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Animals in the Philippines

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Curious to learn more about animals in the Philippines?

More than 200 species of mammals inhabit the Philippines. It is an archipelago consisting of some 7,100 islands and islets lying about 500 miles (800 km) off the coast of Vietnam.

With its topography consisting of mountainous terrains, dense forests, plains, and coastal areas, the Philippines is rich in biodiversity; this reflects in the wildlife; animals in the Philippines.

About animals in the Philippines

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The Philippines is also home to world-renowned natural wonders like an underground river and rice terraces, incredible diving spots rich in biodiversity, colorful public transportation, unique cuisine, vibrant festivals that showcase its colorful culture, and exceptional hospitality.

To find out more about the wildlife of the Philippines, take a look at the animals below:

Enjoy reading about nature in the Philippines.

Key Points

AnimalKey Points
Tamaraw– Small hoofed mammal endemic to Mindoro, Philippines
– Only wild cattle species in the country
– About 580 surviving individuals
Philippines Crocodile– Once widespread, now found in fragmented habitats
– Primarily found in freshwater rivers, ponds, and marshes
Tarsier– Nocturnal, shy, and leads a hidden life
– Sleeps in dark hollows close to the ground
Philippine Warty Pig– Endemic to the Philippines
– Population steadily decreasing
Philippine Deer– Nocturnal and endangered species
– Endemic to various Philippine islands
– Extinct in some islands
Binturong (Bearcat)– Viverrid native to South and Southeast Asia
– Uses tail as a fifth limb for climbing
Palawan Peacock Pheasant– Shy bird endemic to Palawan Island
– Vulnerable due to habitat loss and exploitation
Dugong– Marine mammal found in warm Indian and Pacific Oceans
– Herbivorous, graze on seagrasses
Whale Shark– Largest known fish species
– Found in tropical and warm temperate seas
– Seen in multiple Philippine locations
Thresher Shark– Large shark found in temperate and tropical oceans
– Shy and difficult to approach

#1 Tamaraw/ Mindoro Dwarf Buffalo

The tamaraw or Mindoro dwarf buffalo is a small hoofed mammal belonging to the family Bovidae. It is endemic to the island of Mindoro in the Philippines and is the only endemic Philippine bovine. 

The tamaraw is a heritage species of significant importance for the Philippines. It is the only wild cattle species living in the country and occurs only on the island of Mindoro.

There are likely no more than 580 tamaraws surviving today on the island.

Where to see animals in the Philippines: Buffalo

photgraphed by Daniel Heuclin,

Mindoro is the seventh most significant island in the Philippines by land area. Aside from the island’s op-rated but still quite beautiful beaches, people also come for the great outdoors featuring rivers, lakes, and gorgeous mountains.

Diving is also a popular activity, given the island’s proximity to one of the wealthiest diving spots in the country.

#2 Philippines Crocodile

animals in the philippines: crocodiles

Philippine crocodiles were once prevalent throughout the Philippines but are currently only found in small, fragmented habitats on Dalupiri, Luzon, and Mindanao islands.

They primarily live in freshwater rivers, ponds, and marshes.

#3 Tarsier

animals in the philippines: Tarsier

The Philippine tarsier is a shy, nocturnal animal that leads a mostly hidden life.

During the day, it sleeps in dark hollows close to the ground.

#4 Philippine Warty Pig

animals in the philippines: warty pig

The Philippine warty pig is one of four known species in the pig genus endemic to the Philippines.

Unfortunately, their population is steadily decreasing.

#5 Philippine Deer

animals in the philippines: deer

The Visayan spotted deer, also known as the “Philippine spotted deer,” is a nocturnal and endangered species of deer located primarily in the rainforests of the Visayan islands of Panay and Negros though it once roamed other islands.

The Philippine deer is endemic to the Philippines, occurring in Luzon, Polillo, Catanduanes, Mindoro, Samar, and Leyte islands. It is possibly extinct in Biliran, Bohol, and Marinduque. It has also been declared extinct in Dinagat and Siargao Islands.

#6 Binturong/ Bearcat

animals in the philippines: bearcat

Binturongs are also called bearcats, but that name is misleading since they are unrelated to bears or cats. Instead, they are connected to civets and fossas.

