Wildlife of Morocco
Morocco offers a tremendous diversity of habitats and climates which support a wide range of interesting species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, plants and, most notably, birds – there are 460 bird species, 90 reptiles (50% more than in the whole of Europe) and 3,600 recognised plants, of which 17 %are endemic.
Ecosystems and species of particular interest include: the Barbary Macaque inhabiting the cedar forests of the Middle Atlas Mountains,the coastal Euphorbia heaths of the Atlantic Coast, the Argan Forest of the south west, the Atlantic coastal lagoons supporting a massive bird population, the coastal steppes, famous for the rare Bald Ibis, the alpine species on the High Atlas plateaus and the Mouflon in the High Atlas Mountains.
The desert stretched out before us, not a living thing in sight. It would be easy to imagine that this vast tract of sand and rocks was entirely devoid of any wildlife. Such a belief would be quite wrong, however, as we discovered later that night, when an astonishing variety of desert animals emerged from under rocks, from hidden crevices and from burrows to begin a nightly search for more vulnerable prey than themselves. Much of the life of the desert is governed by ability to tolerate temperature, and creatures which can tolerate the temperatures attained in the desert at mid-day are few and far between. One of the best examples of this group is the attractive Spiny-tailed lizard, Uromastyx acanthinurus, which is active at temperatures in excess of 60° Centigrade. This dramatic lizard may be seen all over the south, usually proudly dominating its territory from the top of a large rock.
Ecoregions of Morocco
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