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SEYCHELLES
Plants and Animals

Plants and Animals

Plants

Due to the isolated location of the Seychelles, there are a large number of plants and animals that only occur in Seychelles. After colonisation, plants and animals from elsewhere were also brought to the Seychelles.

There are many types of palms growing in the Seychelles, which are most probably not native, but have somehow ended up in the archipelago. The coconut palm with various subspecies is the most common. Of particular note is the coco de mer palm, which occurs naturally on only two islands. The species can reach a height of 30 metres and live for more than 500 years, even up to 800 years. The leaves have a diameter of about 6 metres, making them the largest in the world. A ripe coco de mer can weigh up to 20 kg, making it the heaviest fruit in the world. Takmakas, a type of deciduous tree, grow on the beach and in the lower parts of the islands. Only about 50 specimens of the "bwa mediz" or jellyfish tree exist and were only rediscovered in 1970. On the coast grow casuarinas, which are native to Australia, and several species of mangrove. The national flower of the Sechells is the tropical bird orchid.

A special shrub is the carnivorous (insect) pitcher plant. The Wright's gardenia bush is found only on the island of Arid. Wild vanilla is widely distributed. There is no lack of fruit on the Seychelles. Pineapples, passion fruit, bananas, mangos, papayas and lychees are available in abundance. Special fruits are the breadfruit, the mangistan, the loquat, the jamalaque and the jackfruit. Flowers are somewhat scarce in the Seychelles, although there are about 25 species of orchids.

Animals

There are few endemic mammals in the Seychelles. Only the Seychelles flying dog and the shield-tailed bat. The flying dog is also served in restaurants! From Madagascar comes the insectivorous tenrecs, a breasted hedgehog. Only on Cousin Island does the Indian hare occur. The number of goats in the Seychelles is kept as low as possible because of the damage they cause to the vegetation.

In the waters around the Seychelles live 43 species of whales and several species of dolphins. The inaccessible Aldabra atoll is home to the Seychelles' national animal, the Aldabra giant tortoise, in large numbers (approx. 150,000). These tortoises can reach a length of 1.5 metres and live for more than a hundred years. These giant tortoises are otherwise only found on the Galapagos Islands.

Four species of endangered turtles are still found around the Seychelles. The leatherback turtle can reach a length of two metres and weigh 400 kg.

The Seychelles skink and the Wright's skink, two species of lizards, are found only in the Seychelles. Various species of geckos are common in the Seychelles. The indigenous crocodiles were exterminated long ago. There are no poisonous snakes on the Seychelles. The two largest species are the Seychelles house snake and the wolf snake. Five species of frogs live in the Seychelles. Four of them are endemic to the Seychelles. The Sooglossus Gardineri does not grow larger than 2 cm.

The waters around the Seychelles are very colourful because of the corals and the more than 1000 species of fish. Around the islands, many species of sharks live, but they are harmless. Near the outer islands, the tiger shark and hammerhead shark become more dangerous. The largest fish in the world, the whale shark, is sometimes spotted near the coral reefs. The devil ray with a wingspan of 7 metres is an impressive sight. The following list is completely random and only shows how diverse the fish world around the Seychelles is: moray eels, lionfish, barbs, batfish, anemonefish, barracuda, wrasses, gobies, triggerfish, coffinfish, pufferfish and countless other species populate the waters around the Seychelles. The Seychelles government has designated several national marine parks. The national fish of the Seychelles is the blue marlin.

There are about 200 species of birds in the Seychelles. Various species of terns form the largest group of seabirds. A large seabird is the frigate bird. Two species of tropic birds are exclusive to the Seychelles. Heron species such as the egret and the cattle egret or ibis live along the mangrove coasts. Birds of prey are not very common; the barn owl, the Seychelles kestrel and the very rare Otis insularis, a pygmy owl species, are the only ones. Other birds include the black grouse, the barred dove, the blue dove, the rare black parrot (only ± 100 specimens left), the cardinal bird and the very rare Seychelles magpie and Seychelles chiffchaff. Only 50 pairs of the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher are still alive, all on the island of La Digue. The national bird of the Seychelles is the small vasa parrot.

There are more than 3,000 species of insects native to the archipelago. Impressive but harmless are the giant centipedes that can reach 25 cm in length. The whip scorpion looks dangerous but does nothing. The walking branches and leaves are special, but because of their camouflage they can hardly be seen. Tarantulas and wolf spiders can bite viciously but are not very common.


Sources

Carpin, S. / De Seychellen reisgids
Elmar

Houtzager, D. / Seychellen
Gottmer

Pahlen, C. von der / Seychellen
Deltas

Singh, S. / Mauritius, RĂ©union & Seychelles
Lonely Planet

Tingay, P. / Seychellen
Van Reemst

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated November 2023
Copyright: Team The World of Info