What Wild Animals Lived in Ancient Greece?

Ancient Greece, known for its rich history and mythology, was also home to a diverse range of wild animals. From the mountains to the seas, these creatures thrived in their natural habitats and were often featured in ancient Greek art and literature. Let’s take a closer look at some of the wild animals that lived in Ancient Greece.

Land Animals

Lions: The lion was once widespread throughout Greece but is now extinct in the region. It was revered by the ancient Greeks and often depicted in their art. The Nemean Lion, a monstrous creature with impenetrable skin, was one of Hercules’ famous challenges.

Bears: Brown bears were common in ancient Greece and could be found in the mountainous regions. They were often considered sacred by the Greeks and associated with Artemis, the goddess of hunting.

Wolves: Wolves were also present in ancient Greece and were feared by farmers as they would often attack livestock. They were also seen as symbols of power and ferocity, making them popular among warriors.

Boars: Wild boars were hunted for their meat and hides but could also be dangerous if not approached with caution. The Calydonian Boar was a famous mythical creature that killed many before being slain by Atalanta and Meleager.

Aquatic Animals

Dolphins: Dolphins played a significant role in ancient Greek culture as they were believed to be friends of sailors and protectors of ships. They frequently appeared on coins, pottery, and other art forms.

Swordfish: Swordfish were commonly found in the Mediterranean Sea around Greece and were highly valued for their meat. They featured prominently in ancient Greek cuisine.

Turtles: Turtles could be found along the shores of Greece’s many islands. They were often depicted in art and mythology, with Hermes, the messenger of the gods, being associated with them.


Eagles: Eagles were seen as symbols of power and majesty by the ancient Greeks. They were often portrayed alongside Zeus, the king of the gods.

Owls: The owl was associated with Athena, the goddess of wisdom. It was believed that owls had the ability to see in the dark and were therefore seen as wise creatures.

Peacocks: Peacocks were introduced to Greece by Alexander the Great and became popular among wealthy citizens. They were often kept as exotic pets and featured in art and literature.


In conclusion, ancient Greece was home to a vast array of wild animals that played significant roles in their culture and mythology. From land animals like lions and bears to aquatic creatures like dolphins and turtles, these animals continue to fascinate us today. By learning about these animals, we gain a better understanding of ancient Greek society and their relationship with nature.