Last updated on March 24, 2023 by Wandering our World
While only 210 miles long and 95 miles wide, the fact Albania is heavily forested and sparsely populated means there’s plenty of animals and wildlife spotting opportunities when visiting!
That means when visiting Albania, you will find a wide variety of wildlife depending on which region you are in and what time of year you choose to visit. From sperm whales at the coastline to the rare Balkan Lynx inland.
Keep reading to learn more about the incredible animals in Albania you could encounter on your trip, and where you can go to find them.
- Common Animals In Albania
- Rare Animals In Albania
- Dangerous Animals In Albania
Common Animals In Albania To Try & Spot
1. Peregrine Falcons
Peregrine falcons are one of the world’s most common birds of prey. They are skilled hunters, flying above their potential prey and then diving down at speeds that reach up to 200 miles per hour, capturing it mid-flight.
These falcons thrive near coastlines but can be found in a wide variety of climates, and outside of their nesting season, they are recorded to travel quite a bit, which is why their name translates as meaning wanderer.
They grow up to 19.3 inches long, with a wingspan reaching 43.3 inches, and weigh up to 56.4 ounces.
If you are looking to catch a glimpse of these falcons, they can be seen throughout Albania perched on buildings, water towers, and cliffs.
Plovers are plump-breasted birds with long wings, slightly long legs, short necks, and straight bills.
They can grow between 15-30 centimeters long with a wingspan ranging between 42-48 centimeters, have broad, rounded wings and can be seen running along water lines feeding on small invertebrates.
In general, they can be found throughout ravines and river valleys and can be spotted by their yellow eye-ring, white belly and breast, and grayish brown wings and back.
Plovers prefer to stay near wetlands and grasslands, building their nests on open grounds with little to no plants around them.
When exploring keep an eye open for nests on open grounds, you might be stumbling upon a plover nest!
Egrets are large wading birds with white plumage that develop long plumes during their breeding season. They often frequent marshes, humid forests, and lakes.
Egrets can grow up to 40.9 inches long with a wingspan between 51.6 and 57.1 inches.
When standing, their necks create a long s curve shape and they have a sharp yellow-orange bill. Since they are large wading birds, they can be spotted walking through water waiting for prey to pass by before swiftly attacking using their beaks to grab it.
In Albania, it’s likely you will spot one of these birds wading for food or up in their nest, which is often built high up in trees to avoid any predators.
4. Beech Martens
Beech Martens, also known as a house marten, stone marten, or white-breasted marten are seen throughout Albania but are especially common in Logan’s National Park.
They have slightly longer tails than the pine marten and have an elongated, angular head with shorter, widely spaced ears.
Their nose is a light peach or grayish color and they have a white throat patch and furry feet. In size, males are typically larger in size than females, ranging between 430-590 mm in length, whereas females range between 380-470 mm long.
Beech martens are an adaptable species, they have a diet consisting of both plants and animals and weigh up to 2.5 kilograms.
Over time, due to some protective efforts, their population has been slowly increasing, so it is quite likely you’ll come across one of these animals on your trip to Albania.
Dolphins are small tooth cetaceans commonly recognized due to their friendly appearance and joyful presence.
They are very social creatures and are often seen living in pods with at least one dozen other dolphins and can be heard communicating with each other using a series of whistles, clicks, and squeaks.
Dolphins are incredibly smart, very playful, and can often be seen leaping out of the water and playing behind boats – scientists still aren’t sure if this is simply for fun, to shed parasites, or to communicate.
They are also quite curious and may venture close to you or your boat if they want to see what you are up to.
And unlike most ocean life, dolphins are warm-blooded creatures that nurse their young and when they reach adulthood dolphins can grow up to 32 feet and can weigh up to six tons!
In Albania, you will likely see dolphins swimming around the southern coast, jumping through the waves or rising to the surface to breathe.
6. Sperm Whale
Sperm whales have the largest brain of any creature known to live on Earth! They are an incredibly smart species and social creatures.
Oftentimes, you can spot sperm whales in groups, also known as pods, of 15-20 other whales. They also make a wide variety of sounds, some are used for communicating while others are used for echolocation, helping them locate objects around them.
Sperm whales get their name from spermaceti, a thick substance found in the top of their heads. At first, it was believed this was sperm, however, through more research scientists are unsure of exactly the purpose of the spermaceti.
It is believed that it helps with buoyancy, allowing them to deep dive and easily rise to the surface to breathe after feeding.
Sperm whales can grow 49-59 feet long and weigh anywhere between 35-45 tons. They are the largest toothed whales, they have gray bodies and square heads with a narrow lower jaw.
Seeing a sperm whale is possible if you find a whale-watching cruise to take you where they frequent.
