The Wildlife of Hokkaido

Hokkaido Things to Know

Hokkaido, Japan May. 29 Wed 11:15AM

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Hokkaido is one of the best known places in Japan for their scenery and widllife. In fact, Hokkaido may be one of the best known places for their natural parks and beautiful landscapes. Because much of the land is still preserved as national parks there, wildlife and animals can truly thrive. 

For those who want to enjoy the more natural and active side of traveling, Hokkaido is a great place as there are many places to hike and observe diverse wildlife in their natural habitat. For those who like the more wild side of traveling, here is a list of some creatures you might encounter in Hokkaido!

Brown Bears

Probably one of the most well-known and equally surprsing thing about Hokkaido are the brown bears that live there. There are many bear watching tours that allow you to view them from a safe distance. These bears are also in Daisetsuzan National Park, and hikers going particular routes are encouraged to wear a bell as to not sneak up on any bears. 

Brown bears can be aggressive, especially during cub season, so it's best not to approach them because they appear to be cute. They're still impressively strong bears, and one swipe or bite can result in serious consequences. The best thing to do if you encounter one of these beautiful creatures is try and back away slowly from the bear. 

Hokkaido Red Fox

Foxes can be found throughout many places in Japan, and Hokkaido is no exception. The Hokkaido Red Fox known as the Ezo Red Fox is a common sight in the more mountainous regions. The Ezo Red Fox are usually larger than the foxes found on Honshu. Although tempting to pet the adorable creatures, please don't forget they have sharp teeth. They are also known to have a parasite called echinococcus, so please be aware of this too. Besides this, these are beautiful creatures with a mischevious glint in their eye, and a wonderful sight to see!

Hokkaido Red Squirrel

Adorable little animals, the Hokkaido Red Squirrel is a subspecies of the Eurasian red squirrel. They are can be often spotted, and are easily distinguished due to their wild "hairstyle" around their ears. There is even a cafe in Hokkaido where squirrels "knock" on the window to ask for food. 

Hokkaido Crying Rabbit

The Hokkaido Crying Rabbit known as ezo naki usagi resembles a mouse more than a rabbit. It's actually a subspecies of the Northern Pika and makes adorable cute calls. Supposedly, this creature inspired the beloved charater of Pikachu due to the noise that it makes. Aren't its little feet adorable?

Sika Deer 

Deer in Hokkaido are a common sight especially in the mountains and low lands. Sika Deer are found all over Japan, and also in Hokkaido, and the population is actually quite large. The Yezo Sika Deer, a subscpecies of the Sika Deer, are fairly large in size, with large antlers, and indigenous to Hokkaido. 

Iizuma/Least Weasel

The Iizuma is a type of weasel that is found in Japan. Their appearance is completely stark white except for their tails, and they look both elegant and adorable. Howver, these weasels can get a bit aggressive and are tough predators despite their tiny stature, even on two legs! Other types of weasels like the kuroten can be found in Hokkaido as well.

Shima Enaga/Long-tailed tit

Shima Enagas may just be one of the cutest birds in Japan. The birds are like round little puffs with eyes and a tail, and they're also very small in size. Although these birds(species) can be found all over Japan, the ones in Hokkaido are the only ones where the face is completely white. Others tend to have cute black "eyebrows" on their faces disrupting the white coloring.

Red-crowned crane

If the Shima Enagas are one of the cutest, the Red-crowned cranes are one the most elegant birds of Japan. These birds have long been represented as a symbol or icon of Japan in art, literature, and photography. These birds live in Hokkaido year-round and are distinguished by a red spot on the top of their heads. Many people go bird watching in Japan just to get a glimpse of these majestic creatures. 

Ezo momonga

Ezo momongas are also part of the wildlife in Hokkaido, although the fact that they're nocturnal, their agility, and their small size makes them hard to spot. The Ezo momonga is a type of Siberian Flying squirrel that is only found in Hokkaido. These small creatures can glide quite the distance, and are extremely cute with large eyes. 

Siberian Flying Squiirel, not Ezo momonga. Ezo momonga is a subscpecies of this creature. Ezo momongas are arguably cuter, loook it up if you don't believe me ;)

As you can see, Hokkaid is a place home to a diverse range of wildlife. There are so many more than even what is listed on this post. Some are a bit more intimidating than others, but each of them are very much a part of the land. It's important to remember to treat them with respect and caution, and never approach or attempt to handle any wildlife. Hokkaido is a great place to visit for those who have a fondness for beautiful, natural scenery, and amazing wildlife. 

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