country

Animals of Vanuatu

219 species

Vanuatu is an island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is 1,750 km east of northern Australia, 540 km northeast of New Caledonia, east of New Guinea, southeast of the Solomon Islands, and west of Fiji.

Despite its tropical forests, Vanuatu has a limited number of plant and animal species. It has an indigenous flying fox, Pteropus anetianus. Flying foxes are important rainforest and timber regenerators. They pollinate and seed disperse a wide variety of native trees. Their diet is nectar, pollen and fruit and they are commonly called 'fruit bats'. They are in decline across their South Pacific range. However, governments are increasingly aware of the economic and ecological value of flying foxes and there are calls to increase their protection. There are no indigenous large mammals.

The nineteen species of native reptiles include the flowerpot snake, found only on Efate. The Fiji banded iguana was introduced as a feral animal in the 1960s. There are eleven species of bats and sixty-one species of land and water birds. While the small Polynesian rat is thought to be indigenous, the large species arrived with Europeans, as did domesticated hogs, dogs, and cattle. The ant species of some of the islands of Vanuatu were catalogued by E. O. Wilson.

The region is rich in sea life, with more than 4,000 species of marine molluscs and a large diversity of marine fishes. Cone snails and stonefish carry poison fatal to humans. The Giant East African land snail arrived only in the 1970s, but already has spread from the Port Vila region to Luganville.

There are three or possibly four adult saltwater crocodiles living in Vanuatu's mangroves and no current breeding population. It is said the crocodiles reached the northern part of the islands after cyclones, given the island chain's proximity to the Solomon Islands and New Guinea where crocodiles are very common.

Vanuatu is an island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is 1,750 km east of northern Australia, 540 km northeast of New Caledonia, east of New Guinea, southeast of the Solomon Islands, and west of Fiji.

Despite its tropical forests, Vanuatu has a limited number of plant and animal species. It has an indigenous flying fox, Pteropus anetianus. Flying foxes are important rainforest and timber regenerators. They pollinate and seed disperse a wide variety of native trees. Their diet is nectar, pollen and fruit and they are commonly called 'fruit bats'. They are in decline across their South Pacific range. However, governments are increasingly aware of the economic and ecological value of flying foxes and there are calls to increase their protection. There are no indigenous large mammals.

The nineteen species of native reptiles include the flowerpot snake, found only on Efate. The Fiji banded iguana was introduced as a feral animal in the 1960s. There are eleven species of bats and sixty-one species of land and water birds. While the small Polynesian rat is thought to be indigenous, the large species arrived with Europeans, as did domesticated hogs, dogs, and cattle. The ant species of some of the islands of Vanuatu were catalogued by E. O. Wilson.

The region is rich in sea life, with more than 4,000 species of marine molluscs and a large diversity of marine fishes. Cone snails and stonefish carry poison fatal to humans. The Giant East African land snail arrived only in the 1970s, but already has spread from the Port Vila region to Luganville.

There are three or possibly four adult saltwater crocodiles living in Vanuatu's mangroves and no current breeding population. It is said the crocodiles reached the northern part of the islands after cyclones, given the island chain's proximity to the Solomon Islands and New Guinea where crocodiles are very common.