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OMAN
Plants and Animals

Plants and Animals

Plants

The climate, good irrigation techniques and the varied landscape make for a surprisingly varied flora in Oman. The most striking appearance in Oman is the date palm. The dates serve as food for man and animal. Nowadays, most dates are for personal use or for the domestic market. In the past, they were an important export product. The trunk and leaves of the date palm are also used.

Because of the climate and soil conditions, the incense tree is only found in southern Oman. The incense is the dried resin of the incense tree and is of excellent quality in this region. Many kinds of fruit are grown: citrus fruits, strawberries, figs, dates, papayas, mangoes, bananas and melons, among others. The same applies to vegetables and cereals: tomatoes, aubergines, maize and barley, among others.

Wild crops include acacias and oleanders. These two grow particularly near wadis, at the foot of the mountains. The rich floral life of the desert can only be seen after a rainstorm. Flowers that are common are the tricolour violet, the primrose and a small species of dandelion. Especially in the Wahiba desert, the ghaf-trees, which can be up to 10 metres high, are common. In the southern Dhofar, the surghat tree still grows. Mangrove trees grow in the estuaries and lagoons along the coast.

Animals

The oryx, which was originally extinct in Oman, can be seen again in the Omani countryside after a successful project. The number of wild specimens of this special gazelle is now estimated at 350. In the Sharqiya region there is another special animal, the Arabian Tahr, a kind of mountain goat which can only be found in Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The Nubian ibex, also a kind of goat, can only be found in southern Oman.

Wild dromedaries are no longer found on the Arabian Peninsula. All dromedaries, including those on the loose, belong to someone and are therefore always branded. Hyenas, leopards, ibexes, wild cats and lynx, among others, are also rare. However, porcupines, desert jumping mice, hedgehogs, rats and bats are common. Of the approximately 50 reptile species, snakes (including vipers), lizards and geckos are the most common. The coastal waters are home to many dolphins, turtles and, to a lesser extent, whales. About 20,000 sea turtles lay their eggs each year on Omani beaches, which are often sealed off by the government for protection. The green turtle is very rare.

There are about 150 species of fish and shellfish in Omani coastal waters, including rays, hammerhead sharks, mackerels, tongues, butterfly fish, wrasse, parrot fish, sardines, mussels and lobsters. Grasshoppers sometimes eat the harvest but are also eaten by the Omanis.

During October/November, Muscat is the raptor capital of the world when many species of raptors descend on the city during their migration.


Sources

Callan, L. / Oman & United Arab Emirates
Lonely Planet

Foster, L.M. / Oman
Children’s Press

Medani Elsayed, M. / Reishandboek Oman en de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten
Elmar

Van Deuren, G. / Oman, Verenigde Arabische Emiraten
Gottmer/Becht

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated January 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info