Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily. It is located west of the Italian Peninsula, north of Tunisia and immediately south of the French island of Corsica.
Sardinia is home to a wide variety of rare or uncommon animals, such as several species of mammals, many of them belonging to an endemic subspecies: the Mediterranean monk seal, Sarcidano horse, Giara horse, albino donkey, Sardinian feral cat, mouflon, Sardinian long-eared bat, Sardinian deer, fallow deer, Sardinian fox, Sardinian hare, wild boar, edible dormouse and European pine marten.
Rare amphibians, found only on the island, are the Sardinian brook salamander, brown cave salamander, imperial cave salamander, Monte Albo cave salamander, Supramonte cave salamander and Sarrabus cave salamander the Sardinian tree frog is also found in Corsica and in the Tuscan Archipelago. Among reptiles worthy of note are Bedriaga's rock lizard, the Tyrrhenian wall lizard and Fitzinger's algyroides, endemic species of Sardinia and Corsica. The island is inhabited by terrestrial tortoises and sea turtles like Hermann's tortoise, the spur-thighed tortoise, marginated tortoise, Nabeul tortoise, loggerhead sea turtle and green sea turtle. A new arachnid species, endemic to the island, has been recently found: the Nuragic spider.
Sardinia has four endemic subspecies of birds found nowhere else in the world: its great spotted woodpecker, great tit, common chaffinch, and Eurasian jay, It also shares a further 10 endemic subspecies of bird with Corsica. In some cases Sardinia is a delimited part of the species range. For example, the subspecies of hooded crow, Corvus cornix ssp cornix occurs in Sardinia and Corsica, but no further south.
Some birds of prey found here are the griffon vulture, common buzzard, golden eagle, long-eared owl, western marsh harrier, peregrine falcon, European honey buzzard, Sardinian goshawk, Bonelli's eagle and Eleonora's falcon, whose name comes from Eleonor of Arborea, national heroine of Sardinia, expert in falconry.The hundreds of lagoons and coastal lakes that dot the island are home for many species of wading birds, such as the greater flamingo.
Conversely, Sardinia lacks many species common on the European continent, such as the viper, wolf, bear and marmot.
The island has also long been used for grazing flocks of indigenous Sardinian sheep. The Sardinian Anglo-Arab is a horse breed that was established in Sardinia, where it has been selectively bred for more than one hundred years.
Three different breeds of dogs are peculiar to Sardinia: the Sardinian Shepherd Dog, the Dogo Sardesco and the Levriero Sardo.