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Updated by Joanna James on Oct 05, 2020
Headline for Exotic Wildlife to spot in Maldives – Fascinating Creatures of the Tropics
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Exotic Wildlife to spot in Maldives – Fascinating Creatures of the Tropics

The scenic atolls of the Maldives have become all the more alluring due to its beautiful blue oceans, turquoise lagoons, and palm-fringed beaches swathed in immaculate white sand. It is truly a spectacular landscape that possesses a diverse array of wildlife, both on land and sea.

1

Manta Rays

Looking like a floating blanket from a distance, Manta Rays may have acquired its name from Spanish since 'Manta' means 'blanket' in Spanish. An aerial view of this cold-blooded species of fish may even make you think of a twisted diamond-like shape. Two species of Manta Rays differ in their size and preferred habitats – Giant Oceanic Manta Ray is the larger of the two species, and the smaller one is called the Reef Manta Ray. The former is observed to grow up to seven metres from the tip of each wing, while the latter is known to grow up to 3 metres. Both species usually feed on zooplankton. The life span of a manta ray is about 50 years, and they reach sexual maturity after ten years from their birth. The gestation period of a manta ray is almost one year long, and only one pup is born at a time. The Maldives has many diving spots such as Kandhooma Thila near properties like Adaaran Club Rannalhi, where one can dive to spot the occasional reef manta ray.

2

Whale Shark

The largest fish in the world, the whale shark is a species of shark that has a lot in common with whales. For instance, unlike sharks, they are filter-feeders much like the blue whale. Moreover, their massive size has been attributed to a school bus, which has proven to be advantageous in keeping away predators during their solitary journeys. A whale shark's mouth is about five feet wide, which includes over 300 teeth. However, they do not use these teeth to tear apart their prey like their relatives. The whale shark has been observed to swim forward while pushing water and food into its mouth, after which the excess water is sent back to the ocean through its filter pads. The typical diet of this creature may include plankton, krill, fish eggs, small squid, or Christmas Island red crab larvae. In spite of its humongous size, the whale shark doesn't pose any threat to humans.

3

Indian Flying Fox

Although it isn't specified in the name, Indian Flying Fox, in reality, is a bat. Its unique fox-like appearance, the long snout, the round, bulging eyes, and the reddish-brown coat, may have been the reasons behind its ridiculous name. One would indeed mistake this bat for a fox if it's not for its leathery wings and upside-down pose. These bats can be observed not only in the Maldives, but some other countries in South-Central Asia such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka. Weighing approximately 1.6 kilograms, the Indian Flying Fox, also known as the Greater Indian Fruit Bat, is among the largest bats in the world.

4

White-breasted Water Hen

The national bird of the Maldives, the White-Breasted Waterhen can be found in mangrove forests, wetlands, swamps, and in other habitats that revolve around sources of water. It has a white face, neck, breast, dark-grey upperparts, and flanks. Its bodies are flattened from a lateral perspective for easy access through densely grown reeds. Long toes, a short tail, and a yellow bill are characteristic of this bird. The females look similar, but they are slightly smaller than the adult bird. The White-breasted Water Hen feeds on insects, small frogs, worms, and molluscs.

5

Green Sea Turtle

One of the largest sea turtles in the world, Green Sea Turtle is herbivorous, unlike the other turtles of its family such as the Hawksbill Sea Turtle. Green Turtles are thus named for the colour of its cartilage and fat. They aren't named so because of the colour of its façade. In the Pacific Ocean, some green turtles that have darker shells are identified as Black Turtles by the locals. Just like all other sea turtles, the Green Sea Turtle also migrates long distances from their feeding grounds to breeding grounds. Kandhooma Thila is considered as one of the best Maldives' places to visit, as it is a place where one can observe the endangered Green Sea Turtle.

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