10 Unique Animal Islands Across the World

10 Unique Animal Islands Across the World
Islands of the world where animals rule Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Of Fur and Feather...

Titash Basu
July 21 , 2019
06 Min Read

Every destination has a calling card, be it food, forts or fashion. But there are a handful of islands sprinkled across the globe where the locals are two and four legged. These islands are overrun and ruled by these creatures, but watch out because while some are friendly others are fatal.



Pigs swim in the shallow waters of the bay

Location: Big Major Cay, Bahamas

Loud snorts of pigs paddling in the water welcome your arrival on this island. Various legends exist as to how the pigs reached the island. Some say that they were dropped off by sailors who wanted to come back and make a meal out of them. Fortunately for them the sailors never returned. Another believes that the pigs were survivors of a shipwreck. Though uninhabited, the island receives a steady supply of visitors, excited to swim with and feed the pigs.


Cats laze in a lane in Aoshima

Location: Aoshima, Japan

The cats on this island outnumber the humans by a six to one ratio. Initially a busy fishing island, the locals were plagued with a mice menace and hence the cats were brought in as a survival measure. Today the fishermen are long gone and the cats reign. These furry creatures only crave two things, attention and snacks. With the powerful force of Instagram pictures, the island has become a popular destination for cat lovers. It’s Isle of Dogs, feline edition.


A rabbit stampede

Location: Okunoshima, Japan

Stampedes are common here, except the participants are rabbits and not humans. Swarms of bunnies in shades of black, white and brown gather around you leaving you immobile and gushing. But the existence of these adorable beings hasn’t always been peaceful. An abandoned poison gas factory lies at one end of the island and according to the locals, the ancestors of these rabbits were the first victims of the experiments with the deadly vapours. But today this collective memory of horrific has been overtaken by cute.

Wild Ponies

Wild ponies on the Assateague beach

Location: Assateague Island, Maryland, United States

Imagine this, sun, sand, sea and stallion. A small strip of land between the states of Maryland and Virginia is where this dream becomes a reality. Home to hundreds of horses for centuries, this barrier island is now a federal wildlife refuge park. Folklore attributes the horses’ arrival on the island to a shipwreck. With limited food supply and ferocious storms Assateague is difficult region for survival but the ponies seem to have adapted fine.


Rhesus monkeys play in Cayo Santiago

Location: Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico

Popularly known as Isla de los monos, this islet is inhabited by a large population of wild Rhesus Macaque monkeys. Cayo Santiago serves as the Caribbean Primate Research Center for the University of Puerto Rico and hence in 1938, four hundred of these monkeys were shipped here from India for observation and study. Although you must be a researcher to get entry, tourists can charter a kayak and observe the monkeys playing on the beach from a distance.


Venomous snakes hunt for pray on the world's deadliest island

Location: Ilha da Queimada Grande, Brazil

Located 90 miles off the coast of Sao Paolo, Ilha da Queimada Grande, at first glimpse seems like any another rainforest island. But beware, it is teeming with thousands of venomous vipers and hence has been crowned as the deadliest island on the planet. One snake per square meter is the recorded density. Death is certain if you plan to venture inside. Because of the high risk, the Brazilian government has banned civilian entry. Only scientists with special permission are allowed ashore.


A colony of puffins in Norway

Location: Runde Island, Norway

A haven for birdwatchers, Runde lies amidst the Norwegian Sea. Every year from February to August the island is crowded with various species of birds who come here to nest and among these are the Atlantic Puffins. Very vocal in their presence on land, puffins are silent in the winter sea. With steep cliffs and grassy plateaus, the region’s geography is absolutely appropriate for these seabirds to breed. A pair of binoculars is an essential carry-on while visiting.


A trio of flamingoes on the beach

Location: Renaissance Island, Aruba

Swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean with these majestic pink-feathered creatures or gaze at them standing still for hours perched on one leg, the distinctive flamingo pose. Don’t be disappointed because the birds are few in number, they are not native to the island. The island itself is right out of a postcard, with swaying palm trees and hammocks strung in the shade. But being private property, accessing it requires quite a bit of beforehand planning.


A deer plays on the beach in Miyajima

Location: Miyajima, Japan

Home to thousands of Mika deer, this island is the perfect example of peaceful coexistence between humans and animals. Though this might be due to popular local belief that the deer are sacred messengers from God. An estimated 1200 of them live on the island and are considered to be national treasure by the government. The quadrupeds move around with complete freedom and happily interact with tourists. Other than eating ‘deer cookies’ they also like to hangout on the beach.


Chickens overpopulate the island of Kauai

Location: Kauai, Hawaii, United States

Clucking their way through streets of Kauai are its most significant citizens, red-plumed roosters. Originally brought onto the island by the Polynesians as a source of food, the chickens right now can be described as thriving. When Hurricane Iniki ripped across Kauai in 1992 it destroyed all the chicken coops and hence released these domesticated hens. With no natural predators, their population has increased with leaps and bounds. A constant crowing is now part of everyday existence on the island much to the dismay of locals.

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