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Wildlife of Sweden

Welcome to the Wildlife of Sweden. Let’s jump right in!

Are you looking for a magical experience? Experience the beautiful wildlife of Sweden with us.

Offering everything from deep-blue archipelagos and Northern Lights to otherworldly fashions, mouth-watering cuisines, time-old culture, and breathtaking nature, Sweden is a Nordic dream.

If you have not visited Sweden, you are in for a treat!

wild sweden camp
Wild Sweden camp. Image credits @wild Swedan

Select your favorite animal below to learn more about your famous wildlife in Sweden.

Does Sweden Sound like a country you would love to visit?

If so, read on to learn about the fascinating wildlife that has cultural and historical significance to indigenous communities of Sweden.

Sweden

sweden cities
Image of winter in Sweden. Image via Jon Flobrant jonflobrant, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

A historical feat to discover, the Scandinavian country of Sweden, situated in Northern Europe, accommodates a population of over 9 million.

Sweden consists of an abundance of smaller coastal islands and natural wonders in the form of countless inland lakes, extensive forests, and glaciated mountain ranges.

The city center, beautiful Stockholm, has been governed by a monarchy for over two thousand years, and this country is standing the test of time.

Sweden works hard to preserve its natural biodiversity. There are flourishing indigenous for, expansive size flower fieldslakeshills, and mountains.

These are great sites to tour, especially during the summer when the sun dries the ground and lights up the air for fun activities such as hiking. There are hundreds of species of colorful birds to watch.

northern lights
Northern lights. Image via Stockphotos

Wild animals such as moose wander around casually in the countryside.

It would help if you took a camera or binoculars with you.

Seasons in Sweden

In a land with such a variety of terrain as Sweden, these seasons can differ depending on where you live.

The Northern Lights dance across the skies in Arctic winter, and the Midnight Sun illuminates the nights in the summer months. From the mighty north’s mountains to the temperate south’s white sandy beaches, we have space for everyone.

Wildlife of Sweden

Greenery
Greenery. Image via Michael Gil from Toronto, ON, Canada, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sweden is an excellent place if you are interested in wildlife. There are many interesting wild animals including moose and reindeer. The territory also includes bears, wolves and wolverines.

It makes sense considering that Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union yet has the second lowest population density.

It means there is an expansive wilderness where the wildlife of Sweden has free reign, granting more opportunities to witness and experience animal encounters in Sweden than in most other European countries.

#1 Wolf

wild wolf in sweden
Wild wolf. Image via Unsplash

The Eurasian wolf, a subspecies of the Grey wolf, was once widespread throughout Eurasia before the Middle Ages.

Sweden shares their wolf population with their Scandinavian neighbor Norway. Currently, around 90 percent of this trans-border population lives in Sweden.

Conservation is essential due to genetic isolation resulting from relocation to avoid human conflict in Northern Sweden.

wolf pack
Wolves in snow. Image by Eva Blue on Depositphotos

Wolves have recently returned to Sweden and Scandinavia since they were claimed extinct in the 1960s. The wolves of Sweden: Initially, wolves were hunted for their thick winter fur. Then as cattle and sheep grazing became common, wolves were killed because they preyed on the herds of domestic animals.

The wolves came to Scandinavia from Eurasia after the last ice age some 10,000 years ago, followed by humans, deer, and other mammals. Since then, wolves are a big part of the Scandinavian fauna and cultural history.

Wolves are social animals. They live in family groups, sometimes called packs. A family group typically consists of two parents and their pups. Most pups leave the family after around 12 months before becoming sexually mature.

#2 Lynx 

lynx in sweden
Eurasian lynx relaxing. Image via Unsplash

A nomadic, nocturnal, and solitary animal is only socialized in the first months of the year. They tend to hibernate until warmer temperatures accommodate them and practice relatively nocturnal lifestyles.

The name lynx originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word λύγξ, derived from the Indo-European root leuk- about the luminescence of its reflective eyes.

This largest Swedish feline can generally weigh about 15 – 30kgs (there are known heavier ones, specifically in and from Siberia), with males in the range of 18 to 30kgs and females between 8 to 21kgs.

These feline creatures mainly hunt and eat reindeer in the northern parts of Sweden, and in the southern parts of the country, it is roe deer that they tend to hunt mainly. Considered a skillful hunter, the lynx can eat various animals, from wild fowls to hares.

Since 1991, this feline creature has been protected in Sweden. Government agencies regulate the hunting of these animals by humans

#3 Moose ( European Elk) 

wild moose
Moose spotted in wild. Image via Unsplash

There are around 350,000 moose (Alces alces) in Sweden.

The moose or elk, Alces alces, is a member of the deer subfamily and is the largest and heaviest species in the deer family.

Moose, Native to both Northern America and Europe, is the Deer family’s largest existing affiliate and holds the prize as being Sweden’s most famous animal species. The moose are solitary animals, and because of this characteristic trait, it is always possible to spot them roaming freely.

You have a greater chance of spotting a moose further up North. Extensive forest land, marshlands, and abundant shrubbery tick all the boxes for a Moose’s ideal habitat. No wonder they call this place their home.

Sweden is home to nearly 400,000 moose, and a large proportion of those, around 30 000, live in the forests of Småland. Although there are various small moose parks, often, visitors like to explore the Swedish wilderness to witness the moose in its natural habitat.

White Moose

Image credits @Pinterest

She was also known as the ‘ghost moose.’

