A Complete Maldives Wildlife Guide for Your Adventure

When you’re heading out to places like the Maldives, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the nature you might be exposed to and the wildlife that graces the islands. This prepares you for the things you will see, including some of the unexpected Maldives wildlife that you might come across.

Some wildlife could potentially be dangerous, although you will find that in the waters surrounding the islands and across the islands, the majority of animals are friendly or will leave you alone if you do not threaten them.

Throughout this guide, we will discuss some of the wildlife found in the Maldives, including the marine life of Maldives, the island life, and even Maldives dangerous animals to be aware of.

Keep reading to learn more!

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Types of Species You Might Find in Maldives Wildlife

You will find that there are tons of different animals you could come across. Some creatures are very rarely seen, while others make regular entrances into the world around them.

Because of the tourism around the islands, many of these animals have grown used to having people around the islands of the Maldives or divers entering their territory.

The common life in and out of the Maldivian waters in the Indian Ocean are incredibly diverse. From island to sea, you will find tons of different wildlife.

Here are some species you could come across in Maldives:

  • Tropical fish
  • Birds
  • Coral reef
  • Turtles
  • Sharks
  • Dolphins
  • Whales
  • Snakes
  • Spiders
  • Octopus
  • Squid
  • Manta rays
  • Fruit bats of flying foxes
  • Giant clams
  • Moray eels
  • Several kinds of anemones and jellyfish
  • Land based mammals

Now, let’s take a closer look!

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The National Animal of Maldives

The national animal of Maldives

In terms of Maldives wildlife, being familiar with the culture and what they hold in high regard is important.

The national animal of Maldives is the Yellowfin Tuna.

These fish can be found in plenty of water surrounding the islands and can grow quite large too.

It’s a common misconception that whale sharks are the national animal. While you certainly could see whales and dolphins and other sharks around the coral reefs, this is not the true national animal.

However, it is a close second.

Are There Snakes in the Maldives?

Sea snake, Maldives

If snakes are something that concerns you, then diving in the Maldives might not be the best option for entertainment. While they are not overrun by snakes, there are some that hang out in the coral reef or even on the white sandy beaches in Maldives to sunbathe.

That being said, the majority of the snakes found in the Maldives are sea snakes. These snakes live near the reef and are typically harmless.

The only time they strike is when they are threatened. Leave them alone and they leave you alone.

The wolf snake and blind snake also live on the islands, but these are more rare and typically hide away where it’s quiet.

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Endangered Species in Maldives

You will find that the Maldives people work hard to keep animals protected. There are many species in Maldives marine life especially that are considered to be at risk. When you see a rule to protect an animal, this could be why.

It could also be that these animals continue to reduce in population and they don’t want the tourism of the islands to bring their safety or numbers down.

While they might appear common when you’re on a dive or snorkeling in Maldives, they protect the at-risk animals for a reason.

These are some of the protected and endangered species of Maldives wildlife:

  • Lobster
  • Dolphin
  • Whale
  • Whale shark
  • Black coral
  • Sea turtles like Hawksbill turtle and Green turtle
  • Humphead Wrasse
  • Some kinds of anemones and jellyfish
  • Ornate eagle rays
  • Several species of coral reef and fish

Notice that most are found in the waters of the Indian Ocean.

Maldives Dangerous Wildlife Expectations

Dangerous Wildlife Maldives

While you certainly could come across dangerous wildlife in Maldives, the majority of species are harmless, despite the diversity you can come across.

Some of the spiders in Maldives are dangerous but the majority of them are also not going to attack unless provoked. Maldives has been known to have some black widow spider species so these will be the ones to watch for.

The spider is probably the least of your concerns. The more dangerous varieties are actually mostly fish species. Divers have to learn to watch for these creatures and follow the rules and recommendations of their guides.

It’s not the reptiles or most sharks but some other common fish around the corals.

Dangerous animals in Maldives:

  1. Lionfish
  2. Stonefish
  3. Blue-ringed octopus
  4. Blue spotted ray
  5. Moray eels
  6. Indian wolf snake
  7. Barracuda
  8. Sea urchins
  9. Stingrays
  10. Some sharks
  11. Some lizards
  12. Triggerfish

Many of these are venomous, while others are just prone to a potential bite that could lead to needing medical attention, particularly if they think you carry food or you threaten them.

Sharks in the Maldives

Whale Sharks in Maldives

There are several different types of sharks. Some say there are up to 25 different species. That being said, you won’t see all of them. Here are a few of the most common species.

What you will find is the majority of these are peaceful and they aren’t really interested in taking a bite out of you.

They enjoy the reef life and will likely leave you alone as long as you don’t appear threatening to them.

Reef Sharks

Reef sharks come in several species too. They will hang out in the waters surrounding the islands of Maldives because they like coral reefs. These sharks are fairly small with beautiful blue and gray tones.

This shark is attracted to the reef and will be harmless to you unless you attract them with food or threaten them.

Whale Sharks

The whale shark is another common species you might see on your holiday or when you dive to the reefs. These sharks are very large, hence the name whale shark.

A whale shark will move slowly and typically feed from the floor of the sea around the reefs.

