All You Need to Know About Native Animal in Korea!

In this article we will share to you the best list of native animal in korea that you can find as you travel south korea. Make sure you read all this article until the end to get the most out of this informations.

Do you like animal? do you like zoological garden? do you plan to visit and see the native animal in south korea as you travel the beautiful city of South Korea? Then this article is for you. We will share to you the best native animal you can expect to find native in korea as you travel south korea with your friends and loved ones.

Let’s dive right to it. Here are the list of animals native to south korea that you might want to know before you travel south korea.

Amur Leopard

amur leopard animal in korea

Amur Leopard, is one of the world’s rarest big cats, it were once widely distributed throughout korea. This Amur leopard or siberian tiger is also south korea official national native animal.

As Amur leopards is getting more and more extinct, it’s believed that only about 70 remain in the wild life areas. These animals reside in high dense forests, mostly at the DMZ. Seoul Zoo recently announced it is pushing to introduce Amur leopards in an effort to help restore Korean leopards.

Amur Leopard has distinct black stripes flanking reddish-orange and white fur. This largest cats are in the list of endangered wildlife driven to near-critical extinction.

Mandarin duck

mandarin ducks animal in korea

As you see, this mandarin duck is much well known by people for it’s flamboyant and eccentric color and aesthetics feather. Male mandarin duck has a white brow line, yellow fan-shaped wing feathers, and a red beak, while the female boasts a thin brow line and a black beak.

This mandarin duck is designated as a national natural monument, these rare resident ducks reside near mountain streams throughout the peninsula, particularly in the Gumisan and Tohamsan mountain regions.

Common Minke Whale

The common minke whale is a species of minke whale within the suborder of baleen whales, widely distributed from the equator to the polar regions. The population of common minke whales in Korean waters, such as the East Sea, has diminished greatly over the past decade due to illegal hunting, which is itself fueled by high prices paid by local restaurants for the meat.

This grayish purple and black whale is the second smallest whale in the world, about 7-8 m in length. You can find it in the waters surrounding the coasts of South Korea. The common Minke whale is the primary source of whale meat in meat markets, and its population has diminished due to illegal hunting for the meat. The South Korean coastguard has, however, increased its efforts to crack down on illegal hunting and coast guard officials have been catching more and more poachers involved in the hunts.

They generally eat small fish, eels, and other water animals. However, Killer whales are known to prey on Minke whales. Their lifespan is 40-50 years, and they are generally in small family groups of two-three.

Wild Boar

wild boar animal in korea

The wild boar is a dark furred animal that’s quiet big, strong, fast and wild, this has potential to harm human that’s close to it. They roam freely in the mountainsides and, due to their overpopulation, sometimes invade into cities and rampage through the streets in search of food for their existence. You can see wild boars venturing into busy areas somtimes

The wild boars are pest animals and you can see them lurking in South Korea’s topography. Wild boars find their food in the wooded areas they inhabit and from streams of water, like bird eggs, rodents, mushrooms, fishes, etc.

Korean Crevice Salamander

Korean Crevice Salamander animal in korea

Credit to Todd Pierson

The Korean crevice salamander dwells under rocks in limestone forest areas of the Korean peninsula, and is the only lungless salamander known from Asia. 

The Korean crevice salamander was first discovered in Daejeon in 2005, the species is considered locally common, and reasonably widespread, but has not been well studied in the field. Therefore, its natural history, population dynamics and reproductive behavior remain unknown and uninform until this day.

Water Deer

water deer animal in korea

The water deer is a unique small deer native to China and Korea. The South Korean water deer subspecies has the scientific name Hydropotes inermis argyropus. It has a small frame with golden brown fur and white underbellies. It is colloquially nicknamed as vampire deer due to prominent downward-pointing canine teeth coming out from the mouth as tusks, unlike other deer.

Water deer are indigenous to the lower reaches of mountains, swamps, and grasslands alongside rivers. In South Korea, they are in larger numbers since the demilitarized zone has provided a protected habitat for them. Water deer are also proficient swimmers.

Water deer favorite foods are aquatic vegetation like weeds, grass, fruits, and more. Korean water deer has been designated as “harmful wildlife” due to its destructive nature and has been found destroying property and farms around their areas.

Korean goral

The Korean goral or long-tailed goral (scientific name: Naemorhedus caudatus) is a goat-like antelope with a long, bushy tail, light grayish brown body, and a white patch on the throat. These reside in rocky areas or caves which other animals cannot access easily.

