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Wildlife in the Philippines (16 Notable Species)

The Philippines are home to many different species of animals due to the wide variety of habitats found there. With that, wildlife in the Philippines consists of many different animals, including different kinds of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.

This article will introduce you to a few of the more notable animals found in the Philippines, the country known as the “Pearl of the Orient Seas,” ranging from the small and rare tamaraws to the massive and majestic Philippine eagles.

Wildlife in the Philippines

1. Philippine eagle

Philippine eagle
Philippine eagle | image by Sinisa Djordje Majetic via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Pithecophaga jefferyi 

The Philippine eagle is the national bird of the Philippines and is also known as the monkey-eating eagle. This eagle is found primarily on Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao islands, where it inhabits primary forests at low and mid-elevations.

Their nests, which can be up to 4.9 feet across, are constructed in high trees with wide canopies. The wingspan of a mature Philippine eagle can reach 7.3 feet, and the bird itself can reach a maximum length of 3.4 feet.

2. Whaleshark

Whale shark along with fishes
A whale shark along with fishes | image by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Rhincodon typus  

Whale sharks are a type of shark that lives in tropical waters, so it’s common to see them in the Philippines. They can be found at depths of more than 50 meters and are known to be the largest fish in the world, growing up to 40 feet long.

Whale sharks can be identified by their grayish or bluish upper parts with white spots and a white belly. These sharks also use filter-feeding to eat small shrimp, fish, and plankton.

3. Philippine long-tailed macaque

Philippine long-tailed macaque
Philippine long-tailed macaque | image by shankar s. via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Macaca fascicularis philippensis 

There is a species of monkey that’s native to the Philippines and is known as the Philippine long-tailed macaque. The length of these monkeys’ tails can reach up to 1.97 feet, while their bodies typically range from 35 to 47 inches.

Fruits, crabs, flowers, and leaves make up the majority of these animals’ diets, and they can be found living in a variety of forest and woodland habitats, as well as mangrove forests.

4. Eurasian tree sparrow

Eurasian tree sparrow perched on wood
A eurasian tree sparrow perched on wood | image by Blondinrikard Fröberg via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Passer montanus  

Eurasian tree sparrows are among the species of bird that can be seen throughout the Philippines. They’re small birds, weighing only up to 14 cm, with brownish upperparts streaked with black, and their wings are brown with two narrow white bars on them.  Eurasian tree sparrows live in small towns, villages, and parks with trees and eat seeds and grains they find on the ground.

5. Tokay gecko

Tokay gecko on a tree trunk
Tokay gecko on a tree trunk | image by tontantravel via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Gekko gecko  

The Tokay gecko is a large species of gecko found in Southeast Asia. These reptiles are the third largest species of gecko and can reach a maximum size of 12 inches in length. Their skins are typically bluish-gray with orange and red speckles, but these colors can change depending on the environment in which they’re trying to blend in.

Tokay geckos are nocturnal animals with a reputation for being aggressive and territorial. Their bites are known to be capable of piercing the skin of humans.

6. Philippine warty pig

Philippine warty pig in the field
Philippine warty pig in the field | image by Julia Sumangil via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific Name: Sus philippensis  

The Philippine warty pig is a wild pig species that lives only in the Philippines. These strong animals usually live in grasslands, forests, and mountainous areas, where they eat grass roots, leaves, and tubers. These wild pigs are most active at night, but you can spot them during the day as well.

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You’ll recognize them by their bristly and black fur with white and silver hairs scattered along their sides. They’re also solitary animals that may be seen in groups of 7 to 12 during the breeding season.

7. Tarsier

Philippine tarsier on a tree
Philippine tarsier on a tree | image by Ray in Manila via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Carlito syrichta  

Tarsier is a nocturnal animal that lives on the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao in the Philippines. Since their maximum height is only 6.30 inches, these small primates are considered to be one of the smallest primate species.

Tarsiers have big eyes that are fixed on their skulls. Since they can’t move their eye sockets, these animals can turn their necks up to 180° to look around. They’re also shy and secretive, so they’re rarely seen even in their natural habitats.

8. Philippine flying lemur

philippine Flying Femur climbing a tree
Philippine Flying Lemur climbing a tree | image by James Telford via iNaturalist | CC BY 4.0

Scientific Name: Cynocephalus volans  

The Philippine flying lemur, also called the Philippine colugo or kagwang, is a tree-dwelling mammal that looks like a cross between a squirrel and a bat. It’s also one of the mammals in the world with web-like membranes stretching from its neck to its limbs, letting it glide over distances of 100 m or more.

