Introduction to Israeli wildlife

Infant ibex

Young gazelle

Middle Eastern wildlife conjures up images of camels and perhaps some other 'exotic' desert animals such as assorted snakes, kangaroo rats etc, but a look at native animals shows how mistaken this stereotype is. Israel's diverse selection of wildlife is in many ways due to the variety of landscapes and climates, as well as Israel's location at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe.

Here you'll find two species of badger, one common from Western Europe, through Israel, to Japan, the other found in most of Africa, through the Middle East to India, and we have both both temperate and desert species of hedgehog, European and desert foxes. Native animals include a mix of animals from three continents such as Mediterranean horseshoe bats, Caspian turtles, Be'er Sheba fringe fingered lizard, Indian crested porcupines, African softshell turtles, Arabian oryx, Mt Hermon mice, Egyptian mongoose, Cape Hares, Persian squirrels, Balkan emerald lizards, Asian garden dormice, and European otters.

Roughtail rock agama or hardon

I love watching and photographing animals, and learning all I can about the local wildlife. This site is based on my personal observations and the many things I've learnt from visits to nature reserves, zoos and conservation centres, as well as as from my biblical studies.

On the following pages I've written an overview of Israeli fauna designed to serve as a basic introduction to the local wildlife. I've included information on local conservation efforts and creatures featured in the bible. Where possible I've included suggestions on where to see certain species. There is also an extensive links section featuring Israeli nature reserves and species specific websites.

Rock Hyrax
Rock Hyrax at Banias, northern Israel
Crab at the Ein Gedi oasis

Table of Contents

Copyright 2003 by Leiah Elbaum. Text and photographs on this page are by Leiah Elbaum. Last updated 2 March 2003.

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