Top 9 Dangerous Animals in Lebanon: Watch Out For The Hyena!

Striped hyena on a plain; dangerous animals in Lebanon
Photo by Rohit Varma from WikiCommons
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Lebanon is the crossroad nation between the Middle East and the West. This small country had the Meditteranean Sea on one side, with Syria and Israel on the other. The landscape is incredibly diverse, creating a fascinating ecosystem of varied habitats for various species, including the most dangerous animals in Lebanon.

From the coastal plains in the west to the snow-capped mountains of the interior, the geography is stark and bold. There are several unique nature reserves devoted to preserving the Lebanese wildlife and natural beauty of the nation. Undisturbed wildlife can be found in the Bekaa and Kadisha Valley, all the way to the Barocek and Anti Lebanon Mountains.

In and amongst the diverse ecosystem there are some dangerous animals in Lebanon that roam free. We’re going to identify the top 8 animals that you should know about if you’re planning a trip. So grab up a chair, dig into your falafel and hummus, here are Lebanon’s most dangerous animals.

Striped Hyena

Striped Hyena looking into the camera in a grass plain
Photo by Rushikesh Deshmukh from WikiCommons
Latin NameHyaena hyaena
Key FeaturesPowerful jaw and unpredictable behavior, risk of rabies.
TreatmentSeek medical attention if bitten for cleaning the wound and rabies vaccinations.
Where To Find ThemWoodland areas in the Anti Lebanon mountains
Conservation StatusNear threatened

The striped hyena is Lebanon’s national animal. They are smaller than the closely related (and more famous) spotted hyenas found on the African savannah. The striped variety has a distinguishing black and white mane, highlighting the raised hackles and sloping back, along with zebra-like stripes along the body.

Lebanon’s hyenas can be found in the countries mountainous woodlands. They are elusive animals but do sometimes venture into the outskirts of Beruit, the capital, to scavenge through garbage bins.

As scavengers, hyenas are notorious for being sneaky and mischievous. Generally, they do not have aggressive behavior, however, it can be unpredictable. If they did attack, a hyena has extremely powerful jaws and poses a risk of rabies infection.

Golden Jackal

Curious golden jackal, canis aureus, hiding behind rocks in mountains in summertime.
Photo by WildMediaSK from Envato Elements
Latin NameCanis aureus
Key FeaturesPowerful jaw and unpredictable behavior, risk of rabies.
TreatmentSeek medical attention if bitten for cleaning the wound and rabies vaccinations.
Where To Find ThemValleys and near water sources, ie. rivers, coastal plains, tributaries etc.
Conservation StatusNo concern

Golden jackals are widespread across Eurasia and the Middle East. These are some of the most common animals in Lebanon and should always be treated with an air of caution if encountered.

The wolf-like animals can be found in valleys and near rivers, they are rarely seen in mountains as they avoid the wolves. Jackals are incredibly social so are often seen in packs of pairing adults and young offspring. They vary in color, from a pale creamy yellow in summer to a dark tawny beige in winter.

If threatened, the golden jackal could attack either to protect their young or as self-defense. As with all wild canines, there is a major risk of rabies with a bite, along with serious potential wounds. If you see them in the wild, do your best to give them plenty of space.

Gray Wolf

Gray wolf looking over its shoulder
Photo by Michael LaRosa on Unsplash
Latin NameCanis lupus
Key FeaturesPowerful jaw and unpredictable behavior, risk of rabies.
TreatmentSeek medical attention if bitten for cleaning the wound and rabies vaccinations.
Where To Find ThemMountains and highlands of Lebanon, extremely elusive
Conservation StatusNo concern

The gray wolf can be found in El Shouf Biosphere Reserve and other Natural Reserves and forests around Lebanon. While wolf attacks on humans are decreasing, encounters with these large mammals can lead to confrontation.

Unfortunately, due to major habitat loss, the number of gray wolves in Lebanon has decreased significantly. They are elusive and avoid human activity, staying in the mountainous region of the country.

Gray wolves can grow up to 5 feet in length and weigh up to 175 lbs. Those found in Lebanon are smaller, but still pose the same threats behind their powerful jaws and territorial behavior.

Wild Boar

Lebanese female wild boar in a forest
Photo by Ed van duijn on Unsplash
Latin NameSus scrofa
Key FeaturesPowerful body weighing up to 300 lbs, can have large tusks.
TreatmentSeek medical attention if attacked to check for broken bones.
Where To Find ThemForests and woodland areas.
Conservation StatusNo concern

The wild boar is one of the most dangerous animals in the world. They are highly unpredictable and can show aggressive behavior. If they charge at humans, they are strong enough to break bones and cause serious harm.

Wild boar are common in Lebanon. It’s legal to hunt them across the Lebanese forests. These wild pigs can weigh up to 300 lbs, and the males often have extremely large tusk/teeth.

Blunt Nosed Viper

Brown blunt nose viper in a rocky area
Photo by Eduard Solà from WikiCommons
Latin NameMacrovipera lebetina
Key FeaturesVenom packed in fangs, can be extremely painful if bitten.
TreatmentSeek medical attention to recieve antivenom.
Where To Find ThemRocky slopes, meadows and pastures across Lebanon.
Conservation StatusEndangered

Blunt nose viper snakes are found in meadows, pastures, and rocks across Lebanon. They are identified as a large, brown/copper-colored snake with a blunt nose. These snakes can grow up to 2 meters in length.

If threatened, frightened, or disturbed, the blunt nose viper can deliver a very painful and (in rare cases) potentially fatal venom. Other symptoms include swelling, fever, and rashes around the bite wound. Immediate medical attention should always be sought immediately after a bite.