You can find them in mountain regions mainly. Korean Goral eat a wide range of grass, wild fruits, leaves, shoots, buds, moss, and acorns. The goral population was only about 40 animals in 1982 in South Korea and it has increased to around 700-800 due to conservation efforts. The South Korean government designated N. caudatus as an Endangered Species in 1997 and has try many effort to increase their population since then

This species of wild goat, which boasts a short neck, short thick legs, pointed tiptoes and horns, forms groups of two-five and resides in rocky areas or caves that other animals have difficulty accessing. It is estimated that some 700 live in South Korea; around 100-200 are found in the Seoraksan Mountain region, while others can be spotted around Woraksan, Odaesan, Woraksan and Taebaeksan Mountains.

Siberian Musk Deer

siberian musk deer animal in korea

The Siberian musk deer is found in montane forests throughout Northeast Asia. Their small shape allows them to hide from predators through tiny openings in the rocky terrain, and also allows them to run extraordinarily fast from their predators easily. 

Eventhough the siberian musk deer having bear fangs, yet they are actually herbivores. In Korea, the Siberian musk deer can be spotted easily in Gangwon and Jeollanam provinces.

The siberian musk deer pelage is dark brown with many dorsal yellow spots. Musk deer differ sharply from other deer species. The siberian musk deer prefer grass, soft leaves, buds, mushrooms, and bark of trees. These deer can climb on inclined trunks up to 3-4 m above ground when feeding. In 1997, the Ministry of Environment added the Siberian musk deer to the South Korean Endangered Species list.


lynx animal in korea

Lynx are solitary cats covered with beautiful, thick fur that keeps them warm during frosty winters. The lynx is actually another native cat to south korea, looks like tiger but a lot smaller than tiger. Their large paws are also furry and contact the ground with a spreading toe motion that enables them to function as natural snowshoes.

Haunting montane forests in the Korean DMZ, these stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so are rarely seen. You can find these animals in the woods of South Korea and in montane forests in the Korean DMZ. They are night-hunting, stealthy cats and you will rarely see them in the forests.

Kumgang fat minnow

kumgang fat minnow animal in korea

Feeding primarily on small insects, crustacean, and zooplankton, the 7-8 cm (2.76-3.15 inches)-long Kumgang fat minnow is characterized by black dots on its dorsal fin. They can be found in cold water streams with high-density oxygen deep in the mountains. In Korea they inhabit rivers that flow into the Yellow Sea, such as the Han River, Imjin River and Daedong River.

Cranes: Red-Crowned and White-Naped

white naped crane animal in korea

These two large species of crane, Red-Crowned and White-Naped, are native to South Korea. Each of them has unique looks. The red-crowned one is 1.2 m to 1.5 m tall, has a red patch on its head, a bright white body with vivid black wing tips and neck. You can find the red-crowned crane within wetlands and along rivers.

The white-naped crane is a large species of crane that inhabits grassy marshes, wet meadows and reed beds in broad river valleys. It has a gray body, pinkish legs, a gray and white neck, a white head and characteristic red patches around its eyes. 

The eastern populations of the species migrate through the Korean peninsula, often making their wintering grounds and migration staging areas in and near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea. Several hundreds of birds continue on to southern Japan, where they join a large wintering population of hooded crane.

Asiatic Black Bear

asiatic bear cubs animal in korea

The Asiatic black bear is characterized by its smooth black coat and V-shaped patch of white fur on its chest. It is one of the most endangered mammals in South Korea owing to population declines as a result of human exploitation and habitat fragmentation. 

To re-establish the black bear population in South Korea, 27 cubs from North Korea and Russian Far East (Primorsky Krai) were imported and released into Jirisan National Park, the largest mountain national park in the country. According to records, the species has also been observed in the thick forests of Seoraksan Mountain in the northeast.

You can find this slender, 300 pounds tree-dweller, in the forests area, is also known as a ‘moon bear.’ The Asian Black Bear feeds on eggs, insects, bees, termites, along with fruits, nuts, and different grasses.

Korean Hare

korean hare animal in korea

Korean hares once were common, but due to excessive hunting and habitat destruction by development, their populations have decreased significantly. The South Korean government removed it as a game species in 2005 because of declining populations, and the Ministry of Environment listed Korean hare as a candidate for Endangered Species in 2018. Hopefully their population can soon be increase and stop being hunted by illegal hunter.

Have you seen one of these native animal in south korea? which one is your favourite? let us know in the comment sections below!

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