There are a lot of these around the resort and you’ll often hear them snuffling around in the gardens a short while after sundown. They are very shy creatures and won’t like it if you get close, but they can be quite fierce and will take on a snake and eat it if it’s not too big.
There are a small number of different snakes on the island and three of them are venomous – the Montpellier snake, the Cat snake and the Blunt Nose viper. These are well camouflaged on and in the rocks. You probably won’t see any of them, but if you do, leave them alone. You may see other, longer black snakes (Whipsnakes) which can look a little scary, but these are harmless. All snakes would rather slide away than confront a human so you really don’t need to worry about them. However, it is not a good idea to go rummaging around in bushes, especially on the golf course, as you may scare them and that is very unwise.
(Recommended reading – Snakes of Cyprus by Hans-Jorg Wiedl)
This animal is the national emblem of Cyprus. It is a really shy, fleet footed horned wild sheep and, if you are lucky, you’ll see it scooting up the hillsides in the Troodos or Paphos Forests – best chances of sightings are in the summer months. They are endemic to Cyprus, with a population of only around 3000 and are the largest animal found on the island. Moufflon are officially classified as ferel by the IUCN.
There are a few of these around the resort but you have to be lucky to see them. They are very fast and will run like mad to get away from humans.
Recommended reading – Birds and Mammals of Cyprus by George Sfikas)
Cyprus is a fantastic place to see birdlife during the migratory periods of February – April and October – November. There are some beautiful bird species, most notable are the many finch varieties, hoopoes, bee eaters, warblers and the famous flamingoes found at the salt lakes. Varieties that you are likely to see around the resort year-round are the hooded crows, magpies, buzzards, kestrels, swallows and house martins and you will probably hear the scops owls and little owls during the night.
(Recommended reading – Birds and Mammals of Cyprus by George Sfikas)
Two species can be found on the island, the green turtle and the loggerhead (both of which are endangered). Green turtles breed almost exclusively on the desolate, surf-swept beaches of the west coast, north of Paphos, mainly in the Lara area (where there is a seasonal station and ‘hatchery’). Loggerhead turtles are a little more elusive and tend to breed on beaches that provide complete seclusion throughout the night. Turtles are a protected species in Cyprus with a Cyprus Turtle Conservation project in place.
It is often said that turtles have a “lost year”, because scientists are unsure what happens to the little turtles for the first year or so of their lives. Therefore it is interesting that several hatchlings and some young juveniles have been found in Paphos Harbour, or sighted or caught off the Paphos coast. These are signs that bode well for the green turtle in Cyprus.
If you are lucky then you will catch sight of the elusive Mediterranean Chameleon, the slow paced lizard with bags of character.
Cyprus is an amazing place for wild flowers, especially in the Spring which starts in January here. There are many, many varieties and the island is a riot of colour. There are around 45-50 different species of orchids in Cyprus, some of which are endemic & are protected by law.
You will see hibiscus and oleanders in the main, they are available in many different colours and varieties, all of which are quite beautiful.
You will see masses of olive trees and carob trees around the resort. These are protected by law here so, other than for reasons of disease, they will be here for some years to come. There is one olive tree next to the Intercontinental Hotel entrance which is over 300 years old and one in the village square in Polis which is over 600 years old.
Carob trees have green pods which gradually go black, the beans were used for making plastic at one time but are now used as a chocolate substitute and available in health food shops in many countries. The majestic cedar can also be found in parts of the Paphos Forest, mainly in Cedar Valley.