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Animals you may Spot on Koh Phangan

19 Mar 2020

Koh Phangan is a tropical island, quite different to what most of us are used to and so you can expect to see a different kind of wildlife also. Let’s take a look at what you might see…

Common House Gecko
These little things are your friends and they are nothing to be scared of, they’ll share your dorm, house, bungalow and they stick to every wall you look at. You will get used to them in time.

These little geckos are good to have around as they eat spiders and other insects, so they act as pest control although the poor cute things fall prey to the much larger Tokay gecko.

Our little friends can live for up to five years.

And they attain sexual maturity within a year!

Because the females have rather translucent underbellies, it is sometimes possible to see the eggs inside, they only lay one or two eggs, usually between April and August.

Tokay Gecko
The big lizards pop up and take you by surprise if you haven’t seen them before! These big geckos are commonly known as Tokay geckos and are some of the largest geckos alive today. They get their name 'Tokay' gecko because of the sound they make 'too-kay'.

They are quite distinctive fellows with grey/blue skin covered in brownish red spots. This colouration is important for the Tokay. It is able to lighten or darken, so as to be less noticeable to other animals.

They can be very loud, these geckos and people have many different ways of describing this sound (some too rude to mention). The geckos call to communicate and to find members of the opposite sex, a bit like a gecko serenade though less tuneful. When threatened, they make a hissing or croaking noise as a means of defense.

One very interesting thing we have learned about the Tokay gecko is that it has folds of skin that prevent it from casting a shadow whilst resting on a tree! How cool! This means they can relax and go unnoticed by predators. They open up this skin fold and it allows them to blend in with the tree bark.

Little Running Lizards or snouted Lizard

Little runners with a long tail. Find them everywhere in the bushes and in the jungle. Sweet little ones.

Dogs
Ok so not the most exotic creatures, but let’s talk about these cuties before we turn to the more exciting ones. There are a lot of dogs on Phangan, many are pets of course, but the ones you will see the most will be stray or street dogs and sometimes their puppies.

Although it may not look like it, many of these dogs are taken care of as much as possible by Phangan Animal Care for Strays and by volunteers who keep an eye on them. To learn more about the dog population on the island, go and visit PACS. This helps the charity and the dogs. One thing is very important, don’t take a dog back to where you are staying if you cannot commit to giving it a forever home but do enjoy the doggies wherever you meet them!

Banded Bullfrog
These Amphibians are round and chubby and there are thousands on the island. These creatures are seen and heard after heavy rains when they gather in small pools and puddles, and make a very distinctive ‘loud groaning moan or honk’.

After heavy rains, the male frogs get together with their friends, have a frog party and get busy calling the females.

This is the annoying loud noise that you hear as they inflate their bodies and make this very distinctive call. The females then join the party in the small pools and lay their eggs which the male frog then use for their reproductive purposes.

So remember the next time you hear these frogs and get slightly annoyed, you are hearing the natural soundscape of Koh Phangan and the creation of an island resident.

Coconut Snakes
There are dangerous snakes on Koh Phangan such as Cobras and King Cobras, but these are very rare and if you see one, count yourself lucky - but keep your distance.

However you may come into close contact with some smaller snakes such as the coconut or green tree snake.

The dangerous snakes on Koh Phangan live in the undergrowth or deep in the jungle and do not stalk or threaten humans. If you see one i your hostel or hotel ,  simply slowly walk the other way and tell youthe staff where you have seen the animal and they will call ‘the snake guy’ to safely remove the snake from the premises.

Monkeys
These monkeys are called long-tailed macaques. The species live all over South East Asia and are the most common primates - apart from us Humans of course!

Macaques live in a wide range of habitats including jungles, mangroves, plantations and on the outskirts of towns and villages.

The ones most commonly seen on Koh Phangan live in the Haad Rin hills. As they are wild animals which are next to the road, people sometimes try to give them food that they should not be eating. Please only take photos of these monkeys and try not to interact with them by offering food as they will then start to act unnatural and may start attacking people for their food. If this happens it will be the monkey that will be made to disappear which is obviously not fair to the monkey.

The macaques sometimes go down to the beach and can be seen swinging around palm trees and powerlines.  Great for photos, but it is better to leave them swinging happily in their trees.

If the island's monkeys interact too much with visitors, it is likely to cause trouble. Look and take photos and videos, but let them live happily with their community.

Monitor Lizard
Stays around ponds, lakes and other fresh water spots. Some grow to more than a meter.

Don't go near them, they might bite if cornered.

Underwater creatures

Our island and the islands around Koh Phangan are famous for their underwater life! Many visiting divers have been lucky to spot a big whale shark here

The underwater life here is famous for its  biodiversity! 

Maybe it is time for you to also have a look? We offer beginners classes and try out dives to anyone who has ever dreamt of taking the plunge!!

Or maybe you just need your Advanced Divers Certificate?

Or maybe you even already have that and are just looking for a fun dive with friends?

Group dives and underwater adventures are among our most popular choices! Have a look and dive in with us!!

Hope you enjoyed reading this brief overview of the  most common animals you will find on Koh Phangan!
There many other animals to see!

Please send us photos and descriptions if you find someone special that you like to share with us!!