Animals and Insects in Spain and France

Animals and Insects in Spain and France

Creatures we have encountred 
We have been travelling for just over 4 months now and have already encountered a huge amount of wild life. Heather is a self-proclaimed geek when it comes to insects and animals, obsessing over nature documentaries and photography while Joe is more keen on the boy stuff; sharks, bears and the like.

France

Frogs
Almost every night we fell asleep to the sound of hundreds of croaking frogs in France. We are not sure if this has anything to do with them being farmed in France.

Shellfish
Mussels, clams, razors, oysters, sea urchin’s, and even goose barnacles (a rare and controversial delicacy) its easy to see why France is renowned for its amazing shellfish and seafood markets.
 

Jersey Cattle
Wondering around grassy carpeted woods, curious of our activities.
 

Coypu
A large rodent inhabiting water across Europe. They are surprisingly large and look similar to a beaver. We saw a lot of these near Bordeaux but also further north around Mont St Michel. The Copyu one of the more unusual animals of France.
Vultures

We have seen both the Griffon and the beautiful Egyptian Vulture mainly around the Pyrenees but in also in other Spanish mountain ranges such as the Sierra Nevada. One of the most impressive animals of Spain.


Pyrenees Ibex
In the French Pyrenees. The males of this species have huge horns. A native animal of France.

Snakes
Sadly, we have mainly seen snakes dead on the roadside. We have seen a few live ones on the side of the road basking, this is how they end up being squished, they like the heated tarmac. There are many types of snake in Spain.

 Aligator Park

We had a Rainy day while in france so we postponed our visit to Mont St Michel and decided to visit Alligator Park where we say an array or tortoise, turtles, crocodiles, komodo dragons and, of course, Alligators. We also saw a huge variety of mainly European small reptiles such as snakes lizards and gekos. 


Spain 

Flamingoes 
Beautiful creatures. I am always surprised by just how large they are. They migrate to mate anually. We saw them around the South-West coast and also at a natural lagoon. These birds really are one of the more impressive animals of Spain.
 

Spanish Ibex
Spend just a short time in the Spanish mountains are you are more than likely going to see an ibex. Despite their wild and shy nature they cannot resist a patch of green grass commonly found in public spots such as car parks or picnic areas.

Turtles 
We were lucky enough to see a large amount of turtles including some new hatchlings whilst on a bike ride at a lagoon. Turtles in Spain are rare but certainly worth searching for.

 
Wild Boar
 We were awoken by grunting and were very lucky to see a huge wild boar sow and three babies in the dead of night. They were very curious of our van and popped their little snouts through our slightly open side door to have a sniff. The babies followed each other nose to tail in a little conga line. This entertaining animals of Spain will pay you a visit also if you leave them a midnight snack.
Ants 
Ants, one of the more industrious animals of Spain, are everywhere. amazing creatures that have adapted to live all over the world. Its difficult to enjoy a picnic anywhere in the world without at least one lone ant crawling over your blanket!

Lizards

We have seen an array of lizards in different habitats. The common wall lizard has been the most frequent but we have also seen a few rock and ocellated lizards.

Storks
Majestic birds with ample character. We fell in love with storks in morocco and were delighted to spot the feathery romantics through France and Spain despite their shrinking numbers. We saw many nesting on top of pylons. Their huge cumbersome looking nests were full of babies. Storks are one of the more majestic animals of Spain.
 
Gekos
Mainly the Moorish Geko which is abundant here in South Spain.

Apes/monkeys

Again our first encounter with these particular apes was in morocco many years ago, the barbary macaque are technically monkeys but often referred to as apes due to their missing tails. These monkeys are not one of the native animals of Spain but can be found in Gibraltar, where they were historically introduced by Moorish sailors.
Butterflies 
Mainly swallowtails in mountain areas around Spain but we have also spotted many tiny and rare species in the Pyrenees.

Other Insects

The insects of Spain can be terrifying to anyone scared of creepy crawlies. Here are some insects of Spain that we saw during our trip. Although, not technically one of the insects of Spain, we saw a terrifying wolf spider. 


The creepy grasshopper seen here was certainly one of the more unusual insects of Spain we saw during our time there.

Jelly Fish
Jelly fish numbers are growing at unbelievable rates. We have seen the Purple Stinger covering beaches and a few other species that we cannot name.

 
Andorra
Whilst in Andorra we visited a nature park called “Naturelandia” there we were lucky enough to see some of the more endangered European mammals. The lynx has however been in the news here in Spain lately after a successful re-population plan has been completed. At the park we also saw Spanish bears, wolves, donkeys, teacup pigs and an array of European mountain goats including the rare Pyrenean ibex. 

Strays

Throughout Spain, we have seen many stray cats and dogs (most of which look healthy enough). This little dog helped us fill up our van with fuel and we gave him a slice of bread for his trouble. Dogs are, expectedly, one of the more common animals of Spain.
  

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