Home > Crete Fauna,Cretan animals,Kri-Kri goat,Cretan wildcat

Crete fauna


Mammals

   Kri-Kri
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Mammals of Crete include the vulnerable Kri-kri(a kind of Cretan goat), Capra Aegagrus Creticus that can be seen in the national park of the Samaria Gorge and on Thodorou,Dia and Agioi Pantes, (islets off the north coast), the Cretan wildcat and the Cretan spiny mouse.Other terrestrial mammals include subspecies of the Cretan marten, the Cretan weasel, the Cretan badger, the long-eared hedgehog, the edible dormouse, and the Cretan shrew, a unique endemic species of mammal in Greece, that is unfortunately threatened with extinction.

Bat species include: Blasius's horseshoe bat, the lesser horseshoe bat, the greater horseshoe bat, the lesser mouse-eared bat, Geoffroy's bat, the whiskered bat, Kuhl's pipistrelle, the common pipistrelle, Savi's pipistrelle, the serotine bat, the long-eared bat, Schreiber's bat, and the European free-tailed bat.

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Cretan wildcat
cThe Cretan Wildcat (Felis silvestris cretensis; Greek φουρόγατος) is a European wildcat subspecies that inhabits the Greek island of Crete and was first described in 1953.
Long feared extinct, participants of an expedition by the University of Perugia managed to capture an individual in 1996. Two hypotheses of how wildcats arrived on the island have been suggested:
1.
It was already present before the mainland and Crete separated.
2. Early Cretan settlers brought cats for domestication. Some of these escaped and became wild again.

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Birds

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Bonelli's  Eagle       Eleanora's falcon    

A large variety of birds includes eagles (can be seen in Lasithi), swallows (throughout Crete in the summer and all the year in the south of the island), pelicans (along the coast), and cranes (including Gavdos and Gavdopoula). The Cretan mountains and gorges are refuges for the endangered Lammergeier vulture. Bird species include: the golden eagle, Bonelli's eagle, the bearded vulture or Lammergeier, the griffon vulture,peregrine falcon, lanner falcon, European kestrel, tawny owl, little owl, hooded crow, alpine chough, red-billed chough, and the hoopoe.

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Reptiles and amphibians
r Moorish gecko     d
Loggerhead turtle
 

Reptiles and tortoises can be seen throughout the island. Snakes can be found hiding under rocks. Toads and frogs reveal themselves when it rains
Reptiles include the aegean wall lizard, balkan green lizard, Chamaeleo chamaeleon, ocellated skink, snake-eyed skink, moorish gecko, turkish gecko, Kotschy's gecko, spur-thighed tortoise, and the stripe-necked terrapin.
There are four species of snake on the island and these are not dangerous to humans. The four species include the leopard snake (locally known as Ochendra), the Balkan whip snake (locally called Dendrogallia), the dice snake (called Nerofido in Greek), and the only venomous snake is the nocturnal cat snake which has evolved to deliver a weak venom at the back of its mouth to paralyse geckos and small lizards, and is not dangerous to humans.
Turtles include the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle which are both endangered species.The loggerhead turtle nests and hatches on north-coast beaches around Rethymno and Chania, and south-coast beaches along the gulf of Mesara.
Amphibians include the green toad, American toad, common tree frog, and the Cretan marsh frog.

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Arthropods

Crete has an unusual variety of insects. Xylophagous, known locally as Tzitzikia, make a distinctive repetitive tzi tzi noise that becomes louder and more frequent on hot summer days. Butterfly species include the swallowtail butterfly.Moth species include the hummingbird moth.There are several species of scorpion such as Euscorpius carpathicus whose venom is generally no more potent than a mosquito bite.


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Crustaceans and molluscs

River crabs include the semi-terrestrial potamon potamios crab.Edible snails are widespread and can cluster in the hundreds waiting for rainfall to reinvigorate them.





Sealife

  

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Bottlenose Dolphin    Common Octopus 

 Apart from terrestrial mammals, the seas around Crete are rich in large marine mammals, a fact unknown to most Greeks, although reported since ancient times. Indeed, the Minoan frescoes depicting dolphins in Queen's Megaron at Knossos, indicate that Minoans knew many things about these creatures and respected them. Apart from the famous endangered Mediterranean monk seal, which lives in almost all the coasts of the country, Greece hosts whales, sperm whales, dolphins and porpoises.These are either permanent residents of the Mediterranean, or just occasional visitors. The area south of Crete, known as the Greek Abyss, hosts many of them. Squid and octopus can be found along the coast and sea turtles and hammerhead sharks swim in the sea around the coast. The Cretaquarium and the Aquaworld Aquarium, are two of only three aquariums in the whole of Greece. They are located in Gournes and Hersonissos respectively, and examples of the local sealife can be seen there.

Some of the fish that can be seen in the waters around Crete include: scorpion fish, dusky grouper, east Atlantic peacock wrasse, five-spotted wrasse, weever fish, common stingray, brown ray, mediterranean black goby, pearly razorfish, star-gazer, painted comber, damselfish, and the flying gurnard.





 


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