Israel's 10 most beautiful animals
The wildlife in Israel is varied and totally amazing.
Israel has so many great things to see and do, but one of the absolute must-see things in the country is the amazing flora and fauna. Not only is the plant life beautiful, but Israel is also home to some of the world's most beautiful animals. Here are 10 of the best for you to check out. And stay tuned, as we'll be back soon with a post about some of the country's most breathtaking birds as well.
(Photo: Martha de Jong-Lantink / Flickr)Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx) The Arabian Oryx (or White Oryx) actually went extinct out in the wild during the 1970s, but zoos and wildlife conservationists came to the rescue and were able to reintroduce the antelope back into the wild during the 1980s. While it's no longer considered endangered, the Arabian Oryx's conservation status is still listed as vulnerable. Its elegant, long horns and white hue make it one of Israel's most beautiful creatures.
(Photo: Marjan Kustera / Flickr)Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) Just look at those markings! The Fire Salamander is one of the most well-known amphibians in Europe, but it's one of only two salamanders (from the order Urodela) left in Israel. The other is the Banded Newt and it's critically endangered. What makes the Fire Salamander so beautiful are its distinct, bold markings with yellow, red, orange (or a mixture of the three) on a stark black background. It's a stunning animal.
(Photo: Joachim S. Müller / Flickr)Sand Cat (Felis margarita) Who doesn't love an absolutely adorable cat, right? This is the Internet, after all, so I would be crazy not to include Israel's precious Sand Cat in this list. Also known as the Sand Dune Cat, it's the only member of the family of cats that actually lives in the desert, but it doesn't look all that different from most domesticated cats. Its fur is a sandy brownish and it sometimes features darker stripes or spots. Just look at that face!
(Photo: shankar s. / Flickr)Arabian Leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) The smallest of all leopards, the Arabian Leopard has been critically endangered since 2006 when it was confirmed that fewer than 200 of the animals were in existence. While it closely resembles the African Leopard, scientists used DNA from a captive leopard found in Israel to determine that the Arabian Leopard is, indeed, its own distinct subspecies. What a beautiful, majestic creature that, hopefully, can bounce back from the brink of extinction.
(Photo: Wildlife Travel / Flickr)Middle East Tree Frog (Hyla savignyi) The Middle East Tree Frog is abundant throughout many regions of the Middle East including Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Its bright green coloring and distinct brown eyes make it one of the most striking frogs in the area.
(Photo: Andrew Halliday / Flickr)Caracal (Caracal caracal) Yes, it's technically another cat, but I couldn't resist including the beautiful Caracal in this list of Israel's most beautiful animals. Look at those amazing ears! Also known as the Desert Lynx, the Caracal can be found all over parts of Africa and Asia, but is considered threatened in North Africa. Hunting of the animal is outlawed in many countries, including Israel.
(Photo: Joachim S. Müller / Flickr)Marbled Polecat (Vormela peregusna) The Marbled Polecat easily makes this list because of its colorful patterns. The strong white and black neck and head juxtaposed with the marbled brownish, yellow rear end makes it completely adorable. Don't get too close though: Marbled Polecats can emit a strong-smelling secretion (similar to skunks) when they feel threatened.
(Photo: Lilach Daniel / Flickr)Mountain Gazelle (Gazella gazella) The Mountain Gazelle's ornate horns put it in the same category of beautiful animals as the previously mentioned Arabian Oryx. It's brown, black, and white body is quite pleasing to the eye as well, but those horns are something so unique and special that they just set apart the animal from its relatives.
(Photo: Harley Kingston / Flickr)Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) No, no. Not that Redd Foxx. This Red Fox is no comedian, but it is one of the most abundant carnivores in the entire Northern Hemisphere. Being so common, however, doesn't detract from the animal's sheer beauty. That golden fur and the sharp angles of its face all make the Red Fox quite the looker.