21 Wild Animals in Italy

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Want to know more about the wildlife in Italy? Here’s a list of 21 animals in Italy that you can see in the wild:


Alpine marmot

The alpine marmot is found at heights between 800-3200 m in the Apennines in Italy. They’re excellent diggers and are able to penetrate soil that’s even hard to penetrate with a pickax.

They’re considered to be the largest squirrel species and can get as long as 54 cm (21 in), and weight up to 8 kg (18 lb).

If you’re out hiking in the mountains of Italy you’ll most likely see or hear one of these. They make a loud whistling sound when warning each other about possible danger.

  • Common name: Alpine marmot
  • Scientific name: Marmota marmota
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 15 years
  • Length: 42-54 cm (17-21 in) + a tail of 13-16 cm (5.1-6.3 in)
  • Height: 18 cm (7.1 in) at the shoulder
  • Weight: 2.8-3.3 kg (6.2-7.3 lb)
alpine marmot

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Gray wolf – One of the most dangerous animals in Italy

The gray wolf is the second largest member of the Canis family, after the Ethiopian wolf. It’s a powerful animal that can run up to 70 km/h (43 mph) and leap 5 m (16 ft) horizontally.

Even though this is one of the most dangerous animals in Italy, it’s not common that they kill people. It’s very rare since they prefer to stay away from humans.

  • Common name: Gray wolf
  • Scientific name: Canis lupus
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild:
  • Length: 105-160 cm (41-63 in)
  • Length of tail: 29-50 cm (11-20 in)
  • Height: 80-85 cm (31-33 in) at the shoulder
  • Weight: 40 kg (88 lb)
grey wolf

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West European hedgehog

The west European hedgehog is one of the cutest animals in Italy. It’s a small spiky animal that lives in most countries in Europe – from Italy all the way up to Scandinavia.

They’re about 30 cm long and has a back that’s equipped with around 5000-7000 spines. Each spine is about 2-3 cm long and covers most of the body except the underneath.

When a hedgehog is feeling scared or threatened, it rolls up into a spiky ball, which works like a defense towards predators.

  • Common name: West European hedgehog
  • Scientific name: Erinaceus europaeus
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 2-3 years
  • Length: 16-26 cm (6.3-10 in)
  • Weight: 120-1100 g (4.2 oz – 2.4 lb)
animals in italy

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Common vole

The common vole lives in everything but dense forests, such as meadows, heathlands, and fallow land. They can sometimes also be found in agricultural fields where it likes to eat the crops.

The common vole is sometimes mixed up with rats and mice, but the fact is that they’re very different. The common vole has a blunt nose, small eyes, and ears, as well as furry tails. Unlike rats, the common voles tails, paws, and ears are fully covered in fur.

  • Common name: Common vole
  • Scientific name: Microtus arvalis
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 4.5 months
  • Length: 11 cm (4.3 in)
  • Weight: 27 g (0.9 oz)
Common vole

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Chamois

The chamois is a species of goat-antelope that’s native to the mountains in Europe. In Italy, they’re found in the Apennines.

It’s a pretty small animal for being a bovid. They can reach a height of 80 cm (31 in), length of 137 cm (54 in), and weight of 45 kg (99 lb).

They have a brown colored fur during summer that turns light grey in winter. Both the females and males have these characteristic horns.

The chamois is a fast animal that can easily escape predators. It can run as fast as 50 km per hour (31 mph) and leap as far as 6 m (19.6 ft) horizontally.

  • Common name: Chamois
  • Scientific name: Rupicapra rupicapra
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 15-17 years
  • Length: 107-137 cm (42-54 in)
  • Height: 70-80 cm (28-31 in)
  • Weight: Males: 30-60 kg (66-132 lb), Females: 25-45 kg (55-99 lb)
Pyrenean chamois

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Spectacled salamander

The spectacled salamander is endemic to Italy, only found in the southern Apennine Range. It lives in humid valleys and shady overgrown hillsides at altitudes between 200-1200 m.

They’re are found most often near streams, in dense vegetation, or under leaf litter, stones, and dead wood.

This little salamander is only 7-11 cm (2.7-4.3 in) long and has a warty brown/black back with white/red marks on its tail, legs and a V-shaped mark on its head.

When it’s feeling threatened it raises its tail and legs to show its red underside to scare off predators.

  • Common name: Spectacled salamander
  • Scientific name: Salamandrina terdigitata
  • Type: Amphibia
  • Diet: Insectivore
  • Average life span in the wild: Unknown
  • Length: 7-11 cm (2.7-4.3 in)
Spectacled salamander

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Marsican brown bear

Among all the animals in Italy, the Marsican brown bear is probably one of the most interesting ones. This subspecies of the bear can only be found in the alps of Italy – mostly in the Abruzzo-Lazio-Molise National Park and the surrounding area.

Today the Marsican brown bear is critically endangered and there’s an estimate of about 45 bears lef in the Italian wilderness.

