The Wildlife of Malta

24 July 2017

Hundreds of thousands of people flock to Malta on a yearly basis. All of which are seeking the sunshine, the crystal blue waters, the fascinating history, and the incredible food. However, very few people know about the incredibly diverse and beautiful species of wildlife that call the archipelago home. 

 

If you’ve booked your flights to Malta this year and are looking forward to touching down, why not keep your eyes peeled for some of the 10,000 indigenous species on the island? Read on to find a few of the more common animals and see how many you can spot on your holiday!

Rizzi

Rizzi, known as sea urchins in English, are incredibly intriguing and beautiful creatures. These small, spiny, spherical creatures have an army of protruding spines emanating from their bodies. Make sure you keep your distance as it’s very easy to get ones of these spines stuck in your skin. 

 

They lurk in nooks and crannies around underwater rocks and move slowly feeding off the bottom of the ocean floor. They also make for a very tasty treat and you can even try eating them. In fact, they’re a very popular delicacy in Maltese cuisine. Traditionally cooked with pasta, the insides are used to make a delicious sauce! These fascinating creatures are protected species in the wild so it’s best to leave the preparation of the sauce to the restaurants. 

Chameleons and Lizards

If you walk down any street on the Maltese Islands, you’re in with a chance of spotting lizards scuttling across your path and up the walls. If you are extremely lucky, you could even chance across a chameleon or two.

 

The local lizards are small in size and move as fast as the speed of light. Chameleons, on the other hand, are much slower and tend to favour darker spots where they can sit and watch the world go by. A real treat to behold!

Cats

Whilst not exactly a wild animal as such, Malta is full of feral cats. Most keep to themselves but you will most likely come across a few friendly ones looking for a belly rub and a tickle behind the ears. 

 

The Maltese street cats have even developed their own kind of markings and these mottled mixed breeds are known as “Tal-Madonna” cats and there are several blogs and Instagram pages set up in their honour!

Dolphins

You might not immediately think of dolphins when you think of Malta, if you are lucky you could be in for a sighting during your stay. Dolphins are sometimes spotted during the summer months off the coast of Cirkewwa and in St Thomas Bay in Marsaskala in the South. 

 

If you decide to take a boat trip off shore, you might stand more chance of spotting some. They are quite rare so if you do spot some, consider yourself very lucky!

These are just a few of the species that you might encounter when you visit Malta. Also, keep an eye out for (non-venomous) snakes, shrews, freshwater crabs, geckos, moths, birds and even the occasional migrating flamingo!



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