The terrestrial animal life on the Maldives is much less rich and diverse compared to the underwater world. Due to the geographic characteristics of the small islands and their considerable distance from each other, the flora and fauna are relatively scarce. Let me tell you about wildlife in Maldives, the animals you can expect to encounter on the Maldives, as well as those you definitely won’t.

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Wildlife in Maldives: fauna

Here are some general factors that have influenced the evolution of the animal life on the Maldives:

  • The Maldives is an island nation consisting of 1200 small islands.
  • 90% of the islands have an area of less than 1 square kilometer, with the largest island in the country measuring only 3 by 3 kilometers.
  • The nearest continent is over 1000 kilometers away.
  • For a long time, the animal life on the Maldives evolved independently from that of the larger land masses. However, since the biodiversity was already relatively low, this independent evolution didn’t result in the emergence of many endemic species.
  • Today, the animal life on the Maldives essentially consists of species that were brought to the islands by sailors on their ships. Trading and shipping activities on the islands have been going on for centuries.
  • All about the history of Maldives and what a tourist should know.

Important to know:

There are currently no predators, poisonous insects, or snakes on the Maldives. In fact, there are no dangerous land animals that one should be afraid of. In this regard, the Maldives is much safer for tourists than countries in Southeast Asia such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. Check out this helpful article on the dangers on the Maldives and what to be cautious of.
flora and fauna in the maldives
The most exotic representative of the animal world in the Maldives is the flying fox.

And below is the animal life on the Maldives that you will definitely encounter:

  • The flying fox, or fruit bat, is sometimes called a bat, but that’s not entirely accurate. They are completely harmless to humans, feed on fruits, and only begin to wake up at sunset. These are nocturnal animals, but closer to sunset, you can easily see them.
    • Actually, all fruit trees on the islands that are wrapped in netting are to protect them from flying foxes.
  • Parrots. Parrots are like pets here, and many people keep them as such. There are many species of parrots here, some of which live freely on the island.
wildlife in maldives
The animal life on the Maldives also includes a variety of parrots that live in their natural environment on the islands.
  • Mosquitoes. There are many of them, and they are particularly active at sunset. Bring a plug-in repeller, sprays, or coils with you. These are useful items to bring from home to the Maldives.
  • There are also unpleasant representatives of the animal world, such as large cockroaches. However, they are not commonly found today, as all hotels are working to eradicate them, but you may encounter them. Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen them literally two or three times, usually running to the bathroom where there is fresh water. So, at night, close the windows and doors in the bathroom if they exist.

That’s basically it for the terrestrial animals you can encounter on the islands. And they also love cats here, there are many of them, and they live on the streets. But unlike in Asia, all cats here are healthy, well-groomed, and well-fed. You can pet them, and they are pleasant to look at. Of course, there are not as many cats here as in Istanbul, but there are still many.

animals in maldives
The local cats live in much better conditions than I do at home.

Why no dogs and pigs?

There is a government ban on dogs and pig farming in the Maldives.

  • Dogs were banned 70 years ago due to the lack of land and food supply for them. Today, you cannot bring your dog with you on vacation, even for a day, even if you have a lot of money. There is not a single dog in the Maldives!
  • Pigs are prohibited for religious reasons as the country is entirely Muslim. Importing and farming pigs are forbidden, and you will not find pork in stores or restaurants.

The locals consume a lot of poultry, such as chicken, ducks, and geese, and they are farmed on the islands. There are also goats and sheep, and cows are allowed, but there are almost no cows on the islands because there are no pastures for them. All beef is imported from other countries, and beef dishes are always available in restaurants.

  • In the article about interesting facts about the Maldives, you will find a list of prohibitions, not just dogs and pigs. You will learn what tourists cannot export from the country, and what can be imported. Information about alcohol, which is strictly prohibited here, will also be provided.
dogs in maldives
There are many of these lizards (not geckos and not iguanas) in the Maldives. They run around everywhere.

Flora in the Maldives: Plumeria or Frangipani

You’ve already realized that the terrestrial animal life on the Maldives doesn’t boast much diversity, with the only interesting fauna being the flying foxes.

The situation with flora is even worse, as there is nothing particularly unusual here. However, there are things that tourists can take note of:

  • The symbol of the Maldives is the Plumeria or Frangipani flower. Many people grow it here, and Plumeria bushes often grow along the streets in large numbers. Locals consider it a lucky flower and a symbol of femininity. It’s the main flower used in decorations and adornments.
    • All spa salons and hotels are adorned with these flowers. The best spa hotels in the Maldives are rated on this basis.
    • Frangipani is also used in any wedding ceremony. They make wreaths out of them and use them for decoration. Everything about weddings in the Maldives, how to conduct the ceremony, and how much it costs.
flowers in the maldives
Plumeria grows in almost every house and hotel.
flying foxes maldives
Plumeria is the main flower in the Maldives. It’s used as a symbol in various aspects of life, for example, in this sign on the wall about upcoming elections.
  • And also, sagu palm trees grow in the Maldives. This type of palm is used for food, and its core is used to prepare dishes. The Maldives has a national dessert made from sagu, similar to pudding.

In brief, before their first flowering (usually at 15 or 16 years old), the palm is cut down. Its core is then carved out, cleaned, and turned into sagu. This product can be eaten raw or dried and used in cooking. It is said that 150-200kg of sagu can be obtained from one palm.

palm trees and sago in the maldives
Sagu pudding, this dessert can be found on the menu of almost any restaurant.

In conclusion, the animal life on the Maldives, specifically the flora and fauna on land, is not particularly diverse. On one hand, this is a big plus as there are no dangerous or poisonous animals or insects. On the other hand, tourists won’t encounter interesting exotic species here. But believe me, the amazing underwater world in the Maldives more than makes up for this lack.

If you enjoyed the article and the content in this guide, you can buy me a coffee ^_^

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to the Maldives

  • Flight tickets and the best deals
  • Tour packages (from budget to luxury): Expedia
  • Hotels and guesthouses on any island:
    • Hotellook compares prices among a dozen other services and platforms and offers to choose the best one.
    • Booking – the most popular service for booking accommodation.
    • Agoda – the main competitor of Booking.
  • 12go is the largest Asian transfer service. It gathers all Maldivian carriers, even the small ones that operate between local islands.
  • Tours and excursions: Viator – a limited selection of excursions, but convenient and reliable.
  • Comprehensive insurance: EKTA
  • eSIM at the same price as in telecom office in Male.