Amazing Wildlife in the Netherlands 2023

DNP
DNP
12 Min Read

Wildlife in the Netherlands: Below you can find a complete list of animal species in the Netherlands. We are currently tracking 214 animals in the Netherlands and adding more every day!

The Netherlands (also known as Holland) is a small Western European country that played an important role at the center of medieval European culture and politics. In Europe, this country is located between Belgium, Germany and the Atlantic Ocean. 

It also includes the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius in the Lesser Antilles chain. Much of the country is below sea level and is prone to regular flooding. 

As a result, the coastline has undergone dramatic changes over the years to prevent this. The Netherlands has some species of bats, mice, deer, waterfowl, songbirds, seals., and other large carnivores. Both cetaceans and sea turtles can be seen on shore.

The official national animal of the Netherlands

The lion is considered the national symbol of the Netherlands. Although the lion has not existed in Western Europe for thousands of years, the animal has been a popular symbol of strength and power throughout European history. It has been a part of the country’s armory since independence in the 16th and 17th centuries.

18 Animals Mostly Find in Netherlands

 In addition, the black-tailed godwit is the official national bird of the Netherlands. It is a long-legged, long-billed migratory bird that swims in water to feed.

Where to find the top Wildlife in the Netherlands

Despite its small size and high population density, the country has plenty of national parks and nature reserves for wildlife lovers to enjoy the animals native to the Netherlands. More than 20 of them cover various ecosystems of the country. 

De Alde Fenen National Park in Gelderland is about 4,000 hectares of lakes, grasslands and peat bogs (used for firewood). De Maasduinen National Park and De Zoom-Kalmthoutse Heide cross-border park are good sources of woodpeckers, falcons, hawks, nightjars, harriers and more.

Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park in the center of the country has glacial forests, meadows and lakes inhabited by deer, foxes, woodpeckers and birds of prey. 

De Maasduinen National Park, located in the southeastern region of Limburg  , has a rich selection of wildlife including beavers ,  bats  ,  toads  ,  snakes  ,  sand lizards, butterflies, dragonflies and birds.

Birds of the Netherlands

Located in north-western Europe, the Netherlands is mostly below sea level, giving it many wetlands that provide habitat for hundreds of resident and visiting avifauna, especially migratory waders. Other habitats such as forests, dunes, heathland and lakes also provide excellent areas for birdwatching. Some of the top birding sites include:

  • Delta – The southwestern part of the country consists of estuaries that bisect rivers, commonly referred to as deltas. Migratory waders and other waterfowl pass through the area on their way, attracted by the tranquil atmosphere.
  • Lowersmeer – Alternatively, Lowersmeer can be considered the most popular wetland for birds and is surrounded by grasslands, which accounts for the variety of species seen here. Rare goose species such as ross goose, lesser white-fronted, red-breasted and black brent stop in the area during the migration season.
  • Lapelaarplassen Reserve – Easily accessible from Amsterdam, this reserve is very exciting for birdwatching, as species like Bewick’s Swan, Brambling, Sparrowhawks, geese and other avifauna stop by in autumn.

There are countless other areas in the country to see birds in peace in their natural habitat, whether they’re just passing through or staying permanently. Birds also fly through urban and suburban areas of the Netherlands.

Fish in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is located along the North Sea coast and is mostly below sea level. Many rivers also flow through the country and join each other, forming estuaries and lakes. 

Good food, art, history and scenery attract visitors to the Netherlands, and fishing is overlooked. However, some truly amazing fishing exists here. Listed are some of the top spots for fishing and what anglers can expect:

  • Rhine-Meuse Delta – Where the Rhine and Meuse rivers merge, an estuary begins and includes fish species from carp and bream to perch and pike.
  • Rotterdam harbor area – not only is sea bass a common catch, but other species such as mullet, shad and sole rine are prevalent in the summer. Winter brings pouting, cod and whiting.
  • Amsterdam – The city’s canals are not only great for biking and boating, they also offer fishing opportunities in an urban setting. Zander, perch, rudd, pike and carp are regularly caught in these winding waters.
  • Lake River – Spanning across the country, this large and long river is a particular favorite with anglers looking for perch.

