41 Different Animals That Can Be Found in Norway

The geographical position of Norway gives it a unique cold climate that seems uninhabitable. And yet, a few remarkable creatures thrive in these harsh conditions.

People can find many animals in Norway, including bears, walruses, foxes, elk, whales, and puffins. Most have bodies adapted for the country’s cold climate, and some animals can only be found in Norway, like the Svalbard reindeer.

This article lists several animals that live in Norway. Some of these animals are common worldwide, while others can be found only inside the country.

Also, see Who Was the First King of Norway? to learn more.

1 – 2. Bears

You can spot the following bears in Norway:

  • Polar bears. These translucent creatures aren’t limited to the polar caps. You can find them in the Svalbard archipelago, one of Norway’s northernmost regions. [1] 
  • Brown bears. Because of relentless hunting, it’s hard to find brown bears in present-day Norway. However, you can still see them on the border between Norway and Sweden. [2]

3. Walrus

Walruses can be found in the Svalbard region of Norway. During the 1950s, they nearly became extinct due to hunting, but a ban on walrus hunting helped revive the population. And in 2018, the walrus population had grown back to 5,503. 

4. Arctic Fox 

The arctic fox’s snow-white coat allows it to blend into the snow, creating the perfect disguise for the climate it lives in.

In summer they usually have charcoal-black fur and are easier to spot. Due to their dwindling numbers, Norway began a breeding program to save them in 2003. [4]

5. Eurasian Elk  

The Eurasian elk is more popularly known as a moose. It resides in the Vesterålen archipelago, and as the largest land animal in the country, it can be pretty intimidating to encounter one. [5] 

6. Svalbard Reindeer 

Santa Claus’ reindeer are probably the Svalbard reindeer found in Norway. [6] The Svalbard archipelago, where the reindeer is located, lies between the North Pole and Norway, making it the perfect spot for Santa to pick up Rudolph.

7. Muskox 

Dovrejfell, Norway, is one of the rare places where you can encounter this enormous ox. [7] It’s best to avoid seeking them on your own—instead, join a safari so you can see them from a safe distance. 

8. Wolf

Wolves travel back and forth between Norway and Sweden, and both countries claim to be home to these animals. [8] 

9. Eurasian lynx 

The Eurasian lynx has a spotted body with a black-tipped bobtail. These large cats are highly elusive and you may be lucky to spot one in a Norwegian national park.

10 -12. Seals 

There are three seal species indigenous to Norway: 

  • Harbor seals. Protected species in the Svalbard region because of its small population. [9] 
  • Ringed seals. More abundant than harbor seals and less protected, so hunting is not entirely banned. [10]  
  • Bearded seals. These seals are notable for their long white whiskers. They are listed as “least concern” in Norway and hunted for sport in Svalbard. [11]

13 – 19. Whales and Dolphins 

Whales and dolphins used to be frequently hunted in Norway, until their numbers dwindled and policies were set up to protect them. 

These are the species of whales and dolphins you’ll find in Norway: 

  • Pilot whales. Despite the name, they are actually dolphins. [12]
  • Minke whales. The most abundant whales in Norway. Hunting is not banned, but there is a quota. [13]
  • Orcas/Killer whales. The name is misleading as they are actually dolphins. These can be sighted in the Norwegian seas or Svalbard region. [14]
  • Humpback whales. They can be spotted year-round in Andenes or seasonally in Svalbard and Northern Norway. [15] 
  • Sperm whale. You can see sperm whales in the arctic Norway region, in places like Andøya. [16] 
  • Beluga whale. Beluga whales can be seen in Svalbard from May to September.  
  • White-beaked dolphin. This aquatic mammal can be seen throughout the North Atlantic seas, even as high up as Svalbard. [17]  

20. Porpoise 

Porpoises are the most abundant aquatic mammal in Norway. [18] You can find them in the North sea, the Norwegian coast, and the Barents sea.

They often get tangled in fishing nets and there are policies in place to protect them. 

21 – 29. Norwegian Birds 

These are the birds you’ll encounter in Norway: 

  • Atlantic puffin
  • Skua   
  • Razorbill
  • Gannet
  • White-tailed eagles
  • Kittiwakes 
  • Lesser white-fronted goose
  • White-throated dippers 
  • Steppe eagle

30. Bats 

There are roughly thirteen bat species in Norway. [19] Twelve reside in the country permanently, while five are considered endangered.

31. Shrew 

Shrews are creatures that look like moles and there are six species found in Norway. [20]

  • Eurasian water shrew
  • Common shrew
  • Laxmann’s shrew
  • Taiga shrew
  • Eurasian pygmy shrew
  • Eurasian least shrew

All those shrews belong to the genus Sorex or long-tailed shrews, except for the Eurasian water shrew. [21] 

32. Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian forest cat is known as Skogkatt in the local language. [22] Its large size and semi-long coat make it look like a Maine coon. [23]

The late King Olaf named this breed the official cat of Norway. 

33. Norwegian Elkhound

The Norwegian elkhound is the official dog of Norway, locally known as Norsk elghund. [24]

This breed helped hunt wild animals such as elk (hence the name) and continues to be a popular pet. [25] 

34. Hares

There are two types of hares in Norway:

  • European/Brown 
  • Mountain/Blue 

The two occupy the same spaces and require similar environments. [26] The European hare is usually larger than the mountain hare, although it’s less adapted to the cold. 

35 – 39. Mustelids

These are some of the many mustelids you’ll encounter in Norway:

  • Badgers. The southern region of Norway, specifically Trøndelag, is home to these stripe-faced creatures. [27]
  • Least weasels. These mustelids are the smallest mammalian predators worldwide. They are well-distributed across Norway, even in the northern regions. [28]  
  • Ermines. You may also know them as stoats, and you can spot them anywhere in Norway. [29] 
  • Eurasian otters. These are common in central Norway. [30] 
  • Wolverine. These mustelids can be found in south-central Norway or along the Norwegian-Swedish border.

40. Leatherback Sea Turtles

The endangered leatherbacks are the largest of all sea turtle species. They are tough to find, so spotting one around Norwegian coasts is rare, but still possible. 

41. Northern Pool Frogs

The northern pool frogs are among the rarest of their kind as they are endemic to Northern Europe. [31] They became extinct in the United Kingdom during the 1990s but survived in Norway (and four other countries). However, there has been an effort to reintroduce them in the UK. [32]

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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