Animals in Papua New Guinea

Below you can find a complete list of Papua New Guinean animals. We currently track 104 animals in Papua New Guinea and are adding more every day!

Papua New Guinea is a small island nation in Oceania. With about 850 spoken languages, it is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. PNG shares a land border with Indonesia, which owns the western half of the island. Much of the country is dominated by dense tropical rainforests and wetlands, while a large mountain range known as the New Guinea Highlands runs along the entire length of the interior. Along with the rest of the Asian Pacific region, New Guinea is a place of immense biodiversity. A greater concentration of unique species can be found here than almost anywhere else.

The Official National (State) Animal of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has a few important national symbols, including the dugong and Count Raggi’s bird of paradise.

Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has set aside some 71 protected areas and national parks, which encompass about 5,500 square miles.

  • The Tonda Wildlife Management Area, located in the Western Province, is one of the most significant wetlands on the planet and also the largest protected area in the entire country. Amid the 2,200 square miles of swamps, grasslands, Monson forests, and mangrove areas, visitors can find the quoll, hare-wallaby, dunnart, crocodile, and many other mammals and birds of paradise.
  • The Maza protected wildlife area covers more than 700 square miles of coral reefs and marine environments to the east of Tonda. Visitors can find dugongs, sea turtles, and other marine animals here.
  • The Kamiali Wildlife Management Area is located on the Huon Gulf Coast in Morobe Province. Across 180 square miles of sandy coasts, coral reefs, lakes, rivers, wetland, and tropical rainforests, visitors can find a rich array of reef fish, sea turtles, and other rare fauna.
  • Lake Kutubu, located in the Southern Highlands Province, is surrounded by mountains in a rugged depression. It was deemed a wetland of international significance for its unique selection of freshwater fish, including the rainbowfish, the mogurnda, and the grunter.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Papua New Guinea Today

While Papua New Guinea contains very few large predators (besides the crocodile), it does have several smaller, poisonous animals that pose a danger to people. Of 80 recognized snakes, the country is home to six venomous species. Together they are responsible for about a thousand deaths per year. Interestingly, PNG contains one of the few poisonous birds in the world, the hooded pitohui. It’s believed that the bird derives this poison from something it eats.

  • Coastal Taipan – Sporting a uniform olive or reddish-brown color, the coastal taipan is one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. The venom affects the body by attacking the nervous system and the blood clotting ability. Nearly all cases of untreated bites eventually prove to be fatal.
  • Papuan Black Snake – A member of the same family as the coastal taipin, the black snake can deliver a powerful neurotoxin that causes muscle weakness and paralysis. Although not quite as deadly as its cousin, the venom can be life-threatening if delivered in a large enough dose.
  • Death Adders – Papua New Guinea is home to both the smooth-scaled and rough-scaled death adder. These snakes lie in wait and strike their targets very quickly with their dangerous venom.
  • New Guinea Crocodile – Measuring up to 11 feet long, this crocodile is strong, aggressive, and not to be messed with. Fortunately, attacks on humans are relatively rare.

Endangered Animals in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s diverse fauna has long been under threat from deforestation and hunting. Trees are often cut down for logging or in order to create new grazing grounds or to replace them with highly demanding plantation crops like palm oil. The following is just a small list of the currently endangered species.

  • Giant Bandicoot – This is largely regarded as the largest species of bandicoot in the world. While not much is known about it since it was discovered, this long-nosed, rodent-like marsupial is in danger of becoming extinct.
  • Black-spotted Cuscus – Closely related to the brushtail possums, the cuscus is a marsupial with a long tail and rounded head. It is currently in danger of becoming extinct from hunting and habitat loss.
  • Tree Kangaroos – These arboreal mammals aren’t quite as well-known as their ground-hopping counterpart. In PNG, it lives in the remote mountainous forests of the interior. Unfortunately, this also makes it highly vulnerable to deforestation and overhunting. Three species of this genus are currently endangered: Matschie’s tree kangaroo, Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo, and the tenkile.
  • Northern Glider – Closely related to the more well-known sugar glider, this is a unique species of marsupial with the ability to glide through the air from high treetops by using their specialized skin flaps, which extend between the forelegs and the hind legs. It is currently in danger of becoming extinct because of its very limited range.
  • New Guinea Big-eared Bat – Little is known about these small-bodied, big-eared bats, but they are currently endangered from habitat loss.

