Tonga Animals and Plants

By | June 3, 2021

Islands (almost) without poisonous animals

There are no wild animals on Tonga, also (almost) none that are poisonous. The only exception is the centipede, which can bite and whose bite causes uncomfortable pain and swelling. He is also known as Molokau. However, its bite is not threatening. Here you have to be careful, because these animals like to hide in dark holes, including in shoes. Spiders also live on Tonga, but they are not poisonous either. Snakes are spotted from time to time, but the same applies here: They are not poisonous!

Short crested iguana

The iguanas on Tonga are also non-toxic. One species that lives there is the short-crested iguana. You can only find this in Tonga and Fiji. One speaks of an endemic species. It is green in color, so it looks similar to the green iguana, but is smaller and is a maximum of one meter long. And its crest is much shorter than the crest of its relative. It is not exactly known whether these animals once got to the islands by means of driftwood or whether they have lived there for much longer.

A bird that lives big

A typical animal for Tonga, but also for large parts of Polynesia, is a bird that is called Malau on the islands, we know it as the big-footed hen. It is not particularly colorful, its feathers are gray. But you can recognize his large footprints, which is where his name comes from. This bird does not incubate the eggs itself, but bury them near heat sources, in Tonga, like in hot volcanic ash.

And what is flying there?

Two species of parrots live on the island of Eua, which, in contrast to the rest of the rather inconspicuous bird world, stand out due to their bright colors. On the one hand there is the blue-capped lory and on the other hand the pompadour parakeet. This does not originally come from the islands, but was introduced and bred. He feels very comfortable on the islands of Eua and Tofua.

Flying mammals

Frequently be in Tonga bats sighted. These are also called “flying foxes “. Their head resembles that of a dog and the animals’ eyes are strikingly large. They reach a size of up to 40 centimeters and are mammals.

The greatest diversity of animals lives in the sea

The most diverse animal world is not on land or in the air, but in the water. A species-rich world of fish cavort in the sea around the small islands. Especially the tropical fish in their variety of colors and shapes attract many divers and snorkelers. There are also starfish, mussels and many species of snails. Another specialty of Tonga are the humpback whales, which are spotted off the coast at certain times.

Swim with whales?

On Tonga you can swim with humpback whales. Watching whales is possible in many parts of the world, but swimming with them in the water is something extraordinary. From July to November, the humpback whales, up to 15 meters long and weighing 40 tons, come from the Antarctic to the Tonga region to make themselves comfortable in the warm waters of the islands. During this time they give birth to their children only to leave Tonga afterwards.

Many plants bloom on Tonga

The flora of such small islands in the South Pacific is quite diverse and can differ from island to island. You can even find a rainforest on Niuafo’ou Island. Mangrove forests are typical on the islands of Nuapapu and Tongatapu.

Many different flowers bloom in Tonga that are beautiful to look at. These include hibiscus and oleander, but also bougainvillea and frangipani, which are actually widespread in Central America. This plant has showy flowers that smell very good and are used to make perfumes. Hydrangeas also grow on Tonga.

The breadfruit treewith its strikingly large fruits is also typical of Tonga. The fruits weigh up to five kilograms and are edible.

A tree that poisons fish?

A special tree on Tonga is the “fish poison tree “, the seeds of which were previously used for fishing. This stuns the fish, which are easier to catch. However, this type of fishing is no longer allowed in Tonga today.

Introduced plants include the tauai, the coral tree, and the marshmallow bush. The coral tree is also quite poisonous.

Tonga Animals