Despite the animal’s all-white appearance, its coloring does not result from albinism, a congenital condition resulting a pigmentation loss. Cases of albinism in animals and people result in light or pinkish-colored eyes.

While it’s not common for people to see white moose compared to their brown counterparts, videos of the animal have surfaced. Mainly found on the border of Norway, province of Varmland.

#4 Arctic Fox

fox in sweden forest
Artic fox sitting in snow. Image via Unsplash

The arctic fox or the polar fox is one of Sweden’s most under threat mammals and is in danger of extinction.

More than a decade ago, the fjällräven, or arctic fox, was on the brink of extinction in Scandinavia. However, the once dwindling population begins to rise again, possibly due to a joint Norwegian-Swedish feeding scheme.

The arctic fox doesn’t start to shiver until the temperature reaches -70 degrees Celsius. They even have fur on their paws to help with insulation.

Their fur does change color from season to season, i.e. summer to winter. This helps with camouflage so that they can range from grayish brown to white or blue-gray. They’re such a symbol of nature in Sweden that a famous Swedish brand of outdoor gear is named after them.

The arctic fox is a tough animal that can survive Arctic temperatures as low as –58°F. Its appearance includes short ears and a short muzzle which helps the fox adapt to the chilly climate. They make their homes in caves and they may tunnel into the snow to create shelter.

Snow fox
Image of a snow fox. Image via Unsplash

Despite being a predator in its ecosystem, the arctic fox is also a victim of predation. Several efforts are underway to try to increase populations of artic foxes in countries across Scandinavia. This is to try to mitigate any factors which may threaten their survival in our world.

The assistance of volunteers, population, and behavioral data for arctic foxes will help to understand behavioral patterns and further monitor, conserve and protect future people.

#5 Reindeer

Reindeer eye color change
Reindeer eye colors change with the season. Image via Uusijani, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The reindeer is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution and can be found in the Arctic, sub-Arctic regions of northern Europe, Siberia, and North America.

Family: Cervidae
Order: Artiodactyla
Class: Mammalia
Height: 85 – 150 cm (Adult, At Shoulder)
Speed: 60 – 80 km/h (Running, North American population)
Scientific name: Rangifer tarandus
Mass: Male: 160 – 180 kg (Adult), Female: 80 – 120 kg (Adult)

Two Varieties

Reindeer ( or caribou as they are known in North America) is a species reminiscent of the Deer. But also reign the arctic and Scandinavian Europe. There are two varieties, or ecotypes: tundra reindeer and forest (or woodland) reindeer. The reindeer of the tundra migrate in numbers of up to hundreds of thousands covering as much as 5000 km in one seasonal migration.

Reindeer in snow
Reindeer spotted in snow. Image via Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, wild reindeer disappeared from the Swedish mountains at the beginning of the 20th century, but there are still populations of wild reindeer in parts of Norway.

For generations, the Sami have lived very close to the reindeer, meaning these animals have become used mainly to humans. Having said that, reindeer still need to roam around freely undisturbed.

The reindeer is the most important symbol of cultural identity for the Sami and their most important resource. Reindeer have been employed as both pack and draught animals.

Their fur and hides have provided warmth and clothing. Reindeer meat is an essential ingredient of the Sami culinary tradition and is a delicacy not to be missed. An ancient saying tells of a promise made between the Sami and the reindeer – that they would take care of each other forever.

Reindeer
White reindeer photo. Image via Unsplash

Indigenous and sacred land known as the Sapmi, The land of the Sami, called Sápmi in their language (parts of it also known as ‘Lapland’), spans Arctic Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia.

Sápmi has snow-capped mountains, wild rivers, pristine lakes, streams, tundra, and forest. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty and peace and is a perfect get-away-from-it-all destination.

Reindeer are particularly vulnerable during their calving season in April/May. Extra consideration is also needed when large herds have grouped.

#6 Brown Bear 

grizly bear in sweden
Brown bear in water. Image via Unsplash

The fascinating brown bear lives in the forests and mountains of North America, Europe, and Asia, the most widely distributed bear in the world.

Mass: 80 – 600 kg (Adult)
Height: 70 – 150 cm (Adult, At Shoulder)
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Class: Mammalia
Scientific name: Ursus arctos
Lifespan: Grizzly bear: 20 – 25 years

The European Brown bear is found in the mountain woodlands, which contrasts the tundra environment of the American-based brown bear.

brown bears wild
Three bears spotted in a field near a tree during day time. Image via Unsplash

For bears, you have to head north to the provinces of DalarnaGävleborgand Jämtland. These provinces have the highest bear population density in the country.

Bears are shy, peaceful animals. You do want a professional guide with you if you are going to spot one.

Brown bears live mainly in the country’s northern parts but are considered discrete and shy. Therefore it isn’t easy to spot them.

Summary of Wildlife of Sweden

YouTube video
Sweden’s most amazing wild animals, Source: YouTube, Uploaded: The local

Sweden is a destination to set nature lovers’ sights’ on. From the hospitable people and historical and cultural roots to idyllic landscapes and endemic species, witnessing the wildlife of Sweden is a privilege.

If you enjoyed reading about the timeless wildlife of Sweden, you might like to take a look at our Post corona travel in Europe blog too.

Let us know what you think and which animals you would love to encounter in the comment section below!

Thanks for following along with us. Next up, Discover Baby Foxes.

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