What other strange species may be found in Cyprus, and how diverse is the island’s wildlife?
There are more than a dozen kinds of mammals in North Cyprus, including sheep, hare, and uncommon animals such as dwarf bat, bezoar goat, and numerous species of sea animals.
Mouflon is the most well-known mammal on the island. These magnificent creatures with spirally coiled horns belong to the artiodactyl family. Mouflons have existed in Cyprus since the Neolithic era, according to archaeological evidence, when hunting for individuals grazing in the Troodos hills was a popular hobby among the aristocracy. They also hunted mouflons for decades, placing the species on the verge of extinction in Cyprus by the mid-twentieth century.
Fortunately, mouflon hunting was outlawed in time, and the woodland where they lived was designated as a conservation area. Furthermore, reserves were established on the island, with one of the goals being to increase the population of mouflons. On the island now, there are around 3,000 people. Mouflons, whose favorite foods are fruit tree bark and wheat sprouts, are frequently a disaster for local farmers. In this scenario, the government makes special subsidies to the communities to assist them to cope with the effects of the mouflon raids.
As can be seen from the examples above, mouflons are adored and cherished in modern Cyprus. The mouflon’s image can be found on banknotes, postage stamps, and coins, and it has become something of a symbol for the island.
A variety of bats and flying foxes, which are representatives of northern latitudes, can be seen but rarely heard in Cyprus. There is a large and little horseshoe carrier, an Egyptian flying dog, and a regular long-winged and sharp-eyed night-night, for example (and the list is far from exhaustive). By the way, European bats (and even dogs) are cute and harmless animals who eat little insects and unripe fruits and have nothing to do with vampires.
The Egyptian flying dog (also known as the Nile winged) is a bat species. This is Europe’s largest bat: the animal can grow to be 17 cm long, with a brown coat and a prominent belly. Egyptian flying dogs are night hunters who can soar up to 40 kilometers. Immature and rotten fruits are eaten by animals. These winged animals are frequently kept as pets in captivity. The smallest bat in Europe, with a wingspan of fewer than 250 millimeters and a weight of 9 grams, is the little horseshoe carrier.
Another fascinating creature of Cyprus is the long-eared hedgehog, which stands out for its unusually large ears for a hedgehog (up to 5 centimeters). The hedgehog, on the other hand, is fairly little, measuring up to 27 centimeters in length, and the needles, which are quite thin and short, only cover the back of the animal, leaving a strip of bare skin on the forehead.
Ants, beetles, and other insects, as well as fruits, are eaten by long-eared hedgehogs. Hedgehogs’ favorite diet is the eggs of small birds and snakes, which they seek with incredible agility. Predators such as birds of prey, wolves, foxes, and badgers prey on the eared hedgehogs. Long-eared hedgehogs hibernate in the winter, consuming fat that has collected over the summer. They can be found in open areas such as steppes and semi-deserts, as well as near human housing and gardens.
Monk seals grow to be 250 centimeters long, with a dark gray to blackish brown coat and a lighter coat on the belly. Seals are sedentary creatures that eat flounder, mackerel, and anchovies.
The Cypriot dwarf hippopotamus is currently extinct, having thrived on the island from antiquity until the Holocene era. One idea connects the extinction of the Cypriot dwarf hippopotamus with the island’s colonization.
In fact, an intriguing biological phenomena known as “Island dwarfism” explains the dwarfism of the Cypriot hippopotamus and elephant, which will be described later. Relative safety was primarily engaged in limiting the size of some animal species residing on the islands (the dwarf hippopotamus was Cyprus’ largest mammal, and predators were terrified of it), as well as food shortages.
There are several reptile species in Cyprus, including chameleons, geckos, agamas, monitor lizards, lizards, and eight snake species, three of which are deadly to humans.
Gyurza, the most deadly of the Cypriot snakes, can grow up to 1.8 meters in length. This snake has a subtle tint – grayish or brownish – that permits it to blend in. Gyurza can be found among stony hillsides, spring-fed gorges, and abandoned home ruins. The snake does not strike people directly, but it can bite if it is trodden on or otherwise disturbed. If you’ve been bitten by a gyurza, you should get a particular serum very away and see a doctor.
In Cyprus, two more poisonous snake species are less threatening to humans. Lizard snakes (brown with light stripes or olive green with a yellowish belly) and cat snakes are the names given to them (gray-beige with dark stripes).
A Cypriot snake with a white ring around the eyes, a gradient colored olive snake, a giant snake reaching up to 3 meters in length, snakes, and other varieties of snakes that do not represent a threat to humans may all be found in the mountainous areas of Cyprus.
The common chameleon, a lizard species that may also be found in Cyprus, is recognized for its unusual ability to alter skin color, allowing them to “blend” with their surroundings. A typical chameleon can grow up to 30 centimeters in length and has green skin with black markings. Chameleons eat insects that they grab with their long, tenacious tongues.
Geckos and agamas, as well as the so-called snakeheads, are other lizard species that are prevalent on the island. Lizards prefer the crevices of medieval castles and other historical sites as their preferred habitat.
A green turtle, a large-headed or large-headed turtle (loggerhead), and a water turtle are among the turtles that can be spotted in Cyprus. Sea turtles lay their eggs on coastal sand every year, frequently close to popular beaches. Female turtles leave the sea during the mating season, from early June to mid-August, to deposit eggs in the sand, from which small turtles hatch after seven weeks. The only project in the Mediterranean dedicated at safeguarding and nurturing the native turtle population is located in Cyprus.
Green sea turtles are the largest of the Mediterranean sea turtles, reaching a length of a meter and weighing up to 250 kilograms. Green turtles get their name from the color of their shells, as well as the fact that they only eat seaweed and grass.
Although not as huge as green turtles, large-headed turtles can reach a length of 95 cm. Their head is large, and five pairs of rib guards may be seen on the carapace. Mollusks, fish, jellyfish, and crustaceans are eaten by big-headed turtles. Freshwater turtles can be found in Cyprus’s freshwaters.
Naturally, there are a lot of insects in Cyprus. They are unlikely to bother beachgoers or hotel guests, but hikers and energetic tourists may encounter a variety of beetles, cockroaches (including flying ones), midges, flies, and spiders. However, the residents of our latitudes in Cyprus are only affected by a small number of mosquitoes.
On the island, butterfly enthusiasts can see really uncommon specimens. African “Cleopatra” (orange and yellow), two-sided “Pasha,” local “Cypriot meadow,” and the famed “Red Admiral” are just a few examples.
Nearly 400 bird species live in Cyprus, including both local and migratory birds (the island is in the middle of the bird migration route to the south). The bulk of individuals are found in the Troodos Mountains’ woodland zones, where finches, nightingales, waxwings, and other species nest alongside predators such as kites and burying eagles, both of which are on the edge of extinction.
In addition, the griffin Vultra, the falcon of Eleanor, named after a medieval monarch who defended birds of prey, a vulture, a vulture vulture, and an imperial eagle, as well as complete flocks of noble pink flamingos can be seen in the Salt Lakes region near Larnaca throughout the winter. Storks, herons, pelicans, petrels, gulls, cormorants, ducks, buzzards, and dozens of other bird species can also be seen in Cyprus.
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