What Kind of Animals Live in Japan?

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Japan has over 130 different land mammals, 600 bird species and various reptiles, fish and insects. Much of Japan contains forest-covered mountainous terrain, which has not been developed for human habitation.

Japan has a number of unique animals, including tanuki, Tsushima leopard cats, Siberian flying squirrels and the serow. Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys, are some of the most memorable animals of Japan. They are native to the country and are the only primate that lives so far to the north.

Of the 600 bird species in Japan, only a few are endemic. These include

  • Green pheasant
  • Copper pheasant
  • Japanese woodpecker
  • Izu thrush
  • Bonin white-eye
  • Okinawa rail

Nearly half of the 73 species of reptiles found in Japan are endemic. These include venomous sea turtles and non-venomous freshwater turtles, various venomous and non-venomous snakes, lizards, skinks and salamanders.

Japan features more than 3,000 types of fish that includes both saltwater and freshwater varieties. The Japanese taimen is found in both the rivers and ocean surrounding Hokkaido and is a critically endangered species.

Japan is also home to the giant hornet, which is the largest hornet in the world. Other insects include many varieties that are found in other parts of the world, including cicadas, crickets and fireflies. There are 190 types of dragonflies as well as 300 butterfly species.