You may be surprised to learn about some of the strange and unique creatures that call Hawaii home!  For example, did you know that Hawaii does indeed have one species of snake? All six creatures that make our list are pretty hard to spot while on vacation in Hawaii, so if you do see one, you may want to get that camera out to document it!

Hawaiian StiltHawaiian Stilt – This bird looks kind of like a penguin from the legs up and a flamingo from the legs down!  It really is a cute and unusual looking bird that is only found in the Hawaiian Islands.  This bird has some of the longest legs compared to the size of its body, of any bird in the world.  The Hawaiian Stilt is on the endangered species list and usually spotted by itself or maybe a companion.  The best area to see one is at the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge in north Kihei. There is a nice boardwalk built over the pond where visitors can bird watch.





Jacksons ChameleonJackson Chameleon – This may be the weirdest looking inhabitant in Hawaii.  Not only can this lizard change colors, it moves shakingly slow (like a sloth), its eyes can look in all directions, and the male chameleons have horns! To see this unique creature, you will have to head up in elevation to the towns of Makawao or Kula and then get really lucky.  They are masters of camouflage and move very slowly, but you might stumble upon one on a hike or crossing a street.  If you really wanted to see one, I would recommend going to any local pet shop, as many families on Maui enjoy having Jackson chameleons as pets.


Hawaiian batHawaiian Hoary Bat – This little 0.5 ounce bat is on the federal endangered species list, as it is only found in the Hawaiian Islands.  They are nocturnal and feed on insects.  They are hard to spot but can be found at all elevations on the island.  As a kid I remember seeing them flying around our soccer field in Makawao at night (Eddie Tam Field), as they would come to eat the insects that were attracted to the lights that illuminated the fields.










Hawaiian Blind Snake – This whole time you thought Hawaii didn’t have any snakes! The only snake we have in the islands is the Brahminy Blind Snake (or Hawaiian Blind Snake) and is the size of an earth worm. Often times people will confuse the snake for a worm (since they mostly are found in the garden and near plants), but they move a little more gracefully then a worm and if you look closely you will see the forked tongue occasionally come out of the month.  Not too worry, these snakes are not venomous and present no threat at all.



pueo - hawaiian owlHawaiian Short Eared Owl – Known as the pueo, these short eared owls are beautiful and look very similar to barn owls you might see on the continental U.S.  They are graceful flyers with big wingspans, big flat round faces, and beautiful yellow eyes. The pueo is also one of the four Hawaiian aumakua, which Hawaiian mythology describes as spiritual animals or ancestral protectors.










Praying MantisPraying Mantis – This huge insect can really startle you if you have never seen one before.  A grown adult can be three to six inches long.  They sit very still waiting for other insects to pass by and then pounce.  I usually see about one of these insects a year, and they tend to remain in the same spot for hours.


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