Wildlife in Italy
Bats and rodents make up 50 of Italy’s approximately 80 mammal species. Hedgehogs, rabbits, hares, red foxes and marshes are found all over the country. Squirrels, ferret, husmår, badgers and deer are also common, but lacking in Sicily and Sardinia. Wildcats, wild boars and porcupines are found in the south. The alpine fauna includes hare, marmot, noise tax, gem and capricorn. The Apennines also have small populations of gem, bear and wolf. In Sardinia, wild boar, deer and muflon live – Europe’s only wild boar.
More than 450 bird species have been observed, these nest 230. In the Alps are the golden eagle, goshawk, griffon vulture, forest hens and rock hen. Posletta’s wetlands have numerous herons, riches, swamps and many wintering duck and waders. A variety of bird species are affected by extensive hunting and snare hunting. Sardinia’s central mountain areas are the habitat of rare birds of prey such as all four European vultures, hawks and king eagles.
Italy has 18 lizard species, distributed on steelworms, geckos, hams and lizards, and two turtle species. Of the 14 species of snake, there are five poison snakes, including viper and sand wasp. There are also 25 amphibian species and numerous arthropods, including tarantula, scorpions and grasshoppers. 600 species of fish are known from the sea areas around Italy. To the south is the wash sponge and the red noble coral subject to commercial exploitation.
Plant life in Italy
The flora is very rich. Here plants from Central Europe meet with almost the entire Mediterranean flora, in all there are known almost 5000 species of seedlings and ferns. At the far south, subtropical palms thrive, while the peaks of the Alps have mountain flora. In prehistoric times Italy was forested, but already in Roman times the forests were razed in favor of agriculture and orchards, up to 1000 meters above sea level. In the mountains up to 2000 meters above sea level. there are still remains of coniferous forest. In the Apennines, beech and oak woods grow with mixed hazel and other deciduous trees. In the lower regions and in southern Italy there are oak, laurel and olive trees and other evergreen deciduous trees, besides pines and some other pine species, which in many places make their mark on the landscape.
Hundreds of trees, shrubs and other plants have been introduced in historical times and have gone all the way into the flora: orange, lemon and mulberry trees from China; Robinia, agave, cactus and corn from America; aloe from Africa, and eucalyptus from Australia. Cypresses are common in cities and in cemeteries.
Large stretches are covered with maquis (macchia) with strawberry trees, pistachios, juniper, myrtle and thorny plants. In arid and dry places there is a garrigue vegetation of heather and pea plants with elements of aromatic lip flowers such as lavender and Teucrium species.