Below you can find a complete list of Kerguelen animals. We currently track 111 animals in French Southern and Antarctic Lands and are adding more every day!
The French Southern and Antarctic Lands, sometimes called the French Austral Lands and Seas, are a group of islands in the southern Indian Ocean. They include Adelie Land on the edge of Antarctica; Crozet Island; the Kerguelen Islands, also known as the Desolation Islands; Saint Paul and Amsterdam Islands, which are north of Kerguelen Island; and the Scattered Islands, a group of small islands off the coast of Madagascar.
There is no permanent civilian population on the islands. A population of researchers, military personnel and administrators live on the Lands. Their number ranges from 150 in winter to 300 in the summer.
The Lands have harsh, freezing climate and active glaciers. Frequent snow and the harshest winds on earth create an inhospitable climate for most species.
The Official National Animal of French Southern and Antarctic Lands
The Lands do not have their own national animal. They are owned by France, and France’s national animal is the Gallic rooster (Gallus gallus domesticus).
The French rooster is also known as a cockerel. Its choice as France’s mascot comes from a play on words of the Latin word gallus, meaning rooster, and the word Gaul, which is the ancient name for France.
Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in French Southern and Antarctic Lands
There is a nature preserve on the Lands. The French Southern Territories National Nature Reserve is one of the largest natural preserves in the world. It was established in 2016 as a special economic, tourist, and natural zone. However, there are no visitor or tourist facilities on any of the Lands.
Don’t expect to visit wildlife in person. The Lands do not have any infrastructure for hosting visitors. There have been a few attempts to populate the islands, but no humans or domestic animals have been able to survive the harsh conditions.
These conditions have allowed endemic wildlife to flourish on the islands. There are four species of penguins here: macaroni penguins, king penguins, gentoo penguins, and Eastern rockhopper penguins.
Blue whales and fin whales swim in the waters. Several dolphin species, including Commerson’s dolphin and dusky dolphin, thrive here. Killer whales, pygmy blue whales, long-finned pilot whales, and other marine mammals also live undisturbed in the waters. Seal species include the Antarctic fur seal, Amsterdam Island fur seal, and South Atlantic elephant seal.
Amsterdam and Saint Paul Islands are extinct volcanic islands. Attempts to populate Amsterdam Island resulted in the destruction of some of the island’s ecosystems. Cattle brought over as part of that attempt are now wild on the island. This is one of the few feral herds of European cattle (Bos taurus) anywhere in the world.
Some endemic animals that are endangered elsewhere survive here, including the Yellow-nosed albatross (Diomedia chlororhynchos).
The coastlines are home to unique native birds including the sooty albatross, Soft-plumaged petrel, gray petrel, Antarctic tern, brown skua, and common waxbill.
The Most Dangerous Animals in French Southern and Antarctic Lands
The killer whale (Orcinus orca) is an apex predator in most waters where it lives. It’s dangerous for most animals to be around killer whales. They hunt mammals, sea birds, sea turtles, fish, and penguins.
These dangerous killers will eat sea lions, walruses, and seals. In groups, they will even attack gray whales and minke whales.
Extinct and Endangered Animals
The Amsterdam albatross (Diomedea amsterdamensis), which is only found on Amsterdam Island, is critically endangered and at risk of becoming extinct.
There are two endangered whale species in the Lands. The fin whale, also known as the common rorqual or finback whale, is endangered here as it is everywhere. Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) are also endangered.
The Lands are protected by many conservation laws. They are signatories to the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna), CMS (Convention on Migratory Species), CCAMLR (Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources), ACP (Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels) and the IWC (International Whaling Commission).
The National Nature Reserve of the French Austral Lands and Seas is one of the largest marine reserves in the world. This unique reserve is a central location for the management of the Lands.
Administrators of the reserve have taken steps to address threats such as invasive species, overfishing, and global change. They have also engaged in restoration activities such as planting native grasses on Amsterdam Island and dismantling human activities. There are no plans to develop activities related to human travel on the Lands.
The wild, harsh environment of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands has allowed some animal species to flourish. Human involvement caused some damage to these ecosystems, but conservationists have taken steps to prevent further environmental harm. That gives these unique species a chance to recover before they become extinct.
Kerguelen Animals List
- Barn Owl
- Bed Bugs
- Biscuit Beetle
- Black Widow Spider
- Brown Dog Tick
- Camel Cricket
- Codling Moth
- Common Furniture Beetle
- Common House Spider
- Crab Spider
- Crested Penguin
- Dung Beetle
- Fruit Fly
- Hawk Moth Caterpillar
- Highland Cattle
- Honey Bee
- Marine Toad
- Monitor Lizard
- Orb Weaver
- River Turtle
- Sand Crab
- Sea Dragon
- Sea Eagle
- Smokybrown Cockroach
- Stick Insect
- Striped Rocket Frog
- Swallowtail Butterfly
- Swallowtail Caterpillar
- Tarantula Hawk
- Tiger Beetle
- Water Buffalo
- Water Dragon
- Wolf Spider
Animals in French Southern and Antarctic Lands FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Animals Live in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands?
Animals that can survive the harsh weather conditions of these lands thrive here. They include four species of penguins, three seal species, terns, and albatrosses. These islands have the largest population of King penguins anywhere in the world.
They also host the second largest colony of southern elephant seals and the third largest colony of sub-Antarctic fur seals in the world.
Amsterdam Island has animals that were introduced by humans. Of these animals, there are surviving cats, mice and rats. There is also a large herd of wild cattle.
Are There Poisonous Snakes in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands?
There are no poisonous snakes on the Lands.
Which Is the Largest Animal in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands?
The blue whale is the largest animal in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. The largest animal on earth, it can reach almost 100 feet. That’s the length of a football field.