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10 Incredible Animals in Bahrain

Bahrain is a small island country situated in western Asia, with Manama serving as its capital city. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia and is considered the third smallest nation in Asia, after Maldives and Singapore.

The official languages of Bahrain are Arabic and English. Around 80% of the population is Islamic, as Bahrain was one of the first countries to be influenced by Islam. It is governed by a semi-constitutional monarchy with an Islamic parliament.

Bahrain is home to several iconic wildlife species, such as:

1. Lesser Egyptian Jerboa 

Animals in Bahrain - Lesser Egyptian Jerboa
  • Scientific name: Jaculus jaculus
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Where found in the country: Sandy or rocky areas of Bahrain.
  • Conservation status: Last Concern

The lesser Egyptian jerboa is a small nocturnal rodent that is well-adapted to living in arid environments and is usually found in sandy or rocky areas. It has a distinctive appearance with large, rounded ears and long hind legs that are adapted for hopping and jumping.  Its fur is typically sandy brown in color, providing good camouflage in the desert environment. It feeds on a variety of seeds, insects, and other small invertebrates, and it is able to survive in arid environments by getting most of its water from its food.

★ Did you know? The Lesser Egyptian jerboa is known for its ability to jump up to 3 feet in a single hop, making it an agile and elusive creature.

2. Western Reef Heron 

Animals in Bahrain - Western Reef Heron
  • Scientific name: Egretta gularis
  • Type of animal: Bird
  • Where found in the country: Coastal waters, particularly around rocky areas, coral reefs, and tidal pools.
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The western reef heron is a medium-sized heron that is found in various parts of the world, including Bahrain. Its legs and bill are yellow in color, and it has a slender neck that it uses to hunt for small fish and other marine creatures in shallow coastal waters.

The western reef heron is a skilled hunter, waiting patiently in the water until it spots its prey before striking with its sharp bill. It is often seen wading in shallow waters, and can sometimes be seen perched on rocks or coral reefs near the shore.

★ Did you know? The western reef heron is known for its ability to rapidly change the color of its legs and feet to match its surroundings, which helps it to remain camouflaged and avoid detection by predators or prey.

3. Goitered Gazelle 

Animals in Bahrain - Goitered Gazelle
  • Scientific name: Gazella subgutturosa
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Where found in the country: Semi-arid habitats, including deserts, rocky hillsides, and steppes.
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The goitered gazelle, also known as the black-tailed gazelle, is a graceful and slender-bodied antelope species that inhabits the arid and semi-arid regions of Central Asia, the Middle East, and parts of North Africa.

The goitered gazelle has a distinct appearance, with a reddish-brown coat of fur that is lighter in color on its underbelly. They have a white rump patch that stands out against the rest of their body. 

Their most distinctive feature is the black, bushy tail which is held upright when the animal is alarmed or excited. The male goitered gazelle is slightly larger than the female and has longer, more heavily ridged horns.

★ Did you know? The goitered gazelle is a fast and agile runner, capable of reaching speeds of up to 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour.

4. Sooty Falcon 

Animals in Bahrain - Sooty Falcon
  • Scientific name: Falco concolor
  • Type of animal: Bird
  • Where found in the country: Hawar Islands, the Al Areen Wildlife Park, and other areas along the Bahrain coastline.
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The sooty falcon is a medium-sized bird of prey that belongs to the falcon family. It has a distinctive appearance with dark brown to blackish-brown plumage, a pale throat, and a yellow cere (fleshy tissue at the base of the beak). Its wings are long and pointed, and its tail is relatively short compared to other falcons.

Adult sooty falcons measure about 30 to 36 centimeters (12 to 14 inches) in length and have a wingspan of around 80 to 100 centimeters (31 to 39 inches).

They are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females have different physical characteristics. Male sooty falcons are smaller and more slender than females, with a more pointed wing shape.

★ Did you know? The sooty falcon has an incredible ability to fly long distances without stopping.

5. Socotra Cormorant 

Animals in Bahrain - Socotra Cormorant
  • Scientific name: Phalacrocorax nigrogularis
  • Type of animal: Bird
  • Where found in the country: Al Dar Islands, Hawar Islands, and the Sitra Causeway.
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The Socotra cormorant is a distinctive bird with a striking appearance. It has dark, glossy plumage, which is mostly black with a greenish sheen on the wings and tail. The throat and neck of the Socotra cormorant is also black, with a small patch of white feathers just under the chin.

