Varied wildlife proves there is more to the Maldives than just beautiful beaches

Pristine white beaches, turquoise waters, luxurious resorts. Mantas, dolphins, a multitude of different sharks. That’s the Maldives, right?

Well, yes … and no. There is so much more to the islands than that.

Rightly known for its breathtaking natural beauty, both above and below the water, the country also boasts a fantastically diverse array of wildlife which can sometimes be overlooked.

And while you will probably be joining us to experience the abundance of life the Indian Ocean has to offer, there is plenty of other fauna to see as well.

From timeless turtles to giant bats. Here’s a selection of the wildlife you could encounter on your adventures around the Maldivian islands.


The Maldives is home to a variety of bird species, both resident and migratory. These islands serve as important nesting and roosting sites for seabirds. You may spot species such as white terns, herons, plovers, sandpipers, frigatebirds and the white-tailed tropicbird. Birdwatching enthusiasts can explore different islands and coastal areas to observe the diverse avian life.


One of the commonly found bat species in the Maldives is the Indian Flying Fox, also known as the Greater Indian Fruit Bat. These bats are big in size – one of the largest in world – with a wingspan of up to 1.5 metres (5 feet). They primarily feed on fruits and flowers, playing a crucial role in pollination and seed dispersal of various plant species in the Maldives.


Hermit Crabs

The sandy beaches of the Maldives are inhabited by countless hermit crabs – some of which can live for up to 40 years! These small, land-dwelling crustaceans don’t have their own shells and live inside discarded seashells, which they carry on their backs. As they grow, they ‘move’ into bigger shells. Observing their scavenging activities and watching them change shells can be an amusing sight on the shores.


Various lizard species can be found on the Maldives islands, including the distinctive Maldivian house gecko. These geckos are commonly seen around human settlements, often found on walls and ceilings. Additionally, skinks, agamids, and other small lizards may be encountered in the island’s vegetation.


The Maldives is an important nesting site for sea turtles, with several species found in the region. The most common species include the green sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, and the loggerhead turtle. Visitors may have the opportunity to witness turtles nesting or observe them gliding through the clear waters.

Green Sea Turtle, Maldives

Insects and Butterflies

While insects may not be the main attraction for visitors, the Maldives has a diverse insect population. You can find butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, and other insects, especially in the vegetated areas of the islands.

Among the many butterflies to be seen is the African Monarch which is thought to be the first butterfly ever documented. It has been seen on drawings done on tombs by the ancient Egyptians over 3,500 years ago.

Gecko in the Maldives

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