As in the rest of the archipelago, Tenerife's fauna is similar to the wildlife populating northern Africa and southern Europe. But the main distinctive element is the percentage of endemic species, which can be found nowhere else in the world, largely thanks to years of genetic isolation.
In Tenerife, most of these endemic species are found in the areas of Anaga, Teno and Las Cañadas del Teide. Moreover, one of the most significant groups of animals on the Island are invertebrates, which account for 3,000 species, 40% of which are endemic. And there are over 200 species of birds that fly through Tenerife's skies throughout the year.
Some of them, such as herons and ducks, come here in search of good weather on their migratory routes. Others such as Bolle's pigeons, laurel pigeons and blue chaffinches are unique in the world and live on the Island permanently. On the coast, Scopoli's shearwaters and ospreys are a wonderful sight for those who enjoy bird watching, which is one of the many activities that Tenerife has to offer, though you will need a licence and there are specific areas for it.
As for mammals, there are 13 species, most of which have been introduced by mankind. The arrival of the aborigines some 2,500 years ago brought with it sheep, goats, dogs and pigs. These animals adapted so successfully to the Canary Islands that they even developed into autochthonous species. Other mammals that were introduced include rabbits, rats, pygmy shrews and the North African hedgehog. The most recent introduction was the Corsican mouflon, which was released in Mount Teide National Park for hunting purposes.
Tenerife has a wide variety of reptiles and they are all worth discovering as there are several that you won't find anywhere else. There are five species on the Island and the spotted lizard, for instance, is endemic to Tenerife. Of the other four species, the Canarian lizard and the Tenerife lizard are also present on the rest of the islands, where there are various breeds. The other two species are the Tenerife Gecko and the pink salamander.
In terms of amphibians, the Island is known to house two species of frogs that were brought over from Europe and now thrive around lakes and watercourses. It has been confirmed that eels have been spotted in some of the ravines in Anaga and Teno, though they are in danger of extinction.
The Canary Islands also welcome "sea tourists" from all corners of the world. This is where species from the cold Atlantic meet others from warmer waters, including Caribbean sea creatures such as various species of sea turtles. Tenerife also happens to be one of the best places on the planet for whale and dolphin watching, with as many as 21 species of cetaceans living in its waters.