About Wildlife & Fauna in Skyros

Skyros is best known for its lovable dwarf-size horses that are unique in their stature. Their height ranging from 90-110 cm, these cute horses might look like ponies, but are unrelated.

The Skyrian horse has a fatter head, bigger nostrils and larger eyes, with a strong neck and breastbone. It has thighs like a cow and a low tail like the donkey, but the bone structure remains very similar to the big horse. Before the era of machines, the horses were used threshing wheat before harvesting it. They were only used for about 50 days then left in the wild again to roam and eat freely.The origins of the Skyrian horse is mysterious, particularly since there isn’t any mention of them in ancient scripts. Were they bought by the Romans from Asia and evolved differently? Where they cousins to a similar animal called hipparion from the Attica district? The diet and climate on Skyros may have something to do with their persistent shape, even after some tried to cross-breed it with other species. The Skyrian Horse Society has gone to great lengths to preserving Skyrian horses and caring for them. A noble effort indeed!

On another note, Skyros is on the migratory route of numerous birds and the island’s authorities have been setting up watch towers for avid bird lovers (check out the section on birdwatching for more information). Also of natural interest, scientists discovered a huge lizard on the nearby island of Diavati, which is called Padarcis gaegae. There may giant species of other life there!

Photos: www.maryhop.com

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