There are many different landscapes and climatic zones in Spain, which also determine which plants and animals live there. Both are very species-rich. The fact that Europe is isolated by the Pyrenees has also helped preserve species that have become extinct in the rest of Europe. The proximity to Africa – on the Strait of Gibraltar – has in turn favored the invasion of other species that are otherwise not found in Europe.
Which animals live in Spain?
The Pyrenees on the border with France form a natural barrier to the rest of Europe. Thus some animal species were preserved in Spain that became extinct in the rest of the continent. The comparatively thin population also helped some animal species to survive.
The Iberian wolf is native to northwestern Spain. Some packs also live in the Andalusian mountains. About 2000 of the wolves live in Spain. The number of brown bears in Spain is estimated at 160.
The Iberian lynx is very rare and therefore protected. It also only occurs on the Iberian Peninsula. It is smaller than its relative in northern Europe and has a longer whisker. Most of the Iberian lynx live in an Andalusian national park.
Other animals from Spain are only found in Africa or the Middle East. The only species of mongoose in Europe, the Ichneumon, lives here. Other animals are the Kleinfleck genet, the Iberian ibex and the Pyrenean chamois. The chameleon, racing bird and African hedgehog also live in the south of Spain. The Pyrenees Desman is an insect eater. Desmans belong to the moles and besides the Pyrenees Desman there is only the Russian Desman (see Russia Animals & Plants).
Typical and common animal species are deer, wild boar, squirrels, foxes and rabbits. You also know them from Germany.
In addition to the brown hare, which also lives with us, there are two species of hare that only occur in Spain and Portugal (and are therefore endemic): the Iberian hare and the Castroviejo hare. The latter lives only in the Cantabrian Mountains in Spain. Mouflons and marmots live in the mountains.
Lizards, geckos, snakes and turtles are rich in species among reptiles. The Bocages wall lizard and the Iberian roller skink, for example, are endemic. Only in the Canary Islands does the Canary Lizard live in several species. Some of them are gigantic, for example in the picture you can see the Gran Canaria giant lizard. It can be up to 50 centimeters long.
Of course there are also amphibians, for example the Spanish ribbed newt. Only on the Iberian Peninsula do the Spanish newt, the Mallorca midwife toad (Ferreret) and the golden striped salamander occur.
Birds come in numerous species. This includes several species of vulture, such as the bearded vulture, which flies around the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains. The black vulture lives in the center of the country and the griffon vulture in large parts of the country. Other large birds are the imperial eagle (endemic to the Iberian Peninsula) and the golden eagle.
The Canary girl lives in the Canaries. In 1496, Spaniards brought the bird to the mainland, probably because of its beautiful song. The canary was then bred from it.
Since Spain has such a long coastline and also borders the Atlantic and Mediterranean, it also has a multitude of marine life. There are also many fish in the rivers, including 31 endemic species. Because no river crosses the border with France, they remained native to the Iberian Peninsula. This includes, for example, the Spanish penguin.
Keep leafing, then you will find out what is growing in Spain and you can see even more Spanish animals!
What is growing there in Spain?
According to constructmaterials, the north-west and north of Spain have an Atlantic climate. It rains a lot. A dense deciduous forest is growing here, in which oaks and beeches predominate, especially pedunculate oaks and red beeches. There are also holly, chestnut, alder, yew, birch and mountain ash, as well as plane trees. Lower species are heather, ferns and gorse. Pine and eucalyptus trees have been reforested all over the country where forests have been cut down.
In the higher elevations of the mountains there are more and more coniferous trees such as firs, spruces and pines. Heath and juniper can also be found here. The higher the mountains, the lower the plants become. The tree line is at an altitude of 2300 meters: trees no longer grow above it, only low shrubs, mosses and lichens.
Where the climate is Mediterranean, palm trees, lavender, myrtle, rockrose and laurel grow. Cork oaks also feel very comfortable here in the drier landscape.
15 national parks protect nature in Spain. Plants that are threatened with extinction can also grow in them. Four of them are in the Canary Islands.
Plants of the Canaries
The Canary Islands have their very own flora with their volcanic subsoil and their remote location. Many plants are endemic here, which means that they only occur in the Canary Islands. 500 species alone are considered endemic. These include, for example, the Canarian pine and wild prets adder head. You can find a picture of this plant below.
Not endemic, but often found in the Canaries: olive trees, date palms, pistachio trees and Canarian dragon trees. The laurel forest is typical of Gomera, Tenerife and Palma. Azores laurel, Indian persea, Barbusano and stinking laurel grow here. Gagel trees can also be found.