  • Common name: Marsican brown bear
  • Scientific name: Ursus arctos marsicanus
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 20 years
  • Length: up to 2 m (6.5 ft)
  • Weight: Male: 217 kg (480 lb), Female: 140 kg (310 lb)
Marsican brown bear

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Eurasian lynx

This wildcat is the largest of the lynx species and one of the largest predators in Europe after the brown bear and the wolf. They’re pretty shy animals, so you have to be lucky to see them in the wild.

They’re carnivores and feed mostly on hoofed animals, but they also eat smaller animals such as hares, rabbits, and foxes.

The Eurasian lynx is characterized by its patterned coat with dark spots and black tufts at the tips of their ears.

  • Common name: Eurasian lynx
  • Scientific name: Lynx lynx
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 15-17 years
  • Length: 80-130 cm (31-51 in)
  • Height: 60-75 cm (24-30 in) at the shoulder
  • Weight: Males: 18-30 kg (40-66 lb), Females: 8-21 kg (18-46 lb)
lynx

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Golden eagle

One of the most famous flying animals in Italy is the golden eagle. These birds are dark brown with lighter golden-brown colors on their heads and necks. They’re extremely fast and can reach speeds up to 240 km per hour (150 mph).

The golden eagles mainly feed on hares, rabbits, marmots and ground squirrels. When catching their prey, they combine speed with its powerful claws to snatch up their food.

They’re mostly found in the mountain regions of Italy.

  • Common name: Golden eagle
  • Scientific name: Aquila chrysaetos
  • Type: Bird
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 30 years
  • Length: 84-96 cm (33-38 in)
  • Wingspan: 1.8-2.2 m (6-7.5 ft)
  • Weight: 2.7-6.8 kg (6-15 lb)
Golden Eagle

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Alpine Ibex

Alpine Ibexes can be found in northern Italy, especially in the Gran Paradiso National Park. They’re quite large mammals with brownish-grey fur and large backward-curving horns. The horns of the males can reach 69-98 cm (27-39 in) in length, and the females about 18-35 cm (7.1-13.8 in).

They’re great climbers and like to hang around in steep and rough terrains at elevations of 1800-3300 m (5900-10800 ft).

  • Common name: Alpine ibex
  • Scientific name: Capra ibex
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 10-14 years
  • Length: 75-170 cm (2.5-5.6 ft)
  • Tail Length: 15-30 cm (6-12 in)
  • Height: 70-94 cm (2.3-3.1 ft) at the shoulder
  • Weight: 40-120 kg (88-264 lb)
Ibex

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Red fox

The red fox is one of the animals in Italy that can be found in most parts of Europe, as well as in North Africa, North America, Asia and around the Arctic Circle.

They get up to 85 cm (33.7 in) long and weight up to 5 kg (24 lb). They’re famous for their reddish-rusty colored fur and long, thick furry tails.

The red fox feeds on any animal that they can kill, as well as earthworms, fruit, and insects. Once they have food, they will rarely give it up, not even to much bigger and stronger animals.

If you hear a screaming ”wow wow wow” sound when you’re out in nature, it’s probably a red fox you hear.

  • Common name: Red fox
  • Scientific name: Vulpes vulpes
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 2-4 years
  • Length: 45-85 cm (18-33.7 in)
  • Length of tail: 30-53 cm (12-21,7 in)
  • Weight: 3-5 kg (6.5-24 lb)
fox europe

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European bee-eater

The European bee-eater is found in Southern Europe as well as in North Africa and Western Asia. During winter in Europe, it migrates to warmer and tropical countries of Africa.

They’re one of the most colorful animals in Italy with its bright colors of brown, yellow, green, and blue.

Like you can hear on the name, these birds love to eat bees – in fact, they can eat around 250 bees in one day. Before eating the bees, the European bee-eater removes the sting of the bee by hitting it against a hard surface.

  • Common name: European bee-eater
  • Scientific name: Merops apiaster
  • Type: Birds
  • Diet: Insectivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 5-10 years
  • Length: 27-29 cm (10.6-11.4 in)
European bee-eater

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European Badger

The European Badger is native to almost all of Europe, as well as some parts of West Asia. It has a wide body with a small head and short tail. The fur has colors of both black, white, grey and brown.

It sleeps during the day in burrows, which can house several badger families. The burrows often have extensive systems of underground passages and chambers with multiple entrances.

They’re very clean animals that remove soiled material and brings in fresh bedding to their burrows. They even poop outside –  strategically around their territory to mark their territory.

  • Common name: European Badger
  • Scientific name: Meles meles
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 5-8 years
  • Length: 60-90 cm (24-35 in)
  • Height: 25-30 cm (9.8-11.9 in) at the shoulder
  • Weight: Summer: 7-13 kg (15-29 lb), Autumn: 15-17 kg (33-37 lb)
animals in italy

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Edible dormouse

The edible dormouse lives in both parks, gardens, plains, mountains and deciduous trees. But is especially found in oak trees.

It’s a small and slim mouse with a round little head with big eyes and a long bushy tail. Its fur has a brown-grey color and white underparts.

This little mouse feeds mainly on plants, but sometimes on eggs and nestlings as well.

Its name comes from the Romans, who used to eat them as a delicacy.