Rare Animals In Albania You Will Be Lucky To See!
1. Mediterranean Monk Seal
The Mediterranean monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world weighing 530- 660 pounds, growing 7-9 feet long, and can live up to thirty years old.
They are listed as an endangered species and have even had to adapt where they give birth due to human interference. Before, monk seals would give birth on open beaches, but now they choose to give birth in caves that are often inaccessible to humans.
Monk seals have a short bristle-like coat and adult males have a black coat with a white central patch and females have a brown or gray coat and a light-colored belly.
They have short and flat, but pronounced nostrils with short flippers and small claws. Throughout the year, their fur changes slightly in color, some months it will appear more vibrant than others.
In Albania, sightings of the Mediterranean monk seal have been reported along the coast, so although rare, there is the potential you could come across one of these fascinating animals!
2. Golden Eagles
Golden eagles are the national symbol of Albania and although they are one of the most widely distributed eagles, their species is now on the verge of extinction.
They can be found building large nests on cliffs, but have been spotted in grasslands, farmlands, and woodlands.
In appearance, golden eagles are dark brown with light brown plumage, and they can grow to be 66-102 centimeters long with a wingspan reaching 1.8-2.34 meters and their weight anywhere between 5.5 pounds and 14 pounds with females often weighing more.
Interestingly, these birds are not known for having loud voices and are often recorded as staying quiet.
These eagles are quite fascinating and are one of the best fliers among eagles. Their name comes from the golden color on the back of their crown.
3. Spinetail Devil Ray
The spinetail devil ray is an endangered ray found in coastal waters, often between the depths of 0-50 meters. Although they prefer to stay in shallower waters, on occasion they have been recorded to reach depths of 600-700 meters.
The average width of the spinetail devil ray is between 180-280 centimeters, and they can reach up to 300 kilograms in weight. They have a thick black band that stretches from eye to eye across the back of their head and their ventral surface is bright white in color, while their dorsal surface is a cool blue.
Despite their name, these rays are harmless to humans. If you come across one keep your distance and observe its unique beauty!
4. Balkan Lynx
The Balkan lynx is considered is one of the largest cats in the Balkans and can be found in the northern mountainous region of Albania. They like to stay in various types of forests and bush habitats.
The Balkan lynx populations are still quite low, but they are slowly rising after a sharp decline in the 1920s-1930s when it was estimated only 15-20 lynxes were alive. This lynx is still protected since it is an endangered species, so it is illegal to hunt or poach them.
They are nocturnal, spending their days sleeping and then prowling for prey in their territory in the evenings.
Sightings of these cats are incredibly rare, as they prefer to avoid conflict and heavily populated areas. If you do happen to see one resting during the day, or scavenging in the evening keep your distance.
Take the time to watch without infringing on their space, you do not want them to feel threatened otherwise they may try to defend themselves.
5. Brown Bear
Brown bears are large omnivores that live up to 25 years, grow anywhere from 5-8 feet, and weigh up to 700 pounds.
These bears are found living in forests and mountains, specifically in the northern mountainous region of Albania.
They are usually solitary animals, except for females and their cubs, so you will not see them exploring with other bears. However, on rare occasions, they will congregate in areas together.
Despite their size, brown bears are extremely fast creatures and can reach speeds of up to thirty miles per hour
In the fall, when brown bears are preparing for hibernation they can eat 90 pounds of food each day! For hibernation, brown bears dig dens where they will hibernate for the next few months.
In Albania, there are legislations in place to protect these animals from harm as a result of humans. Although brown bears do not seek out danger, if a mother bear feels she or her cubs are threatened she will become violent quickly.
If you find yourself in the mountainous region of Albania, it’s likely you’ll at least see traces of these bears. Stay alert, be safe and keep your distance!
6. Dalmatian Pelican
Dalmatian pelicans are the largest of the pelican family and are considered to be the largest freshwater bird.
They are large, elegant birds that can be spotted elegantly soaring in the sky, and they have white and silver feathers around the body, and gray legs and the bottom of their bill is orange.
Males are often larger than females, but they can range anywhere between 160-183 centimeters long, and 7-15 kilograms in weight, and their wingspan ranges from 245-351 centimeters.
7. Green Sea Turtle
Green sea turtles are found off the coast of Albania and are the largest hard-shelled sea turtles in the world. They can grow between 3 and 4 feet long and weigh anywhere from 300-350 pounds, live up to 70 years.
These turtles have a diet mainly consisting of seagrass and algae – they eat so many greens, it gives them a green coloring!
Green sea turtles are one of the species known to nest in Albania, and although they are rare to see, during the breeding season it is possible!
The breeding season for green turtles is in the late spring and sea turtles return back towards the beach they were born on years before.