Hammerhead Shark

Hammerhead sharks are another common species in Maldives. This shark is slightly more aggressive and will be less common around the island or reefs. The hammerhead shark has a head shaped like a hammer.

These sharks are not known for regularly attacking humans. Most cases have been when they feel threatened so give them their own space in the ocean to roam and you should be fine.

Do great white sharks live in Maldives?

No, there are no great white sharks in Maldives. The water in the Maldives is too warm for the great white sharks.

Fish of Maldives – 2,000 Species of Fish

Maldives fish

It would be nearly impossible to tell you about all the fish in Maldives since there are more than 2,000 species of fish. There are a number of colorful tropical fish that take refuge in the coral reefs or stick near the islands as well.

The Unesco reserve on Baa atoll has tons of fish that you can get up close to that are common to the Baa atoll area. At any given time, the fish found in the waters can range drastically.

A sure-fire way to see tons of colorful fish diversity is to look around the corals.

The numbers include reef fish, tropical fish, feeder fish, and more. Many of the island resorts catch some of their own fish, crabs, lobster, squid, clams, and even mammals to feed their guests.

Maldivian Whales and Dolphins

Dolphins in Maldives

We talked about the huge whale sharks but what about other whales, dolphins, and more? These make up the Maldives wildlife that you are most likely to see in the water or around the island nation from place to place.

Sometimes, you can even spot many of these species right from your overwater bungalows.

Some of the whales include the beautiful blue whales, melon-headed whales, pilot whales, and a few other whale species too. Blue whales are known for their gorgeous colors that stand out in the Maldivian waters. This mammal is well-known around the islands.

When we talk about dolphins, you will find in Maldives the bottlenose dolphin, spotted dolphins, rough-toothed dolphin, spinner dolphin, and Fraser’s dolphin to be the most common for your island holiday.

You will likely see dolphins frolicking all the time around this island nation.

In some locations, you can specifically tour or swim with these brilliant animals (open waters, no captivity). It’s an experience certainly worth trying to take advantage of.

Manta Rays and Sea Turtles

Manta Rays in Maldives

The manta rays and sea turtles are two beloved animals of Maldives. These sea creatures swim through the ocean with grace and many of their species are protected.

When it comes to manta rays, you will find most resorts are part of the Manta Trust Fund that supports eagle rays and other at-risk groups.

The rays population includes stingrays, as well as other different types. Stingrays can be dangerous due to the small tail that can be flicked like a whip or sting you. However, most manta ray types are not going to harm you.

When it comes to sea turtles, you will find several different turtle types too. This includes endangered turtle species as well as common types.

The green turtle and hawksbill turtle are both on the endangered turtle list and protected. The leatherback turtle is seen often in the sea and around the islands but is not considered to be endangered turtle.

Many of the initiatives around the resorts are designed to protect green turtles, manta rays, and some other species that are in harm’s way. See our list of eco resorts in Maldives.

Birds and Fruit Bats

Maldives bats

Apart from a few land-based mammals that could be seen, the rest of the wildlife in Maldives are attributed to fruit bats and birds.

The fruit bats are also commonly referred to as a flying fox, because their colors closely resemble a fox and they can be sly creatures.

The flying fox will be seen hanging out around the islands, mostly hanging upside down in the trees. They do go out at night, looking for fruits and sweet treats to feast on. They are land-based creatures in Maldives.

There are quite a few different birds in Maldives, some of which are land birds and some are sea birds. It’s said the Maldives island region has more than 100 different birds.

Here are a few common birds in Maldives:

  • Grey heron
  • White breasted waterhen
  • Sparrow
  • Shrike
  • Dove
  • Pigeon
  • Sandpiper
  • Plover
  • Godwit

The grey heron and white breasted bird are some of the coolest to watch as they fly out across the corals and look for things to feed on.

The bird population in Maldives is diverse.

From Land to Sea, There is Much to See

It doesn’t matter where you are in the Maldives, the Maldives wildlife will always be a spectacle to behold. We’ve discussed lizards, birds, sharks, clams, marine life, mammals, reptiles, and more. On your holiday, you could see any sort of marine life, the leatherback turtle, and so many other beautiful creatures.

If it’s wildlife you’re looking for, you likely won’t be disappointed with the Maldives. Many of these animals are not regular things you will see at home either. Clams are common but that’s really just the beginning of the wildlife story for this island life.

What do you hope to see on your vacation in Maldives?


Is There Any Wildlife in the Maldives?

Yes, there is plenty of wildlife both in the ocean and on the island. Marine animals, reptiles, green turtles, and lizards in Maldives plus so many other things like sharks, dolphins, whales, and colorful fish too.

Are There Venomous Snakes in the Maldives?

The snakes seen most often here are sea snakes which are typically venomous. The Indian wolf snake is the most dangerous but is incredibly rare to see around resorts and hotels and they are no venomous.

What is the Most Common Animal in the Maldives?

Clams are common and perhaps one of the most common things but there are plenty of other animals that can be seen or found regularly like dolphins, manta rays, birds etc.

Do the Maldives Have Poisonous Spiders?

Maldives has been known to have some black widows, which would be the most dangerous spider you might come across. There are some other common spiders but most of them will be of no harm to you or will stay well away from the resorts. Even black widows are not seen that often in the populated areas.

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