Dangerous Spanish Wildlife

Four Legged and Furry


Badgers, related to otters and ferrets, are found throughout the mainland of Spain, in both the green forested areas and the semi-desert scrub areas such as Alicante. They have also been found in the Pyrenees.

Barbary Ape (Barbary macaque)

This tail-less monkey is native to Morocco and Algeria, has settled on the Rock of Gibraltar and is not found in any other part of Spain or Europe.
In British forces slang, the Royal Marines and R.A.F. Regiment have both at times been referred to as Rock Apes - a sobriquet derived, some say, from this distinctive denizen of the Rock.


It is estimated that today there are only about 80 brown bears left in the whole of Spain. These animals are to be found in several mountainous districts in the Asturias, Cantabria, Cordillera, León, Lugo, Palencia and even in the Spanish Pyrenees. In some areas they are almost extinct but even where more numerous, they are very rarely seen unless your main sport is mountain climbing or walking. Even then, attacks on people are extremely rare. Wild animals usually avoid human beings.

I believe the last recorded attack by a bear was in May of 2004 when a man came upon a nursing bear and her cubs. He was badly mauled and bitten, but survived.


Are found in many parts of Spain. They are not a protected species and are considered almost as vermin and fair game for any hunter with a gun licence. They are intelligent and crafty and whilst they do seem to prefer to avoid humans, if cornered or injured, they are extremely vicious and will attack.

Wild boar are largely night foragers but if you are walking through woodlands and hear a grunting, barking and snorting sound in the undergrowth, be sensible, don’t investigate!

Keep your pet dog under control. Boars will attack and kill a dog that confronts them.

Farmers hate boars because they do tremendous damage to orchards and can even destroy a whole maize or corn crop in a night. They can also spread disease within a farmer’s purebred pig stock.

Deterrent. You will often see a fruit orchard with pieces of cast off clothes hanging from the branches, the theory being that the human scent remains on the garments and discourages the boars from lingering.

Wildlife Enthusiasts: If you are keen on seeing wildlife in the woods at night, always take a large torch and a mobile phone for emergency use.

Common Genet (Genetta)

A night-stalking, house-cat-sized carnivore, is nonetheless one of the most common predators in southern olive groves and other agricultural lands. This seldom-seen animal may have found its way to Spain via Moorish colonizers, who brought the animals from Africa and domesticated them to control household rats. Do not approach.

Ibex and Arruí (wild goat)

Are surefooted and agile; they usually travel in small herds of about a dozen animals, feeding on a wide variety of vegetation. The males are particularly impressive with long beards almost reaching the floor. They do not like interference. You’re far more likely to see the domestic goats (Capra) which are herded by shepherds in the mountains.

Iberian Lynx

It is estimated that there are no more than 200 Lynx surviving in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula, their main habitat being Andujar and Donana. Lynx are rigorously protected.

Roe Deer

Are found in various parts of Spain. They have a highly protected status.


Are found in many parts of North-Western Spain’s mainland, particularly in the Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla-León and Galicia. It is estimated there is a growing population in excess of 2,000 of these animals, however, wolves are rarely seen as they have learnt to be wary of humans.

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