Fishing is extremely accessible through charters, shore fishing and even kayak fishing trips! It’s a great way to explore the many environments of the Netherlands and see other wildlife along the way.

Snakes in the Netherlands

Experiencing a new culture with different people and nature and wildlife is always a thrill. However, it is important to watch out for animals that may not be so friendly, such as venomous snakes. 

However, there are only three species of snakes in the Netherlands, and only one of them is poisonous: the viper. Otherwise, snakes include grass snakes and smooth snakes, both of which are harmless to humans and tend to avoid them.

Most dangerous animals in the Netherlands 2023

There are very few animals considered dangerous in the Netherlands. Many large carnivores have become extinct over the past several thousand years due to hunting or loss of habitat. This makes it relatively safe for all human activities. 

A few species remain that may pose a threat to humans, including:

  • Common European Viper – This snake has a very wide range across most of Europe, causing a small number of bites each year, but the toxicity of its venom is fortunately very low. Bitten victims can expect mild symptoms such as pain, swelling, and tingling. In rare cases, symptoms can progress to something dangerous, such as nausea, vomiting, fever, and light-headedness.
  •  Regardless of the severity, seek medical attention for bites, as symptoms can linger for some time and can significantly affect one’s performance.
  • Wolves – Sightings of wolves are very uncommon in the Netherlands and those that do cross over are usually temporary vagrants from France or Germany. However, as wolf populations recover, this species may establish a more permanent local presence in the Netherlands. 
  • Although wolves almost never attack humans, they have a tendency to prey on livestock, mainly because they were hunted in Western Europe. Conservationists have tried to help wolves and livestock co-exist by using some protective measures to scare them away.

Best Zoos in the Netherlands 2023

From boating through Amsterdam’s canals to strolling through countless tulips, the Netherlands offers plenty of opportunities for fun and exploration, as well as sightseeing and wildlife viewing. 

Other than wandering forests or wetlands, some places to visit wildlife are in zoos and wildlife parks. Here are some of the country’s top zoos to spend some time at:

  • Royal Burger’s Zoo  – A zoo that welcomes more than 1 million visitors every year is an attraction. Eight themed areas isolate the animals in their shared natural environment. 
  • An adventure park also welcomes children during their visit. Exciting events take place almost daily at the zoo including manatee births, fiddler crabs breeding and sun bears enjoying giant pumpkins.
  • Beekse Bergen Safari Park  – Unlike other zoos, this zoo is set up in reverse: animals roam free while visitors enter secured vehicles. The park is large, housing about 1,300 animals of 150 different species. Boating and walking tours are available in parts of the park, creating a fun and active environment inside. Eagles, rhinos, cows and many other species live in the park.
  • Diergaarde Blijdorp   – not only home to native and exotic wildlife, but also a stunning botanical garden and butterfly garden attracts tourists.
  •  At 150 years old, the zoo is the oldest in the Netherlands and has been awarded as one of the most beautiful. The zoo also participates in conservation, rehabilitation and reproduction efforts. Zoo animals range from giraffes to penguins to sharks and more!

Adventures through the nature and cities of the Netherlands are truly unbeatable, however, it is essential to support zoos and their efforts to conserve local and other species around the world, as these establishments provide fun and educational experiences and insights into animals. their residence.

Endangered animals in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has around 36,000 native animal species. About 500 of them are protected under national law. But despite all efforts to protect the country’s wildlife, the Netherlands is currently facing the threat of extinction.

  • European Hamster – This endangered rodent needs soft soil to dig its burrows. Due to habitat loss and soil changes, the European hamster is now at risk of disappearing completely from Western Europe.
  • European Rabbit – Although originally native to Spain and Portugal, this rabbit was later introduced to the rest of Western Europe, sometimes damaging native soils. It is considered endangered after years of declining populations.
  • European Turtle Dove – This species of bird breeds in Europe and then travels farther south to Africa for the winter. Although still common throughout Europe and not yet in danger of extinction, turtle dove numbers are declining at an alarming rate. It is estimated to have declined by 78% between 1980 and 2013. Experts have blamed changes in agricultural practices, which have made food less common, as well as reduced hunting practices.

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