The island chain of the Maldives is famous for its pristine beaches and the tranquil ocean that surrounds it. Despite its size, this tiny archipelago is teeming with a wide variety of exotic wildlife that makes a trip here well worth it.
Life in the Reef
Coral reefs are ecosystems that are made up of millions of tiny creatures called polyps, and they are one of the most biodiverse habitats on the planet. A snorkelling session from local resorts the likes of The Residence Maldives Falhumaafushi by Cenizaro provide an ideal opportunity to witness marine creatures that can be found here. On your adventures, you may see tuna, tilapia, barracuda, clownfish, lionfish and even the reclusive moray eel.
Now, you don’t always have to head out into the ocean to see interesting wildlife. An array of birds can be spotted from the comfort of your beach villa in Maldives. For instance, resorts nestled within the natural expanse of the islands are visited by such species as the common myna, pond heron and grey heron.
The skies don’t only belong to the birds in the Maldives, as fruit bats are a common sight throughout, especially near resorts. Dusk is the best time to snap a photo of these creatures as they set out in search of food.
Shark viewing is a truly enthralling experience and it’s not uncommon to encounter reef sharks and nurse sharks among the reefs. The Maldives is also famous for its seasonal whale shark gatherings and lucky divers might even chance upon the elusive hammerhead shark.
Close relatives of sharks, rays are just as fascinating – if a bit less terrifying. Stingrays and larger manta rays are common throughout the year, while eagle rays gather in number during certain periods of the year.
Whales and Dolphins
To really get a good look at Maldives’ whales and dolphins you’ll need to charter a boat to go a little bit further into the Indian Ocean, but the reward is well worth it – marvel at pods of bottlenose dolphins and spinner dolphins while keeping an eye out for pilot whales, blue whales and false killer whales.
A variety of invertebrates call the Maldives their home; they may be small but are no less fascinating. On land, you’ll find a menagerie of critters – from black widow spiders and centipedes to charming hermit crabs patrolling the beaches. Over in the ocean, it’s just as diverse, with starfish and urchins sprawled out on the seafloor while jellyfish drift away in the open water.
Perhaps one of the ocean’s most graceful and gentle creatures, sea turtles can be found roaming the Maldives reefs in search of jellyfish.
The yellow-bellied sea snake can be encountered by snorkellers, and while these snakes are venomous, they are quite harmless unless disturbed. On land, you might chance upon the harmless blind snake and wolf snake, both of which are endemic to the archipelago.
All manner of lizards can be found scurrying around the Maldives; of these, vibrant oriental garden lizards and agamid lizards are highlights.