Cyprus is known for its rich its fauna. When we say animals, we mean everything. From mammals, amphibians, birds and fish, to insects and reptiles. According to the official record there are 36 species of mammals, 380 species of birds, 22 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians, 200 species of fish and more than 5000 species of insects.
The endemic species of Cyprus include the Ovis gmelini ophion (Agrino), the largest mammal that can be found on the island.This type of mouflon the "Ovis Orientalis Ophion" is unique to Cyprus and found only within the mountainous state forest of Paphos. It is believed to be descended from wild sheep brought over to the island from Asia by the prehistoric people who lived here around 9000-8000 B.C.. However, there is no firm evidence for this.
The endemic subspecies are the Cypriot fox (Vulpes vulpes indutus) and the hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus dorotheae). There are also sixteen different bat species in Cyprus.
Approximately 22 species of reptiles and 3 species of amphibians adorn the Cypriot habitats. (3 species of turtle, 11 species of lizard and 8 species of snake). Amphibians include 3 species of frogs: the Hyla savignyi frog, the Rana ridibunda and the Irodis frog (Bufo viridis). The turtles include 2 species of sea turtle: Chelonia mydas and Caretta caretta that lay their eggs on the sandy beaches of the island.
There are also 8 species of snakes in Cyprus.
Cyprus is also characterized as one of the most important areas in terms of biological diversity for birds around the world and unique in Europe with endemic birds. There are 370 bird species in Cyprus, of which most (317) are migrants, while the remaining (53) are permanent residents. Six of the birds living permanently in Cyprus are considered endemic (2 species and 4 subspecies).
Those birds are:
- Sylvia melanothorax
- Oenanthe cypriaca
- Certhia brachydactyla dorotheae
- Garrulus glandarius glaszneri
- Otus scops cyprius
- Parus ater cypriotes