Below you can find a complete list of Papua New Guinean animals. We currently track 97 animals in Papua New Guinea and are adding more every day!
Papua New Guinea is a small island nation in Oceania. With about 850 spoken languages, it is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. PNG shares a land border with Indonesia, which owns the western half of the island. Much of the country is dominated by dense tropical rainforests and wetlands, while a large mountain range known as the New Guinea Highlands runs along the entire length of the interior. Along with the rest of the Asian Pacific region, New Guinea is a place of immense biodiversity. A greater concentration of unique species can be found here than almost anywhere else.
The Official National (State) Animal of Papua New Guinea
Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea has set aside some 71 protected areas and national parks, which encompass about 5,500 square miles.
- The Tonda Wildlife Management Area, located in the Western Province, is one of the most significant wetlands on the planet and also the largest protected area in the entire country. Amid the 2,200 square miles of swamps, grasslands, Monson forests, and mangrove areas, visitors can find the quoll, hare-wallaby, dunnart, crocodile, and many other mammals and birds of paradise.
- The Maza protected wildlife area covers more than 700 square miles of coral reefs and marine environments to the east of Tonda. Visitors can find dugongs, sea turtles, and other marine animals here.
- The Kamiali Wildlife Management Area is located on the Huon Gulf Coast in Morobe Province. Across 180 square miles of sandy coasts, coral reefs, lakes, rivers, wetland, and tropical rainforests, visitors can find a rich array of reef fish, sea turtles, and other rare fauna.
- Lake Kutubu, located in the Southern Highlands Province, is surrounded by mountains in a rugged depression. It was deemed a wetland of international significance for its unique selection of freshwater fish, including the rainbowfish, the mogurnda, and the grunter.
The Most Dangerous Animals in Papua New Guinea Today
While Papua New Guinea contains very few large predators (besides the crocodile), it does have several smaller, poisonous animals that pose a danger to people. Of 80 recognized snakes, the country is home to six venomous species. Together they are responsible for about a thousand deaths per year. Interestingly, PNG contains one of the few poisonous birds in the world, the hooded pitohui. It’s believed that the bird derives this poison from something it eats.
- Coastal Taipan – Sporting a uniform olive or reddish-brown color, the coastal taipan is one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. The venom affects the body by attacking the nervous system and the blood clotting ability. Nearly all cases of untreated bites eventually prove to be fatal.
- Papuan Black Snake – A member of the same family as the coastal taipin, the black snake can deliver a powerful neurotoxin that causes muscle weakness and paralysis. Although not quite as deadly as its cousin, the venom can be life-threatening if delivered in a large enough dose.
- Death Adders – Papua New Guinea is home to both the smooth-scaled and rough-scaled death adder. These snakes lie in wait and strike their targets very quickly with their dangerous venom.
- New Guinea Crocodile – Measuring up to 11 feet long, this crocodile is strong, aggressive, and not to be messed with. Fortunately, attacks on humans are relatively rare.
Endangered Animals in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea’s diverse fauna has long been under threat from deforestation and hunting. Trees are often cut down for logging or in order to create new grazing grounds or to replace them with highly demanding plantation crops like palm oil. The following is just a small list of the currently endangered species.
- Giant Bandicoot – This is largely regarded as the largest species of bandicoot in the world. While not much is known about it since it was discovered, this long-nosed, rodent-like marsupial is in danger of becoming extinct.
- Black-spotted Cuscus – Closely related to the brushtail possums, the cuscus is a marsupial with a long tail and rounded head. It is currently in danger of becoming extinct from hunting and habitat loss.
- Tree Kangaroos – These arboreal mammals aren’t quite as well-known as their ground-hopping counterpart. In PNG, it lives in the remote mountainous forests of the interior. Unfortunately, this also makes it highly vulnerable to deforestation and overhunting. Three species of this genus are currently endangered: Matschie’s tree kangaroo, Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo, and the tenkile.
- Northern Glider – Closely related to the more well-known sugar glider, this is a unique species of marsupial with the ability to glide through the air from high treetops by using their specialized skin flaps, which extend between the forelegs and the hind legs. It is currently in danger of becoming extinct because of its very limited range.
- New Guinea Big-eared Bat – Little is known about these small-bodied, big-eared bats, but they are currently endangered from habitat loss.
Papua New Guinean Animals
Papua New Guinean Animals List
- Barn Owl
- Bird Of Paradise
- Black Widow Spider
- Frilled Lizard
- Fruit Bat
- Glow Worm
- Golden Masked Owl
- Highland Cattle
- Honey Bee
- Marine Toad
- Monarch Butterfly
- Monitor Lizard
- No See Ums
- Peregrine Falcon
- River Turtle
- Sea Dragon
- Stick Insect
- Striped Rocket Frog
- Tree Frog
- Tree Kangaroo
- Water Buffalo
- Water Dragon
- Wolf Spider
Animals in Papua New Guinea FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What type of animals live in Papua New Guinea?
Papua New Guinea is particularly rich in marsupials, rodents, bats, honeyeaters (a family of nectar-eating birds), birds of paradise, and many other species of forest birds. Snakes, lizards, amphibians, freshwater fish, and insects are also quite prolific throughout the country. The largest fauna are the flightless cassowaries and crocodiles, but there are few large mammals.
What dangerous animals live in Papua New Guinea?
Papua New Guinea is home to six very poisonous and dangerous snakes, plus the crocodile.
Are there tigers in Papua New Guinea?
No, tigers are not found as far east as Papua New Guinea.
How many species of animals are there in Papua New Guinea?
The island of New Guinea is one of the world’s great biodiversity hotspots. It is home to some 4,600 discovered vertebrates (about 8% of the world’s total) and an unknown but still sizeable number of invertebrates, many of which have yet to be discovered.