This page is for wildlife that I've photographed in the wild whilst holidaying in Cyprus.

Lizards
There are 11 species of lizard found on the Island of Cyprus:  LINK 1

1) Starred Agama.  2) Meditteranean Chameleon.  3) Troodos Lizard.  4) Shreiber's Spiny-Footed Lizard.  5) Snake-Eyed Lizard.  6)  Budak's Snake-Eyed Skink.  
7) Occelated Skink.  8) Spotted Skink.  9) Striped Skink.  10) Turkish Gecko.  11) Kotschy's Gecko.


Kotschy's Gecko   (Mediodactylus kotschyi)

The Kotschy's Gecko is a small-sized lizard growing up to 10cm in length including its tail. They are found across Southern Europe and the Middle East.




These tiny geckos are usually found hiding under rocks during the daytime. They emerge late afternoon / early evening to catch the last of the sunshine before setting off to hunt insect prey once it gets dark.





Kotschy's Gecko's are quick to drop their tail as a distraction to potential predators to enable them evade capture. 







Kotschy's Gecko sitting on my thumb to show size.






Kotschy's Gecko basking on a stone wall at sunset.







Kotschy's Gecko soaking up the late-afternoon sun on a stone wall.





Kotschy's Gecko soaking up the late-afternoon sun on a stone wall - wide angle iphone photo.







Mediterranean House Gecko - Turkish Gecko   (Hemidactylus turcicus)

Mediterranean House Gecko - Turkish Gecko   (Hemidactylus turcicus)

The Mediterranean House Gecko, or the Turkish Gecko as they are also known, can grow up to six inches in length including the tail but they are usually 4-5. They are nocturnal and feed on insects. The Turkish Gecko is delicate and slender in build and their colour is usually pink - orange or brown and their skin can be semi-translucent.  These can be found emerging high on walls at dusk, often around lights that attract moths, or hidden beneath rocks on the ground during the day.





Troodos Lizard basking by the side of a hotel swimming pool.
Troodos Lizard  (Phoenicolacerta troodica)
There are three species of lizard from the Family Lacertidae in Cyprus. These are the Troodos Lizard, Schreiber's Fringe-Fingered Lizard, and the Snake-Eyed Lizard. The Troodos Lizard is a small species with a maximum body-length of 10cm and a long tail that can reach a further 15cm. This is a common species found across the island in all types of habitat. Breeding occurs in both spring and summer and eggs are laid in clutches of 2-8.



Troodos Lizard basking by the side of a hotel swimming pool.






Spiny-Footed Lizard (Acanthodactylus schreiberi) hunting in the afternoon.

Schreiber's Fringe-Fingered Lizard  /  Spiny-Footed Lizard (Acanthodactylus schreiberi)
The Schreiber's Fringe-Fingered Lizard is found mainly near the coast living in sand-dune areas. This species is in rapid decline and classed as "Globally Endangered" due to habitat loss and disturbance. They have a body-length of up to 90mm and females usually only lay one clutch of eggs each season ranging from 1-4 eggs.





Schreiber's Fringe-Fingered Lizard (Acanthodactylus schreiberi) basking in the afternoon sun.


LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3




Schreiber's Fringe-Fingered Lizard  /  Spiny-Footed Lizard






A large Schreiber's Fringe-Fingered Lizard  /  Spiny-Footed Lizard with a total length of around 20cm.








Snake-Eyed Lizard basking on a stone wall.
Snake-Eyed Lizard  (Ophisops elegans)
The Snaked-Eyed Lizard is the third, final and smallest lizard from the Family Lacertidae, to be found in Cyprus. They are also the most common lizard on the island. This lizard is small and slender with a narrow pointed snout. As with other Ophisops Sp this lizard does not possess separate eyelids and therefore cannot close its eyes. Instead it has a transparent "eye scale" that covers the eye.



Snake-Eyed Lizard crossing a pathway






Snake-Eyed Lizard dashing between low vegetation.






Snake-Eyed Lizard basking on rocks.







