How Many Animals Are in the Natural History Museum?

Are you curious to know how many animals are in the Natural History Museum? If so, you’re not alone!

The Natural History Museum is home to thousands of animal specimens, ranging from tiny insects to massive mammals. Let’s dive in and explore this fascinating collection.

What is the Natural History Museum?

The Natural History Museum is a world-renowned institution that showcases the diversity of life on Earth. It’s located in London, UK, and it houses an incredible collection of specimens from all over the world. The museum was founded in 1881 and has been a hub of scientific research and education ever since.

The Animal Collection

The animal collection at the Natural History Museum is one of the most impressive in the world. It includes specimens from almost every group of animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, and more. The museum’s collection spans over 250 years of scientific discovery and exploration.


The mammal collection at the museum is vast, with over 200,000 specimens representing around 4,000 species. This includes everything from tiny shrews to massive elephants. Some highlights include:

  • The blue whale skeleton – the largest animal to have ever lived.
  • The dodo – an extinct flightless bird that was native to Mauritius.
  • The giant panda – one of the most iconic and endangered animals on Earth.


The bird collection at the museum contains around 750,000 specimens representing over 8,000 species. This includes everything from tiny hummingbirds to enormous ostriches. Some highlights include:

  • The extinct great auk – a flightless bird that went extinct in the mid-19th century.
  • The wandering albatross – a seabird with the largest wingspan of any bird.
  • The emperor penguin – the largest penguin species, native to Antarctica.

Reptiles and Fish

The reptile and fish collections at the museum are also impressive, with over 200,000 specimens between them. This includes everything from tiny frogs to massive crocodiles. Some highlights include:

  • The coelacanth – a fish that was thought to be extinct for millions of years until it was rediscovered in the 20th century.
  • The Komodo dragon – the world’s largest lizard, native to Indonesia.
  • The saltwater crocodile – the world’s largest living reptile.

Insects and Other Invertebrates

The insect collection at the museum is particularly impressive, with over 34 million specimens representing over a million species. This includes everything from tiny beetles to massive butterflies. Some highlights include:

  • The Atlas moth – one of the largest moths in the world, with a wingspan of up to 30cm.
  • The jewel beetle – a metallic-colored beetle that is prized by collectors for its beauty.
  • The tarantula hawk wasp – a large wasp that preys on tarantulas.


So, how many animals are in the Natural History Museum? The answer is difficult to pinpoint exactly, but it’s safe to say that there are millions of specimens across all groups of animals.

The collection is constantly growing and evolving as new discoveries are made and new species are described. If you ever have the chance to visit this incredible institution, be sure to take some time exploring its animal collection.