Mammals of Andalusia

Bastion of the Iberian Lynx – kingdom of wild rabbits and their lot of (feathery and hairy) predators.

74 species of mammals

Iberian Lynx

Large herbivores in abundance

5 Iberian endemisms

Important diversity of forms

Check-list mammals of Andalusia

Mammals are generally discrete vertebrates and very difficult to observe. They have in common their constant body temperature, being covered with hair, being viviparous and feeding their young with milk. It is the most varied kind of animals in the world …

Think of the flying bats, the cetaceans that inhabit the seas, the lagomorphs that eat grass and their carnivorous predators … and with all the records: on one hand, the world’s largest species is the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) followed by the common whale (Balaenoptera physalus) that migrates through the Strait of Gibraltar; On the other hand, one of the smallest species is the etruscan shrew (Suncus etruscus) well distributed in the Iberian Peninsula. Many species of mammals are solitary but others live in large colonies.

It is difficult to observe live mammals in their habitat, both in Andalusia and in Europe. Paradoxically, the simplest group to contemplate is also generally the most inaccessible: the cetaceans of the Strait of Gibraltar, with seven species present, which can be observed on specialized excursions by boat.

mammals of Andalusia, otters

Among the mammals of Andalusia, otters (Lutra lutra) ares one of the most exciting to observe in the field.

Sperm whale in Andalusia

Deepwater diving of the sperm whale (Physeter catodon). Photo: Alexandra Farell.

European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), a key species of Iberian terrestrial ecosystems, with nervous behavior and always on the lookout for predators. Photo: Colter Olmstead / Unsplash.

Iberian lynx

Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), long considered the most endangered feline in the world. Photo: Enrique Calzado.

Let’s mention the Iberian mammal par excellence: the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), a lagomorph native to the peninsula and subsequently exported worldwide, and whose name in Phoenician formed the term Hispania, the “land of rabbits”. An herbivorous species that generally lives in colonies and constitutes the fundamental prey of the most emblematic Iberian predators, birds and mammals, starting with the most famous of them, the iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), a true specialist whose populations depend on the density of this lagomorph.

The iberian lynx, on the verge of extinction, considered for years as the most threatened feline in the world, is the subject of an ambitious conservation project, which has stopped the massacre, stabilized the populations of its last refuges in Sierra Morena and Doñana and government had also started a reintroduction program. The lynx is the symbol of nature conservation in Spain and it is possible to observe the species in its natural environment.

As for the wolf (Canis lupus), the latest news is not comforting and it seems that the species has disappeared from Andalusia. Luckily there are still large populations in Spain, located northwest of Madrid. Among the other carnivores, we can highlight the otter (Lutra lutra) an increasingly easy to observe species in the field.

Another emblematic species of mammal is the spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica), but the last specimen of the Pyrenean subspecies disappeared a few years ago. Ibex (Mountain goat) populations are quite important in the Betic Mountains and it is not uncommon to observe them in the wild.

More than thirty species of bats inhabit the Iberian Peninsula. One of the rarest in Europe is the large noctule (Nyctalus lasiopterus), which has populations in southern Andalusia.

Red deer (Cervus elaphus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa) are abundant in the forests of Andalusia. The rut of the deer, a prelude to mating after the first rains of autumn, marks the beginning of this season and the hydrological year.

Finally, let’s not forget the barbary macaque monkeys (Macaca sylvanus), introduced in Gibraltar and the only European primate in the wild (about 300 individuals). This species is increasingly located in its original range in North Africa.

 

Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica)

Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica), an agile wild goat and at ease in the rocks of the mountains.

wild boars (Sus scrofa)

In the absence of large predators, wild boars (Sus scrofa) are more and more abundant and can pose threats for the ecosystems.

