Welcome to Wildlife in Italy!
Have you ever wondered about Wildlife in Italy? Italy is a show-stopping location of natural beauty however is not often featured for its majestic wildlife.
We are here to bring a spotlight to Italy’s most popular and unique wildlife. There are over 100 mammal species found in Italy. Typical examples include the small alpine marmot, the European snow vale, the Eurasian lynx, the Italian wolf, and the Marsican brown bear. On the coasts, dolphins and Mediterranean monk seals can be spotted.
Are you curious to learn more about wildlife in Italy? Read ahead or skip to the headlines that spark your interest…
Aside from unexpected natural wildlife wonders, Italy is famous for its spectacular cities, ancient ruins, excellent museums, soaring mountains, great beaches, and beautiful natural scenery.
From the hub of Florence/ Rome/ Milan or along the dotted Coastlines, Italy is, arguably, one of the most beautiful places to discover and explore. This makes it, a true dream destination!
With its hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters, Italy experiences a Mediterranean climate. Winters in Italy are cool and humid in the north and the mountainous zone. In The summer, these Winds can bring scorching weather, sometimes even up to the northern districts of Italy.
Peak season: Jan–Feb, Jul–Aug (Most famous and higher prices).
Off-season: May, Sept–Nov (Less popular and lower prices)
Wildlife in Italy
There are over 100 mammal species found in Italy, and common examples include the small alpine marmot, the European snow vale, the Eurasian lynx, the Italian wolf, and the Marsican brown bear. On the coasts, dolphins and Mediterranean monk seals can be spotted.
With 24 national parks, more than 1.5 million hectares of land in Italy is protected. This amount is equal to 15% of the national terrain. Famous parks include Gran Paradiso National Park, Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park, and Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise National Park.
The Italian wolf, also known as the Apennine wolf, is a subspecies of grey wolf native to the Italian Peninsula. It inhibits the Apennine Mountains and the Western Alps, though it is undergoing expansion towards the north and east.
The Apennine wolf is the national animal of Italy. It’s symbolism dates back to the mythological story of Romulus and Remus. According to legend, a shewolf discovered the infant twins and kept them alive via interbreed suckling. Eventually, humans took the boys in, and they went on to found Rome.
Italian wolves are a subspecies of grey wolves native to the Italian Peninsula. Presently, between 600 and 700 individuals are alive and well. However, in the not-too-distant past, only about 70 Italian wolves were around. Thanks to public and private conservation efforts, the species is returning.
Marsicun Brown Bear
The Marsican brown bear, also known as the Apennine brown bear/ orso bruno Marciano in Italian, is a critically endangered population or subspecies of the Eurasian brown bear, with a range restricted to the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, and the surrounding region in Italy.
Sardinian Long-eared Bat
The Sardinian long-eared bat is a species endemic to Sardinia, Italy. This species was discovered recently in 2002 in the caves of central Sardinia.
This bat predates in surrounding forests but unfortunately faces a decreasing population, now listed as a ‘ vulnerable species.’ A sole surviving endemic mammal to Sardinia Island. It has been suggested that the remaining bats became extinct due to the arrival of human beings almost 9000 years ago. It is rare to spot these bats, but their rarity makes them a natural phenomenon and feature-worthy.
Wildlife in Italy: Corsican Hare
The Corsican hare, also known as the Apennine hare or Italian hare, is found in southern and central Italy and Corsica. Furthermore, it is in maquis shrubland, grassland, cultivated areas, and dunes. Presently, it is widespread in Sicily, from sea level up to 2400 meters on Mount Etna.
Additionally, on mainland Italy, its range is more fragmented, extending patchily north to Tuscany on the west coast and Foggia on the east coast. The best places to look are open grassy or arable fields, particularly near woodland fringes or decent hedgerows where hares can find shelter.
Wildlife in Italy: Lynx
Firstly, the Eurasian lynx is the third largest predator in Europe after the brown bear and the wolf and the largest of the four lynx species.
It has a short body, long legs, and large feet. The ears have a characteristic black tuft at the tip, while the paws have sharp retractile claws. Ecologists also note that habitat loss and population declines among its prey may be causing populations of Eurasian lynx to decrease in some parts of their range. Worldwide, there are thought to be more than 45,000 Eurasian lynxes, and the IUCN has classified the species as near threatened since 2002.
