Interesting wildlife to observe on the island of Crete

Good morning.

In mid-May, I am planning to take a trip with my brother and my mother to the island of Crete (we will stay in a hotel located in the village of Hersonissos.
As you certainly suspected, I am a nature enthusiast and I wondered, in terms of wildlife, if there were areas near the village to visit.

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I see no-one has been able to give you any tips… is it just wildlife you’re interested in, or also flora?

Both but especially the wildlife

I would try looking at iNat what has been observed there to get an idea

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?lat=35.30197905841128&lng=25.37759289991019&place_id=any&radius=6.4948096202170715&subview=map&taxon_id=1&view=species

I have already done research using the “explore” menu but in the fauna of Crete, there are quite a few species also present in France. My idea is to know the details of the species not present in France (my country) and that I could discover on the island.

I know there are some (rufous-tailed scrub robin, common chameleon, eastern black-eared wheatear…) but I don’t know the exact list of these species. For birds, I have a guide who can give me information but for other categories of animals, I have not found any information.

I don’t know the Hersonissos area that well and I’m better on plants than I am on animals, but if you’ve got a car, you might find something interesting in the Potamos Beach area (near Malia). There’s a tiny WWF oasis there with some marshland (inaccessible) and a small protected area of dunes with typical dune/beach flora. The beach is interesting from a geological point of view with some fascinating karst formations and there is also a short walk around a headland with all the typical flora of the garigue/low Mediterranean maquis. I was there a few days ago and timed it just right for a spectacular flowering of Limonium sinuatum, could be something left when you’re there in mid-May.
If you’re into walking/hiking, there are some great walks starting from the village of Krasi up in the hills behind Malia. Particularly interesting from a botanical point of view is one of the few holm oak (Quercus ilex) woods in Crete (Azilakodasos). It’s quite a trek, but worth it if only for the views.
Sorry I can’t be of more help, but as I said, I’m not that familiar with the Hersonissos area. Have a great trip and happy observing.

As I said above, I’m not that good with wildlife larger than a dragonfly :roll_eyes: :sweat_smile:, but one of the interesting things I found in Crete is that a high percentage of the invertebrates I photographed turned out to be endemic or sub-endemic. Worth bearing in mind.

OK, thanks for the details.

I’m sure there’s a way to download species lists from both countries as CSV files and then filter them for those unique to Crete. SQL can do the filtering once you have the CSVs. @pisum

You can also just search on iNat by the name Cretan - this checks descriptions as well as the binomial and common name
https://www.inaturalist.org/search?page=1&q=cretan&source[]=taxa

This quickly shows many ( presumably ordered by most observed?).

Cretan Seed Bug
Cretan Cicada
Cretan Wall Lizard
Cretan Grayling
Cretan Small Heath
Cretan Small Wood-Scorpion
Cretan Frog
Kri-Kri
Cretan Rose Chafer
Cretan Giant Centipede
Cretan Long-legged Bush-Cricket
Cretan Bright Bush-Cricket
Cretan Spectre
Cretan Blisterbeetle
Cretan and Rhodes Badger
Cretan Semipunctated Shield Bug

I see there are caves on the map near Hersonissos…and one of the Cretan names which comes up is a Cretan Cave Cricket. Locations are obscured but clustered close to the village you stay in.


According to this site :

“It has been estimated that the endemic animal species are about 1.000,…A typical example are the spiders, the endemism of which is more than 40% on the island, which means that almost half of the spider species on Crete exist only on Crete and nowhere else in the world.”


For other locations - there is also this study which maps out hotspots for the endemic arthropods:


@agapakisnikos might have some tips too if you direct message them!
They seemed to ID everything I posted when I was in Greece a few years ago :)

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