A Guide to the Wildlife In and Around Fulidhoo Island
You might think that all the interesting wildlife in and around Fulidhoo Island is to be found in the ocean, and yes, you’d be right – there’s so much to see in the waters surrounding our island… but it’s amazing what incredible animals you can see in Fulidhoo, without even getting your toes wet!
By the way, I’ve also put some of the species names in Dhivehi as well, but please note that some names, especially the shark names, do vary from atoll to atoll.
1. Fruit Bats (Maldivian name: Vaalu)
These ghoulish little creatures are actually surprisingly cute. You’ll see them flying all over the island, during the day as much as at night. In the late afternoon you can often observe these furry little fruit fiends eating their fill of berries on the trees on the main road. Just be careful not to stand directly underneath them – bat poop stains are notoriously difficult to get out! As you walk around the island you’ll notice that many fruit trees are covered in fishing nets, and these fruit bats are the reason why, (although they do sometimes find a way through anyway!)
2. Tawny Nurse Sharks (Maldivian name: Nidhan Miyaru)
In the past year or so, there has been an increase in number of tawny nurse sharks in the lagoon. They gather around the jetty to scavenge from the fishermen when they clean their catch of the day. These are docile sharks, that mainly like to laze on the lagoon floor and are no threat to humans as long as you don’t invade their space. Pop down to the jetty after dinner, sit at the edge and enjoy watching them dance beneath your toes (and of course if you want to dive with dozens of them, sign up for one of our dive packages.)
3. Stingrays (Maldivian name: Naru Nagoo Madi)
The stingrays in our lagoon are probably the most famous residents of Fulidhoo! There are times when up to 20 rays can be seen around the jetty. Many tourists do feed and pet the stingrays, but we highly encourage you to simply observe them from afar. Stingrays have a mucus layer over the skin which protects them from disease, and when we touch them not only are we rubbing this off, we are also transferring bacteria from our hands.
4. Grey Herons (Maldivian name: Maakana)
These graceful birds are seen stalking the shallows throughout the day, and you can even see them flying overhead sometimes, with a fish in their beaks. They are so photogenic!
5. Small Reptiles
A number of small, harmless reptiles can be seen soaking up the sun in the shrubbery around Fulidhoo, like the lizard pictured. And if you were to find a gecko in your room at your guesthouse, our advice is to encourage it to stay – because they eat mosquitos! Fun fact: in Maldives folklore, it is said that if a gecko makes its clicking noise after you’ve said something, it means that you are telling the truth!
6. Migratory birds
There are number of migratory birds to be seen in the Maldives, especially during the autumn in the northern hemisphere as birds make their way south for the winter. This common sandpiper pictured is just one kind of bird you may spot rooting for food along the shoreline. You can find out which birds are protected in the Maldives here.
7. Black-naped Terns (Maldivian name: Kirudhooni)
In Fulidhoo, you may spot a variety of species of terns flying overhead, such as this black-naped tern. However, you’ll more likely see them on the nearby sandbanks where they roost and lay their eggs.
8. Lemon Sharks (Maldivian name: Olhufathi Miyaru)
It’s quite unusual to see lemon sharks in Vaavu Atoll, however Fulidhoo lagoon is home to at least three. They are most commonly spotted in front of Thundi Guesthouse where they will approach if they can smell someone cleaning a fish on the beach. These are beautiful sharks and well worth taking the time to observe.
9. Asian Koels (Maldivian Name: Koveli)
These red-eyed birds absolutely love to eat the small green leaves of the moringa trees that grow in many gardens in Fulidhoo. The females are particularly beautiful with their brown and white plumage. If you hear them repeatedly calling, you might want to prepare for rain!
10. Crabs (Maldivian name: Kakuni)
These hardworking little creatures build themselves a shelter every day along the waterfront, and if you have time, take a few moments to watch them work. It’s fascinating! They’ll often have to defend their homes from their peers.
11. Crows (Maldivian name: Kaalhu)
Not so interesting, but you really can’t talk about island wildlife without mentioning crows. They run these islands! They are incredibly smart animals and work together to scavenge and sometimes even steal food.
12. Black Tip Reef Sharks (Maldivian name: Kalhafathi miyaru)
These beautiful, smaller sharks can be seen along the northern edge of the island, especially the babies. The lagoon acts as a nursery for these juvenile sharks, who are on their own from the moment they are born.
13. White-breasted waterhens (Maldivian name: Kanbili)
These small but noisy little birds can often be seen lurking in the shrubbery. But if they become confident, they do often venture inside the guesthouses in hope of a few dropped crumbs!
14. And if you’re lucky…
As well as all the commonly seen animals mentioned above that make up the wildlife in and around Fulidhoo, we’ve also spotted eagle rays, turtles, manta rays and even dolphins, from the beach.