May 30, 2024 | Eul Basa

These Islands Are Ruled By The Cutest Wild Animals

At these islands, humans are merely visitors

Not all land on Earth is conquered by humans. Some places, like the following islands in this list, are ruled by wild animals that (in some cases) outnumber the locals entirely. 

Animalislands Cover1

Assateague Island

Maryland, United States

Assateague Island is well-known for its population of wild horses which are often seen galloping along the beach. They are feral creatures, which means they originally descended from domestic animals but later reverted to a wild state.

1711170788314Mrs. Gemstone | Flickr

Assateague Island (continued)

The wild horses on Assateague island have adapted to tough conditions, from blazing heat to heavy rains. The best time to observe them is in the summertime—but make sure to only enjoy their beauty from a distance for safety purposes.

1711170602282Mrs. Gemstone | Flickr

Cat Island

Aoshima, Japan

Japan is home to many cat islands, but Aoshima is a truly special one. Surprisingly, the cats that inhabit this small fishing island actually outnumber the humans six to one.

1711173699144Alonso Brosmann | Goodfon

Cat Island (continued)

The cats are often found crowding together in groups and interacting with the locals (usually asking for food). They live harmoniously with the humans and are an integral part of the community.

1711173776547Kanon Serizawa

Christmas Island

Seamount, Australia

A small island off the coast of Australia is the site of a massive red crab migration, with millions of crabs making the trek from the woodland to the ocean to breed. The phenomenon occurs with the first rainfall of the wet season and it's truly a sight to see.

1711173958190Chris Bray | Wikimedia Commons

Christmas Island (continued)

The migration event is Christmas Island's biggest attraction, and to see it best, tourists will want to head over to Drum site, Flying Fish Cove, Ethel Beach, and Greta Beach. Just be aware that some roads may be closed temporarily to protect the crabs.


Deer Island

Miyajima, Japan

More than a thousand Sika deer live on the island of Miyajima, and all of them are tame and friendly. Almost everywhere you turn, you'll see one—walking on the roads, sitting on the grass, wading in the water, and even interacting with the locals.


Deer Island (continued)

The Sika deer are more than just their cute, friendly faces. In the Shinto religion, they represent liasons between mortals and divine spirits known as kami. They have a long history of cultural importance in Japan and are considered holy creatures that must be protected.


Dolphin Island

Mikurajima, Japan

Mikurajima Island is a dolphin paradise. Though the dolphins obviously don't live directly on the island, they do surround it in swarms, and they are easily observable from the shore.


Dolphin Island (continued)

Mikurajima Island is only 20 square kilometers, but there's still much to see, including lush, green woodlands and a 851-foot-tall mountain. You can also swim with the wild dolphins under the watch of a Tokyo Nature Guide.


Flamingo Island

Renaissance Island, Aruba

Aruba's Flamingo Island is a popular tourist destination for vacationers, and for an obvious reason. The world-famous flamingos roam around the beach freely and add to the tropical atmosphere of the resort.

1711176840636Getty Images

Flamingo Island (continued)

According to past visitors, the key to getting good photos with the flamingos is to offer them a snack. You an buy food to feed to the birds at the various dispensers at the beach, so make sure to have quarters handy.


Grand Cayman Island

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

These blue iguanas are only found on Grand Cayman Island. They often seek dry, rocky woodlands near the coast, which contain many thorny plants that they hide under, especially in hot temperatures.

1711177141212Eric Littman | Flickr

Grand Cayman Island (continued)

The blue iguanas are the largest native land vertebrate of the Grand Caymans. They can get as long as 5 feet from nose to tail tip and weigh more than 25 pounds. Unfortunately, they are currently endangered.

1711177258970Pete Markham | Flickr

Kauai Island

Kauai, Hawaii

How did Kauai became so overrun by chickens? According to National Geographic, Hurricanes Iwa and Iniki in 1982 and 1992 respectively damaged a large number of chicken coops on the island and let the chickens run wild, letting them breed and populate rapidly.


Kauai Island (continued)

Today the wild chickens have no natural predators, so their population keeps on growing and growing. It's not really an ideal situation for the island—but least they eat up all the pesky centipedes in the area.

1711177561334specksinsd | Flickr

Lambay Island

Leinster, Ireland

We're used to seeing wallabies in Australia, but how about in Ireland? On Lambay Island, just off County Dublin, there lives a colony wild breeding wallabies that is still growing in number today.


Lambay Island (continued)

The wallabies were brought over to the Emerald Isle by the Barings banking family in 1904. It's said that the family intended to bring over more exotic species to Lambay Island, but only the wallabies were able to survive.

1711177835678William Murphy | Flickr

Lasqueti Island

British Columbia, Canada

On Lasqueti Island in British Columbia, you may come across a pack of Saint Bernards roaming around the forest paths. The island, which is inhabited by a self-sustained community, is a true dog-lover's paradise.

1711177984412Lasqueti St. Bernards

Lasqueti Island (continued)

As of November 2023, there are 42 happy and healthy Saint Bernards living on Lasqueti Island. While they don't outnumber the humans on the island, they definitely look like they run the place.

