Animals in Hawaii

Despite its small size Hawaii is one of the four most ecologically diverse US states, the others being California, Texas, and Alabama. It is estimated that over 21,000 species have been recorded in the Hawaii rainforest, surrounding ocean, and other locations.  Some of the most notable animals in Hawaii are manta rays, chameleons, dolphins, whales, and tiger sharks

The Official State Animals of Hawaii

As such an environmental hot spot it shouldn’t be surprising that Hawaii has many state animals. 

The Official state bird of Hawaii: Nene

The Nene (Branta sandvicensis) is also known as the Hawaiian Goose. Though it is believed to be evolved from the Canadian Goose, the Nene is a different species and is exclusively found on the islands of Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Molokai, Maui, and Oahu. It features a black head, a white and black striped neck, and an alternating brown and white feather pattern. The animal’s official IUCN status is vulnerable.  Nene (Hawaiian goose) Standing in the grass

The Official fish of Hawaii: Humuhumunukunukuapua`a

The official fish of Hawaii is the Humuhumunukunukuapua`a (Rhinecanthus rectangulus), otherwise known as the Hawaiian trigger fish or reef triggerfish. This colorful fish has blue lips, a diagonal black marking down the side and streaks of yellow along it’s back. They can grow to be about 12 inches in length and can be rather aggressive. There have even been reports of the fish biting nearby swimmers. After briefly lapsing as the state’s official fish in 1990 it was permanently reinstated in 2006 by the governor. The Humuhumunukunukuapua'a on a white background

The Official mammal of Hawaii: The Hawaiian Monk Seal

The Hawaiian Monk Seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi) is the official mammal of Hawaii, sort of. It is technically one of two official mammals but the other is specifically a marine mammal. It’s native name is ʻIlio-holo-i-ka-uaua which translates to “dog that runs in rough water”. Hawaiian Monk Seals are endangered and native to the Hawaiian island region. They are the only native seal found in the area.   Hawaiian Monk Seal sleeping on the sand by coral

The Official aquatic mammal of Hawaii: Humpback Whale

The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is officially recognized as the official aquatic mammal of Hawaii, but it is also often considered the official overall state animal. Given the island’s deep connection with the ocean and related species it is easy to see why. The humpback whale has high cultural significance and is featured on many Hawaiian emblems including the trade dollar. The whale is believed to be one of the animals that aumakua or family ancestors could take shape of and appear in visions or dreams to provide guidance.  humpback whale swimming in the water

Where to Find The Top Wild Animals in Hawaii

To find many of the most popular wild animals in Hawaii you’ll want to take an official wildlife tour. If you take an ocean based tour you may see monk seals, humpback whales, manta rays, sharks, and dolphins.  If you don your snorkel gear and stick to the shallow waters and coral surrounding the island you may see giant sea turtles as well as beautiful coral reefs.  If you stick to land or to the Hawaiian rainforest you may glimpse chameleons and the hoary bat (the only native land mammal to Hawaii), mongoose, and the nene.  Recommended locations for wildlife sighting include: 

The Most Dangerous Animals In Hawaii Today

Hawaii is generally free from dangerous wildlife and poisonous creatures, making it an ideal eco tourist destination. However there are still a few animals you’ll want to avoid when traveling there.  While there are technically no snakes on Hawaii, there are some sea snakes like the Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake (Hydrophis platurus). There are also sharks in the coastal waters around the islands. While the likelihood of an attack from a shark is extremely low it could easily be fatal. Keep in mind that there have been a grand total of 11 recorded shark fatalities in Hawaii since 1828, almost all around Maui.  There are also Conus (Conidae), a cone snail with a toxin that can be deadly to humans. The creature feeds on small fish and marine worms. And lastly Black Widow (Latrodectus Mactans) spiders can be found on the island as well, though they are hardly ever fatal. 

