From Lemming to Orca

Varanger is not only home to countless species of birds, but also several mammals live in this northern area above the Arctic circle. They include animals of all sizes - from the tiny Lemmings to massive Orcas. Depending on the habitat you are exploring, there are a variety of mammal species to discover.

The mixed, spacious forests of spruce, pine and birch of the Taiga are a perfect habitat not only for Siberian Tits, Hawk Owls or Pine Grosbreaks, but a considerable number of mammals also live there. Besides Lemmings and Least Weasel the main attraction of the Taiga is unarguabily the Brown Bear. Sør-Varanger is known to hold the majority of the Brown Bear population of Norway. Other famous European mammal predators also reside in this biome, like Wolverine, Eurasian Lynx and Grey Wolf. Groups of moose can also be seen here, wading through the bogs. Other mammals include Mountain hare, Red Squirrel, Pine Marten, Stoat, Least Weasel, Northern Bat and several species of vole and shrew.


The short growth and treeless landscape of the tundra, from the green coastal area up to the Arctic stone desert in the centre of the peninsula, is the typical landscape of the Varanger peninsula. Compared to the southern Taiga, this biome holds only a few species of mammals. The most common mammals in this area are definately Reindeers, which can be seen all across Varanger, up to the Arctic Coast. Also common in this area are Red Fox and Hares. Arctic Fox are very rare, so count yourselves very lucky if you see one (but do not share the information to others than the nature authorities, as they are a vulnerable species). 

The arctic coast is always a great place to look for whales, dolphins and seals. You have a good chance of detecting Grey and Common Seals. The barent sea holds several types of cetaceans like Orcas, Humpback Whales, Habour Porpoises, Belugas and several other species.


Reindeer herding in Varanger is a nature based culture. Video blog:  A November visit to the Krampenes reindeer herding fences, near the Varanger fjord. A Biotope Vlog © 2016