Animals That Call Scandinavia Home

Scandinavian countries have wildlife that you may not see in other parts of the world. You'll find lemmings, lynx, and more beautiful animals that call the Nordic wilderness home. During your trip to this region, keep an eye out for the following Scandinavian animals.

01 of 06

Arctic Fox

Arctic fox (Alopex / Vulpes lagopus) standing, near Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, August
Roy Mangersnes/Nature Picture Library/Getty Images

The Arctic fox (also called the polar fox, white fox and snow fox) is a Scandinavian animal that's found in countries such as Sweden and Iceland, where it's the only land mammal native to that country. It also lives in the Arctic region. This animal is acutely endangered in mainland Scandinavia, despite legal protection.

02 of 06

Norway Lemming

Norway lemming
Sven-Erik Arndt/Getty Images

The Norway lemming is a common type of lemming typically found in northern Scandinavia and neighboring Russian areas. This animal can often be found near waterways. The Norway lemming grows in huge proportions over several years until it reaches unsustainable levels, causing high mortality and the return to low numbers. It's the main food of another Scandinavian animal, the Arctic fox. 

03 of 06

Raccoon Dog

Portrait of a raccoon dog in a river, seeming to sniff its surface.
Picture by Tambako the Jaguar/Getty Images

The raccoon dog is neither a raccoon nor a dog, though its ancestors include wolves and dogs. Its population has declined because of hunting, urbanization and disease. The raccoon dog is a unique member of the Canidae family because it is the only member to sleep through winter and to "play dead" when attacked. 

They can make good pets, but they're not well-liked in Sweden and Denmark where they're considered invasive. They can carry tapeworms, rabies and mange and can be a nuisance, so Sweden encourages hunting them.

04 of 06

Eurasian Lynx

Eurasian lynx in snow, Norway
Franz Aberham/Getty Images

The Eurasian lynx is a wild cat that lives in the woods of northern Europe and Siberia. They prey on smaller animals and sometimes deer. The​ Eurasian lynx is a threatened part of Scandinavian wildlife; hunting is allowed but heavily discouraged. Keep an eye out for them at dawn or dusk when they're most active.​

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05 of 06

Mountain Hare

Mountain hares (Lepus timidus) running. Vauldalen, Sor-Trondelag, Norway, May.
Erlend Haarberg/Nature Picture Library/Getty Images

What would wildlife in Scandinavia be without this little fellow? The mountain hare (also called the tundra hare, white hare, snow hare and alpine hare) is a Scandinavian animal that thrives in polar and mountainous habitats. It is distributed from Scandinavia to eastern Siberia. Its fur varies in color depending on the season, but its tail is always white. In some regions, the hare eats mostly grass, but due to snow in Scandinavia, its diet consists of twigs and bark. 

06 of 06

Tundra Wolf

The tundra wolf is a subspecies of the ​grey wolf and can be found primarily in the northern arctic and boreal regions of Scandinavia and Russia. Tundra wolves are among the largest of the ​grey wolf subspecies and can range in color. They can be hard to spot during the day, but your chances of hearing their howls are more likely.

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