Wildlife Exploration: Animals in Taiwan
Animals in Taiwan offer an intoxicating mix of living creatures and biodiversity. From swamplands awash in hundreds of species of birds to a small village that’s reinvented itself as a cat lover’s mecca, this tiny country is an epicenter of wildlife. During your journeys around the country, be sure to make a few pit-stops at some of the following destinations. Get in touch with Taiwan’s animal kingdom to come away with a greater appreciation and understanding of this multifaceted land.
Go Bird Watching at the Yilan Swamplands
This unique and exceptionally diverse region is home to hundreds of different species of birds. You can hire a local to give you a guided tour of the swamplands’ best features, or you can strike out on your own. The swamplands are located on the Lanyang Plains and can be accessed from several different points. Water foul are especially numerous in these swamplands; between September and May, you can feast your eyes on a broad range of wild ducks. Popular bird-watching areas include Wuweigang, Wusheijia and the banks of the Lanyang River. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars along!
Visit Kenting National Park to Enjoy Excellent Bird-Watching Opportunities
The swamplands of Taiwan aren’t the only places where you can take in many different species of birds. Kenting National Park, Taiwan’s oldest national park, is another very popular choice for bird watchers. Located in the south of Taiwan, on the Hengchun Peninsula, Kenting boasts more than 300 species. The tropical climate and stunning natural scenery of the park make it a natural place to visit; the fact that such a diverse array of different birds calls it home is an added bonus. To top it all off, there is an honest-to-goodness lighthouse within its boundaries; what more could you ask for?
Feast Your Eyes on Purple-Winged Butterflies in Taiwan’s Purple Butterfly Valley
You haven’t seen a truly exotic or elegant butterfly until you’ve visited Taiwan. The best place to see these graceful creatures is by visiting Taiwan’s Purple Butterfly Valley. Located in the shadow of Dawu Mountain, the Purple Butterfly Valley is one of only two mass sites for butterflies; the other is found in Mexico. When the Euploeini butterfly settles in for the winter, if you’re fortunate enough to be in the vicinity, make sure to take a day trip up to this gorgeous region to take in the incredible sight of thousands of colored fluttering specks in the sky. The purple-winged Euploeini butterflies are truly one of a kind, and one of Taiwan’s best hidden gems.
Surround Yourself with Felines in the Village of Houtong
When Taiwan’s railroads largely switched over to electricity, the country’s coal-mining towns experienced steep and tragic declines. One such city is Houtong, which is located about 20 miles outside of Taipei.
When coal was still in popular use, the community flourished; today, it is a shadow of its former self - but it’s being brought back to life by unlikely new residents. A steadily growing population of feral cats has captured the imagination of tourists to the region and has put Houtong back on the map in a big way. If you are a cat lover, Houtong is one of those truly unique places that you simply have to see for yourself. More than 100 cats roam the streets of this small community and to put that in perspective, there are only about 200 humans living there! Put Houtong on the top of your “must-see” list.
An Eclectic Array of Wildlife
While zoos and safaris dominate many other countries, animals in Taiwan are best experienced through low-key activities like bird- and butterfly-watching. Wherever you go and whatever you do, captivating critters are sure to be somewhere nearby. Make sure to give them a little attention in order to enjoy the most well-rounded visit possible.