Papua New Guinean Animals

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Bandicoot

Bandicoot Many species are endangered or extinct!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Bird Of Paradise

There are around 50 different species!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 20,000 species!

Camel Cricket

The camel crickets that are found in the USA are light brown in color. They also have dark streaks all over their body.

Cassowary

Can reach speeds of 30mph!

Cat

First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!

Caterpillar

The larvae of a moth or butterfly!

Catfish

There are nearly 3,000 different species!

Centipede

There are about 3,000 documented species!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Cockatoo

Highly social, smart, and chatty bird.

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Cow

There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings

Crane

Many are critically endangered species!

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Cuscus

Has a long, strong prehensile tail!

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Donkey

First domesticated 5,000 years ago!

Dragonfly

It's larvae are carnivorous!

Duck

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eel

Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Frilled Lizard

Mainly lives in the trees!

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Bat

Among the largest bats in the world

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Golden Masked Owl

While flying high above this owl can hear a mouse moving in the tall grass of field!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Hare

Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Highland Cattle

Natively found in the Scottish Highlands!

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Horse

Has evolved over 50 million years!

Horsefly

Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.

Human

Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!

Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra is one of four kookaburra species.

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Locust

Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.

Lorikeet

The lorikeet has a long brush-like tongue with fine hairs on it

Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Marine Toad

Produces a toxin used in arrow darts!

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

Monarch Butterfly

During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.

Mongrel

Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

Monitor Lizard

Some species are thought to carry a weak venom!

Monkey

There are around 260 known species!

Moorhen

Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Pademelon

Inhabits the jungles of the far east!

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth

Pheasant

Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pigeon

They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.

Possum

There are 69 species on the Australian continent!

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Quoll

Found across Australia and Papua New Guinea!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!

Robin

There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!

Rodents

The capybara, the world’s largest rodent, likes to be in and around bodies of water. Because of this, the Catholic Church in South America decided that it was a fish, and people were allowed to eat it during Lent and First Fridays.

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Dragon

Inhabits tropical coastal waters of Australia!

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Skink Lizard

Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!

Striped Rocket Frog

Long powerful hind legs!

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tarsier

Each eye weighs more than their whole brain!

Termite

Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Thrush

The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.

Tortoise

Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!

Tree Kangaroo

It’s the only macropod that lives in trees.

Wallaby

There are roughly 30 different species!

Wasp

There are around 75,000 recognised species!

Water Buffalo

Has been domesticated for thousands of years!

Water Dragon

Spends most of it's time in the trees!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Woodlouse

Actually a crustacean, not an insect!

Papua New Guinean Animals List

Animals in Papua New Guinea FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What type of animals live in Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea is particularly rich in marsupials, rodents, bats, honeyeaters (a family of nectar-eating birds), birds of paradise, and many other species of forest birds. Snakes, lizards, amphibians, freshwater fish, and insects are also quite prolific throughout the country. The largest fauna are the flightless cassowaries and crocodiles, but there are few large mammals.

What dangerous animals live in Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea is home to six very poisonous and dangerous snakes, plus the crocodile.

Are there tigers in Papua New Guinea?

No, tigers are not found as far east as Papua New Guinea.

How many species of animals are there in Papua New Guinea?

The island of New Guinea is one of the world’s great biodiversity hotspots. It is home to some 4,600 discovered vertebrates (about 8% of the world’s total) and an unknown but still sizeable number of invertebrates, many of which have yet to be discovered.