East Timor Animals and Plants

East Timor Animals and Plants

What animals live in East Timor?

The special geographical location of the state of East Timor is decisive for the animal and plant world of the country. Since East Timor is on the Wallace Line, both Asian and Australian species are common. The Australian animal world includes the gray cuscus, a climbing bag. It is predominantly nocturnal and, thanks to its climbing ability, gets along well in the tree-rich areas of East Timor. In the forests there are also some species of monkeys and various types of taxa fruit bats.

What are secondary forests?

Unfortunately, many of the forests on the island nation are secondary forests. This is the name given to the vegetation that grows after the original forest has been destroyed by human use or disasters. This turns the original forest, the primary forest, into a secondary forest.

Unfortunately, this process can often be observed in tropical countries and damages the biodiversity in the affected areas. Few mammal species live in East Timor. Most belong to the Asian fauna, a few to the Australian.

Insects and birds

The insect species on the island, like many birds, are of Malay origin. 23 of a total of about 240 bird species living in East Timor are only found here. There are many species of amadines, cockatoos and parrots to be found. The rare Wetar pigeon is particularly interesting. The first living specimen of this species was spotted and photographed in East Timor in 2005.

Amphibians and reptiles

According to listofusnewspapers, The amphibian diversity is limited to a few species of frog, which are also of Malay origin. From the field of reptiles there are some typical island species to be mentioned, such as the Timor water python, the Timor reef snake and the Timor monitor lizard. The Timor tortoise was only discovered in 2007. Another important island inhabitant from the group of reptiles is the estuarine crocodile. This forms a decisive part of the mystical and cultural history of East Timor, because it is said that the island of Timor was created from this “grandfather crocodile”.


In addition to the saltwater crocodile, some fish species also inhabit the waters. These include archer fish, cross catfish and gobies. In addition, humans broke other non-native species such as carp or the goblin carp onto the island. The waters of Timor are included in the coral triangle. There is a huge variety of coral species in this region.

What is growing in East Timor?

The vegetation of Timor-Leste has suffered greatly from human influence. In less than 30 years, the forest area has shrunk by a third. The original primary forest fell to one percent of the previous stand due to human influence.

That is why there is dense forest cover only in the south of East Timor and in some mountain regions. Otherwise some mangroves grow on the north coast. Due to the overexploitation of the forest, the vegetation today consists mainly of secondary forest, grassland and savannas.

The creation of Timor

The land of the sleeping crocodile: According to the creation myth of Timor, one day a young boy found a baby crocodile. It was weak and couldn’t make it from a lagoon to the sea on its own. So the boy helped the crocodile and carried it into the water. The crocodile was very grateful and promised the boy that he would go on a journey as soon as the boy came to the sea and called for him. Some time later, the boy, remembering the crocodile’s promise, went to the sea and called it three times. It appeared and both were delighted to see each other again. They became friends and traveled together for a long time. During these journeys the crocodile felt an ever increasing urge to eat the boy. After all, it was a crocodile and that was his instinct. Out of desperation, it asked some animals for advice. Everyone, including the whale, tiger and water buffalo, advised him not to eat the boy because he was so good to him. Finally, the crocodile asked the wise monkey for advice. He listened to the crocodile’s story and cursed it without giving him any advice. This was very ashamed of his urge to eat the friend and therefore decided to resist. Instead, the two went on trips together for more years. Gradually the crocodile grew old and weak. It began to feel that it would never be able to repay the boy’s kindness. Therefore it said to the boy: “Soon I will die. But my body should become new land for you and your descendants.” When it died, its body became the island of Timor, on which the boy and his descendants have lived ever since. Legend has it that the Timorese people inherited his kindness, kindness and sense of justice from the boy. To this day, they benefit from the unusual friendship between the crocodile and the boy.

East Timor Animals

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