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  • Writer's pictureRichard

Wildlife of Europe Series - Croatia

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Croatia is a beautiful country known for its stunning coastlines, historic cities, and rich culture. However, it is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including many species that are unique to the region.

One of the most iconic animals in Croatia is the brown bear. The country is home to an estimated 900-1000 brown bears, making it one of the largest populations in Europe. These majestic creatures can be found in the forests and mountains of Croatia, particularly in the regions of Gorski Kotar, Lika, and Velebit. While brown bears are generally shy and avoid human contact, they can be dangerous if provoked, so it's important to exercise caution when in their territory.

Another unique animal in Croatia is the Balkan lynx. This elusive and endangered species is one of the rarest cats in the world, with an estimated population of less than 50 individuals in the wild. The Balkan lynx is slightly smaller than its Eurasian lynx counterpart and has distinct markings, including a beard of longer fur on its chin. It can be found in the Dinaric Mountains of Croatia, as well as neighboring countries such as Serbia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia. Conservation efforts are underway to protect this rare and beautiful animal from extinction.

The Dalmatian pelican is another unique species found in Croatia. This large water bird is easily recognizable by its white plumage, yellow throat pouch, and bright red eyes. The Dalmatian pelican was once common throughout Europe, but its population declined drastically in the 20th century due to habitat loss and hunting. However, efforts to protect and reintroduce the species have been successful, and there are now around 1200 individuals in the wild, including a small population in Croatia's Kopački Rit Nature Park.

Croatia is also home to a variety of reptiles and amphibians, including the European pond turtle, the Danube crested newt, and the European green lizard. The European pond turtle, also known as the European terrapin, can be found in freshwater habitats throughout Croatia. This species is unique in that it is able to survive in waters with high salinity levels, such as those found in the Adriatic Sea. The Danube crested newt is a striking amphibian with a bright orange belly and distinctive crest on its back. It can be found in freshwater habitats in Croatia, particularly in the Danube River basin. The European green lizard, also known as the common green lizard, is a brightly colored reptile that can be found throughout Croatia. It is particularly abundant in the Istrian peninsula and the island of Krk.

Finally, Croatia is home to a variety of marine animals, including dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles. The bottlenose dolphin is the most common species of dolphin found in Croatian waters and can often be seen swimming near the coast. The Mediterranean monk seal, a critically endangered species, can also be found in the waters around Croatia, particularly in the Kornati Islands National Park. The waters around Croatia are also home to several species of shark, including the sandbar shark and the smooth-hound shark. These sharks are not considered dangerous to humans and are typically found in deeper waters. Finally, several species of sea turtles can be found in the waters around Croatia, including the loggerhead turtle and the green turtle. These turtles are protected by law in Croatia, and efforts are underway to protect their nesting sites and reduce the impact of human activity on their habitats.

In conclusion, Croatia is a country rich in wildlife, with many unique species that can be found nowhere else in the world.


Did you know: One measure of performance in the area of conservation is the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). Proudly, according to 2020 figures, European countries occupy most of the top 20 spots in the ranking.



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