These lemurs live in places with a lot of trees, like coconut and rubber plantations. They eat young leaves, soft fruits, flowers, plant shoots, and insects.

9. Philippine cobra

Philippine cobra in a defensive posture
Philippine cobra in a defensive posture | image by Mario Lutz via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific Name: Naja philippinensis

The Philippine cobra is a type of snake that’s only found in the Philippines. It’s a highly venomous snake that lives mostly on the islands of Luzon, Mindoro, Catanduanes, and Masbate.

Most of the time, they live in open fields, grasslands, dense jungles, agricultural fields, areas near water sources, and sometimes even in places where people live. This species can spit venom at a target up to 9.8 feet away, and they’re known to be aggressive when threatened or handled.

10. Yellow-lipped sea krait

Yellow-lipped sea krait underwater
Yellow-lipped sea krait underwater | image by Elias Levy via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Laticauda colubrina 

The yellow-lipped sea krait is a venomous snake living in the Philippines’ waters. While these snakes do most of their hunting underwater, they come up for rest, digestion, and reproduction on dry land.

Yellow-lipped sea kraits are often seen in open oceans, shallow coastal waters, coral islands, coral reefs, and mangrove areas, where they eat eels and small fish. Even though these animals are venomous, they aren’t aggressive and won’t attack unless they feel threatened.

11. Water buffalo

Water Buffalo
A water buffalo | Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Bubalus bubalis  

Water buffalo, also called carabao, are common in the rural areas of the Philippines, especially on farms and wet grasslands. These animals have pinkish skin and white or yellowish hair, but they’re often covered in mud because they like to lie in waterholes to cool off and get rid of the heat in their bodies.

12. Philippine crocodile

Philippine crocodile on the ground
Philippine crocodile on the ground | image by paweesit via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Crocodylus mindorensis 

The Philippine crocodile is a reptile species inhabiting freshwater environments such as rivers, ponds, and marshes. They have a brown skin color with black markings, broad snouts, and can grow to be as long as 10 feet. These reptiles spend the majority of the day basking in the sun, but they’ll occasionally open their mouths to eliminate some of the heat.

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13. Dugong

Dugong underwater
Dugong underwater | Photo by Kris-Mikael Krister on Unsplash

Scientific Name: Dugong dugon 

One of the marine mammals that you can find in the calm, shallow waters of the Indian and western Pacific coasts is the dugong. Given their herbivorous diet and large size (up to 500 kg), these animals are sometimes referred to as sea cows. Adult males have tusks, and they can be identified by their torpedo-shaped bodies, paddle-like forelimbs, and fluked tails closely similar to dolphins.

14. Reticulated python

A reticulated python
A reticulated python | image by Florida Fish and Wildlife via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Broghammerus reticulatus    

The reticulated python is a massive snake that you can find throughout Southeast Asia. It’s widely regarded as the largest snake in the world, with some species reaching lengths of up to 32 feet in length.

Reticulated pythons are constrictors, which means they wrap around their prey and squeeze until it stops breathing. They mainly eat almost any animal they can find in their natural habitat.

15. Tamaraw

Tamaraw bull in the grass field
A tamaraw bull in the grass field | image by Gregg Yan via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientific Name: Bubalus mindorensis  

Tamaraw is a rare species of animal that lives on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines. They’re also known as Mindoro dwarf buffalo. Compared to other wild buffalo, they’re known to be relatively small, reaching a maximum height of just 41 inches at the most.

Tamaraws are found in areas with a combination of grassland and mixed forests, and their diet consists of young bamboo shoots, sugarcane, and grasses.

16. Golden-crowned flying fox

Giant golden crowned flying fox
Giant golden crowned flying fox | image by Luke Marcos Imbong via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific Name: Acerodon jubatus  

With a wing span that can reach up to 5 feet 6 inches, the golden-crowned flying fox isn’t only the largest species of bat found in the Philippines but also one of the largest in the world. They feed on the fruits of mature trees in lowland forests, particularly those of fig trees and banyan trees. Their names are also derived from their black and golden fur.

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About Louise

Louise writes about a wide variety of topics including wildlife, animals, and nature. She's developed a growing interest in animal biology and categorization due to her fascination with how they interact with one another and with their surroundings.