What types of animals can you see in Tunisia?
Tunisia is home to some of the most incredible wildlife on the planet. The amount of diversity is truly incredible. 🙂
But because of the sheer number of different species, there was no way I could include every animal living in Tunisia.
So, here is what I did to make this list more manageable:
The article below focuses mostly on the most common and unique MAMMALS found in Tunisia.
If you were hoping to learn about something else, like reptiles, birds, or spiders, I have created separate ID guides for these categories of animals.
Please click the links below to view pages dedicated to these species in Tunisia:
7 Incredible ANIMALS IN Tunisia:
#1. North African Hedgehog
- Atelerix algirus
- They have large ears, long snouts, relatively long legs, and lack a widow’s peak of spines on their head, common in other hedgehog species.
- They have brown or whitish underbellies, and their upper sides are covered with white spines with dark banding.
North African Hedgehogs love the arid climates in Tunisia. They spend their nights roaming these lands on surprisingly fast legs, which are relatively long compared to other hedgehogs. Individuals can cover five miles in one night!
North African Hedgehogs use their spines to protect themselves and roll into a ball when threatened. In these arid climates, they also have to protect themselves from the weather, and during hot periods, they may hide in a burrow and go into a dormant state.
These spiky animals also engage in an odd ritual called anointing, which scientists don’t fully understand. When they encounter a new scent, they lick and bite the object and create a frothy saliva, which they paste over their bodies.
#2. Dorcas Gazelle
- Gazella dorcas
- Pale-colored with white underbellies and a rufous stripe down their sides, separating their upper and lower coloring.
- They have white eye rings, a pair of white and dark brown stripes running from each eye to the corners of the mouth, and ringed, lyre-shaped horns, which are generally thinner, straighter, and shorter in females.
These animals thrive in the dry habitats of Tunisia.
Dorcas Gazelles are small but well adapted to the desert and live in arid places. They can easily handle high temperatures and harsh sunlight.
Despite these intense conditions, they don’t need much water and get most of their moisture from their food, though they will drink when it’s available.
If they spot a predator, these herbivores twitch their tails and make bounding leaps to warn others and confuse their attacker. Dorcas Gazelles are often able to escape if a predator gives chase. Their long, slender legs allow them to sprint away at speeds of 80-100 kph (50-62 mph). They also can perform quick zig-zags, which help them to escape.
Unfortunately, these fascinating creatures are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. Their populations have declined significantly as they have faced extreme habitat loss due to land development and climate change.
#3. African Wildcat
- Felis lybica
- Coloration varies and may be tawny brown, sandy yellow, reddish, or gray with faint tabby spots and stripes, banded legs, and reddish or rusty-brown on the backs of their ears.
- They have long legs, small ear tufts, and long, thin tails with rings near the end and black tips.
You are looking at the ancestor of the domestic cat!
African Wildcats are skillful hunters with incredible hearing. Once they’ve located prey, they slowly and sneakily approach it and pounce once they’re in range. They usually feed on mice, rats, and other small mammals.
African Wildcats are most active at night. During the day, they tend to avoid the heat and rest under bushes or other shelter, although sometimes they can be observed out hunting on cloudy, overcast days. Additionally, when threatened, these cats raise their hair to make themselves seem larger and intimidate their opponents, similar to what we see in domestic cats.
However, they have some distinctly wild traits. For example, when they sit upright, their long front legs raise their bodies almost vertically (more so than domestic cats). This posture can be seen on Egyptian bronze mummy cases and tomb paintings. They also have high shoulder blades that give them a distinctive cheetah-like gait.
#4. African Wolf
- Canis lupaster
- Relatively long pointed snouts and ears, comparatively short tails, and robust teeth.
- They’re yellowish to silvery gray with reddish legs, black speckling on their tails and shoulders, and some white markings on their faces, throats, and abdomens.
Look for this canine during the day in Tunisia in grassland areas.
African Wolves have an extensive range, and their appearance and size vary with location. They usually center their territory around a den, often made from a modified aardvark or warthog den, where the female will have her pups.
African Wolves have flexible social structures that are largely dictated by prey availability. Each pack consists of a monogamous breeding pair that remains together constantly. It also includes current offspring and previous generations that help to raise their siblings.
These wolves can be formidable predators in Tunisia, sometimes taking prey up to three times their weight. However, they usually go after much smaller animals.
Pairs of wolves often hunt gazelle fawns and other small mammals like cane rats and ground squirrels. They also consume fruit, snakes, and insects. Interestingly, during the wildebeest calving season, African Wolves feed almost exclusively on wildebeest afterbirth.
#5. Fennec Fox
- Vulpes zerda
- They have massive, conical ears.
- Their coloration is buff on their upper bodies and white on their legs, faces, ear-linings, and undersides.
Fennec Foxes are the smallest wild dog in Tunisia!
They’re even smaller than most house cats, but don’t let their size fool you. Also called the Desert Fox, Fennec Foxes are tough animals that live almost exclusively in sandy, arid regions.
Their massive ears help Fennec Foxes locate food, even when it’s underground. They catch most of their prey by digging it out of the earth.
These omnivores live in a harsh environment and feed on anything they can get, including rodents, birds, eggs, lizards, insects, fruits, leaves, and roots. Plant materials are vital as they comprise 100% of the Fennec Fox’s hydration. Unlike most mammals, these foxes can live indefinitely without a water source.
Fennec Foxes are highly social animals that often live together in clans. Together, these clans hold territories and dig burrows, which are used to raise pups and shelter from the hot desert sun.
#6. Red Fox
- Vulpes vulpes
- Adults range from 45-90 cm (18-35 in) in length and weigh 3-14 kg (7-31 lbs).
- Their coloring ranges from pale orange or red to deep reddish-brown on their upper parts, with white on their underside.
- They have black feet, a fluffy white-tipped tail, and large, pointy, black-tipped ears.
Red Foxes are arguably the most beautiful animal in Tunisia!
These canines are often considered cunning and smart, with good reason! They’re excellent hunters and foragers. They also cache food and are adept at relocating it. Although they prefer rabbits, fish, and berries, they won’t hesitate to eat anything readily available.
This species has a distinctive way of hunting mice and other small rodents. Once the prey has been detected, they stand motionless, waiting and listening. Then they leap high into the air and bring their forelegs straight down, pinning the rodent.
Once baby foxes, known as kits, reach adulthood, their biggest threat is humans. They are hunted and trapped for their or killed to protect chickens. While some countries have banned hunting Red Foxes, the practice still persists worldwide. Red Foxes can live 10 to 12 years in captivity but average only about three years in the wild.
#7. Wild Boar
- Sus scrofa
- Adults are 140–150 cm (55–59 in) long.
- Their heads are large for their bodies, and they have extremely short and thick necks.
- They have short, coarse hair that’s typically rusty brown, although older specimens sometimes have silvery hairs.
Wild Boars are the ancestors of most domesticated pig species, including typical farm pigs. But while they have the same basic body shape and a familiar flattened snout, the similarities end there!
For example, Wild Boars are some of the toughest animals in Tunisia.
They can dig in hard-packed earth and move rocks up to 40–50 kg (88–110 lb). This talent is handy because Wild Boars are extreme omnivores, meaning they’ll eat pretty much anything they can fit in their mouths! So, moving rocks to get to buried insects, small mammals, and roots is key.
Do you want to learn about MORE animals in Tunisia?
Check out these ID Guides. Each one is specific to wildlife in Tunisia!
Which of these animals in Tunisia is your favorite?
Leave a comment below! I’d especially like to know if you have visited Tunisia before and what you saw.