Naxos boasts a varied topography and a broad range of different natural habitats.

From the coastline to the mountain peaks, the various ecosystems alternate harmonically, offering habitats to the richest community of fauna species in the Cyclades.

The most common species of marine mammals encountered in the waters around Naxos are the striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), and to a lesser extent the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), usually when they follow schools of fish and squid during their seasonal movements through the eastern Cyclades.

The eastern side of the island still harbors a few individuals of the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), while loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) – another species of conservation concern are frequently sighted.

Among terrestrial mammals, hares (Lepus europaeus), rabbits (Oryctolagus  cuniculus), hedgehogs (Erinaceus  roumanicus) and stone marten (Martes  foina) are the best-known and most  frequently-sighted wild species.

The  relatively poor and dispersed bibliography, the product of old naturalists, also mentions the presence of deer on Naxos  – at least until the first quarter of the 19th  century- but without proving whether  these were individuals of an indigenous population or were – most likely –  imported during the previous centuries – a  frequent practice during Venetian rule.

Rodents, shrews and bats have not been  adequately studied to date, which also  goes for almost all invertebrates (insects,  spiders, snails, worms etc.)

The amphibians and reptiles on Naxos  have been investigated relatively well.

The  Cyclades are known for their abundant herpetofauna, and Naxos is no exception.  The Green toad (Bufo viridis) and the Balkan frog (Pelophylax kurtmuelleri), the  only two amphibian species on Naxos, are frequently found in the same wetlands  as the Balkan pond turtle (Mauremys  rivulata), which lives in the larger  perennial sources of water.

Visitors ought to be aware that any other  tortoise species encountered are not  indigenous to Naxos, and have probably been freed by well-meaning animal lovers  who did not realize that their survival  would be very difficult of water.

Naxos hosts several species of lizards, such as the conspicuous Rough-tailed  agama (Stellagama stellio), a large lizard  often seen basking on dry stone walls.

Even more common, especially on dry  stone walls, is the smaller Aegean wall  lizard (Podarcis erhardii), the males of  which sport anterior green backs during  the in spring mating season.

Two species of small gecko, the grey-colored Kotschyi’s gecko (Mediodactylus  kotschyi), and especially the pinkish  Mediterranean house gecko (Hemidactylus  turcicus) can be observed commonly  near house lights during warm nights.

In  contrast, the large-bodied and shy Balkan  green lizard (Lacerta trilineata) prefers thickets and areas with dense vegetation.

Finally, two smooth-scaled species of  lizard, the Ocellated skink (Chalcides  ocellatus) and the small European  snake-eyed skink (Ablepharus kitaibelii)  are more difficult to detect and prefer  respectively grassy areas and  sandy near- shore spots.

Along with lizards, Naxos harbors at least five species of snakes. These animals, frequently under appreciated  and misunderstood, play a vital role  in the function of local ecosystems by  consuming large amounts of rodents and  various invertebrate pests.

Much feared, but completely harmless is the Javelin  sand boa (Eryx jaculus) a modestly-sized constrictor that spends most of his life  underground.

The Four-lined snake (Elaphe  quatuorlineata), a large-bodied though  harmless snake, is considered a friend  of the farmers due to the fact that it  preys on rodents.

Rarer species are the Long-nosed viper (Vipera ammodytes),a  venomous but shy snake. Also rare are  the European grass snake (Natrix natrix) and the European worm snakes (Typhlops  vermicularis).

The most visible group of animals on Naxos is undoubtedly the birds. They  range in size from the majestic Griffon  vulture (Gyps fulvus), which survives in  a declining population in the mountain  interior, to the small-bodied Crested  lark (Galerida cristata).

attracts  hundreds of bird species, many of which are rare or endangered. Raptors, like Bonelli’s eagles, Eleonora’s  falcons (Falco eleonorae), hawks and  owles, a surprising number of waterfowl  including herons, ducks, geese and  waders, grouses, swallows and blackbirds, as well as various seabirds, like seagulls,  Cory’s shearwaters, Yelkouan shearwaters  and shags are either resident or frequently visit the island.

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