The binturong, or bearcat, is a viverrid ( Small- medium mammal) native to South and Southeast Asia. They live in the rainforests of Southeast Asia.

The animal uses its tail, almost as long as its body, as a fifth limb when it climbs through the forest. This tail is prehensile, which means it’s capable of gripping things. The binturong is one of only two carnivores with a prehensile seat—a remarkable mammal.

#7 Palawan Peacock Peasant

animals in the philippines: peacock

This is a shy and elusive bird endemic to the humid forests of Palawan Island in the Archipelago.

Unfortunately, due to declining habitat and exploitation, the Palawan Peacock Pheasant is evaluated as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species,

#8 Dugong

animals in the philippines: dugong

The dugong is a species of sea cow found throughout the warm latitudes of the Indian and western Pacific Oceans. Dugongs are cousins of manatees and have a similar plump appearance but a dolphin fluke-like tail. And unlike manatees, which use freshwater areas, the dugong is strictly a marine mammal.

Like all sea cows, the dugong is herbivorous, and it primarily grazes on sea grasses and spends most of its time in seagrass beds.

Where to see animals in the Philippines: Today, only isolated populations survive, most notably in the waters of the Calamian Islands in Palawan, Isabela in Luzon, Guimaras, and Mindanao. The dugong became the first marine animal protected by Philippine law, with harsh penalties for harming them.

#9 Whaleshark

animals in the philippines: whaleshark

The whale shark is a slow-moving, filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known fish species. Whale sharks are broadly distributed in tropical and warm temperate seas, usually between latitudes 30°N and 35°S. They inhabit deep and shallow coastal waters and the lagoons of coral atolls and reefs.

The whale shark holds many records for size in the animal kingdom, most notably being the largest nonmammalian vertebrate.

Where to see animals in the Philippines: There are a couple of places to swim with the fantastic G monsters around the 7 000 islands that make up the Philippines. The Philippines’ best places to swim with whale sharks are Leyte, Tubbataha, Donsol, and Oslob.

Whale sharks can be seen in the Philippines all year round in a few places. Whale shark season in Donsol and Southern Leyte (which includes Padre Burgos and Pintuyan) is from October to May. In Honda Bay, Palawan, whale shark season is from April to October.

#10 Thresher Shark

Thresher sharks are large sharks found in all temperate and tropical oceans of the world. They may explicitly be found in temperate waters around the world. In the northwest Atlantic Ocean, they range from Newfoundland to Cuba. The thresher shark is considered harmless, and the species is shy and difficult to approach.

Malapascua Island in the Philippines is the best place to see thresher sharks. From here, divers can reliably see pelagic thresher sharks regularly. Famous for its thresher sharks and abundant macro life, Malapascua is a fantastic dive destination with beautiful beaches and a restful, relaxing island.

Do you want to dive with sharks in the Philippines?

Make sure to assess the ethics behind the activity before participating. For information regarding where and how to ethically see sharks in the Philippines, look at this information.

Summary of Animals in the Philippines

Aside from the breathtaking wildlife, the Philippines hosts scenic landscapes is home to the friendliest locals, unforgettable cuisines, and untouched beaches, and boasts many opportunities to embark on activities and adventures in nature. A location for everyone’s bucket list!

If you enjoyed learning about the animals in the Philippines Islands, you might like our feature Asian Animals blogs; Wildlife in Thailand, the Wildlife in the Maldives, and Vietnam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of wildlife lives in the Philippines?

The Philippines is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including unique and endemic species. Some notable animals include the tamaraw (Mindoro dwarf buffalo), Philippine crocodile, tarsier, Philippine warty pig, Philippine deer, binturong (bearcat), Palawan peacock pheasant, dugong, whale shark, and thresher shark.

What animal can only be found in the Philippines?

The tamaraw (Mindoro dwarf buffalo) is an animal that can only be found in the Philippines. It’s endemic to the island of Mindoro and is the only endemic Philippine bovine.

What is the largest wild animal in the Philippines?

The dugong, a marine mammal, is one of the largest wild animals in the Philippines. It inhabits warm Indian and Pacific Ocean waters and is known for its herbivorous diet.

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