What animals can be found in Turkey? When we all think about the country of Turkey, we have in mind their beautiful cities, their incredible mosques and of course, their delicious kebabs. Unfortunately, most of the people believe there are no wild animals in Turkey and it´s not true.
Turkey is a huge country with many national parks and natural areas, for that reason, they have a huge animal diversity. We have decided to do a list with all the animals that live in Turkey.
Top 10 Unique animals found in Turkey
You can see over 1,500 vertebrate and 19,000 invertebrate species all around the country. Around 200 of these animals are endemic to Turkey, but it would be impossible to talk about all of them. Next, we will talk about the top 10 most famous animals in Turkey. Did you know about them?
1) Striped Hyena
We had to start the list with the Hyena because it´s one of the most endangered animals in Turkey, plus we bet you would never expect to see hyenas in Turkey.
Although we always believe hyenas are typical from the South of Africa (Tanzania, Kenia, etc) the truth is that hyenas are the national animal of Lebanon (a country located very close to Turkye) and they are also very typical all around this area.
Unfortunately, the striped hyena of Turkey is near to be extinct as there are not many left in the wild. You may be able to see them freely in eastern Turkey, but again, it´s one of the most endangered species in Turkey.
The Chevrotain is also known as the mouse-deer because of its characteristic shape. It´s famous for being the smallest hoofed mammal in the world and it´s an endemic animal not only in Turkey but in the world.
The mouse-deer is a member of the Tragulidae family, you may see them on couples or individually as they are never accompanied of big groups. The Chevrotain is native to the forests of South-east Asia, but you may also find them in central or western Africa.
It´s endemic situation in Turkey it´s due to the loss of habitat and the hunting. Luckily, in Turkey it´s illegal to hunt animals in danger of being extinct.
Photo by Uspn (Bjørn Christian Tørrissen). https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mouse-deer_Singapore_Zoo_2012.JPG
3) Brown Bear
The brown bear or also known as the Eurasian bear can be found in many places of Europe, and although it´s already extinct in countries like Ireland and Great Britain, it still exists in many countries of North Europe and some areas of Asia.
This type of bear is considered one of the most dangerous wild animals in Turkey (well not just in Turkey, but in all Europe). They range in size from three to five meters and they are the largest carnivores in Turkey.
Turkey is one of the countries that better protects the brown bear, not only by not allowing its hunting, but also by giving them a bigger space on their national parks. The best area to find wild bears is at the northern forests of Turkey. Around 15 of the 33 national parks of Turkey have brown bears roaming freely in the wild.
4) Loggerhead Sea Turtle
The Loggerhead Sea Turtle is also known as Caretta Caretta and in case you didn´t know it yet, this turtle is one of the most famous types of turtle in the world, but it can´t be confused with the green turtle of Australia.
If you are wondering which is the best place to see this animal in Turkey, without any doubt is Patara an ancient city located in Antalya. The Patara beach is a 17km peaceful beach famous for being the most spectacular beach in Turkey.
The Loggerhead Turtle is considered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature a vulnerable specie and the main reason is the pollution of the ocean and the increasing disappearance of the jellyfish.
5) Northern Bald Ibis
When you are talking about the fauna in Turkey, you can´t forget the Northern Bald Ibis, also known as the hermit ibis, or kelaynak in Turkish.
The Northern Bald Ibis can be found in barren, semi desert or rocky habitats and it´s a migratory bird that flies from Turkey to Morocco, the only few places on earth where it still exists. It could be considered as one of the most famous endemic animals in Turkey.
This bird is a critically endangered animal in Turkey and in the world, there are less than 1,000 left in the wild, but the experts are trying to reintroduce them in some areas of Europe and Asia.
6) Grey Wolf
The bald eagle is the most symbolic animal of the USA, the Comodo Dragons are the national animal of Indonesia, and although there are grey wolves in many places of Europe, Tukey decided to name the grey wolf their national animal.
These animals can be seen all over the country of Turkey as they are the second largest population of wolves in Turkey. They are after the bear the second most important carnivore in Turkey and they live between six and eight years in the wild.
Although it´s true that the grey wolve is the national animal, nowadays its population number is decreasing and there are less than 7,000 left. The worst problem is the hunting, wolves are always considered dangerous for the plantations and that´s why they hunt them.
The gazelle is one of the fastest animals in the world, and actually their velocity is what gave them the fame all over the world, but the majority of the people believes they only live in Africa with the lions, and that´s not true.
There are many gazelles in Middle East, in Turkey the majority live in Hatay Province, very close to the border between Turkey and Syria.
The most amazing fact about the gazelles of Turkey is their increasing number in the last year. Back in 2009, the gazelle was almost an extinct animal in Turkey, but thanks to the preservation programs its numbers are increasing a lot and it went from 150 gazelles in 2009 to around 750 in 2018.
8) Anatolian Lynx
On our list of animals in Turkey, we couldn´t forget about the Anatolian Lynx, which is also known as the Eurasian lynx and it´s the biggest kind of lynxes you can find.
The Eurasian lynx in multiple areas of Europe (Northern, Central and Eastern Europe), it also occupies part of Eastern and Central Asia and last of all, you can also see them in Siberia and the Himalayas. In Turkey, the Anatolian Lynx is very common in the forest of the Northern part of the country.
Due to the loss of habitat, the numbers of Eurasian lynx are decreasing, but there are many projects (specifically in Turkey and its surroundings) to increase its numbers again.
9) Mediterranean Monk Seal
There are also many sea animals in Turkey, but unfortunately, the one we are going to mention is critically endangered and not just in Turkey, generally in all Europe.
The Mediterranean Monk Seal is part of the Phocidae family, and it is said that it´s one of the rarest pinniped species in the world. This type of seal can grow up to 80cm and they weight around 300kg, they normally live between 20 and 25 years.
Nowadays, the monk seal is extinct in many places of Europe, and the Scientifics have calculated that there are only 700 of them left. Their bigger populations are in islands like Madeira or Canarias, but there are others spread through other countries. In Turkey, you may find them in the Southwestern area of the country.
10) Black Vulture
That´s right, we bet you though black vultures only existed in America, and although its origins come from Europe, they are now all extinct in this area, but Turkey is one of the few places aside of North ad South America where black vultures can roam freely in the wild.
The black vulture is considered one of the biggest birds in Anatolia and in all Turkey. For the ones who didn´t know it yet, these birds are famous for eating dead animals, so whenever you see them around, you know the reason why they are on that area.
Soguksu National Park in Kizilcahamam and Mount Turkmen in Eskisehir are the best areas to see these unique animals in Turkey.
Let´s preserve the native wildlife in Turkey
That´s it! Those are some of the most famous wild animals that live in Turkey (the country), as you can see many of them are critically in danger of being extinct, that’s why we are going to beg you to please be respectful with them and their habitats if you ever have the chance to see them.
Hope you enjoyed reading about the wildlife in Turkey, and if you have any other question or suggestion, please let us know!