Some national animals from around the world include the bald eagle with the United States, beaver with Canada, grasshopper with Mexico, macaw with Brazil and dugong with Papua new Guinea. The dugong is a type of aquatic mammal related to the manatee and the elephant, once mistaken by sailors for mermaids.
A number of countries have turned to mythical beasts to represent them. The Greek national animal, for instance, is the phoenix. Emblazoned on the country's first modern currency, the phoenix represented the resurrection of the Greek state until the currency was replaced in 1832. The unicorn, meanwhile, has been Scotland's national animal since the 12th century. To the Celts, this legendary creature represented innocence, joy, health and virtue, as well as male power or virility. As with the phoenix of Greece, the unicorn has featured on Scotland's currency in the past.
The national animal of Mauritius isn't so much mythical as hunted to extinction by the people it represents, which isthe once-native dodo bird. Similarly native only to the country it represents is the komodo dragon of Indonesia.
Other national animals tend to be majestic or fierce in some manner, or otherwise symbolic of a nation's heritage. India's national animal, the peacock, or mayura, for instance, is, in Hindu mythology, a symbol of cyclical time.