Pyeongtaek Wildlife You May Encounter

Over my last decade in Pyeongtaek, I’ve been blessed with many wildlife sightings. Our home sits on the edge of an orchard that attracts many different kinds of wildlife. Additionally, while working in countryside schools, I’ve also come across many different wild animals while walking or biking through the rice paddies.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all wildlife in Korea. Instead, it’s a look at the wildlife I often see near my house. Wildlife you also might have the pleasure of seeing during your stay in rural South Korea.

Water Deer (Also known as vampire deer)

Our house is in the rice paddies near Osan Air Force Base and we will see water deer in the small forest behind our house a few times a year. I love having a coffee and watch them graze through the trees. Sometimes we will get a little herd hanging out for the day.

I also see water deer while on scooter rides and bikes rides. Be careful on the rural roads at night because they may jump in front of your car. Which is not fun for you or them. A few years ago, my husband was actually hit by a water deer while riding his scooter. It came racing out of the rice paddies and raced his scooter before running right into him. He was quite shocked.

Support Local Businesses and Local Ads

The water deer are often small and you might mistake a full-grown deer for a baby deer or a small dog. The mails have tusk-like teeth that get them the nickname “vampire deer”.

In 2017, an international resident was taking a very early morning walk and captured the mating calls of the water deer in Pyeongtaek. How random is that? You will want the volumn up to hear everything. It’s filmed a bit like the Blair Witch Project. Interesting though.

Weasels

We see weasels often near our house. Sometimes we see them almost every day. We aren’t sure if they are Siberian weasels, Least weasels, or both. We refer to them as the “wild weiner dogs” because they remind us of our dog Diego when they scurry into the woodpiles and high grass. The weasels don’t like people and run as soon as they see us coming. They also seem to be out mostly at night or cooler weather.

Pheasants and grouse

The orchard in our backyard brings in quite a few stunning pheasants throughout the year. Gorgeous birds. We love to go sit and watch them hang out in the trees. Pheasant hunting is actually a rather common activity in rural areas of Korea.

Raccoon dogs

We have seen raccoon dogs all over Korea. We see them quite often near our home in the Pyeongtaek countryside. They usually come out later in the day and at night. We have to be careful of them on the roads. Sorry that I couldn’t find a better video, most of the raccoon dog videos are from Japan. They make some very weird sounds which can be quite alarming.

Yellow-throated marten

Yellow-throated Marten (Maybe we saw this)

When we saw the marten it was moving fast. We aren’t 100% sure it was a marten but it was way too big to be a weasel.

Frogs and Salamanders

My students were always bringing all kinds of frogs and salamanders into the classroom. I have no idea which types they were. If you want to learn all about Korea’s amphibians, watch this guys videos. He has sooooo many.

Snakes (Yes, many are poisonous)

A few decades ago, Pyeongtaek had a snake infestation problem in the rice fields. These days the development helps keep the snakes under control, however, they are still quite prevalent in areas with limited people. If you have a yard, expect to see snakes.

In Korea, there are over 20 species of snakes that fall into three types: Viperidae (the most poisonous), Elapidae (only one type is poisonous), and Elapidae (poisonous sea snakes). Since you are likely unfamiliar with the 20 species of snakes in South Korea (many of which are quite poisonous) please do not engage with the snakes you come across.

While driving near the rivers and quiet neighborhoods, we have seen snakes up to six feet long and 6-8 inches around. During the spring when they turn and flood the rice fields, hundreds of small snakes may come out onto the small roads. We used to see this often on our commute to work at rural schools.

Actually, in the countryside, my students would often talk about eating snakes when visiting their grandparent’s house.

We couldn’t find any snake videos from Pyeongtaek, so here are some from around South Korea.

https://youtu.be/ixOYK9ks7Rs

Rats

We don’t see these very often, but we have seen them. Thankfully we have a lot of wild farm cats who keep the rodents out of our yards.

What Wildlife Have You Seen in Pyeongtaek?

We would love to hear about the animals you meet in your yard or on walks through the countryside.