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Greece has a variety of wildlife, including wild bears and wolves in the mountains of northern Greece, the kri-kri on Crete, wild deer on Rhodes and the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal in the seas around Alónissos.

Kefalonia remains home to a smaller variety of wildlife, much of which is rarely seen. This is particularly so of the Mediterranean Monk Seal. Over-fishing has resulted in a diminishing food supply and tourist expansion on the sandy beaches where they raise their pups has led to an alarming decline in population.

By nature they return to the same place to rear their pups, today they often have to retreat to isolated sea caves. Of all wildlife in Europe, the Mediterranean Monk Seal is the most likely to become extinct and is now so endangered that there may well be none left in the Ionian seas, despite glossy claims designed to appeal to tourists. There appears to be no active efforts to preserve the Mediterranean Monk Seals on Kefalonia and no up-to-date information.

Loggerhead turtles and Green turtles are also under threat from tourism. Loggerheads depend upon the sandy southern beaches of Zakynthos and Kefalonia to lay their eggs. The slow moving turtles are susceptible while swimming to injury from motorboats, eggs can be destroyed if, e.g. beach umbrellas are driven deep in to the sand and newly hatched turtles can be disorientated by brights lights from e.g. tavernas. Rather than risk disturbing a nesting turtle on the beach, go to Argostoli if you want to see them. In the morning the little fishing boats sell their catch on the quayside and the turtles turn up for a free breakfast of fresh fish scraps.

Tortoises & terrapins are quite common in the wild in rural Greece. Although to be found on Kefalonia they are quite timid and are rarely seen. It’s illegal to try to smuggle them back to the UK and it’s also best not to handle them as they can all carry salmonella and loggerhead turtles crack crab shells with their jaws. tortoise

Geckos & lizards are quite common and similar in appearance. The lizards tend to be olive green and come out during the day whereas geckos are cream-coloured, rather more bulbous and are creatures of the night. Both are totally harmless and Greeks think it lucky to have one in the house as they catch and eat flies.

While you’re out and about you may catch sight of a large Green Lizard and, around the wet lowlands, you may come across the four-foot long – but totally harmless – Glass Lizard, which resembles a brown snake.

hummingbird moth Quite likely you’ll see many butterflies, such as Swallow Tails, Clouded Yellows and Painted Ladies – all of which were once quite common in the U.K. – also hummingbird moths and dragonflies, both quite harmless.

Up on Mount Aenos, near the tiny monastery above the village of Arginia, you might see the small herd of hardy wild ponies, claimed by some to be descendants of the original wild horses of Thrace.

You might also see a variety of amazing bird life: Griffon vultures, Eleonora’s Falcon, buzzards, goshawks, the black woodpecker and the white-backed woodpecker, the huge eagle-owl... all may still be seen on and around Kefalonia.

And don't forget the dolphins...

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