The volcano Etna has a great variety of habitats (rocky deserts of lava flows, steppes, green forests, wetlands as well as rivers) which sets the basis for a rich and varied fauna made of some particular species, some of which are present exclusively in this territory.
Mammals so numerous that it is impossible to list them all; we will mention some of the most relevant.
A typical animal of the Etnean territory, who has been in Sicily for centuries — it also said to have even Egyptian origins — is the cirneco of Etna, a dog with a slender figure which is able to reach 45 km/h and, consequently, it is a great companion for hunters.
Among the carnivores, you could encounter: the red fox, although it is only visible at dusk and at night, as it is an animal of nocturnal habits who lives in shelters and areas with thick vegetation; the weasel, mostly present in the surroundings of the cultivated areas; and the wild cat, which is difficult to spot due to its bashful character and its nocturnal habits and to the fact that it builds its den in hardly accessible places, such as hollow trunks or thick bushes in deep valleys.
Among the insectivores you can easily come across the hedgehog, the largest of them, which lives preferably in woody areas, and has the characteristic of crumbling when teased. Particular is also the Etruscan shrew as well as the Sicilian shrew.
Finally, among rodents, it is possible to find the dormouse, the wild mouse and the porcupine.
At the low altitudes of the Etnan territory, by the aquatic habitats, you might encounter: the common green frog, which populates the ponds and the streams of water, and the common toad which is instead a more terrestrial species, that spends the day its ground-dug den and the night awake and active.
Among the lacertids you may encounter the green lizard, the country lizard and the gongil (known as “tiraciatu” that means “take the breath away”). You can easily find such reptiles on the dry walls and rocks that make up the lava flows.
Another example is the common tortoise, which lives in environments rich in vegetation, especially if humid.
Then, among the snakes we remember: the green whip snake, the european ratsnake, the Aesculapian snake, the grass snake and the common viper (the only one being poisonous, but which also rarely attacks).
The bird species are quite numerous and most of them are also protected.
Among the raptors, we can admire both diurnal species (like the sparrow hawk, the buzzard, the kestrel, the peregrine falcon and the golden eagle, this last one returned to nest recently, thanks to a greater protection and the prohibition of hunting) or nocturnal species (such as the barn owl, the scops owl, the tawny owl and the common owl).
Many are the non-raptors, which go from the spotted woodpecker, to the nightingale, to the blue tit. Two species, in particular, are very important, because they only nest on Etna: the crossbill and the black-headed siskin.
A real army. In particular, several are the butterflies species, among which the most important is the orange-tip of Etna, owing its name to its yellow wings tinted by a round orange spot which recalls the sun rising. It has become a characteristic species of this territory.
This was just a quick list of the animals populating the Etna region. If you choose to take part in one of our tours, not only will you try an unforgettable experience surrounded by nature, but, if you are lucky, you will come across some of these rare and particular animals. Don’t miss this opportunity and book one of our tours!