Additionally, almost 100 years after it was declared extinct in central Italy, the lynx is believed to have returned. Presently, there are probably other groups living in southern Italy. In Italy, lynxes still have not established a vital population even though suitable habitat is available from the southwestern to the eastern Alps.
Wildlife in Italy: Ibex
Firstly, Ibex is any of several sure-footed, sturdy wild goats. They are of the genus Capra in the family Bovidae (order Artiodactyla) found in the mountains of Europe, Asia, and northeastern Africa. Secondly, they form part of several species of wild mountain goat (genus Capra), distinguished by the male’s large recurved horns, notably ridged in front.
The Alpine ibex was, at one point, restricted only to the Gran Paradiso National Park in northern Italy and the Maurienne Valley in the French Alps, but it was reintroduced to most of the Alps. Reintroductions started in 1906 in Switzerland.
Wildlife in Italy: Corsican red deer/ Sardinian Deer
The Corsican red deer, also known simply as the Corsican deer or Sardinian deer, is a subspecies of the red deer, endemic to the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Corsica.
The antlers of the deer are slightly smaller than those of a typical red deer, and they are known to grow up to 80cm in length.
Evidently, the best time to see them: From August to November, it is mating season, and you could potentially see the male deer battle in a bid to woo mature females. Typically, there are a dozen female deer per male.
Wildlife in Italy: Golden Eagles
Evidently, named for the golden hue on their head and neck feathers, Golden Eagles are large, powerful birds capable of fast flight. It is the most widely distributed species of an eagle; These majestic birds range from Mexico through much of western North America as far north as Alaska; they also appear in the east but are uncommon. Golden eagles are also found in Asia, northern Africa, and Europe.
Furthermore, in Italy, the Golden Eagle occupies alpine and subalpine habitats, hills, and sometimes lowland areas in the Alps, Apennines, and central islands.
According to the figures released by Coldiretti, in the last ten years, the number of wild boars in Italy has doubled to 2 million. The Italian word for Wild Boar is ‘Cinghiale.’ They are hunted and subsequently eaten in various dishes, from pasta to sausages. Additionally, a wild boar is a type of wild pig closely related to the domestic pig.
Lastly, the province of Genoa is among the areas most densely populated by wild boar in Italy, with an estimated 25 boar per 10 sq km.
Mediterranean Monk Seals
The mediterranean monk seal population is estimated to be less than 700 globally. Just about 100 of the monk seals live only on the coastline of Turkey. The Mediterranean monk seals are seen lesser in the Marmara and the Black Sea, but they are most common around Foca near Izmir, on the Aegean coast.
National Parks in Italy
Italy’s national parks represent the country’s truly natural, cultural, and historical heritage. In Italy, there are 24 beautiful national parks for visitors to discover.
National park of Abruzzo: mountain habitat for bears and wolves
Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise National Park is an Italian national park established in 1923. Most of the park is located in the Abruzzo region, with smaller parts in Lazio and Molise.
It is the oldest in the Apennine Mountains and the second oldest in Italy. It’s essential in preserving species such as the Italian wolf and Abruzzo brown bear. Other well-featured wildlife in the park is red deer and roe deer, wild boar, and the white-backed woodpecker.
Gran Paradiso national park: Alpine Trails and garden routes
The Gran Paradiso National Park is a protected area established by the State. It is to preserve ecosystems of national and international relevance. It’s vital to the valleys around the Gran Paradiso massif (group of mountains) for present and future generations.
Majella national park: mountains and wildlife
Majella National Park is located in Chieti, Pescara, and L’Aquila provinces in Abruzzo, Italy.
It is centered on the Maiella massif, of which Monte Amaro is the highest peak. Lastly, the Majella National Park has an extensive path network. This winds for about 700 km, with excursions ranging from a few hours to several days of hiking.
Stelvio National Park: Alpine valleys
Firstly, Stelvio National Park is a protected area in the central Alps of northern Italy. Furthermore, it’s known for the Passo dello Stelvio, a high-altitude mountain pass with nature trails dotted with WWI military ruins. The park’s wildlife includes marmots and birds of prey.
Summary of Wildlife in Italy
Synonymous with art, culture, and delicious food, Italy is the perfect European getaway. Italy’s wildlife is also a motivating reason to book your tickets when it is possible to do so! From the deer and birds of Sardinia to the bears and wolves of the mountainous Abruzzou region, gems of Italian nature exist.
If you enjoyed this, please read further with our wildlife in Sweden and Germany blogs.
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