Things You Didn’t Know About Big Island’s Wildlife

When people think of the Big Island, wildlife usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Most people associate Hawaii with its beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, and friendly people. And while these things are all amazing, it’s easy to overlook the variety of creatures that call this island home. From the tiny critters that crawl around in the sand to massive birds soaring high above, many incredible things are happening out here in nature! And this article is here to explore some of the things you didn’t know about the big island’s wildlife!

How Many Different Animals Live In Hawaii?

The Big Island of Hawaii is home to an incredible variety of animals, many of which you can’t find anywhere else in the world. From giant lizards to coconut-cracking crabs, the unique and diverse habitats found on Hawaii’s largest island offer a home to unique creatures that thrive in the subtropical environment. Hundreds of birds, fish, reptiles, mammals, and invertebrates live on the Big Island, resulting in its being on track to become one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

There are over 21,000 species in the Hawaiian rainforest. This means that it has a significantly higher concentration of rare and endangered species compared to other areas around the globe. So when it comes to the wildlife in Hawaii, it’s safe to say that there is no shortage of amazing creatures!

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles


The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, scientifically known as Chelonia mydas, has a long history in the Pacific Ocean. Not only do they inhabit many islands in the Hawaiian Islands, but their population was also established during ancient times. With shells reaching lengths up to 39 inches and weighing more than 300 pounds, these distinctive creatures are considered endangered, and conservation groups delicately manage them.

Their diet consists of grasses, algae, and seaweeds on the seafloor, whereas their predators include larger species like saltwater crocodiles or sharks. But something that makes these creatures truly special is their ability to return home after being away for years, with some traveling more than 1,000 miles before arriving back at the place they started!

Manta Rays


While you can see manta rays in other places around the world, there are some things about Hawaii’s manta rays that make them truly unique. First, they have a particular population of manta rays that exists only in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island. Secondly, they’ve got one of the world’s most prominent biodiversity hotspots because a wide variety of species inhabit the area.

These large, graceful creatures can reach up to 14 feet in width and have a varied diet of plankton and other tiny organisms. But what makes them truly special is their migratory patterns, which see them traveling from Hawaii to South America! This migration has helped scientists understand these magnificent creatures and helped conservation efforts to protect them.

Hawaiian Hoary Bats


Hawaiian Hoary Bats are an important species for Hawaii’s ecology and history. The bats are the only endemic land mammals in Hawaii, meaning they exist nowhere else in the world. Their population estimate is around 100,000 individuals across the archipelago, and they feed on insects like moths and mosquitoes. In addition, Hawaiian Hoary Bats carry small seeds around the Hawaiian Islands, helping to spread plant populations during colonization.

While these bats are in urban areas, their habitat requirements have meant that their numbers are beginning to decline due to environmental changes such as deforestation and erosion. As such, they are classified as ‘vulnerable,’ making conservation efforts a priority if we hope to maintain their important populations in Hawaii.



If you have never had the chance to see a chameleon in its natural habitat, then you are in for a real treat on your trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. These unique and fascinating creatures are found all over the island, with their small size and colorful body making them an unmistakable part of the local ecosystem. What makes chameleons so unique is their ability to change color in a matter of seconds, helping them blend in with their surroundings or attract a mate.

And while you can find a handful of different species of chameleons on the Big Island, one of the most popular is the veiled chameleon. As its name suggests, this particular type of chameleon has a thin veil-like membrane on its back, which it uses to help maintain body temperature in hot and sunny climates. Unlike some other chameleon species, the veiled chameleon does not have a prehensile tail, so it must climb to find food or move through its environment.

Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins


One of the most memorable experiences a person can have is swimming with dolphins! And on the Big Island of Hawaii, there is no better place to go than Kealakekua Bay to get up close and personal with Hawaiian spinner dolphins. These beautiful creatures are one of only two species of oceanic dolphin found in Hawaii, and their long snout and dark coloration distinguish them from other dolphins.

What makes the spinner dolphin so unique is its impressive acrobatic abilities. These dolphins are known for their spinning behaviors, which you can see in the water and out of it – sometimes even from miles away! And while these activities may seem playful on the surface, they play an essential role in helping the dolphins navigate their watery surroundings and build social bonds with other group members!



While not the friendliest animal on the island, peacocks are certainly one of the most colorful. These majestic birds are in various habitats, from rainforests to open grasslands, and are known for their loud cries and distinctive tail feathers. But their role in Hawaiian culture and history makes peacocks meaningful to the island. For example, peacock feather leis were a popular traditional symbol of love and good luck in ancient Hawaii. They are often still used today to welcome special visitors or celebrate an important occasion.

And the birds themselves also play an important role in the local economy. Tourists often visit the island to see the stunning and exotic peacocks. Many Big Island farms have even adopted a ‘peacock-friendly’ policy to help protect these beautiful birds from harm. So if you want to experience one of the most iconic and historic animals in Hawaii, keep an eye out for these colorful birds on your next trip!

The Big Island’s Wildlife Has A Lot To Offer!

Although this article brushes the surface of all the big island’s wildlife, it is clear that there are many unique and fascinating animals to experience here. So whether you want to see a genuinely unique peacock or go swimming with the spinner dolphins, the Big Island is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience some of the natural wonders this world offers. However, remember that most of these animals are wild, so it is essential to be aware of your surroundings and keep a safe distance from any creatures you encounter!

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