Mammals in Andalusia

Mammals: List of species present in Andalusia

#

Group

Family

Species

Common name

Spanish name

Identification of adults

Main distribution

IUCN

1 Cetaceans Baleanopteridae Balaenoptera physalus Fin whale Rorcual común Unmistakable Cosmopolitan VU
2 Delphinidae Delphinus delphis Common dolphin Delfín común Easy Cosmopolitan Andalusia: CR
3 Delphinidae Globicephala melas Long-finned pilot whale Calderón de aleta larga Unmistakable Cosmopolitan
4 Delphinidae Grampus griseus Risso’s dolphin Calderón gris Easy Cosmopolitan
5 Delphinidae Orcinus orca Killer whale Orca Unmistakable Cosmopolitan
6 Delphinidae Stenella coeruleoalba Striped dolphin Delfín listado Easy Cosmopolitan Andalusia: VU
7 Delphinidae Tursiops truncatus Common bottlenose dolphin Delfín mular Easy Cosmopolitan Andalusia: VU
8 Phocaenidae Phocoena phocoena Harbour porpoise Marsopa Easy Northern hemisphere Spain: VU Andalusia: EN
9 Physeteridae Physeter catodon Sperm whale Cachalote Unmistakable Cosmopolitan EN
10 Ungulates Bovidae Ammotragus lervia Barbary sheep Arruí Easy Recently introduced, North Africa, Sahara EXOTIC
11 Bovidae Capra pyrenaica hispanica Iberian ibex Cabra montés mediterránea Unmistakable Iberia Spain: NT Andalusia: VU
12 Bovidae Ovis aries Moufflon Muflón Unmistakable Recently introduced, originally Corsica, Armenia EXOTIC
13 Capreolidae Capreolus capreolus Roe deer Corzo Unmistakable Europe Andalusia: VU
14 Cervidae Cervus elaphus Red deer Ciervo rojo Unmistakable Paleartic Andalusia: LR
15 Cervidae dama dama Fallow deer Gamo Unmistakable Historical introduction (XV century), Asie mineure, Europe
16 Suidae Sus scrofa Wild boar Jabalí Unmistakable W Paleartic
17 Carnivores Canidae Canis lupus Grey Wolf Lobo Dificult Northern hemisphere Spain: NT Andalusia: EXT?
18 Canidae Vulpes vulpes Red fox Zorro rojo Unmistakable Northern hemisphere, Australia
19 Felidae Felis silvestris European wildcat Gato montés Dificult Europe Spain: NT
20 Felidae Lynx pardinus Iberian lynx Lince ibérico Unmistakable Iberia EN
21 Herpestidae Herpestes ichneumon Egyptian mongoose Meloncillo Unmistakable Historical introduction, Africa, Iberia, Levant
22 Muestelidae Lutra lutra Otter Nutria Paleartic Unmistakable Paleartic Spain: NT Andalusia: VU
23 Muestelidae Martes foina Beech marten Garduña Unmistakable Europe
24 Muestelidae Meles meles Eurasian badger Tejón Unmistakable Paleartic
25 Muestelidae Mustela nivalis Weasel Comadreja Unmistakable Paleartic
26 Muestelidae Mustela putorius Polecat Turón Easy Europe NT
27 Phocidae Monachus monachus Mediterranean Monk Seal Foca monje Unmistakable Mediterranean bassin, North Africa Andalusia: EXT
28 Viverridae Genetta genetta Small-spotted genet Gineta Unmistakable Historical introduction, Africa, Iberia, France
29 Insectivores Erinaceidae Atelerix algirus Algerian hedgehog Erizo moruno Dificult Historical introduction (limited to the Spanish Mediterranean coast); North Africa Andalusia: EN
30 Erinaceidae Erinaceus Europeeus Western hedgehog Erizo europeo Dificult Europe
31 Soricidae Crocidura russula Greater white-toothed shrew Musaraña gris Dificult Europe, North Africa
32 Soricidae Crocidura suaveolens Lesser White-toothed shrew Musaraña de campo Dificult Paleartic
33 Soricidae Neomys anomalus Miller’s water shrew Musgaño de Cabrera Dificult Paleartic Andalusia: EN
34 Soricidae Suncus etruscus Pygmy white-toothed shrew Musgaño enano Dificult S Paleartic
35 Talpidae Talpa occidentalis Iberian mole Topo ibérico Unmistakable Iberia
36 Lagomorphs Leporidae Lepus granatensis Iberian hare Liebre ibérica Easy Iberia Andalusia: VU
37 Leporidae Oryctolagus cuniculus Wild rabbit Conejo de monte Easy Cosmopolitan, originally Iberia VU
38 Rodents Muridae Apodemus sylvaticus Wood mouse Ratón de campo Dificult Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa
39 Muridae Arvicola sapidus Southern water vole Rata de agua Tricky Iberia, France VU
40 Muridae Chionomys nivalis Snow vole Neverón Dificult Europe, Asia Minor Spain: NT Andalusia: EN
41 Muridae Microtus cabrerae Cabrera vole Topillo de Cabrera Dificult Iberia Spain: VU Andalusia: EN
