With stunning beaches, tropical forests and beautifully clear waters, it’s no wonder so many animals have made the idyllic islands of the Seychelles their home. From gentle giant tortoises to graceful whale sharks, here’s just a taste of the wildlife you could spot in the Seychelles (and where’s best to find it).
The giant tortoise is one of the most famous land-dwelling species in the Seychelles. Records tell us that some of the oldest tortoises have lived up to 250 years – if only they could talk, we reckon they could tell us a story or two about the islands.
Weighing up to an incredible 500 pounds, these gentle giants set up home all over the Seychelles. It’s not uncommon to be sitting on your hotel terrace and see one stroll on past. One of the best places to catch the tortoises, though, is at the Moyenne sanctuary, located on a small island just off the north coast of Mahé. Here, you can not only view the animals but feed them as well.
Cousin Island, an easy boat trip from Praslin, is one of the main turtle nesting sites in the Seychelles and the best place to spot the hawksbill turtles. The hawksbill turtle, as well as the green turtle, have been protected in the Seychelles since 1994. Nesting time on Cousin Island is between the months of September and March. These turtles are pretty cute swimming in the ocean full size, but just wait until you see them the newly hatched in their hundreds, crawling along the beautiful sandy beaches.
The Seychelles is a haven for marine life, with more than 50 dives sites just off Mahé alone. It’s in one of these dive sites off Mahé that you’ll have the chance to spot the world’s largest underwater creature – the whale shark. The best chance you have of spotting the whale sharks is in October or November.
Although they’re huge in size, there’s no need to feel nervous swimming with these incredible creatures. They might have more than 3,000 teeth, but they actually never use their teeth to eat – they only suck moss, plankton and other unappetising things off the ocean floor.
Grab your binoculars: we are going bird watching! The Seychelles is home to a whopping 250 bird species, some of which are the rarest in the world. Bird conservations are a pretty big deal on the islands, with many keen bird watchers travelling here from all over the globe (David Attenborough even featured the Seychelles on Planet Earth 2 this year for its amazing bird watching opportunities).
We recommend Praslin for the chance to spy the black parrot, which is native to the Seychelles and can’t be seen anywhere else. Keep a lookout for the Seychelles blue pigeon, too (it’s a lot more attractive than those found in Trafalgar Square). The Seychelles blue pigeon was previously an endangered species, but (thankfully for bird lovers), the numbers have been on the rise in recent years.
Gardiner’s Tree Frogs
You will need to look really carefully for these adorable little creatures. Gardiner’s tree frogs are some of the smallest in the world, measuring less than half an inch from head to toe. These frogs have made the forests of Mahé and Silhouette Island their home. Surprisingly, you have more of a chance of spotting these creatures if you look down as opposed to up, as the name of these frogs would suggest. These frogs predominately spend most of their time on the forest ground.