Flora and Fauna
The flora of Crete
Apokoronas extends from the foothills of the White Mountains (LefkaOri). The area is very green and fertile, which is unusual for rocky Crete. Apokoronas is a rich agricultural region with many olive groves, vineyards and orange groves.
You will also find lemon- and avocado trees. Here you can still find many cypress trees and oak trees and even areas that you can call forest!
The wild flowers of the Apokoronas area are one of nature's finest gifts. With snow on the mountains and very cold temperatures in winter, spring is truly a magical time of renewal and bursting energy for nature on Crete. One of the most striking images is that of the glowing red poppies contrasting with the lush green grasses and the white limestone rocks of the hillsides. Spring time brings visitors from all over the world to enjoy the flora of Crete..
There are 55 unique ecotypes which have been identified in Crete. Of over 1600 species found on the island, around 160 are found nowhere else. Endemic plants are to be found high in the mountains and include a rare and endangered small tree named Cretan Zelkova.
The fauna of Crete
The most common animals to be found on Crete these days are domesticated farm animals such as dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, sheep, pigs and chickens. The island is dominated by grazing and agriculture. The most important agricultural pursuits are goats and sheep, and olive and grape production.
The most famous of the Cretan animals is the mountain goat named the KriKri. These were brought from Persia thousands of years ago. The KriKri is known as the “wild one” agrimi. The KriKri is a protected species and in 1962 the Samaria Gorge National Park was founded partly to protect these herds of mountain goats.
Mammals found on the island include the Cretan marten, the badger and the dormouse. There are also many reptiles, frogs, insects and molluscs adding to the ecology of the island. There are no deadly snakes, and although scorpion stings in Crete can be very painful to humans, they are not fatal.
Crete is located at the crossroads of three continents, hosting thousands of migratory birds in its wetlands every year. However, there are also permanent residents, with the most important birds being birds of prey which nest in the rugged mountains and the wild gorges of Crete. You will find, for example, the bearded vulture (the rarest species of vulture), the griffon vulture (founded in large numbers in almost all areas of the island), and the common buzzard (the most common which maintains a large population on the island of Crete). More than 412 different bird species have been identified on Crete.