9 Interesting Animals in Middle East – You May Not Know About

The Middle East is a region teeming with fascinating wildlife, each species uniquely adapted to thrive in its harsh and diverse habitats.

From the elusive Arabian leopard to the enduring camels, these animals capture our imagination and highlight the incredible biodiversity of the area. However, many of these species face dire threats from habitat loss, poaching, and environmental changes.

In this article, we will explore some of the most interesting animals found in the Middle East. We’ll dive into their unique characteristics, understand their roles in the ecosystem, and discuss the conservation efforts that are vital for their survival.

Where to Find Interesting Animals in the Middle East?

interesting animals in middle east

Discover the captivating wildlife, where ancient landscapes house some diverse, interesting animals. The countries that come under the Middle East are about 18 to 20 countries.

  1. Bahrain
  2. Cyprus
  3. Egypt
  4. Iran
  5. Iraq
  6. Israel
  7. Jordan
  8. Kuwait
  9. Lebanon
  10. Oman
  11. Palestine
  12. Qatar
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. Syria
  15. Turkey (partly in the Middle East)
  16. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  17. Yemen

9 Most Interesting Animals in Middle East

The Middle East has a rich biodiversity, including Arabian leopards, Egyptian vultures, and more. Join us and discover the 9 most interesting animals found in middle east.

Arabian Leopard

interesting animals in middle east

Commons Arabian leopards are one of the most interesting animals in Israel. This species of leopard are highly elusive and nocturnal, which makes it difficult for anyone to spot them in the wild.

These wild animals are classified as They are critically endangered species. by the IUCN since 1996. The Arabian Leopard’s population, an endangered species, is around 200 leopards. It once roamed the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, but unfortunately can now only be found in one location in Israel, Yemen, and Oman.

Striped Hyena

interesting animals in middle east

The Striped Hyena is one of the most interesting animals found in the Middle East and boasts intriguing characteristics. They are known to roam through rugged terrains, often seeking refuge in caves and crevices.

Its distinct, coarse fur features alternating bands, providing camouflage in arid landscapes. With powerful jaws, it can crush bones. Their diet primarily consists of ibex, mountain goats, wild sheep, and smaller mammals

The striped hyenas usually mark their territories with the help of the scent gland secretions from their anal pouch. Meanwhile, other types of animals, such as the sand gazelle, have been re-introduced to Middle Eastern desert preserves.

Jackal Egyptian Vulture

interesting animals in middle east

Despite its name, it’s not closely related to jackals or vultures but belongs to the family Accipitridae. It can be found in diverse habitats, including open landscapes, grasslands, savannas, deserts, and even urban areas. They prefer areas with access to carrion, which constitutes a significant portion of their diet.

It is one of the most interesting animals that live in the Middle East, southwestern Europe, North Africa, and India. It’s known for its distinct appearance, characterized by its white plumage, bare yellow face, and sharp beak.

These vultures are known for their remarkable intelligence and resourcefulness. They have been observed using tools, such as stones, to break open the thick-shelled ostrich eggs.

The Egyptian Vulture is listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Threats to this species include habitat loss, poisoning from agricultural chemicals, electrocution from power lines, and illegal trade.


interesting animals in middle east

Camels are one of the most interesting animals that are abundantly found in the Middle East. Their dual rows of long eyelashes shield against desert sands, while their nostrils can close to protect them from sand.

These camels are often referred to as “ships of the desert” due to their ability to travel long distances without water. Their humps are not actually filled with water, as commonly believed, but rather with fat.

This fat serves as an energy reserve that the camel’s body can metabolize when food and water are scarce. Their broad, padded feet navigate scorching sands with ease.

Do you know the nomadic tribes herded cattle, camels, and goats through the deserts.

Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) focuses on conserving the diverse flora and fauna of the Dubai desert. It provides a safe haven for numerous native animal species. Some of the native animals are adapted to extreme desert conditions, including the Arabian Oryx, gazelles, sand gazelles, and other small mammals, reptiles, and insects.

The Syrian Brown Bear

interesting animals in middle east

The Syrian Brown Bears are one of the interesting animals, particularly found in countries such as Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq.

It is the smaller subspecies of the brown bear. Its body is muscular and adapted for a variety of activities, including foraging and climbing.

These unique animals inhabited a wide range of habitats, from mountainous regions to forests and grasslands. However, due to habitat destruction and human encroachment, their range has significantly diminished.

Wadi Wurayah National Park

Wadi Wurayah National Park

Wadi Wurayah National Park is a stunning protected area located in the Emirate of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. This park was established in 2009 and serves as a vital sanctuary for various plant and animal species.

