Balearic Islands Animals

Mammals

Common mammals include hares and rabbits. You have to be a little more patient with badgers, deer, wild boars, roe deer, martens, foxes and mouflons. There are also a few wild cats.

The nocturnal gorse cat is very rare. It belongs to the family of the stealthy cats and the gorse cat, of which there are several species, was worshiped as a feline deity in ancient Egypt.

The Kleinfleck gorse cat is the only European species. With an average body size of around 100 cm, 45 cm is the bushy and curled tail. The fur is gray or brown with a black pattern of spots. The pointed muzzle is typical. In addition to mice and birds, their prey also includes insects and fruits.

Lynx and mountain goats are also rarely seen.

Birds

Birds of prey, which are also native to mainland Spain, include hawks, buzzards, owls, eagles and the bee-eater.

In nature reserves as well as on the coasts you can enjoy numerous species of ducks, coots, little grebes, storks, marsh harriers and flamingos. The latter form a family of their own and are also common in Africa, western Asia and southern France.
The up to 130 cm tall birds are immediately recognizable by their long and thin neck, by their thin legs and by their thick, downwardly curved pink beak with a black tip. This is used as a sieve when searching for food. The menu includes worms, algae and, above all, small crustaceans.
They are also responsible for the pink plumage of the flamingos. The red dye absorbed with the crabs is stored in the feathers. After all, the more crabs the birds have eaten, the more pink they are.
The famous one-legged standing is used to store heat, as one leg is hidden in the warm plumage and thus less heat loss occurs. This feat is not strenuous for the flamingos (as well as for storks).

Other important bird species are cranes, bustards, falcons and eagle owls as well as gray geese, shelduck and lapwing. In the sea and land national park of the Cabrera archipelago one can observe the Eleanor’s falcon. This species of falcon occurs exclusively in the Mediterranean area.

Reptiles

In addition to some types of lizards and geckos, five different types of snakes and subspecies live on some islands.
While the hooded snake and the viper snake have been native to the Balearic Island for a long time, the lizard, stair and horseshoe snakes have been introduced in recent years when importing plants such as olive trees from Andalusia.

Hooded snake
The hooded snake (Macroprotodon cucullatus) can be found in Mallorca and Menorca. Also in southern Spain, Portugal, Italy, Algeria, Morocco in the Western Sahara, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Israel.
This snake is rather small with a length between 40 to 50 cm. It rarely reaches a length of 60 cm.
The hooded snake is crepuscular and nocturnal and lives primarily on the ground and during the day hides under stones and in earthworks as well as in crevices and brittle masonry. It hibernates between four to six months. Their diet consists mainly of small lizards and geckos. It has a poison that is hardly effective for humans, but with which it can stun and kill its prey. The snake is laying eggs.

Horseshoe snake
The horseshoe snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis) reaches a length of up to approx. 1.80 m.
It occurs on Mallorca and Ibiza as well as Sardinia and Pantelleria. It is also found in Gibraltar, Portugal, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
Their habitats are dry, rocky and sparsely overgrown hill country. They often climb bushes and trees. Their diet consists mainly of lizards as well as mice and birds.
The snake is considered to be easily irritable and biting. Efforts are being made to stop its spread, but so far with little success. The snake is non-toxic.

Ladder snake
, the ladder snake (Rhinechis scalaris) can be found in Mallorca and Menorca also on the spnischen mainland Portugal and the south of France. The snake has an average length of around 1.20 m, and occasionally specimens with a length of 1.60 m can be found.
Because of its dark stripes on its back, it can be easily distinguished from the other four snakes.
The diurnal animals mainly feed on reptiles, such as lizards and smaller snakes, as well as amphibians, birds and smaller mammals such as mice, rats, rabbits and hares.
The snake is non-toxic.

Viper snake
Viper snake (Natrix maura) can be found in Mallorca and Menorca also on the spnanischen mainland, Portugal, Gibraltar, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia in France and in the northwest of Italy and in Sardinia.
The snake can also be found in the southwest of Switzerland. As a water snake, the snake is closely tied to water-rich habitats.
It is mainly obtained from fish, tadpoles and newt larvae, but also from adult amphibians, for example from the Sardinian mountain newt in Sardinia.
The cold-blooded animals are excellent at swimming and diving and use the sunny banks for heat regulation.
The viper snakes reach a length between 70 to 90 cm – they rarely get longer. The snake is non-toxic.

Western lizard snake
The western lizard snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) – also known as the European lizard viper – occurs on Mallorca and Ibiza. In addition, in numerous other countries such as the Spanish mainland, Portugal, southern France and Gibraltar.
The males are between 1.30 m to 1.80 m – in rare cases up to 2 m long. The females are smaller than the males at 90 to 130 cm. The diurnal snake feeds mainly on small mammals, lizards and other snakes.
The snake is slightly poisonous. You can find a detailed description here >>>

Insects

In the Balearic Islands you will encounter the usual insects such as mosquitoes, flies, bees, wasps, ants, bed bugs and cockroaches. The over 100 butterfly species also include the Easter butterfly, the yellow aurora butterfly and the strawberry tree butterfly, which is one of the largest European butterflies with a wingspan of 10 cm.
There are no poisonous spiders on the Balearic Islands. On Cabrera, the smallest of the inhabited islands, there are not only various species of birds but also rare lizards.

Underwater world

In the Balearic underwater world, besides moray eels and scorpion fish, there are also barracudas, perches, wrasse and sea peacocks. Purple stars, sea urchins, corals and beautifully drawn sea snails such as the star and leopard sea snail live on the sea floor. Lobsters and the octopus also live here.

Fish are not very numerous in freshwater areas. They are threatened both by the chemical pollution of the water and by the introduction of foreign fish species. But there are still trout, barbel and carp. The lamprey, salmon and sturgeon have become very rare. The lamprey gets its name from the seven gill openings and an additional “eye” on the forehead, the nose.

Tip!
For all those interested in animals, a visit to Mallorca’s Reserva del Galatz√≥, a nature park in Puigpunyent, is definitely worthwhile. It is filled with waterfalls and countless native plants and animals (especially bears, peacocks, donkeys, ostriches, birds of prey, etc.) and spreads out directly at the foot of the Puig de Galatz√≥, about 17 km from Palma.

Balearic Islands Animals