They are an endangered species though, so it is important to exercise caution if you see these animals while visiting Albania.
8. Illyrian Shepherd Dog
The Illyrian shepherd dog, also known as the Šarplaninac, is a livestock dog commonly found in Albania.
Traditionally, these dogs were used to guard cattle and sheep. They are very large dogs, and their front legs account for 55 percent of their height! They often weigh between 30-45 kilograms, and range between 58-62 centimeters tall, with males growing larger than females.
The Illyrian shepherd dog has a very dense coat, with fur around four inches long. Throughout history, these dogs were used often in farms to help herd animals and protect them from potential predators. Now, this is less common.
The Illyrian shepherd dog is native to Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo. Although these shepherd dogs are kept as a pet, you’ll still likely come across one of these dogs in more rural areas of Albania.
Dangerous Animals In Albania To Watch Out For!
1. Fire Salamanders
Fire salamanders are found commonly throughout Albania often in more hilly areas, staying close to forests, under fallen leaves, and near tree trunks.
They can range anywhere between 15-30 centimeters and spend most of their time hidden, staying in elevations between 250-1,000 meters.
For the development of their larvae, fire salamanders stay close to small brooks and other bodies of calm, clean water.
Fire salamanders also process an alkaloid toxin, which leads to strong muscle convulsions when you come into contact with it.
These toxins are often concentrated in certain areas on the body of the fire salamander, usually on their dorsal skin and heads.
They can be recognized by the black and white pattern on their skin, and both males and females look very similar in their appearance.
If you end up encountering one of these animals when in Albania it’s best to keep your distance.
2. Nose Horned Viper
The nose-horned viper has incredibly large fangs, reaching 13 millimeters, and is quite venomous! On average, these snakes reach lengths of 40 centimeters long, but it has been documented reaching lengths of 66 centimeters in some cases.
They have small heads and irregular scales, and around each eye, there are 10-13 scales. These vipers are most often recognized by the horn on their snout and males and females have different patterns going down the body.
These snakes are poisonous when they bite, however, unless provoked they are relatively calm and keep to themselves.
They can be seen in both the mornings and evenings depending on the time of the year and what altitude they are living in.
In higher altitudes, it is more likely you’ll spot them out in the day, and in lower altitudes, the evenings are more common.
The nose-horned viper is considered to be one of the most venomous snakes in Europe, with a toxin level that results in pain, swelling, dizziness, tingling, and in incredibly rare cases could lead to death without treatment.
Keep an eye out when walking along trails, these vipers can be found on rocky trails or hillsides with little vegetation. It’s best to be cautious and avoid accidentally stepping on a nose-horned viper.
3. Angel Shark
Angel sharks have a unique appearance, with flat heads and bodies that can reach 2.5 meters in length. They have pectoral and pelvic fins that resemble wings and they have two dorsal fins on their tail as well as a caudal fin.
On the top of the head is where their eyes are located and behind their eyes are spiracles, which ventilate the gills!
Angel sharks like to lay on the ocean floor waiting for prey to pass by above them before ambushing.
These animals are found off the coast of Albania and can be seen in temperate waters on continental shelves. They are not considered a threat to humans, but if they feel threatened they have a powerful bite that can result in a lot of pain, even leading to infection if not treated soon enough.
When swimming around Albania, check the floor of the ocean before stepping down with all your weight to avoid any unintended accidents!
4. Eurasian Wolves
Eurasian wolves are the largest of the old-world gray wolves. They are incredibly large, averaging between 32-50 kilograms but sometimes, they can reach a weight of 80 kilograms!
In length, they range from 105-160 centimeters and they have short coarse fur that is golden brown in color.
They have narrow heads that taper to form a nose, and they have pointed ears higher on the head.
For a while, the population of Eurasian wolves was in a steady decline. However, since then, protections have been put in place for these wolves across Europe, helping the populations rise again.
Eurasian wolves are known to be dangerous to livestock, often eating grazing animals they find. In recent years, there haven’t been many attacks on humans, however, they have been reported attacking humans in the past, some of which resulted in death.
These wolves can be seen in Lurë-Dejë National Park, so if you plan to visit stay aware of your surroundings to avoid a potentially dangerous encounter with one of these wolves.
Animals In Albania: Our Final Thoughts
Albania is filled with diverse wildlife that is vital for supporting the ecosystem there.
When planning your trip, keep an eye out for all the unique animals you could find while remaining respectful of their space.
Some of these animals in Albania are endangered and need to be protected, while others can be incredibly dangerous, resulting in a lot of harm if things go poorly.
Ultimately, enjoy the beauty of Albania, stay aware of your surrounding, and enjoy the outdoors!