Tuvalu Animals and Plants

Tuvalu Animals and Plants

What is growing there?

The soil in Tuvalu is not particularly fertile. Nevertheless, people grow useful plants such as the breadfruit tree. This reaches a height of 15 to 20 meters, has a crown and up to one meter long, beautifully shiny leaves. The fruits can weigh up to two kilograms. This fruit is a very important food in Tuvalu. They are boiled, deep-fried or fried.

Coconut palms and mangroves

In addition to breadfruit, coconut palms grow, which are most common on the islands. The coconut is used as a crop because it is used to make one of the few products that is actually exported: copra. This is the name given to the dried meat of the coconuts, from which the coconut oil is then extracted.

In addition there is the pandanus tree, which we also call the “screw palm”. Other trees are kaurines and mangroves grow on some of the islands. Bananas and papayas are among the other crops that grow on the islands.

Few animal species live on Tuvalu

Many animal species cannot be found on Tuvalu. As mammals you will only find rats and they were only introduced with the colonization by humans. Dogs, cats and pigs as well as chickens also live in Tuvalu, but these people have also brought them to Tuvalu.

In addition, there are some species of lizards and a few birds: terns and gannets can be observed, as well as some species of birds that overwinter on Tuvalu, such as the curlew.

A crab that steals coconuts?

An unusual contemporary that does not only exist in Tuvalu is the coconut crab, which is also known as the “palm thief”. This is a cancer that can get quite large. The palm thief climbs up the coconut palms and the fruits fall down. This crab can even open the coconuts with its claws. However, she does not go about the “harvest” of the coconuts in a planned manner. It is believed that these simply fall off during climbing. Because such a crab is quite big and can reach a body length of up to 40 centimeters and a wingspan of up to one meter.

Palm thieves are not dangerous and are among the species threatened with extinction. However, they can absorb the poison from plants, which does not harm them itself, but can poison people who eat a crab. Therefore caution is advised here.

Some insects and pesky flies can also be found on the islands. Then there is the fascinating underwater world, because there are a lot of fish in the waters of Tuvalu. Also, the sand tiger shark has been spotted here.

Tuvalu Animals


Tuvalu depends on help from abroad

There are almost no natural resources in Tuvalu. The economy has its sources of income primarily from the production and sale of copra and fishing. Tuvalu is arguably one of the economically least developed countries in the world and can ultimately only survive through development aid.

Agriculture and fishing

Most people work in agriculture and fishing. However, they do not grow a lot for export, because the quantities would not be enough, but for their own use. Breadfruit, swamp taro and various vegetables and fruits are grown.

Fishing is of great importance for people’s nutrition, as fish is also an important source of food. But the fish is also exported, as are wood products.

Tuvalu has to introduce many products

A lot of food, machines and also fuels have to be imported into Tuvalu. Tourism is almost not yet developed. Although the island has the beauty of a typical South Sea island, few people come to visit. There is even an international airport in Funafuti. However, direct entry is not possible, a stopover in Fiji is mandatory. Maybe that will keep some from visiting. So far, there is only one real hotel. Tuvalu is probably the least visited country on earth. In 2014, just 1000 tourists came to spend their holidays here.

The sale of stamps is also an important source of income, because Tuvalu is known everywhere for its stamps. The Internet ending “.Tv” has also been monetized for “Tuvalu”, and television stations are probably paying for it.


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