Starred Agama  /  Hardun /  Sling-Tailed Agama  /  Spiny Lizard  (Laudakia stellio cypriaca)
The largest lizard found on the Island of Cyprus, growing to an impressive length of 35cm or more including tail. Locally they are known as Kourkoutas. There are over 300 species of Agama found across the world but Laudakia stellio is the only species to be found in Europe. There are many sub-species of Laudakia stellio in Europe though. 

The Starred Agama is usually grey / brown in colour. Younger, smaller specimens have more obvious patterns and markings, but larger specimens, especially males, can display a range of colours and several I saw had bright orange colours on their head and chest.



Large Starred Agama basking

When disturbed the Starred Agama is as quick to disappear up a tree as it is to dart under rocks for cover. They are extremely fast runners for stocky robust lizards too.




Despite being nervous and initially running for cover, this Starred Agama was still curious enough to return and watch me photographing it.







Starred Agama hiding behind a bush on the wall of our hotel in Paphos, Cyprus








Striped Skink basking in late afternoon sun.

Striped Skink / Bridled Skink (Trachylepis vittata, previously Mabuya vittata)
A medium-sized lizard growing up to 25cm in length, including tail. Found across Cyprus from coastal areas to the top of the Troodos mountain peaks. Reproduction occurs in Spring and summer and females lay 3-6 eggs. Also known as the Bridled Maybuya or Bridled Skink.    LINK 1

This specimen was photographed basking on large rocks with dense vegetation immediately behind, situated 30 metres from the coast in Paphos.


Striped Skink basking in late afternoon sun at the edge of a busy pathway.






Striped Skink basking in late afternoon sun at the edge of a busy pathway.







Budak's Snake-Eyed Skink  (Ablepharus budaki)

Budak's Snake-Eyed Skink  (Ablepharus budaki)
Found under a small rock besides the main road running through Paphos Town. The Budak's Snake-Eyed Skink is a small common species growing to a maximum of 12cm in length including tail. Reproduction occurs in Spring and summer and females lay 2-4 eggs.




Budak's Snake-Eyed Skink  (Ablepharus budaki)






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Snakes of Cyprus

Cyprus has 9 species of snake. 3 of these ore venomous but only one is a significant danger to humans. The Blunt Nosed Viper (Macrovipera lebetina) is a large viper growing to 2 metres in length and 5kg in weight. The other venomous snakes in Cyprus are the Montpellier Snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) and the Cat Snake (Telescopus fallax). Both of these are only mildly venomous and are also rear-fanged.

The non-venomous species include: Cyprus Grass Snake (Natrix natrix cypriaca),  Coin Snake (Coluber numifer),  Dahl's Whip Snake (Coluber najadum),  Cyprus Whip Snake (Coluber cypriensis),  Large Whip Snake (Coluber jugularis),  Pink Worm Snake (Typhlops vermicularis).


80cm Montpellier Snake  (Molpolon monspessulanus)

Montpellier Snake  (Molpolon monspessulanus)
A large, mildly venomous, rear-fanged colubrid snake, usually growing to around 200cm in length. Usually greyish brown in colour with distinctive eyes. This snake feeds primarily on lizards with the Starred Agama being a favourite. The venom works quickly on lizards but a bite to humans, although painful and often resulting in localised swelling, is not fatal. 



80cm Montpellier Snake  (Molpolon monspessulanus)







80cm Montpellier Snake  (Molpolon monspessulanus)








50cm European Cat Snake (Telescopus fallax) photographed at Kouklia Snake Park, Cyprus

European Cat Snake  aka European Tiger Snake & Soosan Snake (Telescopus fallax)
A small and slender, mildly venomous, rear-fanged colubrid snake, usually growing to around 60cm in length. The Cat Snake uses its mild venom primarily for digesting its prey rather than killing its prey. Because of the position of its fangs venom is rarely injected during defensive bites and so this snake is considered to be no risk to humans. This nocturnal hunter feeds on Geckos and other small Lizards.


This specimen was photographed in captivity at Kouklia Snake & Animal Park:  43 Apostolou Louka Ave, Kouklia, Cyprus. Telephone: +357 2643 2240, or  +357 9959 8589


50cm European Cat Snake (Telescopus fallax) photographed at Kouklia Snake Park, Cyprus

The European Cat Snake gets its name from its cat-like eyes. Because the Cat Snake is a nocturnal species when it's viewed in daylight its pupils close to elliptical slits.




