Sharks love the Maldives archipelago for its ideal waters and abundance of food. Whale Sharks, Reef Sharks, and Nurse Sharks are a regular sighting in these waters, with Hammerhead Sharks making an appearance once in a while. If you’re daring and up for an adventure, you can even go on a Maldives diving trip and possibly swim up close to these gentle creatures and experience the underwater world yourself. The Ari Atoll and Rasdhoo Atoll are great places to catch a sighting of the sharks, while Baa Atoll is a hotspot for seasonal Whale Shark gatherings.
The Manta Ray is another gentle marine species that calls the Maldives its home. Manta rays can grow to over five metres in width, making them a truly spectacular sight to behold, especially when they glide above the corals feeding on planktons. You can also see Stingrays, Fantail Rays, and Eagle Rays during the seasonal gatherings. Since these creatures can be dangerous, it's best to keep a distance of at least three metres to avoid getting stung by with their tails. But don’t fret, even from afar, they’re bound to awe you and leave you feeling inspired by their magnificence.
Fruit bats are quite a common sighting on the resort islands of the Maldives, especially where there are many trees. Also called Flying Foxes, they have red fur and a cute canine-like head. They are nocturnal and you can often hear them at dusk. These flying mammals feed on fruit and nectar from flowers and use their keen sense of smell to locate their food. The best time to see them is in the evening, just after they wake up to start their day.
Besides sharks and rays, sea turtles are also abundant in Maldivian waters. Go scubadiving or snorkeling and you might get the chance to Green Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles, and Leatherback Turtles just to name a few. Being migratory animals, the sea turtles here typically travel thousands of kilometres between their nesting and feeding ground. Besides seeing them during your Maldives diving session, you can also visit the turtle rescue centre. From June to November, many turtles come to the various beaches to nest, making this period a great time for avid turtle watchers to visit, and even learn about how you can contribute to the conservation of these beautiful animals for future generations.
Being an island nation surrounded by the Indian Ocean, most birds found here are migratory pelagic birds. Local species are the Common Mynas, Pond, Grey, and Striated Herons, White-Breasted Waterhens, as well as the common House Crows. You can also see other species paying a visit to the islands on their migratory course including Frigatebirds and Tropicbirds.
Cetaceans are a family of marine mammals that includes dolphins, whales, and porpoises. The Maldives has 23 recorded species, all of which are protected under their law. Most commonly sighted is the Spinner Dolphin which has a distinct daily travel routine, where it rests in the atoll during the day and heads out to hunt at sunset. Other common species include the Spotted Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, and Fraser's Dolphins. Whales are a sight, but you can see Dwarf Sperm Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales, and other species around the archipelago if you're lucky. If you’re one of the lucky few to spot these creatures, it’ll surely leave you feeling excited by their energy and magnificent size.
Above ground, there are many species of arthropods including centipedes, millipedes, various insects, and spiders. There are a few species of spiders such as the Huntsman Spider and Lynx Spider. However, there are other arthropod species around the Maldives, especially around Malé. Though small, these creatures are mighty and intelligent and will leave you amazed at their intricate abilities.
The islands of Maldives have typical flora that you might associate with an island ecosystem. However, they do vary according to the region in the archipelago, with the eastern islands being generally more fertile. You can find typical tropical plants such as coconut, mango, papaya, banyan trees and plantains. You can also find shrubs and various flower plants such as lilies.
The wildlife of the Maldives is as much a part of the archipelago as are the clean beaches, crystal blue waters and beautiful sunny weather. During your visit, why not go on a Maldives diving trip and swim with these magnificent creatures to appreciate them up close. The experience of watching these thriving creatures in nature we’ll leave you with a sense of wonder and amazement that’ll surely inspire you to thrive again.