Norfolk Island has never been joined to a land mass. That means our animal species possess some very special characteristics, having survived an ocean journey and the hazards of adapting to a new environment.
Some groups of animals are less represented than others. For example, Norfolk Island has no endemic mammals, and its only native mammals – two kinds of bats – are now extinct on the island.
There are around 116 bird species on the island, many of them found nowhere else in the world.
Conservation programs have brought the endemic green parrot and Norfolk Island morepork back from the brink of extinction, and their numbers continue to increase.
Reptiles and molluscs
Two native reptile species are found in the Norfolk group: the Lord Howe Island gecko (Christinus guentheri) and the Lord Howe Island skink (Oligosoma lichenigera).
Fossil evidence suggests these small lizards once lived on Norfolk Island but were driven to local extinction by the rats that arrived with Polynesian sailors long before any settlement was established.
Rodents and cats have never established themselves on Phillip Island, so these reptiles survive there in large numbers.
Norfolk Island is also home to a number of land snail species. The introduction of rats and feral fowl have had a severe impact on these molluscs, and five species of snail are now critically endangered.