Fauna of Corfu

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Lake Korission and Antinioti Lagoon are the best places for nature-lovers to observe wildlife such as terrapins, birds, turtles and other large animals. Gerald Durrell, author and naturalist, spent many hours in both locations observing the fauna of Corfu. Vidos, an island just off the coast of Corfu, is home to pheasants, weasels, partridges, hares and rabbits. There are a significant number of lizard species inhabiting the mountains of Corfu including the colourful Blue Throated Keeled lizard. The wetlands area of central Corfu, namely the Ropa Valley, is where amphibians, i.e. terrapins and frogs, reside.

 

Reptiles

Corfu’s Mediterranean climate and fertile vegetation makes it an ideal environment for reptiles; at least 23 reptile species have been recorded, the most dangerous being the Nose-Horned Viper pictured below. If bitten by this serpent seek medical attention immediately!

Photograph - green-island.holiday/en/why-corfu/corfu-snakes

 

There are approximately a dozen different snakes on this, the greenest, island in Greece. They generally avoid people unless their habitat is being threatened so should be treated with respect. The best time to observe reptiles is during spring and summer. The most commonly seen reptile is the Balkan Green lizard. 

 Photograph by Dick Mulder 'Green Island Corfu'

 

Hedgehogs

If you are walking or driving at night there is a strong possibility of you sighting these cute, nocturnal mammals. Their diet comprises berries and fruit, as well as insects, worms and small snakes which makes them great at controlling garden pests. Being timid in nature they roll themselves into a spiky ball if approached. Please note that hedgehogs are lactose intolerant so should not be given milk. Should you see a hedgehog during day-light hours be aware that it is sick. If possible, put it in a box and drop it off at one of the ambulatories or animal welfare centres.

 

Birds

There are approximately 150 different species of birds on Corfu. It is home to the Greater Flamingos, Cormorants, the beautiful Kingfishers and soaring eagles and buzzards. More rarely seen are Ibis, Spoonbill, Gull Billed Tern and Great White Egret. They are generally found in the Corfiot wetlands and Lefkimmi salt pans.

 

The most famous bird to be found on Corfu is the Scops Owl, “Pigwidgeon”, who features in the Harry Potter books. From sunset onwards, more often heard than seen, is this small owl about 8 inches (22 cm) in length with an impressive 22 inch (56 cm) wingspan. It is a migratory bird from sub-Saharan Africa where it is unfortunately regarded by some as a lucky charm so is trapped, killed and sold to satisfy this superstitious.

 

Butterflies

Those interested in these beautiful insects can follow in the footsteps of Gerald Durrell wielding their butterfly nets. Corfu has a number of species namely the Common and Scarce Swallowtail, Spotted and Silver-Washed Fritillary, Comma, Red and Southern White Admiral, Gatekeeper, Brimstone, Clouded Yellow, Common Blue and Eastern Bath White.

 Photograph by Dick Mulder 'Green Island Corfu'

 

Other fauna you may see are cicadas, praying mantises, fire flies, Carpenter beetles, rats, otters, dormice, martens, bats, foxes and tortoises. 

 

In Gerald Durrell’s words, “Of all the wonderful and fascinating parts of the planet I have been privileged to visit, Corfu is the nearest approach to home for me, since it was here, nurtured in sunlight, that my fascination for the living world around me came to fruition.

 

  Main Photo courtesy of Dick Mulder - 'Green Island Corfu'

 Adelia Cook for mykerkyra.com

 

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