List of mammals of Switzerland

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This is a list of the mammal species recorded in Switzerland. These are the mammal species in Switzerland, of which 0 are critically endangered, 0 are endangered, 4 are vulnerable, and 3 are near-threatened.[1]

The following tags are used to highlight each species' conservation status as assessed by the IUCN:

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.

Some species were assessed using an earlier set of criteria. Species assessed using this system have the following instead of Near Threatened and Least Concern categories:

LR/cd Lower risk/conservation dependent Species which were the focus of conservation programmes and may have moved into a higher risk category if that programme was discontinued.
LR/nt Lower risk/near threatened Species which are close to being classified as Vulnerable but are not the subject of conservation programmes.
LR/lc Lower risk/least concern Species for which there are no identifiable risks.

Subclass: Theria[edit]

Infraclass: Eutheria[edit]

Order: Rodentia (rodents)[edit]

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

Order: Lagomorpha (lagomorphs)[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: Erinaceomorpha (hedgehogs and gymnures)[edit]

The order Erinaceomorpha contains a single family, Erinaceidae, which comprise the hedgehogs and gymnures. The hedgehogs are easily recognised by their spines while gymnures look more like large rats.

Order: Soricomorpha (shrews, moles, and solenodons)[edit]

The "shrew-forms" are insectivorous mammals. The shrews and solenodons closely resemble mice while the moles are stout-bodied burrowers.

Order: Chiroptera (bats)[edit]

The bats' most distinguishing feature is that their forelimbs are developed as wings, making them the only mammals in the world naturally capable of flight. Bat species account for about 20% of all mammals.

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.


Alpine ibex were extinct in Switzerland around 1850 and reintroduced since 1911.

Several mammals were extinct in Switzerland at the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mostly because humans were fighting for the same territories.[2] For example:

  • Alpine ibex (Capra ibex), extinct around 1850 and reintroduced since 1911.[3]
  • Brown bear (Ursus arctos), collapsing since the fifteenth century because of hunting, last brown bear killed in 1904. Brown bears coming from Italy were observed in Switzerland in 2005 for the first time.[3]
  • Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), last observation around 1900 and reintroduced since the 1970s.[3]
  • Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber), extinct in the nineteenth century[2] and reintroduced since 1956.[4]
  • Grey wolf (Canis lupus), extinct in the twentieth century. Naturally coming back from Italy since the 1990s.[3]
  • Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), last observation in 1989.[2] Naturally coming back in the 2010s.[5]

Some species of mammals were almost extinct, such as the red deer (Cervus elaphus) around 1850, which then came back from Austria.[3]

Extinction other than mammals[edit]

  • Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) hunted until extinction in the nineteenth century, reintroduced since 1986.[3]
  • White stork (Ciconia ciconia), extinct in the 1950s and reintroduced.[6]
  • European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis), extinct at the beginning of the twentieth century and reintroduced since 2010.[7]

Some species were almost extinct, such as the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos, until it was protected).[3]

See also[edit]


  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.
  2. ^ a b c (French) Doris Lucini (translated from Italian by Nicole della Pietra), "Le retour des animaux disparus", Swissinfo, 18 September 2005 (page visited on 2 August 2016).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g (French) Heinz Staffelbach, Manuel des Alpes suisses. Flore, faune, roches et météorologie, Rossolis, 2009 (ISBN 978-2-940365-30-2). Also available in German: Heinz Staffelbach, Handbuch Schweizer Alpen. Pflanzen, Tiere, Gesteine und Wetter, Haupt Verlag, 2008 (ISBN 978-3-258-07638-6).
  4. ^ (French) "Le castor en Suisse", Centre suisse de cartographie de la faune (Swiss Center of Cartography of the Fauna)
  5. ^ (French) Loutre : coucou, la revoilà !, 27 November 2014, Federal Office for the Environment, Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (page visited on 2 August 2016).
  6. ^ (French) Olivier Biber et Martin Moritzi, "Inversion de tendance chez la cigogne blanche", Wildtier Schweiz (page visited on 2 August 2016).
  7. ^ Julien Perrot, "Dans la peau d'une tortue", La Salamandre, number 235, August 2016, pages 20-45 (especially pages 32-33).

Works cited