Palestinian Viper

Diamond zigzag pattern runs down a Palestine viper body, with a black forked tongue.
Photo by גיא חיימוביץ. from WikiCommons
Latin NameVipera palaestinae
Key FeaturesVenom packed in fangs, can be extremely painful if bitten.
TreatmentSeek medical attention to recieve antivenom.
Where To Find ThemAcross whole Levant region.
Conservation StatusNo concern

Palestine vipers are a smaller species than the blunt-nosed viper, and have a dark diamond pattern running along their back. These snakes are responsible for more snake bites in the Lebanon region than almost any other species.

If left untreated, the venom can sometimes be fatal. Most cases can be easily treated by a medical professional.

The Palestine viper, also known as Daboia palaestinae, can grow up to 130cm in length. In 2018, this snake was named the national animal of Israel and is well established across the Levant region.

Black Widow

A black widow spider spinning a web
Photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren from WikiCommons
Latin NameLatrodectus
Key FeaturesNeurotoxin packed in fangs, can be extremely painful if bitten.
TreatmentSeek medical attention and clean the wound thorough.
Where To Find ThemSheltered areas across deserts, forests, and even in homes.
Conservation StatusNo concern

Black widow spiders are found across the globe. It’s common knowledge how dangerous these spiders can be. However, they are not considered aggressive unless threatened.

The females have the iconic red diamond on their back. They also pack a potent neurotoxin that is dangerous to large vertebrates, including humans. Despite common belief, a bite from a black widow rarely causes death but can still lead to serious complications.

It’s advised to seek medical attention if you are bitten to ensure the bite is cleaned thoroughly. Spider bites can become infected very quickly.

Brown Recluse Spider

A brown spider in a web
Photo by Nicholas Ta from WikiCommons
Latin NameLoxosceles reclusa
Key FeaturesNeurotoxin packed in fangs, can be extremely painful if bitten.
TreatmentSeek medical attention and clean the wound thoroughly.
Where To Find ThemAcross the entire of Lebanon.
Conservation StatusNo concern

Similar to the black widow, brown recluse spiders pack a strong necrotic venom that is administered to their prey when bitten. While fatalities are rare for humans, medical attention is always recommended to ensure the bite doesn’t get infected and lead to further complications.

If bitten by a brown recluse spider, you will probably experience some of the following:

  • Swelling and redness
  • Blistering and irritation
  • Rash
  • Numbness
  • Severe pain

Found across most warm regions of the world, these spiders can grow up to about 7–12 mm long. Brown recluse spiders only tend to bite when trapped, so are best left alone and never attempt to pick one up with your bare hands.

Fire Ant

Photo by Marufish from WikiCommons
Latin NameSolenopsis
Key FeaturesToxic and venomous bite. Red in color.
TreatmentSeek medical attention if the reaction is severe and does not subside.
Where To Find ThemAcross the entire of Lebanon.
Conservation StatusNo concern

Fire ants are the smallest of the dangerous animals in Lebanon. Like other ant species, fire ants live in colonies and have a network underneath the ground. Most of these small fireball creatures go undetected, and we don’t realize how close we are to them.

Each fire ant has a venomous bite. The toxic causes a painful sting, characterized by a local burning sensation. This typically then swells into a bump over a couple of hours and can cause further irritation. If scratched, you then run the risk of the bites getting infected.

Everybody can react differently. Some may only have slight irritation for a couple of hours. While others can be allergic and experience a far more severe reaction and potentially even an anaphylactic shock. There are some effective home remedies that are used for treatment, however, if the reaction is bad, medical attention may be required.

Summary: Dangerous Animals in Lebanon

Lebanon Flag in Beirut with men sat on the roof
Photo by Charbel Karam on Unsplash

From laughing hyenas to fireball fire ants, Lebanon has a diverse landscape filled with creatures, large and small. The most dangerous animals in Lebanon range in toxicity and strength, keeping locals and tourists on their toes while exploring the country!

What is the most dangerous animal in Lebanon?

Venomous snakes are the most dangerous animals in Lebanon. Both the Palestinian Viper and Blunt Nosed Viper have a strong neurotoxic venom that can cause serious reactions if bitten. These snakes are found across the country in a variety of habitats, however, neither are extremely aggressive and will only attack a human if threatened, like most animals.

Are there lions in Lebanon?

Lions are not native to Lebanon, nor found in the wild. Unfortunately, there are some cases of lions in private captivity in Beruit apartments. Animal rights activists are campaigning to change Lebanese law to protect big cats in Lebanon.

Are there bears in Lebanon?

The Syrian brown bear can be found in the most remote parts of Lebanon. Sightings are increasingly rare as population numbers have been in decline. These bears can be dangerous to humans if the cubs are separated or threatened.

Are there hyenas in Lebanon?

The striped hyena is the national animal of Lebanon. They can be seen across the mountains and valleys of the country, some even venturing closer to main cities for urban scavenging. A striped hyena pack can be dangerous to humans and should always be given space if seen in the wild.

Are there venomous snakes in Lebanon?

There are venomous snakes in Lebanon, two of which can cause serious harm if bitten. The blunt nosed viper is an endangered species found in the rocky areas of Lebanon’s foothills. The Palestinian viper is more widespread across Lebanon and the Levant region, with venom strong enough to kill if left untreated.

Are there venomous spiders in Lebanon?

Lebanon and the Middle East have several species of spiders, some of which are venomous, across the varying landscape. The two most notable species are the black widow and the brown recluse. Both are found across the coastal desert region and urban environments, as well as in the mountains to the east, making them some of the most dangerous animals in Lebanon.

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Hi! I'm Abigail, a surfer, traveller, and nature lover. I'm from the UK but have been able to call Bali home for several years. I've backpacked across Australia on a shoestring budget, explored European coastlines, and taken in the sights across the pond and down into South America. My travel wishlist keeps growing the more I explore our perfect planet!