From fuzzy furballs to quirky critters, Korea boasts an array of adorable and unique animals that are sure to capture your heart.
Let’s discover the top 10 cutest and most distinct animals of Korea!
1. Korean Flying Squirrel (Pteromys Volans Aluco)
Meet the Korean Flying Squirrel, a tiny acrobat that glides through the treetops with unparalleled grace.
With big, round eyes and a fluffy tail that serves as a parachute, these nocturnal cuties are a true marvel to behold.
The Korean Flying Squirrel was designated as a national treasure in 1982, and has been protected as a level 2 endangered wild animal since 2012.
2. Jeju Horse (Equus Ferus Caballus)
Hailing from the picturesque island of Jeju, this small and sturdy breed of horse is as tough as it is cute.
Known for their gentle demeanor and distinctive chestnut coat, Jeju horses have become a symbol of the island’s unique cultural heritage.
Native horses had been around on Jeju Island for a long time, but current Jeju horse breeds were introduced from Mongolia in the 13th century.
They were designated as a national treasure of Korea in 1986.
3. Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus Thibetanus)
The Asiatic Black Bear, also known as the Moon Bear, might seem intimidating at first, but its endearing appearance tells a different story.
With a distinctive V-shaped white mark on its chest, these bears are a symbol of Korea’s rich biodiversity and conservation efforts, after being on the verge of extinction caused by the Korean War.
Moon Bears live in broad-leaved forests in alpine areas across Mt. Jiri.
They were designated as a national treasure in 1982, and protected as a level 1 endangered wild animal since 2012.
4. Korean Water Deer (Hydropotes Inermis Argyropus)
The Korean Water Deer, or “vampire deer” as locals playfully call them, boast fang-like tusks making them look like creatures straight out of a fairy tale.
Despite their fearsome appearance, these small deer are herbivores and a delightful addition to Korea’s wildlife.
Korean Water Deer are famous for their startling cries. It sounds like something between a shriek, a drunk man yelling, and the screams of a ghost.
5. Amur Leopard Cat (Prionailurus Bengalensis Euptilura)
Making a stealthy entrance onto the list is the Amur Leopard Cat, a pint-sized feline with a wild side.
With its spotted coat reminiscent of its larger cousin, the Amur Leopard, this small cat adds a touch of the exotic to Korea’s wildlife.
Known for its agility and nocturnal habits, the Amur Leopard Cat prowls the Korean forests, showcasing the untamed beauty that nature has to offer.
These cats may be small, but their striking appearance and elusive nature make them a fascinating addition to the mosaic of Korea’s diverse fauna.
Since this adorable cat is a level 2 endangered wild animal under protection, it’s illegal to adopt them as a pet.
6. White-Headed Long-Tailed Tit (Aegithalos Caudatus Caudatus)
Twittering into the scene with a burst of fluff and finesse is the Korean White-Headed Long-Tailed Tit.
These petite and sociable birds are aflutter with personality, showcasing their endearing long tails and distinctive white crowns.
Found flitting through the treetops, these avian gems bring an air of enchantment to Korea’s diverse birdlife.
7. Korean Magpie (Pica Pica Sericea)
The Korean Magpie is a bird with intelligence and personality to spare. There’s a traditional fairy tale about a magpie who returned a favor to a human who helped him.
Magpies are considered a bird of good luck in the land of morning calm. When a magpie sings at your house early in the day, it’s a sign that you’ll have a nice visitor heading your way.
Their sleek black and white plumage and mischievous antics make them a beloved sight in both urban and rural areas.
8. Korean Jindo Dog (Canis lupus Familiaris)
Renowned for their loyalty and distinctive appearance, the Korean Jindo Dog is a national treasure.
With a curled tail and a strong, independent spirit, these dogs have become an integral part of Korea’s cultural heritage.
9. Yellow-Throated Marten (Martes Flavigula)
Bounding onto the scene with limitless energy and a vibrant yellow throat, the Yellow-Throated Marten is a charismatic addition to Korea’s diverse wildlife.
These agile and playful mammals have sleek fur, a distinctive yellow patch on their throat, and a knack for climbing trees with unmatched grace.
Despite their cute appearance, these martens are top predators and expert hunters, feasting on a diet that includes small mammals, birds, and insects.
When in a group, they also hunt the young of Korean Water Deer, badgers, roe deer, musk deer, mountain goats, and wild boars.
10. Amur Tiger (Panthera Tigris Altaica)
Last but not least, we have the majestic Amur Tiger. Locals often call them “Baekdu Mountain Tiger” or “Korean Tiger”.
While not exactly “cute” in the traditional sense, these big cats are awe-inspiring and play a crucial role in Korea’s commitment to wildlife conservation.
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