This post was most recently updated on January 21st, 2023
Cyprus has a wide range of wildlife. From Snakes to Sharks, Cyprus is home to a diverse range of animals, birds, and reptiles. Today in this article, we will try to cover almost everything there is to know about the wildlife in Cyprus. Stay tuned.
Are there foxes in Cyprus?
Yes, Cyprus has foxes. It has mainly red foxes. The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes indutus) is an endemic subspecies of Cyprus and the only carnivorous mammal on the island. It was brought to Cyprus by Neolithic people around 6000 years ago. It can be found in many areas including Nicosia, Limassol, Paphos, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
It is normal for them to roam around in public places with their offspring, of which they have around four to six. They are harmless and friendly.
They are mainly looking for food, birds, rats, and rubbish. The species primarily feeds on small rodents, though it may also target rabbits, birds, reptiles, and invertebrates. They prefer to live in a den and places with a lot of trees so that they could get cover.
Ecologists consider the fox a useful animal with an important role in the ecosystems.
Are there wild tortoises in Cyprus?
Tortoises are present in Cyprus but they are not much wild, and they are not native to the country. They were probably brought to Cyprus from Turkey. The most common tortoise found is Testudo graeca (the Spur-thighed or Greek Tortoise).
They live in diverse habitats, including deserts, arid grasslands, and scrub to wet evergreen forests, and from sea level to mountains. Most species, however, occupy semi-arid habitats.
Tortoises in Cyprus are generally considered to be strict herbivores, feeding on grasses, weeds, leafy greens, flowers, and some fruits. However, hunting and eating of birds have been observed on occasion.
Here are some characteristics of the Greek Tortoise:
- Large Symmetrical markings on the top of the head.
- Large Scales on the front legs.
- Notable Spurs on each thigh.
- Dark Central flecks on the underside.
- Shell somewhat oblong rectangular.
- Movable posterior plates on the underside.
Are there Dolphins in Cyprus?
Yes, Cyprus has dolphins. A pod of nearly 30 bottlenose dolphins was spotted in the Mediterranean Sea off Limassol, Cyprus, on Friday, September 2020. Dolphins were seen in Cyprus before that too.
Let’s learn something more about Bottlenose Dolphins, shall we?
Bottlenose dolphins are aquatic mammals in the genus Tursiops. Bottlenose dolphins inhabit warm and temperate seas worldwide, being found everywhere except for the Arctic and Antarctic Circle regions.
They have also been trained by militaries to locate sea mines or detect and mark enemy divers. The bottlenose dolphin weighs an average of 300 kg and it can grow up to 4 meters. Bottlenose dolphins can live for more than 40 years. Females typically live 5–10 years longer than males, with some females exceeding 60 years.
The bottlenose dolphin is widely known for its graceful movement in the water, as well as its great intelligence and capability for complex communication with other members of its species.
Can you swim with Dolphins in Cyprus?
Swimming with Dolphins in Cyprus isn’t quite possible because there are no Dolphins in publicly accessed areas like swimming pools. You can swim with them in the sea if you are a diver.
You may also like to read: Are there Sharks in Cyprus?
Are there Crocodiles in Cyprus?
Some people have claimed that they have seen Crocodiles in North Cyprus whereas experts suggest it might be just an alligator. So the answer to the question, “Are there Crocodiles in Cyprus” is there might be and there mightn’t be.
One claimed there was a crocodile in the Kalopanayiotis reservoir but authorities could not find any signs. Nor could they confirm other rumors that the aquatic reptile lived in a reservoir in Limassol.
Are there Scorpions in Cyprus?
Cypriot Scorpions, scientifically known as Aegaeobuthus cyprius are present in Cyprus.
It is a species of scorpion in the family Buthidae. This scorpion has a brownish-brown color, which can be considered red, especially if observed from a distance.
It ranges in size from 3 to 19 cm, has four pairs of legs, and a long tail with six knots, where the latter ends in a curved sting that flows poison.
They mainly live in deserts but have adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions, and can be found on all continents except Antarctica. Cypriot Scorpions generally prey on insects, particularly grasshoppers, crickets, termites, beetles, and wasps.
Cypriot Scorpion venom serves to kill or paralyze prey rapidly. The stings of many species are uncomfortable, but only 25 species have venom that is deadly to humans.
Are there Jellyfish in Cyprus?