It is renowned for its year-round flowing streams and waterfalls, making it a rare gem in the arid climate of the United Arab Emirates. The water sources are of immense ecological significance, supporting a wide variety of flora and fauna.

This national park boasts a remarkable diversity of species, some of which are rare or even endangered. The park is home to over 100 species of birds, including the critically endangered Egyptian vulture. Additionally, some mammals, such as the Arabian tahr, a type of wild goat, and the caracal, a medium-sized wild cat, also find refuge here.

Pakistani Sand Cat

interesting animals in middle east

Pakistani sand cats get their water needs from rodents, mammals, and insects in their diet. They live in the middle east desert, so their habitat in this specific ecosystem is deemed safe. But they are hunted as pets and by livestock traders who consider them a threat. There is no proper tracked record of their population.

Its fur varies in color, ranging from pale beige to grayish, with faint stripes on its legs and a bushy, black-tipped tail. The Pakistani Sand Cat, which is primarily nocturnal and active during the nighttime, is also known as one of the endangered species in the Middle East. This behavior helps them to avoid the extreme heat of the desert during the day.

Slender-Horned Gazelle

interesting animals in middle east

The slender-horned gazelles live in sandy and stony desert lands of Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, and Libya. These gazelles are interesting animals that live in Middle East and rely on a plant-based diet for water.

They are named “slender-horned” due to the distinctive and elegant appearance of their horns. These horns are present in both males and females, although they are generally longer in males and curve gracefully backward.

Their coat coloration varies based on habitat and season, ranging from sandy beige to light reddish-brown. This adaptive coloration helps them blend seamlessly into the desert landscapes where they reside.

Arabian Oryx

interesting animals in middle east

The Arabian Oryx is mainly found in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula. It is one of the most interesting animals in Middle East and has long, straight horns.

With some believing that it was the model for the legendary Unicorn. Its horns, also known as a precious commodity, leading to its breed becoming endangered due to overhunting. Because of the overhunting, these iconic mammals of the middle east are closer to extinction.

The Arabian oryx, a type of long-horned antelope, is the official national animal of the UAE. In the past, Bedouins of the Arabian peninsula hunted the Arabian oryx for its meat and fur coat.

The Arabian Oryx faced a dire situation in the 20th century due to overhunting and habitat loss. By the early 1970s, their population had plummeted to just a handful of individuals in the wild.

However, an intensive and collaborative conservation effort known as “Operation Oryx” was launched to save the species from extinction.

Syrian Spadefoot Frog

interesting animals in middle east

This amphibian species is native to the Middle East, particularly found in countries like Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. It is one of the most interesting animals in middle east and a distinct member of the spadefoot toad family (Pelobatidae).

These frogs are known for their distinctive features and intriguing behaviors. One of its most distinctive features is its specialized “spade” on each of its rear feet. This spade is adapted for digging and is used by the spadefoot to burrow into the ground to escape the heat and dry conditions.

The Syrian Spadefoot is well adapted to arid and semi-arid environments, often found in sandy or loose soil habitats. It is predominantly a nocturnal creature, emerging from its burrows at night to feed and engage in various activities.

Endangered Animals in Middle East

There are many interesting animals in middle eastern countries that fall under the category of endangered animals. These interesting animals struggle to survive in the changing landscapes. For example, the Arabian leopard, a symbol of strength and rarity, faces habitat loss and fragmentation.

Another example is the Asiatic cheetah that roams around Iran, and its numbers are dwindling due to poaching and habitat degradation. Moreover, the Egyptian vulture battles threats from electrocution and poisoning.

Last but not least, the Arabian oryx, once declared extinct in the wild, makes a cautious comeback through dedicated conservation efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which animals are found in Middle East?

There many interesting animals found in the Middle East include the desert fox, hyena, camel, falcon, and more.

What is the national animal of the Middle East?

The national animal of the Middle East varies by country, such as the fennec fox in Algeria, the striped hyena in Lebanon, the Palestine sunbird in Palestine, the Arabian oryx in Qatar, the dromedary camel in Saudi Arabia, and the peregrine falcon in the UAE.

What are important animals in Arab culture?

Important animals in Arab culture include the fennec fox, which represents resourcefulness. Another one is the striped hyena, despite being disliked, has symbolic significance, and the Palestine sunbird symbolizes Palestinian resistance.

What is the top predator Middle East?

The top predator in the Middle East is the peregrine falcon, known for its incredible speed and hunting abilities.

What are the natural habitats of Camels?

The natural habitat of camels is the arid desert regions, where they have evolved to thrive in harsh climates and are used for transportation, milk, meat, and other purposes.

Olivia Kepner