The ecology of Lokrum Island has favorable conditions for a diverse and rich fauna which has still not been sufficiently studied.
We will hereby introduce several groups of land vertebrates.
The Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni) lives in dry, rocky and shrubby habitats. It’s unusually resilient and survives injuries particularly well; it grows slowly but lives over a hundred years old. The tortoise feeds mostly on plants but also insects and carrion. It has been protected by law since 1965.
The fast and timid Balkan green lizard (Lacerta trilineata) is the largest lizard in Central Europe, up to 40 cm long. It lives in warm and rocky areas with low shrubs and feeds on insects and their larvae, spiders and worms.
Lokrum has a great significance also for the migration of birds because it is their first resting-place after their flying over of big sea surfaces during the spring migration, and the last resting-place during the autumn migration. On the island 156 bird species aligned into 43 families are noted.
This great diversity is the result of the favourable geographical position and vegetation characteristics of the island.
Around 30 species are considered as nestling birds, although some only during one or several years: e.g. the grey falcon (Falco peregrinus), the buzzard (Buteo buteo), the fowler sparrow-hawk (Accipiter nisus) and the big horned owl (Bubo bubo), as well as the sea-gull (Larus argentatus), the black and white swift (Apus apus, A.melba), the hawker swallow (Hirundo rustica), the finch (Fringilla coelebs) and the turtle-dove (Streptopelia decaoto).
Several species of mammals are wandering around the island’s gardens, parks and forests, mostly diurnal and crepuscular animals which sleep through the winter.
The southern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor) feeds on insects, small animals, fruits and bird eggs.
The edible dormouse or fat dormouse (Glis glis) nests in tree hollows and cliff cracks. It’s a good climber and jumper which feeds on various plants and animals.
Bats (Rhinolopus hipposideros, Plectotus austriacus) which used to live in large colonies in the attic of the old monastery can now be seen very rarely.