Contrary to the country’s cold sounding name, there are no polar bears in Iceland! Well at least polar bears are not indigenous to the island, although one or two may have arrived on floating ice floes from Greenland.
Iceland’s wildlife mainly takes form in marine life with the rivers and lakes brimming with salmon and trout, much to the delight of local and visiting anglers. There are thousands of whales and porpoises in the surrounding North Atlantic Ocean and curious seals can also be seen hanging around the shorelines in Reykjavik or sitting atop a blue iceberg floating in the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon.
There is a rich amount of birdlife throughout the island as well as sheep and Viking horses roaming the countryside during summer. Wild reindeer can be found roaming the countryside in the East. Most animal species in Iceland have been introduced to the environment, although it is thought that the Arctic Fox had its home on the island prior to human settlement. This small, adorable creature is quite elusive and can be difficult to spot.
The birdlife in Iceland is as dramatic and varied as the rugged landscape that provides a spectacular setting to view nearly 300 different species of birds. The coastal cliffs alone carry a mind-boggling array of seabirds in massive numbers.
Large colonies and breeding grounds are found in various areas throughout the country that has long riveted the imagination of birdwatchers and travelers alike. Latrabjarg in the Westfjords, Skalanes in the east, Lake Myvatn in the north, and Flatey Island in the West are wonderful birding locales, while visits to the Reykjanes peninsula and the Westman Islands in the South are certainly worthwhile.
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