List of mammals of Iceland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of the mammal species recorded in Iceland. There are twenty-eight mammal species in Iceland, of which four are endangered and four are vulnerable. The only native land mammal, not including vagrant species, is the Arctic fox.[1] This list is derived from the IUCN Red List which lists species of mammals and includes those mammals that have recently been classified as extinct (since 1500 AD). The taxonomy and naming of the individual species is based on those used in existing Wikipedia articles as of 21 May 2007 and supplemented by the common names and taxonomy from the IUCN, Smithsonian Institution, or University of Michigan where no Wikipedia article was available.

The following tags are used to highlight each species' conservation status as assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature:

EX Extinct No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.
EW Extinct in the wild Known only to survive in captivity or as a naturalized populations well outside its previous range.
CR Critically endangered The species is in imminent risk of extinction in the wild.
EN Endangered The species is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
VU Vulnerable The species is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
NT Near threatened The species does not meet any of the criteria that would categorise it as risking extinction but it is likely to do so in the future.
LC Least concern There are no current identifiable risks to the species.
DD Data deficient There is inadequate information to make an assessment of the risks to this species.

Order: Rodentia (rodents)[edit]

Rodents make up the largest order of mammals, with over 40% of mammalian species. They have two incisors in the upper and lower jaw which grow continually and must be kept short by gnawing. Most rodents are small though the capybara can weigh up to 45 kg (100 lb).

Order: Lagomorpha (rabbits, hares and pikas)[edit]

The lagomorphs comprise two families, Leporidae (hares and rabbits), and Ochotonidae (pikas). Though they can resemble rodents, and were classified as a superfamily in that order until the early 20th century, they have since been considered a separate order. They differ from rodents in a number of physical characteristics, such as having four incisors in the upper jaw rather than two.

Order: Cetacea (whales)[edit]

Eubalaena glacialis landed in Dýrafjörður possibly taken by Captain L. Berg during a research expedition to the Norwegian Sea, Iceland and Jan Mayen in the 19th century, by Fridtjof Nansen

The order Cetacea includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. They are the mammals most fully adapted to aquatic life with a spindle-shaped nearly hairless body, protected by a thick layer of blubber, and forelimbs and tail modified to provide propulsion underwater.

Order: Carnivora (carnivorans)[edit]

There are over 260 species of carnivorans, the majority of which feed primarily on meat. They have a characteristic skull shape and dentition.

Order: Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates)[edit]

The even-toed ungulates are ungulates whose weight is borne about equally by the third and fourth toes, rather than mostly or entirely by the third as in perissodactyls. There are about 220 artiodactyl species, including many that are of great economic importance to humans.

Order: Chiroptera (bats)[edit]

Bats have been increasingly recorded in Iceland where they are thought to be either vagrants or artificially introduced.[3] The bats' most distinguishing feature is that their forelimbs are developed as wings, making them the only mammals capable of flight. Bat species account for about 20% of all mammals.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Evans, Andrew (2008). Iceland. Bradt Travel Guides. pp. 47–60. ISBN 978-1-84162-215-6.
  2. ^ Reid, F.; Schiaffini, M.; Schipper, J. (2016). "Neovison vison". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T41661A45214988. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41661A45214988.en. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Petersen, Aevar; Jensen, Jens-Kjeld; Jenkins, Paulina; Bloch, Dorete; Ingimarsson, Finnur (2014). "A Review of the Occurrence of Bats (Chiroptera) on Islands in the North East Atlantic and on North Sea Installations". Acta Chiropterologica. 16: 169–195. doi:10.3161/150811014X683381. hdl:10141/622681. S2CID 86008251.