50cm European Cat Snake (Telescopus fallax) photographed at Kouklia Snake Park, Cyprus







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Amphibians of Cyprus 
Cyprus has just three species of amphibian, the Cyprus Water Frog (Pelophylax cypriensis), Variable Toad (Bufotes variabilis), and the Middle East Tree Frog (Hyla savignyi).



Adult Cyprus Water Frog (Pelophylax cypriensis)
Cyprus Water Frog (Pelophylax cypriensis)
The Cyprus Water Frog is a medium-sized frog and like other Water Frogs, is often found basking in the sun at the water's edge. They are highly vocal during the warmer months of the year.




Young Cyprus Water Frog (Pelophylax cypriensis)






Cyprus Water Frog (Pelophylax cypriensis)






Young Cyprus Water Frog (Pelophylax cypriensis)







Cyprus Water Frog Tadpole (Pelophylax cypriensis)

Typical of other Water Frogs the tadpole of the Cyprus Water Frog is very large when compared to the size of the adult frog.





Click "Play" to hear the Cyprus Water Frogs (Pelophylax cypriensis) calling during the midday sun May 2019.







Other Wildlife








Carpenter Bee  (Xylocopa pubescens)
Carpenter Bee  (Xylocopa pubescens)





Carpenter Bee  (Xylocopa pubescens)








Swallowtail Butterfly  (Papilio machaon)
In the UK the Swallowtail is the largest and one of the rarest of butterflies. The British Swallowtail is a sub-species and is found only in the Norfolk Broads feeding on its sole larval plant, the Milk-Parsley. In Cyprus the Swallowtail is far less of a fussy eater as a caterpillar and they can be found on a variety of plants. Adults can grow to an impressive length of 93mm.




Swallowtail Butterfly







Common Blue Butterfly (Polyommatus Icarus)

The Common Blue is found right across Cyprus as well as the UK, with the exception of Ireland. It is a small butterfly with a wingspan of 29-36mm and can be seen from the start of Spring to the end of Autumn.





Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly   (Libellula vibrans)






Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly   (Libellula vibrans)








Gonocleonus sp. - A Mediterranean genus of Weevil with many species.






A large Robber Fly with a body-length of around 35-40mm.







Mediterranean Slant-Faced / Cone-Headed Grasshopper  / Nosed Grasshopper (Acrida ungarica)
A medium / large grasshopper usually found in dry, grassy areas, sand dunes and areas where vegetation is sparse at low levels. Colour can be varying shades of green or brown. Found across Central and Southern Europe, but disappearing due to tourism and development in coastal areas. Their body-shape and colour gives great camouflage on the dry grass and vegetation which they usually reside on. There are sub-species of this grasshopper. Adults usually grow to a length of around: Males 25-40mm, Females 41-73mm.   

 LINK 1    LINK 2




This is a large unidentified female cricket (possibly from the orthopteran family Rhaphidophoridae) with a leg-span of around 60-70mm. It was spotted high on wall by the ceiling of an out-building.






A Praying Mantis with a total length of around 3", which came wandering into a Karaoke bar one night.






Carpenter Ant with a body-length of over 20mm!





Carpenter Ant with one cent euro coin to show size.







Pelicans at Paphos Harbour






Pelicans at Paphos Harbour






Pelicans at Paphos Harbour






Pelicans at Paphos Harbour






Feral Cat
Cyprus has an estimated population of anywhere from 100,000 - 1500,000 feral cats roaming the island. These cats can carry diseases and are considered as pests by many local people. One way to visually indicate that a cat is a domestic or spayed cat as opposed to a feral cat, is to clip one of the ears. This should offer some protection when the feral cats are culled. Cats were imported into Cyprus in large numbers during the 4th century to rid the towns of venomous snakes. A job they performed extremely well and to this day the feral and domestic cats in Cyprus are one of the largest risks to the snakes of the island.




Kittens in Kolossi, Cyprus







For reptile & amphibian enquiries contact the Herpetological Society of Cyprus:  herpetsocietycy@gmail.com





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