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Step Into The Wild Side With These Illustrations Of The World's National Animals

There’s so much to learn about each culture you visit, that sometimes it can be a relief just to head to a natural area and experience the environment in the raw.

By: G. John Cole + Save to a List

Every country has its own unique community of animals, and most nations will boast one such critter as a national emblem. This new series of posters from Expedia takes this iconic animal love to a new level by providing the footprint of several such national animals as part of a wonderful new design. Here are a few to look out for in the wild, all depending on your destination.


The States takes their cue from the Roman Empire in featuring the eagle prominently among their imperial imagery. The bald eagle, in particular, is a common feature on national symbols. Spot the triple-talon footprint in the desert or near a river, and you might want to look to the skies to catch a glimpse of this majestic bird.


Some people don’t believe in pandas – on those rare occasions you might spot one, you’ll notice that they kind of look like men in panda suits. If you should discover a giant panda while travelling China, then, you might want to check his pawprint to verify he is who he says he is.


The komodo dragon is a rare but very real beast. Weighing up to 90 kilos and achieving land speeds of up to 11mph, the Indonesia national animal can be dangerous towards humans – so you’ll want to take care should you spot this footprint in the soil.


Tanzania, in East Africa, claims the giraffe as its national animal: and if the giraffe’s footprint is itself rather uninspiring, you might be just as likely to track one by looking up where it’s long neck stretches to the highest branches.


With a footprint like something out of a Guillermo del Toro movie, the North American beaver has one of the more iconic tracks of these national animals. This creature is more or less nocturnal, and should you pick up the trail then be careful not to frighten her off – beavers can hide underwater for up to fifteen minutes.


The elephant is barely even an animal – it’s more like some stranded alien trying to make its home on Earth. Should you manage to track a group, you may even spot them holding a funeral for their dead, such is their memory and intelligence. Just like people, only kinder!


Spot this four-toed print and it might be a good idea to start making tracks in the opposite direction. The Bengal Tiger won’t usually hunt for humans, but they’ve got plenty of kills to their name all the same – so let’s not take any chances, eh?

New Zealand

Proud owners of the world’s most ridiculous national animal, New Zealanders themselves are also often called after the kiwi bird. This flightless fluff-ball is a real cutie, but again you’ll need to stay up late to spot one in the wild.


Just about the only chance you’ll have of catching up with a red kangaroo is by finding his tracks and catching him napping. The Australian national animal can boing along at speeds of 35mph, so he can cause you damage even if you’re in a car.


The gray wolf fears only tigers… and humans. So you may be advised to keep your distance from this sharp-toothed doggo while in Turkey, where – with over 7,000 of them in the wild – they are considered to be a representative of the nation.


It’s a good idea to learn the footprint of the snow leopard well while in Afghanistan – because you may not spot its thick dotted fur until too late. That said, there are only two recorded instances of a snow leopard attacking a human; one of them was rabid, the other one old and daft. That’s cats for you.


The huemul or south Andean deer adorns Chile's national coat of arms, and its no wonder when they are such an ornately designed species. The bucks have antlers, and a heart-shaped black mask effect on their face; but the chance of seeing one up close is pretty remote, since they live in tough to reach places. If you do happen upon a huemul deer, look out for cougars – they have their own hungry reasons for likewise tracking the magnificent Chilean deer. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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