Madeira’s unique fauna

Madeira’s unique fauna

Madeira’s fauna

Because Madeira is the perfect destination for animal lovers, here is a brief description of Madeira’s fauna. Madeira is known for its flora, but that does not mean we should overlook all the amazing animal species that can be found around the archipelago. They are a part of what makes Madeira so special and unique.  The fauna you will meet here is somewhat different from other holiday destinations.  There are no unique terrestrial mammals or sweet cuddle animals around.

Madeira Dolphin Species Portugal Madeira Dolphin watch

Marine Animals

Starting with the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira is surrounded by all sorts of marine animals. Many tourists go on boat trips around Madeira hoping to see whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. Whale and dolphin watching are indeed extremely popular activities on Madeira and represent a safe way to get to know those beautiful creatures. Sometimes, sealions (monk seals) frequent the coastlines of the archipelago.  Do not approach them.  Luckily sealions have an oasis for themselves on the Desertas. Diving is also a popular activity which allows both visitors and locals to observe octopuses, seahorses, and stingrays for example.

Madeira Sealions whales and dolphins

Madeira Birds

The archipelago of Madeira is home to unique and endemic bird species. Madeira is an ideal place for those who enjoy birdwatching. Zino’s Petrel, the Madeira Buzzard, and Cory’s Shearwater are some of the species you will be able to observe.  Zino’s Petrel is on the list of endangered species and only breeds on Madeira.  Did you know that Madeira is Europe’s Best Bird Watching Destination?

Madeira Bird watching Best bird wathcing destination in Europe

Land Fauna

As for land invertebrates, the community of terrestrial arthropods is the one that has the greatest wealth of fauna, spread over a wide variety of groups. The group of Arachnids is well represented with spiders for example. Many butterflies live on Madeira, However only three species are endemic. The Madeira Brimstone (Gonepteryx maderensis) is by far the rarest of the three surviving Madeiran endemics. Picture here below.

Madeira Brimstone (Gonepteryx maderensis) endemic butterfly

Largest Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider Desertas Island Madeira Archipelago Portugal

On Madeira’s Desertas, you will find Europe’s largest spider: The Wolf Spider. If you ever do visit the Desertas with an official guide, there is no need to fear those spiders. The Wolf spider are harmless to humans, even if they can be quite scary looking.

No Dangerous Animals

Furthermore, there are no dangerous animals such as snakes, scorpions, or poisonous spiders on the island.  It is thus possible to move freely without concern unless you fear heights. However, should a wolf spider bite, it generally is no more dangerous or painful than a bee sting.

Long story short, Madeira offers visitors the opportunity to be around all kinds of different animals (marine, terrestrial and volant). If you are an animal lover, Madeira might be the ideal destination for you. 

Ocean Retreat