Published: March 21, 2010
The animals in the Philippines came from the heartland of Southeast Asia, originally migrating by way of the prehistoric land bridges which formerly joined the archipelago to the Asian continent. In the country are found more than 60 species of bats, 3 species of deer, 5 species of monkeys, and various species of horses, carabaos (buffalo), dogs, cats, pigs, squirrels, and goats.
More than 750 species of birds are found in the Philippines. Among the most interesting of these are the following: the monkey-eating eagle (now officially called the Philippine eagle), one of the world’s largest eagles; the tiny curve-beaked, sunbird whose brilliant plumage shines with a metallic gleam; the peacock pheasant, found only in the woods of Palawan; and the parrot, which can be trained to talk and sig like a human being. The largest Philippine bird is the Tipol.
About 25,000 species of insects are known to exist in the Philippines. These include the ants, bees, beetles, bugs, cockroaches, mosquitoes, locusts, spiders, flies, moths, grubs, and leaf miners. Philippine butterflies are numerous, the most colorful and spectacular being found in the Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.
Both harmless and poisonous snakes are found in the Philippines. The cobra is the deadliest of all snakes, and it abounds in the Philippines. There are large pythons in our forests, too.
Crocodiles are found mainly in the rivers and swampy interiors of Mindanao and Sulu. But there are no alligators in the country.
Three unique animals exist in the Philippines;
- The Tarsier – said to be the smallest monkey in the world and can be found only in the island of Bohol.
- The Pilanduk – also called the mouse deer, reputed as the smallest deer on earth and can be found only in the Balabac Island, off Palawan.
- The Tamarau – a cross breed of carabao (buffalo) and deer which can only be found in Mindoro.
The Philippines has over 2,000 species of fish. The two smallest freshwater fish in the world are both found in Luzon:
- Pandaka Pygmea – it measures nine millimeters only which can be found in the Malabon River above Manila Bay.
- Sinirapan/Tabios – another fresh water fish which measures not more than four millimeters long. It can only be found in Lake Buhi in Camarines Sur.
The world’s largest fish–harmless but frightful-looking whaleshark–is also found in the Philippine seas.
Aside from fish, varieties of turtles, chambered nautiluses, snails, crabs, shells, sponges, shrimps, and the edible seaweeds are found in the seas of the Philippines. Of the 10,000 species of shells found in the Philippine seas, the Gloria Maris cone and the Golden Cowrie are treasured as the rarest and most expensive in the world. Both the largest and the smallest shells in the world–the Tridacna gigas an the pisidium–are likewise found in the Philippine seas.
More than 10,000 species of flowering plants and ferns grow in the Philippines. Among the most famous of our flower-bearing plants are the sampaguita, cadena de amor, jasmin, calachuchi (frangipani), gumamela(hibiscus), ilang-ilang, rose and aurora. About 1,000 species of orchids bloom in the Philippines, many of them exquisitely beautiful and not to be found anywhere else in the world. The most famous of Philippine orchids is the waling-waling (Vanda Sanderana), discovered in Davao by a German collector.
Numerous kinds of fruit-bearing trees, vegetable, and medicinal plants thrive in the archipelago as well. The best-liked Philippine fruits are lanzones, mangoes, duhat, durian, santol, atis (sweetsop), caimito (star apple), guava, papaya and tamarind.