When you think of wildlife tourism, the old favourites immediately come to mind, the plains of the Serengeti, teeming with majestic creatures seldom found elsewhere in the world, the Masi Mara game reserve in Kenya where you may catch a glimpse of the ‘big five’, or even the Great Barrier Reef, thriving with colourful schools of fish.
While there’s no doubt that these are indeed popular locations for wildlife enthusiasts, it’s true that wherever you go in the world, there are new and unique species of flora and fauna to be discovered, some native to only that area.
Tenerife is no exception, and the fact that our island enjoys year round sunshine means that it’s a melting pot of fascinating animals and beautiful plants. This honour is owed to the diversity of the landscape,. We all know that Tenerife boasts long, sandy beaches, craggy coastlines, modern towns and cities, the Anaga massif in the North Eastern end, and of course, the Tiede National Park in the interior of the island, All this makes for some interesting variation, but the different climactic regions of the island also come into play.
While it’s true that Tenerife generally enjoys year-round great weather, the climate can vary wildly depending on where you are on the island. The South and West generally enjoys the most uninterrupted sunshine (which is why most of the popular tourist resorts are located in the South West corner), while the North and East experience similar temperatures, but more cloud cover and rainfall. The Teide National Park area inland is subject to more extreme weather, and even experiences some snowfall in winter, due to the elevation.
All this makes for an environment in which many different types of wildlife can thrive; here are some of Tenerife’s more interesting native species;
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Watching turtles make the slow, arduous journey up the beach to lay their eggs is one of the most enthralling sites in the natural world. Many assume that they need to jet off somewhere exotic just to experience this phenomenon, but it actually takes places on beaches all over Tenerife.
Dolphin’s are consistently cited as must-see creatures by wildlife tourists, and swimming with these gentle, intelligent mammals is high on many a bucket list. Whale and dolphin safaris are operated in the sea surrounding Tenerife, where the Bottlenose variety can frequently be found bobbing up above the waves.
Western Canaries Lizard
Lizards are very common creatures in warmer parts of the Mediterranean and the Western Canaries Lizard is one of the most attractive, its body is adorned with an array of vivid colours. It’s generally confident around humans too, often coming close enough to be fed with fruit.
El Hierro Giant Lizard
Although various species of small Lizards may be a common sight for holiday makers, larger reptiles are much rarer. The El Hierro Lizard, as its name suggests is native to the tiny island of El Hierro (governed by Tenerife) and grows up to 20cm in length. With just 300-400 left, the species is in serious danger of extinction.
Despite popular belief, the Canary Islands were actually named as such due to the wild dogs that inhabited the islands when they were discovered. That’s not to say however that Canaries can’t be found here. In fact the Atlantic Canary with its yellow and green plumage is a favourite with bird-watchers on the island.
Emperor Dragon Fly
On the whole, insects are not a welcome addition on holiday; , mosquito bites, ant infestations and wasps can all ruin a perfectly good day in the sun. One insect you may want to pay attention to is the Emperor Dragon Fly with its brilliant blue and jet black body. These are commonly found around wet, marshland areas, perhaps one for the nature tourists rather than casual holidaymakers!.
For a wide range of Spanish holidays, including Tenerife with its wealth of fascinating wildlife, visit Sovereign Luxury Travel.