National Animals from Around the World

Six countries around the world have the eagle as their national animal: Albania, Germany, and Nigeria each share the regular, run-of-the-mill eagle, while Mexico, Poland, and the United States associate themselves with the Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, and Bald Eagle (pictured), respectively.

Five countries each honor the lion as a political symbol: Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Singapore, and Sri Lanka, while three countries chose the tiger: Bangladesh (Royal Bangal), India (Bengal), and South Korea (Amur). Finland and Russia are bears. Oh my!

Aside from the aforementioned eagles, many nations elect birds to represent their political drive:

  • Estonia: Barn Swallow
  • France: Gallic Rooster
  • Guyana: Canje Pheasant
  • Iceland: Falcon
  • Japan: Japanese Pheasant
  • Venezuela: Turpial
  • New Zealand: Kiwi (pictured)
  • Chile: Condor
  • Columbia: Condor
  • Malta: Blue Rock Thrush
  • Pakistan: Markhor
  • Peru: Vicuña

Surprisingly, Spain’s national animal is the bull. You’d think they would have picked an animal that isn’t routinely killed for fun. It would be like the United States holding a week-long festival where revelers are encouraged to jump into a giant cage filled with rabid bald eagles. Spectators would then be urged to goad the eagles until they either lose interest and fly off, die, or forcibly insert their beaks into the eyes of their torturers. What fun!

The Chinese had a hard time deciding on which animal to choose to represent their country, so they went with three: the Chinese Dragon, the Crane, and the Giant Panda. It’s tough to call a the Chinese Dragon an animal, however, because it’s mythical. The Giant Panda is very real, and very endangered, with an estimated 2,000 left in the entire world. They’re also what’s known as a living fossil, which is “an informal term for any living species (or clade) of organism which seems to be the same as a species otherwise only known from fossils and has no close living relatives,” according to Wikipedia.

And let’s not forget these other countries and their national animals, many of which I had never heard of until now:

  • Belarus — Wisent (bison)
  • Bhutan — Takin (goat-antelope thing)
  • Botswana — Zebra
  • Cambodia — Kouprey (ox)
  • Finland — Brown Bear
  • Vietnam — Water Buffalo
  • Nepal — Cow
  • South Africa — Springbok (gazelle)
  • Ireland — Stag (deer)
  • Canada — Beaver
  • Honduras — White-tailed Deer
  • Italy — Italian Wolf
  • Moldova — Auroch (bovidae)
  • Namibia — Oryx (antelope)
  • omania — Lynx (cat, pictured)
  • Philippines — Carabao (water buffalo)
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis — Vervet Monkey
  • Thailand — Thai elephant
  • Turkey — Grey Wolf
  • Peru: Vicuña