Despite being close to the land of safaris, Tenerife and the Canary Islands aren’t exactly blessed with an exotic array of wildlife.
But there are some colourful creatures to be seen roaming free(ish) in Tenerife’s countryside and even in some urban areas.
These are some of the places where you can get close to Tenerife’s non-human residents.
There are a few places where amphibians imitate visitors by cooling in calm waters before basking in the sun. The Hotel Mencey in Santa Cruz has a chic terrapin pool as does the Hotel Quinta Roja in Garachico which you can see from the town plaza. The Botanical Gardens in Puerto de la Cruz is a leafy wonderland in which to spot a terrapin or two.
Although natural freshwater pools and lakes are a rarity on Tenerife, there are some places where coots and ducks are common. The Erjos pools near Santiago del Teide is a scenic spot to watch the birds and clock up a few neon coloured dragonflies as well. The Risco Bello water gardens in Puerto de la Cruz is a favourite with a wide variety of birds including egrets and heron.
Whales and Dolphins
There is one wildlife watching activity on Tenerife which has some elements of the thrill of being on an African safari. Taking a dolphin and whale watching trip from Los Gigantes or Puerto Colón is one of those special travel experiences. Seeing dolphins and whales at play in their natural habitat is something that’s hard to beat.
It might sound an odd choice but golf courses are great spots for birdwatching and Golf Las Americas is home to a surprisingly diverse range of exotic looking feathered creatures… including an emu. There used to be parakeets in Plaza del Charco in Puerto de la Cruz. Although I hear them now and again I haven’t actually seen one for some time. I Think most have relocated to the garden at the Hotel Botanico. You’re almost guaranteed a parrot sighting in Parque Garcia Sanabria in Santa Cruz. Their perpetual squabbling always gives their location away. Another creature whose voices give them away are the frogs which inhabit the park’s pools. Big voices, small frogs.
Lizards are so commonplace that I hardly register them – there are about four different kinds alone scuttling around the roof tiles and terrace of our house. But even Spanish mainlanders seem to get excited when they spot these scaly scuttlers. You should find plenty anywhere there are dry stone walls and sunshine. One of the best places is El Portillo Visitor Centre in Teide National Park where the lizards are so tame one jumped onto my shoulder once. Look out for the Tenerife lizard, with its yellow stripes and bright blue throat it’s the best looking Canary Islands lizard.
Don’t laugh, goats are great animals and fun to watch. In some of the Canary Islands they seem to roam free, but there’s usually a goatherd not too far away. I’ve lost count of the number of goat traffic jams I’ve been caught in; they’re used to ‘mow the weeds’ in fields around us. Although herds are scattered all across the island, rural areas like Teno in the west and the Orotava Valley are best for a bit of Canarian goat spotting.
Category : about tenerife
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