One of the most striking features of the Socotra cormorant is its striking blue eyes, which stand out against the bird’s dark feathers. The bird also has a long, thin, hooked bill that is perfectly adapted for catching and eating fish, which makes up the majority of its diet.

★ Did you know? The Socotra cormorant is an expert diver, and it is capable of staying submerged for up to three minutes at a time, allowing it to hunt for fish at depths of up to 15 meters (50 feet) below the surface of the water.

6. Naked Rumped Tomb Bat 

Animals in Bahrain - Naked Rump Tomb Bat
  • Scientific name: Taphozous nudiventris
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Where found in the country: Semi-arid and arid areas, and rocky or underground locations that provide both open areas for hunting and suitable roosting sites.
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The naked-rumped tomb bat is a sac-winged bat species that can be found in various regions including northern Africa, the Middle East, and southeastern Asia. 

This moderate-sized bat has a flat head, a cone-shaped snout, and a noticeable contrast between its furred and naked body parts. The dorsal pelage can be greyish-brown, deep brown, or rusty-brown, while the ventral pelage tends to be paler. 

Additionally, its wing membrane is dark brown, and its tail protrudes freely from the upper surface of the interfemoral membrane.

★ Did you know? Male and female naked-rumped tomb bats typically roost together for most of the year, but the males relocate before the young are born.

7. Dugong

Animals in Bahrain - Dugong
  • Scientific name: Dugong dugong
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Where found in the country: In the waters of Bahrain.
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The Dugong is a large, herbivorous marine mammal that is closely related to manatees. They have a distinct, rounded body shape with a bluish-gray to brownish coloration and a flattened, paddle-like tail that they use to swim. 

Dugongs are known for their unique tusks, which are elongated front teeth that can grow up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) long in males. These tusks are used for defense and for rooting in the seagrass beds for food.

★ Did you know? Dugongs are highly hunted for their oil, meat, and other products such as their bones and skin.

8. Desert Hedgehog

Animals in Bahrain - Desert Hedgehog
  • Scientific name: Paraechinus aethiopicus
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Where found in the country: Dry, rocky areas such as deserts, scrublands, and rocky hillsides.
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The desert hedgehog is a small, spiny mammal that is well adapted to life in arid and semi-arid regions of North Africa and the Middle East, including Bahrain. Desert hedgehogs have round bodies with short, spiny fur that ranges in color from pale brown to gray or reddish-brown.

They have pointed snouts and small, round ears that are covered in fur. Their spines, which are modified hairs, cover their back and sides and can be raised to deter predators.

★ Did you know? When desert hedgehogs are threatened, they curl their bodies into tight balls, tucking their head and legs underneath their bodies, and present their spiny exterior.

9. Asian House Shrew 

Animals in Bahrain - Asian House Shrew
  • Scientific name: Suncus murinus
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Where found in the country: Grasslands, urban areas.
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The Asian house shrew is a small, agile mammal that is known for its aggressive behavior and adaptability. They have a pointed snout, small eyes, and short fur that ranges in color from brown to gray or black, with a lighter underbelly. Their body is slim and elongated, with long, slender tail that is often slightly darker than the rest of their body.

These shrews are highly adaptable and can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, which allows them to inhabit a variety of habitats including forests, grasslands, agricultural fields, and urban areas. 

★ Did you know? Although Asian house shrews are considered invasive species in some regions, they are also known to provide beneficial pest control services in many ecosystems.

10. Cape Hare

Animals in Bahrain - Cape Hare
  • Scientific name: Lepus capensis
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Where found in the country: Grasslands and semi-desert areas.
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The Cape hare, also known as the brown hare, is a species of hare that is well adapted to life in arid and semi-arid habitats. They can be found in a range of environments including grasslands, savannas, and deserts, especially in Africa.

Cape hares are typically solitary and nocturnal animals, but may also be active during the day in cooler weather. They are known for their fast running speed and agility, which helps them evade predators such as eagles, hawks, and wild cats.

★ Did you know? Cape hare’s teeth grow continuously throughout their lives. This is because their teeth are constantly being worn down by their abrasive diet, and so they need to keep growing in order to maintain a functional length.

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