Intro
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Common animals in Norway

Norway is home to many species of wild animals. Most of the animals in Norway are not dangerous to people, and we can safely use the countryside without being afraid of wild animals. Some animals live in the forests, while others live in the mountains. Let’s take a closer look at some of them:

  • Bears
  • Squirrels
  • Elks
  • Lynx
  • Hares
  • Deer
  • Reindeer
  • Roe deer
  • Foxes
  • Wolves
  • Adders

©Baard Næss/Samfoto©Baard Næss/Samfoto
Bears

There are many different types of bear. The type of bear found on the Norwegian mainland is called the brown bear. Today, there are not many brown bears left in Norway’s forests. The brown bear can grow up to 125 cm tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 350 kg. They primarily live off berries and plants, but they can sometimes eat sheep.

Bears hibernate all winter. Their lairs can be hollowed out underground holes or caves. They sleep here until spring arrives.


©Asgeir Helgestad/Samfoto©Asgeir Helgestad/Samfoto
Squirrels

Squirrels can be found throughout the country, but are most common in areas with spruce and pine tree forests. Squirrels are easily recognised by their large, bushy tails. Their fur is reddish brown in the summer and more of a greyish white in the winter. Squirrels live off nuts and seeds, though they can also eat chicks and bird eggs. A fully-grown squirrel weighs around 1 kg.


©Kjell-Erik Moseid/Samfoto©Kjell-Erik Moseid/Samfoto
Elks

Elks are the largest animals in Norway’s forests. They are often called the “King of the Forest”. The antlers of a male elk can span more than 150 cm! An adult elk can be up to 230 cm tall at the shoulder and weigh between 400 and 800 kg. Elks are herbivores.


©Asle Hjellbrekke/Samfoto©Asle Hjellbrekke/Samfoto
Lynx

Lynx look like large domestic cats and have characteristic black tufts on their ears. Their fur is light brown with dark spots and the tip of their tail is black. Lynx live in forested areas throughout the country up to Troms in the north. They are usually around 1 m long. Lynx are predators. They eat birds, hares and small rodents, but can also eat cats and sheep.


©Steinar Myhr/Samfoto©Steinar Myhr/Samfoto
Hares

There are around 100 subspecies of hare in the world. The hare that lives in Norway grows to around 60 cm in length. Hares have large upper front teeth, long powerful legs, short tails and long ears. Their fur changes colour with the seasons and is greyish brown in the summer and white in the winter. Hares can be found throughout the country and flourish in forests, open countryside and the mountains. Hares are herbivores.


©Helge Sunde/Samfoto©Helge Sunde/Samfoto
Deer

Deer can be found in the forests and at the edges of forests over almost all of Norway. In the summer their fur is red, grey or brown, while their winter fur is darker and greyer. Deer are herbivores and grow up to 125 cm tall at the shoulder. The males have splendid antlers. The royal stag is reckoned to be one of the most beautiful animals in the forest.


©Tom Schandy/Samfoto©Tom Schandy/Samfoto
Reindeer

Most of the reindeer in Norway are domesticated animals, but wild reindeer can be found on Svalbard and in mountainous regions in the south (Hardangervidda, Dovre and Rondane). Reindeer are members of the deer family. Norwegian reindeer do not grow that big. An adult reindeer is usually between 107 cm and 127 cm tall at the shoulder. Both males and females have antlers. Reindeer are herbivores.


©Kjell-Erik Moseid/Samfoto©Kjell-Erik Moseid/Samfoto
Roe deer

Previously roe deer could only be found in the forests and meadows of Eastern Norway, but they have now spread over almost the entire country. Roe deer belong to the deer family. The males have antlers. An adult roe deer is between 64 and 89 cm tall at the shoulder and only weighs between 17 and 23 kg. Roe deer are herbivores.


©Baard Næss/Samfoto©Baard Næss/Samfoto
Foxes

There are 20 different subspecies of fox in the world. The most common in Norway is the red fox. Foxes live in forests. They live in lairs. A lair is an underground hole. Foxes grow to about 75 cm long. They also have long, splendid tails that grow to 50 cm in length. Their fur is mostly reddish brown, but is white on their belly and at the tip of their tail. Foxes are predators. They eat mice, hares, birds and fish. They also eat wild berries.


©Baard Næss/Samfoto©Baard Næss/Samfoto
Wolves

Wolves belong to the dog family. They are speckled grey with a white belly. Wolves are threatened by extinction and now there are only a few individuals in the country. Wolves mostly live and hunt in packs of 6-8 animals. They live in forested areas, primarily in the regions bordering Sweden.


©Kjell-Erik Moseid/Samfoto©Kjell-Erik Moseid/Samfoto
Adders

Adders are the only type of poisonous snake native to Norway. Adders are easily recognisable because they have zigzag stripes in their backs. Adders eat mice and other small animals. They only bite if they feel threatened. If you are bitten by an adder, you must take things as easy as possible and seek medical assistance.

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