Animals in the Philippines

Curious to learn more about animals in the Philippines? The Philippines are inhabited by more than 200 species of mammals. It is an archipelago consisting of some 7,100 islands and islets lying about 500 miles (800 km) off the coast of Vietnam. Its islands are classified into three main geographical areas – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Because of its archipelagic nature, Philippines is a culturally diverse country. With its topography consisting of mountainous terrains, dense forests, plains, and coastal areas, the Philippines is rich in biodiversity and of course this reflects in the wildlife; animals in the philippines.

About animals in the Philippines

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:

Buffalo

Crocodile

Tarsier

Philippine Warty Pig

Philippine Deer

Bearcat

Palawan Peacock

Dugongs

Whale shark

Thresher Shark

#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 major 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

Mindoro is the seventh largest island in the Philippines by land area. Aside from the very popular but still quite beautiful beaches of the island, people also come for the great outdoors featuring rivers, lakes, and gorgeous mountains. Diving is also a popular activity given that the island’s proximity to one of the richest diving spots in the country.

#2 Philippines Crocodile

Philippine crocodiles were once prevalent throughout the Philippines but are currently only found in small, fragmented habitats on the islands of Dalupiri, Luzon and Mindanao. They primarily live in freshwater rivers, ponds and marshes.

animals in the philippines: crocodiles

#3 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.

animals in the philippines: Tarsier

#4 Philippine 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.

animals in the philippines: warty pig

#5 Philippine 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, where it occurs in the islands of Luzon, Polillo and Catanduanes, Mindoro, Samar and Leyte. It is possibly extinct in Biliran, Bohol and Marinduque. It has also been declared extinct in Dinagat and Siargao Islands.

animals in the philippines: deer

#6 Binturong/ Bearcat

Binturongs are also called bearcats, but that name is rather misleading since they are not related to bears or cats. Instead, they are related to civets and fossas.

animals in the philippines: bearcat

The binturong, also known as 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 that is almost as long as its body, used 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 that has a prehensile tail.  A remarkable mammal to witness.

#7 Palawan Peacock Peasant

This bird Is a shy and elusive bird that is 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,

animals in the philippines: peacock

#8 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 share a similar plump appearance, but have a dolphin fluke-like tail. And unlike manatees, which use freshwater areas, the dugong is strictly a marine mammal. The dugong, like all sea cows, is herbivorous. It primarily grazes on sea grasses and therefore spends most of its time in sea grass beds.

animals in the philippines: dugong

Where to see animals in the Philippines: Today, only isolated populations survive, most notably in the waters off 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

The whale shark is a slow-moving, filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known fish species. Whale sharks have a broad distribution in tropical and warm temperate seas, usually between latitudes 30°N and 35°S. They are known to inhabit both 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 by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate.

animals in the philippines: whaleshark

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

Whales 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 October to May. In Honda Bay, Palawan whale shark season is April to October.

#10 Thresher Shark

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

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

Wanting 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, have a look at this information.

Summary

Aside from the breathtaking wildlife, the Philippines hosts scenic landscapes, is home to the friendliest locals, unforgettable cuisines, untouched beaches and boasts so 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 may like our feature Asian blogs; Wildlife in Thailand, the Maldives and Vietnam.