If you're a wildlife lover, the Balearic island of Menorca is an excellent place to enjoy a holiday. Whether you’re looking for lizards around the walls of your Menorca villa or scouring the undergrowth in a nature reserve for sightings of snakes, reptile spotting can be a rewarding pursuit on this beautiful island. Below we’ve collated a few tips for how to get the most sightings of reptiles, and while they’re written with Menorca in mind, they apply to more or less anywhere. |
Reptiles are unable to internally regulate their own body heat, and the cooler their core temperature, the slower they are. This means that early in the day, having cooled down overnight, they are very sluggish compared to the lightning quick ones you’ll occasionally spot later in the day. What’s more, they often spend the early morning hours basking on rocks in order to bring their body temperature up, meaning they’re more exposed than at any other time of day.
For these reasons, keen reptile spotters would be well-advised to set off from their Menorca villa at sunrise (or as early as they feel comfortable) in order to go looking. Check flat, rocky areas and anywhere with access to sunlight, and you’ll see any number of lizards and snakes.
If, however, you plan to spend the morning lying in and lazily breakfasting in the comfort of your Menorcan villa, there’s no reason to spoil your holiday with early starts if you don’t enjoy them. Wander out later in the day and you’ll still be able to sight plenty of reptiles if you know where to look, although the hottest part of the day (around 1pm to 4pm) is best avoided, as animals tend to hide in shady nooks at this point. It's also uncomfortable and potentially hazardous to undertake too much activity at this time during the warmer parts of the year. Late risers who love nature should also keep an eye on artificial lights at night, as you’ll often see well-fed geckos mopping up the clouds of insects that are drawn to the bulbs.
Loud noises and heavy footsteps will send reptiles skittering into cracks and holes, especially during the warmer parts of the day when their reflexes are sharp. Don’t move too heavily (although talking is usually not a problem, as reptiles ‘hear’ through vibrations from whatever they’re touching) and you’re more likely to see the animals before they flee. Quiet movement through long grass is inadvisable, however, as this runs a risk of startling snakes.
Know Where to Look
Different animals prefer different areas. Lizards tend to be found on rocky areas with lots of cracks to hide in, such as roughly built walls, snakes enjoy swimming in fresh water or hiding in the undergrowth and tortoises are frequently seen plodding around under bushes (are also likely to be found near tasty-looking greenery or below fruiting bushes and trees). Knowing where to look for wildlife on Menorca also means knowing where to cast your attention: bringing a camera is usually a good idea, but remember to focus on the moment and on enjoying seeing the animal in front of you, rather than on getting a photograph. Enjoy the real thing first, and then get the photograph second if the animal is still there!
If you and your family are thinking about renting a Menorca villa to spend a few days in the Spanish sun, keep these tips in mind, and the more patient, wildlife-loving members of your group will have the opportunity for some excellent sightings.
Brenda Jaaback is the Managing Director of Bartle Holidays. They can provide you with a wide selection from which to choose an excellent Menorca villa for your holidays. Bartle Holidays makes no warranty as to the accuracy of information contained in this article and excludes any liability of any kind for the information.
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