Native Animals You Should See on Your Trip to Vietnam

Vietnam is one of those countries in the world that is rich in biodiversity. The country is blessed with swampy river deltas, diverse caves, tropical rainforests, and long mountain ranges. It is because of this that the country is home to a hundred different species of wild animals. Unfortunately, poaching has become a serious problem in the country where some endangered animals are used as traditional medicines. But thanks to animal sanctuaries, national parks, and biosphere reserves, there are a few endangered species that you can still see during your trip to the country.

If you’re an animal lover, here are some of the most distinct native animals that you should see during your trip to Vietnam.

1. Asian Water Monitor

These monitor lizards are known for their large size. In fact, they can grow up two meters long! Some of these lizards can be found lurking around the rivers and canals of Ho Chi Minh as they hunt for food. They have powerful tails that make them swim well in water. But they also rely on their tails when they feel threatened. These lizards are not yet on the list of endangered species and some people would hunt them for their skin.

2. Great Hornbill

The Great Hornbill has an unusual look because of the casque on its beak. According to some scientists, the size of the casque depends on the bird’s sexual orientation. Regardless of what the casque is for, seeing this bird up-close is an experience you should not miss in Vietnam. You’ll find this bird in the hilly areas and lush forests all over the country.

3. Indian Elephant

Indian elephants are smaller than their African counterparts. You’ll not only find these elephants in Vietnam but also in some other Southeast Asian countries, such as in Thailand. In Vietnam, these elephants are endangered and most of them are housed in sanctuaries and reserves. Visit the Province of Dak Lak for a close-up encounter with these elephants. If you happen to visit in March, you might even have the chance to witness the Elephant race.

4. Pygmy Slow Loris

The pygmy slow loris has huge eyes and crawls at a very slow pace, thus the name. They hunt for their food at night, which consists of fruits, insects, nectar, and sap. When hunting, they would drill a hole in the bark of a tree to collect the sap. This is why they have sharp teeth. When these creatures are threatened, they tend to freeze their body and play dead. You’ll find them all over the country except in the Mekong Deltas.


5. Red-Shanked Douc

These primates got their name from the Vietnamese word duoc, which means torch.  The red-shanked duoc are canopy dwellers so you could end up straining your neck when looking at them because they tend to dwell high up in the jungles. But they would usually huddle in a group. So if you find one, there’s a good chance that there are several others nearby. You can find them at the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

6. Snub-Nosed Monkey

The snub-nosed monkeys are territorial so they don’t want other animals near them. They usually live in big groups but would split into smaller groups during winter. To drive other animals away or when faced with a threat, they would use their vocal range. You’ll find the snub-nosed monkeys in the mountain forests of Northern Vietnam, close to the Chinese border.

7. Sun Bear

Also called the honey bears, the sun bear would usually feed on honey. In fact, honey makes up a large portion of their diet. They are known for the unique crescent patches on their chest and are among the smallest types of bears in the world. They only measure 120 to 150 cm in length. But despite being small, these bars are known to react violently when threatened.

8. Vietnamese Mossy Frog

You’ll find a hundred different species of frogs in Vietnam but the mossy frog has a unique look because of the distinct texture of its skin. In fact, they blend well in mossy rocks! You can find a lot of these frogs in the northern part of Vietnam. If you’re going to explore the caves and cliffs, there’s a good chance that you’ll see them although they are a bit difficult to spot because of their camouflage skin.

9. Water Buffalo

It’s easy to find water buffalos in Vietnam especially if you visit those places that have plenty of rice fields. These animals help the locals in tilling rice paddies, hauling carts, and other tasks! In fact, they have played an important role in Vietnamese culture and are sometimes depicted in water puppet shows!

Burmese Python

The forests of Vietnam are home to Burmese pythons but these snakes are afraid of people so they tend to move away if they notice the presence of humans. They would prefer to stay close to water and would feed on small birds and animals. Due to the unique color of their skin, some locals would hunt them and sell in the black markets.

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