Saudi Wildlife

Species in Saudi

18 facts about Saudi wildlife

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Home to one of the fastest dog species in the world, a wild cat breed depicted in paintings found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and a camel that can drink 113 liters of water in 13 minutes, Saudi boasts a vast and diverse wildlife population. Plus, 82,700 square kilometers of Arabia’s land is protected for wildlife conservation. Discover more about Saudi’s wildlife with these fast facts, and scroll through the images below to learn more about specific animals on the Arabian Peninsula.

  • Sand Cat - Saudi Wildlife

    Sand Cat

    The only species of cat to live solely in the desert, the sand cat may look cute, but this predatory feline — primarily found in the western part of Saudi — is one tough breed of kitty. The thick coat of fur around sand cats’ paws not only protects them from hot and cold surfaces, but it also allows them to prance and pounce on sand without sinking or leaving much in the way of paw prints behind.

  • Arabian Oryx - Saudi Wildlife

    Arabian Oryx

    One of the largest desert mammals in the region, the Arabian oryx features horns reaching up to 68 centimeters long and a bright white coat, which helps reflect the sun’s rays from its skin. Once on the verge of extinction, Saudi has undertaken successful conservation efforts to save the Arabian oryx and has even reintroduced some back into the wild in areas like the Farasan Islands.

  • Caracal - Saudi Wildlife

    Caracal

    Recognizable by the elongated black tufts on their ears, caracals are found in the western part of Saudi, specifically in the Jabal Shada and Raydah reserves. Paintings and sculptures of caracals have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, which suggests that this species of wild cat has been on the prowl in the region for quite some time.
  • Arabian Wolf - Saudi Wildlife

    Arabian Wolf

    Some might call the Arabian wolf a lone wolf because unlike most wolf species, this mammal prefers to hunt alone or in a pair, not in a pack. This smaller subspecies of the gray wolf features fused paws and can grow up to 5 feet in length. Arabian wolves are mainly nocturnal and can be spotted in the desert mountain regions of Najd and Tabuk.

  • Hamadryas Baboon - Saudi Wildlife

    Hamadryas Baboon

    Unlike Arabian wolves, hamadryas baboons tend to travel in packs of sometimes hundreds. Found in the Asir mountain region and near the cities of Taif and Abha, these creatures are highly intelligent and were considered sacred by inhabitants in the region just west of the Arabian Peninsula. Mature male baboons are nearly double the size of females and are easily recognizable with their long silver-gray hair and pink faces.
  • Desert Hedgehog - Saudi WildlifeThe

    Desert Hedgehog

    The smallest of the hedgehog breed, the desert hedgehog is recognizable by its dark muzzle and a lighter-colored, spineless band across the top of its face. Found in the arid scrubs of deserts in Saudi, the Middle East and parts of Africa, this nocturnal creature hunts for food at night and spends its days escaping the heat inside its burrow. Though small enough to fit in the palm of a person’s hand, these little ones can reach up to 19 kilometers per hour.

Learn More

Explore Saudi wildlife further by reading about Arabia’s deep-rooted history of falconry training.

— Lisa Zimmermann is a travel writer and editor who has previously written for Club TravelerBoston magazine, New England Travel, American Airlines and Atlas Magazine.

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