42 Muridae Microtus duodecimcostatus Mediterranean pine vole Topillo mediterráneo Dificult Iberia, S France
43 Muridae Mus musculus House mouse Ratón casero Dificult Cosmopolitan
44 Muridae Mus spretus Algerian mouse Ratón moruno Dificult Circum-mediterranean
45 Muridae Rattus novergicus Brown rat Rata parda Dificult Cosmopolitan
46 Muridae Rattus rattus Black rat Rata negra Dificult Cosmopolitan
47 Myoxidae Eliomys quercinus Garden dormouse Lirón careto Unmistakable Europe NT
48 Sciuridae Sciurus vulgaris Red squirrel Ardilla roja Unmistakable Europe Andalusia: VU
49 Primates Cercopithecidae Macaca sylvanus Barbary macaque Mona de Berbería Unmistakable Introduced at Gibraltar, Maghreb
50 Bats Miniopteridae Miniopterus schreibersi Schreibers’ bat Murciélago de cueva Dificult Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia VU
51 Molosidae Tadarida teniotis European free-tailed bat Murciélago rabudo Dificult S Paleartic NT
52 Rhinolophidae Rhinolophus euryale Mediterranean horseshoe bat Murciélago de herradura mediterráneo Dificult SW Paleartic VU
53 Rhinolophidae Rhinolophus ferrumequinum Greater horseshoe bat Murciélago grande de herradura Dificult Paleartic Spain: NT Andalusia: VU
54 Rhinolophidae Rhinolophus hipposideros Lesser horseshoe bat Murciélago pequeño de herradura Dificult Paleartic Spain: NT Andalusia: VU
55 Rhinolophidae Rhinolophus mehelyi Mehely’s horseshoe bat Murciélago mediano de herradura Dificult Circum-mediterranean EN
56 Vespertilionidae Barbastella barbastellus Western Barbastelle Murciélago de bosque Dificult Europe Spain: NT Andalusia: VU
57 Vespertilionidae Eptesicus serotinus Serotine Murciélago hortelano Dificult Paleartic
58 Vespertilionidae Hypsugo savii Savi’s pipistrelle Murciélago de montaña Dificult Paleartic Spain: NT
59 Vespertilionidae Myotis bechsteini Bechstein’s bat Murciélago ratonero forestal Dificult Cosmopolitan Spain: VU Andalusia: EN
60 Vespertilionidae Myotis blythii Lesser mouse-eared bat Murciélago ratonero mediano Dificult Paleartic VU
61 Vespertilionidae Myotis capaccinii Long-fingered bat Murciélago patudo Dificult Europe, Middle East Spain: EN Andalusia: CR
62 Vespertilionidae Myotis daubentoni Daubenton’s bat Murciélago de ribera Dificult Paleartic
63 Vespertilionidae Myotis emarginatus Geoffroy’s bat Murciélago ratonero pardo Dificult W Paleartic VU
64 Vespertilionidae Myotis myotis Greater mouse-eared bat Murciélago ratonero grande Dificult Europe, Levant VU
65 Vespertilionidae Myotis mystacinus Whiskered bat Murciélago bigotudo Dificult Paleartic NT
66 Vespertilionidae Myotis nattereri Natterer’s bat  Murciélagos ratoneros grises Dificult W Paleartic Spain: NT Andalusia: VU
67 Vespertilionidae Nyctalus lasiopterus Greater noctule Nóctulo gigante Dificult W Paleartic VU
68 Vespertilionidae Nyctalus leisleri Leisler’s bat Nóctulo menor Dificult W Paleartic Spain: NT Andalusia: VU
69 Vespertilionidae Nyctalus noctula Noctule Nóctulo mediano Dificult Paleartic Andalusia: EXT
70 Vespertilionidae Pipistrellus kuhli Kuhl’s pipistrelle Murciélago de borde claro Dificult Paleartic
71 Vespertilionidae Pipistrellus nathusii Nathusius’s pipistrelle Murciélago enano de bosque Dificult W Paleartic NT
72 Vespertilionidae Pipistrellus pipistrellus Common pipistrelle Murciélago enano Dificult W Paleartic
73 Vespertilionidae Pipistrellus pygmaeus Soprano pipistrelle Murciélago de Cabrera Dificult W Paleartic
74 Vespertilionidae Plecotus austriacus Grey long-eared bat Murciélago orejudo gris Dificult W Paleartic NT

 

Notes

1: Reference publication: Atlas and Red databook of terrestrial mammals of Spain [Spanish].

IUCN: Risk to extinction, taking into account the Red Books of Andalusia (regional IUCN criteria), Spain (national IUCN criteria) and IUCN Red List (global analysis). LR: Lower Risk. NT: Near Threathened. VU: Vulnerable. EN: Endangered. EX: Extinct.

MORE INFO ON THE WEB

Observation.org

Spanish Societyfor the Study  of Mammals

Atlas and Red databook of terrestrial mammals of Spain

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