1711178086447Lasqueti St. Bernards

Macquarie Island

Tasmania, Australia

Macquarie Island is home to 10 per cent of all king penguins in the world. In the Pacific region of the southern ocean, it the island is the only breeding ground for this species, making it incredibly valuable for king penguin research.

1711178150275Krudller | Wikimedia Commons

Macquarie Island (continued)

Over the past 14 years, researchers have gone to the island and documented every single king penguin colony to keep track of the population. Today, there are as many as 100,000 breeding pairs of king penguin on Macquarie Island.

1711178195144Kimberly Collins | Flickr

Monkey Island

Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, an island populated by over 2,000 rhesus macaque monkeys is a site of high interest for many primate researchers. According to historical records, they were brought over to the island from India back in 1938.

1711178793223Caribbean Primate Research Center

Monkey Island (continued)

Clarence Carpenter, an American primatologist, had brought over 500 monkeys across 14,000 miles of sea to establish a natural environment for them. He believed it was the best way to observe the monkeys' behaviors while keeping them isolated for the study.

1711179087592Buiobuione | Animalia

Penguin Island

Perth, Australia

Penguin Island, a short drive from Perth, is a stunning gem with white sandy beaches and clear waters in Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. Ferries to the island depart every hour between 9 am and 3 pm, allowing for plenty of time to swim, snorkel, picnic, or explore before returning on a leisurely ferry ride.


Penguin Island (continued)

Penguin Island hosts 300 little penguins, the largest population in the region. However, there used to be more—unfortunately, from 2007 to 2019, there was an 80% decrease from 1,600, now found in Shoalwater Islands Marine Park.

1711179596670Visit Rockingham

Pig Island

Big Major Cay, Bahamas

Pig Beach, or Big Major Cay, is a small island in the Exuma Cays of the Bahamas, measuring one mile in length. Despite its size, it is a popular tourist destination, attracting more visitors than many larger Bahamas islands. It is in alignment with numerous other cays and can be crossed by foot in one to two hours.

1711179743482Norm Lanier | Flickr

Pig Island (continued)

The island, known for Pig Beach and its Exuma pigs, is home to around 20 to 25 pigs and piglets. They are the only residents, aside from a few cats and goats. Big Momma, the largest pig, steals the spotlight from the cute baby piglets.

1711179812297cvorobek | Flickr

Rabbit Island

Okunoshima, Japan

The number of rabbits on Rabbit Island is uncertain, but their population is expected to grow due to lack of predators and restrictions on cats and dogs. There is debate over the origins of the rabbits, with some saying they were released by students in 1971 and others claiming they were test animals from World War II. 


Rabbit Island (continued)

The rabbits are now the main focus of the island and are well taken care of by visitors. They are friendly and enjoy human interaction, but can become aggressive if food runs out.

1711179966438Brian Shamblen | Flickr

Rottnest Island

Perth, Australia

You can find quokkas in some Australian zoos, but the best place to see them is at Rottnest Island. It is home to the world's largest quokka population, with around 10,000 of them occupying the land.

1711180125599Donald Hobern | Flickr

Rottnest Island (continued)

Unfortunately, the species as a whole is listed as vulnerable due to over-predation by feral animals such as foxes, as well as wildfires that desteroy their habitats. Today, conservation efforts are key to keeping the quokka population alive.

1711324361272peterichman | Flickr

Runde Island

Romsdal, Norway

Atlantic puffins are abundant on Runde Island, which is in Norway. Runde, though connected by a bridge, stands as the end of the island chain before the vast open sea. The wild and breathtaking nature includes lush greenery, majestic mountains, cliffs, and slopes.

1711324470541moonjazz | Flickr

Runde Island (continued)

To have the best chance of seeing the puffins, go to Lundeura (The Puffin Cliff) between 8 pm and 9 pm. Thousands of nesting puffins reside there from February to March. By late August, they migrate to the North Atlantic for autumn and winter. Stay on designated paths at Runde to maintain breeding season tranquility.

1711324513907Anne Roberts | Flickr

Seal Island

False Bay, South Africa

Seals, particularly cape fur seals and brown fur seals, can be spotted on Seal Island. The presence of many seals attracts the primary predator, the great white shark. Visit to see these species interact as the sharks hunt the seals.

1711324701212Jan Fleischmann | Wikimedia Commons

Seal Island (continued)

Tourists can drive to Hout Bay, board a boat or jetty that takes you on a fantastic journey with mountain views, and reach a seal colony after 45 minutes to observe many seals.

1711324793109Jan Fleischmann | Wikimedia Commons

Ylvingen Island

Ylvingen, Norway

Ylvingen's moose population, documented by a Norwegian newspaper, is unfazed by human presence on the tiny island. Interestingly, there are twice as many moose as people.

1711325036162Inge Ove Tysnes

Ylvingen Island (continued)

High-speed ferry links island to Brønnøysund and Sandnessjøen, car ferry to Vega island and mainland. Tourists can contact Torghatten Trafikkselskap, the company who manages these services, for more information.

1711324977003Fernando Vega | Flickr


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