There is a diverse range of wildlife living on, above and around Kefalonia. If you are lovers of wildlife, you will enjoy watching out for some of the islands most weird and wonderful creatures. Listed below are just a few of the most popular species you may be lucky enough to see whilst on holiday:
The 3 most common species of dolphin found in the waters around Kefalonia are the bottled-nosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the stripped dolphin (Stenella caeruleoalba).
Dolphins are sometimes seen during the summer months following tour boats and yachts, small groups of them have been spotted in the gulf of Argostoli. Also if you visit the picturesque port of Poros you may be lucky enough to spot a pod of dolphins playing in the bay. I have been fortunate to see them many times whilst there and it really is a treat.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
The Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) are an endangered species that nest on many of the sandy southern beaches. They can also be frequently seen at the Koutavos Lagoon in Argostoli where they follow the fishing boats along to the quayside, swimming around looking for food. A must for nature lovers interested in seeing a magnificent sea creature close up in its natural habitat. There are volunteer groups based on the island concerned with the conservation of the turtles Wildlife Sense and Katelios Group are the most prominent.
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is also an endangered species, they are usually spotted swimming between Kefalonia & Ithaka and live mostly on the islands coast in places which are inaccessible to humans due to it’s terrain. The most well known breeding ground in Kefalonia is a cave on Foki beach, located near Fiskardo.
Over 230 species of birds have been spotted on the island, that is more than half of the Greek species. Some common ones are finches, jays, robins, hoopoes, herring gulls, oyster-catchers and swallows. Some endangered species include, Griffin Vultures, Golden Eagles, Montague’s, Harriers and Short-eared Owls. It’s well worth bringing binoculars if you fancy a bit of bird watching.
You will most likely hear some Scops owls by night with their distinctive call.
There are many species of snakes and reptiles on the island, however, you are unlikely to cross paths with a snake, they are very shy creatures, most are harmless and will soon slither away if they hear a sound. You will come across plenty of lizards and geckos though, this is just a few of the species you may encounter: green lizard, European legless lizard, Mediterranean house gecko & European common gecko. It is worth trying not to scare away the lizards as they do eat the mosquitoes. There are also species of frogs, toads, terrapins and tortoises.
The European Pine Marten (Martes martes) is a protected species that stays mostly hidden in the tops of pine trees. They have an excellent sense of sight, smell & hearing and are mainly active at dusk/night which is when they hunt. Their diet consists of small mammals, carrion, birds and insects, they also eat fruit. You may hear them playing, however, they are quite mischievous and will make a mess of your garden and possibly leave unwanted presents on your doorstep.
Here on Kefalonia you can expect to see many weird and wonderful insects; some will try to bite or sting you, most will leave you alone as long as you let them go about their business.
The most common biter is of course the mosquito which are mostly seen after an extended period of rain as they tend to breed near to still or stagnant water. If you are prone to mozzie bites don’t forget your repellent. You will most likely see ants all through the warmer months, so it is important to keep the inside of your accommodation clean to not attract them inside.
Wasps tend to be seen once it cools off a bit in September and October and they seem to be attracted to fatty or sweet foods, which can sometimes make eating outdoors difficult; they are also known to congregate around filters at the edge of swimming pools.
Noisy insects include crickets, grasshoppers and the noisiest of all: cicadas. Cicadas are very common during July, August and September and it is said that they can be heard from a mile away.
Many animals roam freely around the island from paddock to paddock, so don’t be alarmed if you come across a herd of sheep, cows or goats blocking the road. Simply give them a toot with your car horn and more often than not they’ll move to the side.
In the Pylaros region don’t be surprised if you encounter goats & sheep with golden teeth, you are not imagining it, this is due to the ingredients in the soil & plants that they eat.
There are also semi-wild horses around but they tend to stay high in the mountain and are mostly seen when heading to the summit of Mt Ainos.