Few visitors to Mallorca are aware of the abundant wildlife that exists all around them. Naturally, if your sojourn takes you to the centre of Palma, it’s unlikely you’ll run into burros and wild goats, but if you wander further afield, perhaps by train to Soller or bus to the likes of Puigpunyent, Arta and Sineu, you’re in for a treat.
There are of course places that are truly off the map such as high in the Tramuntanas where you may be treated to a rare sighting of a genet, weasel, pine marten or vole but there’s a good chance in the rural zones you’ll run into sheep, wild goats or donkeys. In the higher ravines or the Tramuntanas, there is a band of tiny ferreret toads, known as ‘midwife’ toads that aside from being a protected species here in Spain, are absolutely gorgeous to see. There are also viperine snakes and garrigas, field snakes but before you head for the hills, let me assure you that they are utterly harmless – unless you’re a poor fish or frog and find yourself sharing a pond with a viperine beastie.
When you stroll around the Mallorcan countryside you may come across posters, rather like Wild West WANTED notices, with images of South American coatis. Apparently, some years ago, furry coatis were illegally introduced to the rural areas of the island and now the hunt is on to round them up. My theory is that they may have been transported to Mallorca as pets and were either released into the wild or escaped. Whatever the weather, I’ve come up close and personal with coatis in places like Costa Rica, and they are so whiskery and appealing. Nothing would induce me to shop one if I found it snuffling in the bushes though in my heart I know it’s not a good thing to introduce new, invasive species. We can but hope that any remaining coatis have formed enduring friendships with local wildlife species and all will live in everlasting harmony!