Endangered Animals In Hawaii

Hawaiian endangered animals include:
  • Nene goose – The official state bird of Hawaii
  • Oahu Tree snails – A colorful snail with as few as 100 known sub species in existence. Frequently threatened by chameleons as predators. 
  • Hawaiian Monk Seals – The only native seal to Hawaii
  • Hawaiian Hoary Bat – One of only two native mammals to Hawaii
  • Sea Turtle – Highly sensitive to pollution and habitat destruction. Getting close can result in major fines. 
  • Crested Honeycreeper – Large birds found in Maui. It is estimated that only 3,800 remain today. 
  • Hawaiian Moorhen – A dark charcoal colored bird with a distinctive bright red beak
  • Hawaiian Hawk – A solitary raptor currently believed to only breed on the big island
Below you can find a complete list of Hawaiian animals. We currently track 140 animals in United States (Hawaii) and are adding more every day!

Hawaiian Animals

Albatross

The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!

American Coonhound

Easygoing and people-friendly!

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Antelope

Renew their horns every year!

Armadillo

Can curl into a hard, protective ball!

Aurochs

Extinct ancestor of all domesticated cattle!

Balinese

Playful and energetic breed!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Bea-Tzu

The Bea-Tzu has a fast-growing coat

Beabull

An excellent companion for cats!

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!

Bluetick Coonhound

Has an uncanny knack for problem-solving!

Bombay

Bred to look like a black panther!

Bullfrog

Has loud cow-like calls!

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.

Carolina Dog

Wild dog breed discovered in the 1970s!

Cat

First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!

Caterpillar

The larvae of a moth or butterfly!

Catfish

There are nearly 3,000 different species!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Coati

Found in dense forests and wet jungles!

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Cougar

Largest feline in North America

Cow

There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!

Coyote

Also known as the Prairie Wolf!

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings

Crane

Many are critically endangered species!

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Deer

There are around 40 different species!

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Donkey

First domesticated 5,000 years ago!

Doxle

Doxles have long floppy ears

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!

Eel

Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

English Shepherd

Highly intelligent and independent!

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

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!

Gar

Can grow to more than 3m long!

Gila Monster

It's tail acts as a fat storage facility!

Glass Lizard

Can grow up to 4ft long!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Goose

There are 29 different species!

Gopher

They dig large networks of tunnels!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Grizzly Bear

Less than 10% make it into adulthood

Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Hare

Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!

Hawaiian Monk Seal

Hawaiian name is "Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua," meaning "the dog which runs in rough waters.

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Highland Cattle

Natively found in the Scottish Highlands!

Himalayan

Also known as the Colourpoint Persian!

Hoary Bat

The hoary bat travels hundreds of miles south for the winter

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Horse

Has evolved over 50 million years!

Human

Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Jackson’s Chameleon

Have jousting battles with their horns.

Javanese

Features that closely resemble a Siamese cat!

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Liger

The offspring of a lion and tiger parents!

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Long-Eared Owl

Ear tufts make it look bigger!

Lynx

Live in dens in rocks and under ledges!

Maine Coon

Folklore says it's half cat, half raccoon!

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

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!

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

Mountain Lion

Has no real natural predators!

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

Mule

The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!

Newt

Able to regrow lost or damaged limbs!

North American Black Bear

Short claws make them good tree climbers!

Opossum

Thought to be immune to certain snake venom!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Panther

Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!

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!

Porcupine

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Prairie Rattlesnake

The striking distance of a prairie rattlesnake is 2/3rds the length of its body.

Puffin

Can remain in the water for up to 2 minutes!

Puma

Has longer back legs than front legs!

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Rabbit

There are more than 50 different species!

Raccoon

Known to wash their food before eating it!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

Rattlesnake

It's venom digests it's prey before it even swallows it!

Red Wolf

Only 100 in the wild!

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.

Saber-Toothed Tiger

Canines up to 7 inches long!

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!

Skunk

Also known as the Polecat!

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Snapping Turtle

Only found in North America!

Snorkie

Snorkies are known for their funny, attention-getting antics.

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!

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Termite

Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Tiger Salamander

Found across the North American wetlands!

Torkie

The Torkie has a soft silky coat

Turkey

Closely related to pheasants and chickens!

Vulture

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Wasp

There are around 75,000 recognised species!

Water Buffalo

Has been domesticated for thousands of years!

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

Actually a crustacean, not an insect!

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Yoranian

These dogs are very intelligent and are great with children.

Zorse

The offspring of a Zebra and Horse parents!

Hawaiian Animals List