Below you can find a complete list of Vanuatuan animals. We currently track 124 animals in Vanuatu and are adding more every day!
The Republic of Vanuatu — commonly called Vanuatu — is a unique archipelago nation in the South Pacific. Regional volcanic activity is common, and the 83 islands that make up the nation host dense rain forests.
Vanuatu Wildlife Overview
Because of its friendly tax policies and available land, people are moving to Vanuatu in droves, and the population increase has translated into a handful of environmental problems. Shore fish are steeply declining, deforestation is destabilizing traditional habitats, and an uptick in landslides is wreaking havoc on livelihoods.
In terms of unique special populations, approximately 22 mammals, 19 reptiles, and scores of insects call Vanuatu home. Sea cows are the area’s largest marine mammals. However, individuals of the species sometimes leave for long stretches if their food supply is devastated by an ecological event.
The Official National Animal of Vanuatu
The Iguana is the national animal of Vanuatu. The country’s national flower is the hibiscus.
Did you know that iguanas have a unique third eye on the top of their domes that sense light? It’s true. They also love humid weather and can live up to 20 years, which is long for reptiles of their size.
Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in Vanuatu
Vanuatu is a mix of impenetrable rain forests and occupied coastal lands. Technically, most of the country’s wildlife lives deep in the dense forests, undisturbed by prying human curiosities. But dogs, pigs, goats, cattle, and other domesticated animals live alongside humans in the coastal areas. Rats are also a massive problem in occupied regions and are becoming a big problem for the country’s coconut industry.
The Most Dangerous Animals in Vanuatu Today
The most dangerous animals in Vanuatu are disease-carrying mosquitoes. Other than that, the islands are relatively free of inherently hazardous species. Rabid rats and bats present a threat, but no more so than anywhere else in the world.
Endangered Animals in Vanuatu
At the time of this writing, five mammals on Vanuatu appear on the IUCN’s Red List. One is categorized as endangered, and four are vulnerable. Several species of endangered reptiles also live in and around Vanuatu.
- Dugong or sea cows — Vulnerable
- Banks flying fox — Vulnerable
- Long-tailed fruit bat — Vulnerable
- Polynesian sheath-tailed bat — Endangered
- Hawksbill sea turtle — Critically Endangered
- Lau banded iguana — Endangered
Several bird species that spend at least part of the year in Vanuatu also appear on various endangered species lists, including the Vanuatu megapode and royal parrot finch.
Vanuatuan Animals List
- Barn Owl
- Bed Bugs
- Biscuit Beetle
- Black Widow Spider
- Brown Dog Tick
- Camel Cricket
- Chromodoris Willani
- Coconut Crab
- Common Furniture Beetle
- Common House Spider
- Common Spotted Cuscus
- Crab Spider
- Crested Penguin
- Dung Beetle
- Fruit Fly
- Giant Trevally
- Hawk Moth Caterpillar
- Highland Cattle
- Honey Bee
- Marine Toad
- Monitor Lizard
- Orb Weaver
- Pompano Fish
- River Turtle
- Sable Ferret
- Sand Crab
- Sea Dragon
- Sea Eagle
- Smokybrown Cockroach
- Spotted Garden Eel
- Stick Insect
- Striped Rocket Frog
- Swallowtail Butterfly
- Swallowtail Caterpillar
- Tarantula Hawk
- Tiger Beetle
- Water Buffalo
- Water Dragon
- Wolf Spider
Animals in Vanuatu FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Animals Live in Vanuatu?
Due to its relatively young geographic age, Vanuatu’s wildlife scene isn’t a bastion of biodiversity. And while the island nation is crawling with lizards and insects, only 22 mammal species can be found on land and in surrounding waters. However, if you’re searching for bats, head to Vanuatu, where 12 species of the flying fauna have set up shop.
Are There Crocodiles in Vanuatu?
Though not native to the archipelago, three or four adult saltwater crocodiles are believed to be living in Vanuatu’s mangroves. They aren’t a breeding population, and researchers guess they were marooned in the area after getting caught up in a cyclone that carried them over from the Solomon Islands or New Guinea.
Are There Any Dangerous Animals in Vanuatu?
The most dangerous non-human animals in Vanuatu are disease-carrying mosquitoes. But that’s about it. Some of the regional fauna look scary, but they’re relatively harmless to humans.
Are There Snakes in Vanuatu?
Two categories of snakes occupy Vanuatu: small burrowing slitherers and large boas, aka pythons. Neither is a huge threat to humans, yet locals are afraid of the scaled fauna for religious and spiritual reasons. Snakes have been known to snipe people on occasion, which is more nuisance than a medical emergency.
Have Species from Vanuatu Gone Extinct?
Since Vanuatu is a relatively young geographic region, it doesn’t have many, if any, species on its extinct roster. More research is required. As of now, scientists have yet to conduct a formal extinct animal survey of Vanuatu.
Are There Sea Cows in Vanuatu?
Yes, sea cows are the largest marine mammals that occupy waters around Vanuatu.