Endemic Fauna

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Endemic Fauna


Bat (Hypsugo Ianzai)

There used to be no mammals on Socotra except for few kinds of bats and Hypsugo Ianzai is one of them. It has been discovered quite recently and is another example of endemic species living on the island.

Spider (Monocentropus balfouri)

Called “fitama” by the aborigines, Monocentropus balfouri is endemic to Socotra. It lives in holes and finds a new home every time it sheds its skin. The males can be distinguished from females by their colour. They are usually blue with a white or light blue spot on their stomach. On the other hand, females are cream brown with an orange tint. Both males and females have hairy legs with no hairs on their stomach. You can find them on the plains among the rocks, usually around bushes or trees. Their holes are from 10 to 20 centimetres deep.

Their bodies measure around 5 to 6 centimetres and their legs 12 to 15 centimetres.

So far, there has been no evidence whether the liquid their produce is poisonous.

They usually live from 90 to 900 metres above sea level.


(Pristurus socotranus)

Gecko is a lizard with specific balls of its feet which enable it to stick to the surface and move quickly on walls or tree trunks. Its eyelids are grown together and the eye is covered by a translucent material creating so-called glasses. They are mostly nocturnal animals and hunt for insects and spiders. Even though they measure only a few centimetres, they can be very loud. They are usually very energetic during the day, exploring the holes in the weathered stones.

(Mabuya socotrana) This lizard can be identified by its squat brown body and a long thin tail. The young ones have yellow and black stripes on their bodies and a blue tail but when grown, their colour enables them to blend with their surroundings.

It grows to a size between 20 and 30 centimetres.

(Hemidactylus flaviviridis) Hemidactylus flaviviridis is a particular favourite of the aborigines because it lives in their houses and hunts for insects that have settled in their homes.

(Haemodracon riebeckii) The largest gecko that can be found on the island is a nocturnal lizard and lives in the hollows of trees.

Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is not endemic to Socotra but it is a rare animal. The front of its head is featherless and its beak is strong and hooked at its end. It preys on carcasses or on grasshoppers and small rodents. This vulture is even capable of using instruments. For example, by dropping a stone from its beak, it can crash an egg. They usually live in colonies and select a partner with which they can share the same nest for a long time.

The vulture was sacred to the old Egyptians, who regarded it as an embodiment of the goddess Nechbet, the protector of pharaohs and the sister of goddess Isis.

Centipede (Scolopendra valida)

Scolopendra valida is a venomous centipede of red colour. It grows to a size of 40 centimetres in length. The venom is contained in the fangs located on its head. Although it is not lethal, the combination of acetylcholine, serotonin, histamine, a cardiotoxic protein and a protease can cause its victim a lot of pain.

Small Indian civet (Viverricula indica)

This geographically widespread nocturnal civet lives predominantly on the plains and preys on rodents, arthropods and finds its food even among litter. The secretion form its sweat glands is used in perfumes. After extracting the secretion, the civet is returned to wilderness.

Dromedary (Camelus dromedaries)

Dromedary, the largest herbivorous animal living on Socotra, has fully adapted to the local conditions. Its cream brown hair is coarse and longest on the crown of its head, neck and on the hump. Its eyelashes are doubled in order to protect its eyes from the sand. Its hump works as storage of fat, which then turns into energy and water. The hump also absorbs the heat and protects dromedary from the scorching sun.

It is bred for its milk, carrying heavy loads and it also serves as a means of transport.