It’s probably not your main concern, but if you’re coming to Antalya – either on holiday or to live permanently – you might wonder about the local wildlife. There may be some species you’re excited about seeing, while others could provoke some anxiety – just how big are the local spiders, out of interest?
If you’ve done a general ‘wild animals in Turkey’ search on the internet, it’s important to remember it’s a huge country – not all creatures live in every region. What you see will also depend on the time of year and whether you’re in a rural or urban location. It’s unlikely you’ll see a porcupine rattling past your window if you live in an ultra-modern luxury penthouse in Antalya city, for example.
We’ve put together a round-up of some of the wildlife in Antalya – both those you’ll love to see and some you might prefer to avoid!
It’s always a thrill to glimpse a sea turtle swimming in Mediterranean waters. Caretta caretta – or the loggerhead sea turtle – is synonymous with Turkey’s Turquoise Coast and the beach at Patara is just one of the area’s protected nesting grounds. These wonderful creatures breed from early summer, with the final babies of the season hatching around early October.
There’s also a chance you’ll see dolphins in the waters around Antalya. Some holidaymakers have reported them swimming alongside the boat during a day trip – a truly magical experience. Keep your eyes peeled when out on the sea.
Wild about boar
You’ll hear conflicting reports about wild boar and whether they are dangerous. While some species are more aggressive than others, those you might see in Antalya are generally timid. If you encounter them in the forests, chances are they will run away; in other places they are bolder, even venturing into built-up areas to forage for food.
If you come across a mother and her babies, however, she is likely to go on the offensive. Similarly, a group of boar may attack as a group when protecting their young. Our advice if you spot them is to enjoy watching from a safe distance.
Unless you live in Antalya all year round or visit around March/April time, you won’t need to worry about the pine processionary caterpillars. You’ll know it’s that time of year when white fluffy-looking balls, a bit like cotton wool, start appearing in the trees – the nests. When they hatch, the caterpillars drop to the ground and form long lines, ‘marching’ to find a suitable location where they can burrow underground. They emerge as moths later in the summer.
The marching lines can be made up of well over a hundred caterpillars. They can also be extremely dangerous to dogs, other animals, and people with asthma and respiratory conditions. Their hairs are their defence mechanism – they secrete a protein similar to nettles that can cause an extreme allergic reaction. If you see them, ensure you and any animals keep your distance.
For many people, seeing a tortoise ambling down the road will cause them to stop and do a double take. In Antalya, they’re part of the scenery. In spring and autumn, if you hear a knocking sound – a bit like coconut shells being banged together – then it’s like to be caused by mating tortoises.
Otherwise, they’re a common sight during the summer months, shuffling unobtrusively around the area in search of food or company. Sometimes you’ll see them in the middle of the road, their progress painfully slow amid the traffic. It might cause a heart-stopping moment, but most motorists tend to drive round them, while some good Samaritans will stop and carry them safely to the kerb.
Take to the skies
Some of Antalya’s more exotic residents can be seen overhead. The bee-eaters visit twice a year, around March/April and September during migration. You might hear their distinctive call first, and when you look up you might wonder if they’re swallows. If you’re lucky enough to see them settle, though, the first thing you’ll notice is their plumage – vibrant blue, yellow and brown.
Spring is also a great time of year to spot the hoopoe, with its pinkish-brown crest, tipped with black and white, and black and white wings. Or there’s also a good chance you’ll spot birds of prey, especially in the mountains - buzzards and eagles often circle lazily overhead as they search for food.
Snakes, spiders and other creepy-crawlies
Tourists are often shocked to learn there are snakes in Antalya. You’re less likely to come across them in busier areas – they prefer warm, rocky areas with shadowy crevices – but be careful. The vast majority are harmless but one or two are venomous, notably the Ottoman viper, recognisable due to its white or grey body with black zig-zag stripe.
You might also see scorpions – if you are stung, seek medical advice. Although rarely life-threatening, the after-effects can be painful and unpleasant. The general rule of thumb is, the thicker the tail and smaller the pincers, the more venomous the scorpion. If you leave your shoes outside the doors of your Antalya holiday home overnight, it’s a good idea to shake them out before you put them on just to be on the safe side.
The Antalya area is also home to several species of spider. Wolf spiders can grow up to around 35mm – that’s just the body. They don’t spin webs, so you might see them slinking in and out of crevices in rocks or stone buildings.
The huntsman spider has very long legs and is often well camouflaged due to its brownish colour. It likes woody places – so if your villa in Kalkan has a wooden ceiling, keep an eye on the rafters and dark corners.
You might also see the jumping spider which, while small, can give a nasty bite. It’s not dangerous, but the skin around it might be sore and itchy for a few days; your nearest chemist can give you soothing creams if needed.
A few others to watch out for
Porcupine, foxes and badgers can all be found in rural areas of Antalya, especially if you’re heading off the beaten track. Although mainly nocturnal, they are sometimes seen during the day – as with any wildlife, the quieter you are, the more chance there is of spotting them.
You’ll also see plenty of lizards and geckos during the summer months. These are good to have around as they’ll take care of mosquitos and other bugs that can be an irritating part of your otherwise wonderful holiday in Antalya, so don’t chase them away.
Let us help you find your ideal property
Antalya is a great place to live and a wonderful holiday destination – even if you’re not keen on some of the wildlife!
If you’re thinking of buying real estate in the Antalya area, we’re here to ensure you find the ideal property – whether it’s for a permanent home or a holiday rental. Our team is highly experienced and will offer you every assistance, as well as giving great advice.
Get in touch if we can help you – we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.