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The Gap Year Blog

Top 5 Best Species to See in Tenerife

1 Aug 2016 12:20 PM

As the largest of the seven Canary Islands, Tenerife boasts the title of ‘most biologically diverse’ so there are definitely plenty of creatures to see but, as one of the top whale and dolphin watching destinations in the world, there's plenty to see offshore too. Here are the five species we think you must see while visiting this incredible island:

Tenerife Lizard

Photo Credit: @bethlaurenh | Instagram – Tenerife Volunteer

The Gallotia Galloti, otherwise known as the Northern Tenerife Lizard, is a species of wall lizard and as a result it is commonly found on stone walls in cultivated areas, so you shouldn’t have too many problems spotting one! As an endemic species to Tenerife, you definitely want to add this creature to your list of must sees while you’re touring the Canary Islands. The striking spurts of blues and greens across the backs of the males have made these lizards popular amongst tourists and in many places they have become an attraction of sorts on their own!

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

The Loggerhead Sea Turtles are frequent visitors to the waters around Tenerife in the summer months. Having travelled from areas around Africa, Cuba and Mexico the turtles spend a majority of the warm months near the coast and along the beaches of Tenerife. Loggerheads, aptly named due to their strong jaws and large heads are one of the largest Cheloniidae Turtles. Unfortunately as it stands the species is classified as endangered however the Canarian Government has a preservation programme already in place and there are a number of international laws across the world all set up to protect these gentle creatures, so there is hope for their future!

Pilot Whales

Pilot Whales are a must see when you’re in Tenerife. They can often be found recuperating from their night time hunting just below the sea surface during the day so keep your eyes peeled for these jet black whales as they rise to breach the water. If you join a whale and dolphin watching cruise you may notice researchers carefully photographing these creatures and this is because each Pilot whale has a dorsal fin that is as unique as our human finger prints. According to data collected in this fashion by the Atlantic Whale Foundation, around 1000 Pilot whales frequent the waters off the South West Coast of Tenerife so your chance of spotting one is quite high! Don’t be deceived though, Pilot Whales aren’t actually whales at all but the second largest dolphin after the Orca!

The Canary Bird

Photo Credit: flickr | GrahamC57

As one of the symbols of the Canary Islands, the endemic Canary Bird is aptly named and is definitely one of the species that you want to be able to say you spotted while in Tenerife. Often seen flying above farms, in ravines and in the depths of pine forests there are several places where you might catch sight of one. With their yellow and brown colouring you will definitely recognise this unique bird and as they typically nest just four metres from the ground, you won’t have to go climbing any trees to find them. Even if you don’t happen to see one though, you’ll no doubt hear them; their song is one of the most typical sounds of the Tenerife countryside!

Bottlenose Dolphins

No Tenerife species round up would be complete without a mention of the Bottlenose Dolphins. As the most commonly sighted marine mammal off the coast of Tenerife, these dolphins are popular among visiting tourists. The warm waters that make up Tenerife’s coastline makes for the perfect habitat for these cetaceans and as they are incredibly social (and curious!) creatures it isn’t uncommon to spot a pod of up to twenty swimming alongside the sightseeing boats. These dolphins are kings of communication and do so by using a range of different sounds and body language movements to send messages from one to another. As with other dolphins, the intelligent Bottlenoses’ also use echolocation to seek out their prey and they can make up to 1,000 clicking noises per second during a hunt!

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By Shannon Clark - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservation, community, teaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!