It’s easy to find adorable animals on the Internet…
but you can find them in real life too! Many islands across the globe are homes for specific animals. These range from Galapagos turtles to the blue iguanas in Grand Cayman and everywhere in between!
Here is our list of 11 adorable island animals to visit on your next vacation.
Tortoises and Sea Lions on The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are home to several species of mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish. Some of the more notable species include the Galapagos tortoise and the Galapagos sea lion.
The Galapagos tortoise is the largest living species of tortoise around the globe, making them some pretty important little guys. They are only found on the Galapagos islands west of Ecuador and on an island east of Tanzania. They are native to seven of the islands and live very long lives, with lifespans of over 100 years. These animals can weigh up to 919 pounds – wow!
The Galapagos sea lion breeds exclusively on the Galapagos islands. Being the smallest of the sea lions, what’s lacking in size is made up for with their personalities. Their graceful nature and loud bark make them the “welcoming party” of the islands.
As a group of islands, the Galapagos are also home to many species of dolphins, whales, turtles, iguanas, and many kinds of birds.
Allens Cay (“Iguana Island”) in the Bahamas
The Allens Cay Iguanas are one of seven subspecies of Bahamian Rock Iguanas. These animals are endangered, so they are protected by law. With a total length of about 1.5 meters, you won’t miss these little guys when you’re walking around Allens Cay!
They are usually dark gray or black with yellowish green or orange scales. The name, Cyclura cychlura inornata, is derived from Ancient Greek, cyclos “circular, oura “tail”, after the thick-ringed tail characteristic of all the Cyclura species.
Chincoteague Ponies on Assateague Island, USA
Hailing from the United States, as a kid, I visited Assateague Island to watch the pony swim. The Chincoteague ponies originated on Assateague Island, which is located off the coast of Virginia and Maryland. These ponies became so popular from a book series called “Misty of Chincoteague,” written from 1947 and so on.
The Chincoteague Pony can be any solid color, but they are often found in pinto patterns and because of their smaller stature, they are considered “ponies.”
Pony Penning is an event held every year on the island, and one of the events is the pony swim, an event that dates back to 1925. Salt Water Cowboys round up the ponies and drive them across the Assateague Channel to Veterans Memorial Park on Chincoteague Island, and the ponies swim the channel during slack tide, which means very minimal tidal movement.
The Swimming Pigs on Big Major in the Bahamas
When we first sailed through The Bahamas and visited the swimming pigs a few years back, I’d heard all sorts of tales about how they landed on this small island in the middle of nowhere – my favorite being that they swam to shore when the pirate ship they were on foundered on a reef nearby.
Turns out they were put on this island by the lovable folks of Staniel Cay simply as a way to farm some alternative protein so their diet didn’t consist solely of fish when the weather turned up and the supplies from Nassau couldn’t make its way down.
Regardless of how they landed on Big Major, it’s still pretty amazing to see them rush out of the bush at the sound of your dinghy approaching. Oh, and please just feed them carrots or some other fruit or veggies!
Cats on the island of Tashirojima, Japan
On the Japanese island of Tashirojima, cats outnumber people. The cats, which look just like cats you meet at friends houses, are thought to bring good luck to the people and the land. They are well taken care of by the tourists who visit.
Rabbits on the island of Okunoshima, Japan
The island of Okunoshima in Japan is known for having plenty of rabbits hopping around. At one point, it was the site of a Geneva Protocol-disregarding poison gas factory during World War II. Rabbits were used in this factory and it is believed that they were let loose after the war.
Sheep in New Zealand
The most prominent agricultural industry in New Zealand is…sheep farming. The country has 30 million sheep, making the ratio of sheep to people 6 to 1, that’s a whole lot of sheep! So if you’re looking for the cuddly little white guys that say Baaaa til the cows come home, then New Zealand is your next stop.
Puffins on Runde Island, Norway
Puffins hang out on the rocky cliffs of Runde Island, in Norway. Norway is home to over 700,000 seabirds, and most of them are puffins. They’re little black and white, stocky creatures with large beaks.
Crabs on Christmas Island, Australia
Teeny, tiny red crabs are found on Christmas Island, in Australia. There are 45 million of them and once a year, millions of them march inland from the forests to reproduce. The mating process is pretty intricate and has to do with the phases of the moon. But eventually, millions.
Wallabies on Lambay Island, Ireland
Dozens of these furry little kangaroo cousins can be found on Lambay Island, off of Ireland. These animals are highly adaptable considering their cousin comes from Australia. They love the rough terrain on the island.
Now that you know about these adorable animals, which will you visit next? Leave us a comment below!