  • Common name: Edible dormouse
  • Scientific name: Glis glis
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 10 years
  • Length: 14-19 cm (5.5-7.5 in) + 11-13 cm long tail
  • Weight: 120-150 g (4.2-5.3 oz)
animals in russia

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Least weasel

The least weasel is a mammal that has a slender and long body with short legs and tail. It’s brown-yellow in color and has white underparts and tail.

It can be found in many places in Italy; in the mountains, the forests, cultivated lands, the plains, and in bushy areas. The least weasel feeds on birds, eggs, reptiles, hares, rabbits, and amphibians.

  • Common name: Least weasel
  • Scientific name: Mustela nivalis
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 7-8 years
  • Length: 114-260 mm (4.5-10 in)
  • Weight: 29-250 g (1-8.8 oz)
Least weasel

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Praying mantis / European mantis

The praying mantis has got its name from how their front legs are bent and held together, which makes it look like they’re praying.

They’re fascinating insects that can turn their head 180 degrees to scan their surroundings with their big two eyes, and three smaller eyes located between them. They use their front legs that are equipped with spikes to snare their prey. Their reflexes are so fast that it’s hard for us humans to see with the naked eye.

The praying mantis is also known for eating her mate right after or during mating.

  • Common name: Praying mantis / European mantis
  • Scientific name: Mantis religiosa
  • Type: Invertebrates
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 1 year
  • Length: 1.2-15.2 cm (0.5-6 in)
praying mantis

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Calabrian black squirrel

Of all the animals in Italy, the Calabrian black squirrel is one of the animal species that can only be found in Italy. The Calabrian black squirrel lives in the forests in Calabria and Basilicata on the south side of the Italian Peninsula and is often found near their nests that they build in pine or oak trees. They also like to hang around black pine trees since the seeds are an important food source for them.

The Calabrian black squirrel has black to dark brown fur with white underparts. It’s a large squirrel species compared to, for example, the common red squirrel. It can weight as much as 300-530 g (10-18.5 oz).

  • Common name: Calabrian black squirrel
  • Scientific name: Sciurus meridionalis
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Weight: 280-530 g (10-18.5 oz)
black squirrel

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Eurasian otter 

When it comes to animals in Italy, the Eurasian otter is definitely one of the cutest! The Eurasian otter is native to Eurasia and can be found in the waterways in the southern parts of Italy.

The Eurasian otter’s fur is brown-colored above and cream-colored below, and they can grow up to be 95 cm long excluding the length of the tail. Their diet consists mainly of fish, but can also feed on insects, birds, amphibians, and small mammals.

  • Common name: Eurasian otter
  • Scientific name: Lutra lutra
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 10-15 years
  • Length: 57-95 cm (22.5-37.5 in)
  • Length of tail: 35-45 cm (14-17.5 in)
  • Weight: 7-12 kg (15-26 lb)
european otter

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Mediterranean black widow spider

The Mediterranean black widow spider is one of the most venomous animals in Italy – so you don’t want to get bit by one of these. Like all black widow spiders, a bite can be very painful and even fatal in some cases – but it’s not something that’s common.

They’re not aggressive spiders, and will not bite unless they’re feeling threatened or frightened. Sometimes they bite but does not inject their venom. You can recognize it by its black body with thirteen red/orange/yellow spots.

They can be found in central and southern Italy, Puglia, and in Sardinia.

  • Common name: Mediterranean black widow spider
  • Scientific name: Latrodectus tredecimguttatus
  • Type: Invertebrates
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 3 years
  • Body length: Females: 7-15 mm (0.28-0.59 in), Males: 4-7 cm (0.16-0.28 in)

Golden jackal

The golden jackal is a part of the canid family and looks like a wolf, but are much smaller in size. They can weight up to 14 kg (31 lb), and can grow up to 85 cm (33 in) in length.

Golden jackals are found in valleys and close to rivers, canals, lakes, and seashores. They’re very adaptable and can eat both fruit, insects, and small ungulates.

  • Common name: Golden jackal
  • Scientific name: Canis aureus
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 8 years
  • Length: Males: 71-85 cm (28-33 in), Females: 69-73 cm (28-29 in)
  • Weight: Males: 6-14 kg (13-31 lb), Females: 7-11 kg (15-25 lb)
animals in italy

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Monk parakeet 

The monk parakeet is a small parrot with green and grey-colored feathers. It originates from the temperate to subtropical areas of Argentina and the surrounding countries but does also live in North America and Europe – including Italy.

It’s a relatively small bird that’s 29 cm (11 in) long and has a wingspan of 48 cm (19 in). They like to eat seeds, nuts, fruits, berries and vegetation such as leaf buds and blossoms, but some can also eat insects.

  • Common name: Monk parakeet
  • Scientific name: Myiopsitta monachus
  • Type: Birds
  • Diet: Herbivore / Omnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: 15-20 years
  • Length: 29 cm (11 in)
  • Wingspan: 48 cm (19 in)
  • Weight: 100 g (3.5 oz)
Monk parakeet 

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Do you have any other questions about the wild animals in Italy? Leave a comment below!

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