite was used for the execution of criminals in Greco-Roman times.


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!

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

Beewolf wasp

They hunt bees

Bernese Mountain Dog

Very loyal, faithful and affectionate!


Not all birds are able to fly!

Biscuit Beetle

The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Blackpoll Warbler

They migrate for the longest distance of any warbler.

Brown-banded Cockroach

Females glue egg cases to furniture

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.

Carpenter Ant

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


May have been domesticated up to 10,000 years ago.


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!


Cicadas have one of the longest insect lifespans


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 European Adder

European adders are the only snake that lives above the Arctic Circle.

Common Frog

Found throughout the European continent!

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

Common Raven

A group of ravens is called an unkindness or a conspiracy.

Common Toad

Most active in wet weather!


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


A group of these birds is called a Murder.


There are around 40 different species!

Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle

The Devil’s coach horse beetle can emit a noxious substance to deter predators


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.

Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Native to parts of the Swiss Alps!


A very bold and ferocious predator!

Eurasian Bullfinch

The shy eurasian bullfinch prefers to forage very close to cover.

Eurasian Eagle-owl

The Eurasian Eagle-owl is the second largest owl in the world with a wingspan up to six feet!

Eurasian Jay

The Eurasian jay has the ability to mimic other sounds

European Bee-Eater

They can eat up to 250 bees per day!

European Goldfinch

They are frequent visitors to backyard feeders, especially those containing niger seeds.

European Robin

Male robins are so aggressive and territorial that they will attack their own reflections.


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!

Fire Salamander

Its name comes from the fact that people once believed it was born in fire


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


Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air

Fleckvieh Cattle

Besides being bred for milk and meat, these cattle were also used as draft oxen.


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


They make many sounds when trying to attract a mate.

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!


Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!


Males form large mating swarms at dusk


Most closely related to the Sheep!


The goldcrest never starts moving and needs to consume for most of the day to survive. Therefore, in the colder months, it's best that eat 90% a day.

Golden Eagle

Their calls sound like high-pitched screams, but they are quiet most of the time.

Golden Oriole

Migrates between Europe and Asia!


There are 29 different species!


There are 11,000 known species!

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Protective and gentle by nature!

Gypsy Moth

One of the most invasive species in the world


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!

Honey Buzzard

Honey buzzards are medium-sized raptors that earned their names by raiding the nests of bees and wasps.


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.


Can jump over 6 feet straight up from a standstill


There are an estimated 30 million species!


The jackdaw tends to mate for life with a single partner

Japanese Beetle

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

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!

Lazarus Lizard

Lazarus Lizards can communicate through chemical and visual signals.


Has 10 pairs of eyes!


Does not hibernate during the bitter Arctic winter!


While linnets are monogamous during mating season, they do not mate for life. While breeding pairs are together, the males are highly territorial and will defend the nesting site and the surrounding area.


There are around 5,000 different species!


Have sharp spines below their eyes


Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.

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!


A marmot spends 80% of its life below ground

Marsh Frog

Has bright green skin!


There are 2,500 known species worldwide!


They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.


They line their nests with their feathers


Some species have a poisonous bite!


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.


Has characteristics of two or more breeds!


Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!


Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood


There are 250,000 different species!


Found on every continent on Earth!


The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!


Can lay up to 7500 eggs


Roamed Asia and Europe for around 100,000 years!


Nematodes range in size from 1/10 of an inch to 28 feet long


Able to regrow lost or damaged limbs!


Named more than 1,000 years ago!

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

Northern Pintail

Northern pintails migrate at night with speeds reaching 48 miles per hour!

Nut Weevil

Bore holes in tree nuts and lay their eggs inside

Old House Borer

Depending on the habitat and climate, these beetles can live between 2 to 10 years, often staying in their larval stage for several years, making them extremely dangerous to wooden structures.

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Ortolan Bunting

The tradition of hiding your face with a napkin or towel while eating this bird was begun by a priest who was a friend of the great French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.


They reuse nesting sites for 70 years!


There are 13 different species worldwide


The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

Peppered Moth

Teachers in schools often use the evolution of the peppered moth as a good example of Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

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

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!


There are 30 different species worldwide!

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!

Rat Snakes

Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.

Red Deer

A male red deer shows his age in his antlers, which become longer and more branched every year.


They build their nests off the ground in tree holes, cavities, stone walls, and roofs

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.

Roe Deer

The roe is one of the most popular game animals in Europe


Will mate with the entire flock!

Rough-Legged Hawk (Rough-Legged Buzzard)

Its scientific name, lagopus, is Ancient Greek for “hare” and “foot,” referring to its feathered feet and toes.

Saanen Goat

The saanen goat is the most popular milk breed.

Sable Ferret

Ferrets were used during the Revolutionary War to keep down the rat population.

Saint Bernard

Gentle, loyal and friendly!


There are more than 700 different species!

Sand Lizard

Males turn green in spring!


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!

Short-Eared Owl

The short-eared owl is one of the most widespread owl species in the world, covering five continents.


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!


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

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!

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!


They can’t sing like other birds.


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.


They inject hosts with a chemical that stops them from feeling the pain of the bite

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.


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!

Wax Moth

The Wax Moth larvae are more dangerous than the adult.


The smallest carnivorous mammal in the world!

White Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

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.


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!

Woolly Rhinoceros

The woolly rhinoceros roamed the earth between three and a half million and 14,000 years ago.


Doesn’t have eyes.


They feign death by making their bodies limp and closing their eyes.

Xeme (Sabine’s Gull)

They follow after seals and whales to eat their scraps.


It interbreeds with the pine bunting

Swiss Animals List

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About the Author

Abby Parks has authored a fiction novel, theatrical plays, short stories, poems, and song lyrics. She's recorded two albums of her original songs, and is a multi-instrumentalist. She has managed a website for folk music and written articles on singer-songwriters, folk bands, and other things music-oriented. She's also a radio DJ for a folk music show. As well as having been a pet parent to rabbits, birds, dogs, and cats, Abby loves seeking sightings of animals in the wild and has witnessed some more exotic ones such as Puffins in the Farne Islands, Southern Pudu on the island of Chiloe (Chile), Penguins in the wild, and countless wild animals in the Rocky Mountains (Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Moose, Elk, Marmots, Beavers).

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.