Jellyfish are commonly seen in Cyprus but they aren’t everywhere. They can be seen on most of the beaches in Cyprus. Some jellyfish are harmless, others have a relatively mild sting.
Its sting causes pain that typically lasts one to two weeks. Symptoms vary and include local redness, swelling, and a rash. However, it is generally not dangerous and there are no known fatalities.
Jellyfish feed on plankton, small fish, fish larvae, crustaceans, or other jellyfish. Their predators are tuna, sharks, swordfish, and sea turtles.
In case of a sting, the department advises the following:
- Rinse thoroughly with seawater, but do not rub the affected area. DO NOT use fresh water.
- Remove any tentacle residue using a plastic card, a piece of wood, or a pair of tweezers. NEVER with bare hands, as this will lead to the tentacles sticking to the hands.
- Apply cortisone cream to the sting area.
- Inform the lifeguards, if any, in the area to take the necessary action.
- Acute pain usually lasts 15-20 minutes. However, if the pain persists, consult a doctor.
- In case of an allergic person, this person should contact or go immediately to a doctor or hospital.
Do they have Snakes in Cyprus?
There are 10 kinds of snakes in Cyprus, and 3 of them are venomous. Out of those 3, one of them is really dangerous for humans. The three dangerous snakes in Cyprus are Cyprian blunt-nosed Viper, Montpelier snake, and Cat snake. The Cyprian blunt-nosed Viper is venomous of them all.
Are there Stonefish in Cyprus?
Stonefish exist in Cyprus waters but not many. On May 14, 2020, a stonefish was caught using a speargun in Kumyalı in North Cyprus. The fish is stored in the laboratory of the Eastern Mediterranean University, Department of Biological Sciences. These records are the first from the waters of Cyprus.
Let’s learn something more about Stonefish, shall we?
Stonefish is scientifically called Synanceia. Stonefishes are venomous, dangerous, and fatal to humans. They are the most venomous fish known to date. Stonefish stings are extremely painful and potentially lethal.
Even though Stonefish is lethal, it can be eaten if properly prepared. The protein-based venom quickly breaks down when heated. The meat of Synanceia is white, dense, and sweet, and the skin is also edible. They are usually cooked with ginger into a clear soup and sometimes served raw as sashimi.
Does Cyprus have Hedgehogs?
Cyprus has long-eared Hedgehogs. The hedgehog is the only mammal with thorns that exists in Cyprus. The long-eared hedgehog is scientifically called Hemiechinus auritus. It is a species of hedgehog native to Central Asian countries and some countries of the Middle East.
Their lifespan is of 7 years. Long-eared hedgehogs are insectivorous but may also feed on small vertebrates and plants. Beetles, larvae, worms, snails, eggs of small birds, and snakes are its food.
Hedgehogs are seen in almost every place in Cyprus. Tourists usually encounter them in Ayia Naya, Limassol, and Aphrodite Hills in Paphos.
Cyprus’s long-eared Hedgehog measures 25 cm and defends itself against its enemies by stretching its thorns while it shrinks, transforming into a closed thorny ball which makes it difficult for other animals to attack and kill it.
Are there squirrels in Cyprus?
Squirrels are found in Troodos Mountains in Cyprus but they are not common in other places. Squirrels are not indigenous to Cyprus and they are also illegal to import/export.
Squirrels are generally small animals ranging in size from 10 to 15 cm. Squirrels typically have slender bodies with very long very bushy tails and large eyes. In general, their fur is soft and silky, though much thicker in some species than others.
Squirrels are predominantly herbivorous, subsisting on seeds and nuts, but many will eat insects and even small vertebrates.
Are there Leeches in Cyprus?
Cyprus has leeches and they are found almost in every part of Cyprus, mainly in the mountainous region.
Leeches are like earthworms but smaller in size. The majority of leeches live in freshwater habitats, while some species can be found in terrestrial or marine environments.
You can see a lot of leeches near your house during the rainy season in Cyprus. They move slowly through the water in search of food. They don’t form complex societies, but they can usually be found in groups together.
Despite their bloodsucking reputation, leeches have a varied diet. While they do suck blood, freshwater leeches also eat mollusks, insects, insect larvae, fish eggs, and worms. When they suck blood, they prefer to suck the blood of other water creatures, including worms, snails, and fish.
Leeches are also used for medical purposes in Cyprus.
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