The Maldives islands are not only a sight perfect for postcards with their pristine white beaches and tall palm trees, but they are also home to a host of wildlife both marine and terrestrial. In fact, the archipelago is among the most biodiverse places on earth with its abundance of fish, coral, marine mammals, and land creatures. If you want to know more about the various wildlife of this beautiful archipelago, keep on reading.

1. Sharks

Sharks love the Maldives archipelago for its ideal waters and abundance of food. Whale Sharks, Reef Sharks, and Nurse Sharks are a regular sighting in these waters, with Hammerhead Sharks making an appearance once in a while. You can watch them from the many resorts in the country, including Club Med Kani or go on a Maldives diving trip and swim up close to these gentle creatures. The Ari Atoll and Rasdhoo Atoll are good places to see the sharks, while Baa Atoll is a hotspot for seasonal Whale Shark gatherings.

2. Manta Rays

The Manta Ray is another gentle marine species that calls the Maldives its home. Manta rays can grow to over five metres in width, making them a truly spectacular sight to behold, especially when they glide above the corals feeding on planktons. You can also see Stingrays, Fantail Rays, and Eagle Rays during the seasonal gatherings. Since these creatures can be dangerous, it's best to keep a distance of at least three metres to avoid getting stung by with their tails.

3. Fruit Bats

Fruit bats are quite a common occurrence on the resort islands of the Maldives, especially where there are many trees. Also called Flying Foxes, they have red fur and a cute canine-like head. They are nocturnal animals and you can sometimes hear them as soon as dusk arrives. These flying mammals feed on fruit and nectar from flowers and use their keen sense of smell to locate their food. The best time to see them is in the evening just after they wake up to start their day.

4. Turtles

Besides sharks and rays, sea turtles are also abundant in Maldivian waters. You can see Green Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles, and Leatherback Turtles just to name a few. Being migratory animals, the sea turtles here typically travel thousands of kilometres between their nesting and feeding ground. Besides seeing them during your Maldives diving session, you can also visit the turtle rescue centre. From June to November, many turtles come to the various beaches to nest making this period a great time to visit for avid turtle watchers.

5. Birds

Being an island nation surrounded by the Indian Ocean, most birds found here are migratory pelagic birds. Local species are the Common Mynas, Pond, Grey, and Striated Herons, White-Breasted Waterhens, as well as the common House Crows. You can also see other species paying a visit to the islands on their migratory course including Frigatebirds and Tropicbirds.

6. Cetaceans

Cetaceans are a family of marine mammals that includes dolphins, whales, and porpoises. The Maldives has 23 recorded species, all of which are protected under their law. Most commonly sighted is the Spinner Dolphin which has a distinct daily travel routine, where it rests in the atoll during the day and heads out to hunt at sunset. Other common species include the Spotted Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, and Fraser's Dolphins. Whales are a sight, but you can see Dwarf Sperm Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales, and other species around the archipelago if you're lucky.

7. Arthropods

Above ground, there are many species of arthropods including centipedes, millipedes, various insects, and spiders. There are a few species of spiders such as the Huntsman Spider and Lynx Spider. However, there are other arthropod species around the Maldives, especially around Malé.

8. Flora of The Maldives

The islands of Maldives have typical flora that you might associate with an island ecosystem. However, they do vary according to the region in the archipelago, with the eastern islands being generally more fertile. You can find typical tropical plants such as coconut, mango, papaya, banyan trees and plantains. You can also find shrubs and various flower plants such as lilies.

The wildlife of the Maldives is as much a part of the archipelago as are the clean beaches and beautiful weather. During your visit, go on a Maldives diving trip and swim with the whale sharks and manta ray to appreciate them up close or stay at one of Club Med's resorts to watch them from the comfort of your own room.