Herpetofauna of Europe : tenerife - canary islands, spain (february 2015)
Herpetofauna of Europe European Amphibians & Reptiles

A trip to Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain)
31st of January - 5th of February 2015

Unless specified otherwise, all pictures (c) of Stefanie Delarue and Jeroen Speybroeck.

Here's the link to the entire album of this trip.

My girl wanted to spend a week in tranquility so we convinced here parents to look after our son and traveled just the two of us. Tunisia was also on the table for a while, but when travelling with a normal companion who allows you to do herping trips without her, it is wise to pick a herp-poor destination.

Terrestrial endogenous herps of Tenerife are Gallotia galloti, Gallotia intermedia, Tarentola delalandii and Chalcides viridanus. The second one is rare, the others are (very or even extremely) common. I tried my luck for a brief visit to a spot for G. intermedia but failed - the numbers of this species are known to be low and the weather was less than perfect throughout our stay (= only a couple of hours of direct sunlight during 2 of the days spent). Too bad. I did visit a cold and foggy spot for Hyla meridionalis, but other than that, I didn't bother with trying to find any of the other alien species (Pelophylax perezi, Anolis carolinensis but also Gallotia caesaris and more).

Teide volcano

coastal "pseudo-Arizona" hike

into the magnificent "laurisilva"

looking down on Taganana through the fog

Masca - lovely place, but a massive tourist trap all the same

Gallotia galloti

Chalcides viridanus

Tarentola delalandii

A terrible oversight by most herp enthusiasts visiting the island is that you can get up close and personal with sea turtles. Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) is supposed to be around (although all the footage I watched on Youtube referring to this species concern wrong IDs), but especially Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is represented by some animals which are resident to a few small bays throughout the year (maybe excluding egg-laying season). The animals are not the wildest of their species - they clearly have grown accustomed to human admiration. Nevertheless, the true highlight of this little trip was to be able to swim with these beautiful animals and even easily to be able to (I know, I know, silly and I shouldn't have...) touch them.

Sadly, I don't have a lot of illustration of this amazing experience - I only rented a camera for the dive I did first and which produced no turtle sightings, while 3 turtles showed up on the second, snorkeling attempt.

Yet, an Italian girl who was with us took a couple of shots.

Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and yours truly on the right - (c) Beatrice Agnoli

Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) - (c) Beatrice Agnoli

Additional illustration of the same experience at the same spot can be found on Youtube. They do get really close.

A few of the local turtles have a GPS-tracking device.

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Last update: February 12, 2015 14:35:55