Fauna of Crete


The climate of Crete is generally dry and warm, while the water resources (lakes and rivers) dry up after spring. However, the few and limited habitats constitute important refuges for the few species of frogs and toads that live on the island. The most important species is the Cretan Water Frog (Pelophylax cretensis), which is endemic only to Crete. Also, there are European tree frogs (Hyla arborea) and Green Toads (Pseudepidalea viridis).

Green Toad

The European Green Toad (scient. Pseudepidalea viridis or Bufo shaartusiensis or Bufo sitibundus or Bufo viridis or Rana picta) is a widespread species of European toad, which is also found in Crete. The difference between toads and frogs is that toads have dry, warty skin, while frogs have smooth, wet skin.


European Tree frog

The European Tree Frog (scient. Hyla arborea) is the only species of tree frogs in Europe, which is also found in the humid areas of Crete. Indeed, the tree frog populations in Crete belong to two distinct endemic subspecies (Hyla arborea veluchiensis and Hyla arborea cretensis).


Cretan Frog

The Cretan Water Frog (scient. Pelophylax cretensis or Rana cretensis) is one of the three endemic species of amphibians of Greece, which is found only on the island of Crete. Unfortunately, in recent years its population has declined dramatically due to several factors.



The American bullfrog (scient. Rana catesbeiana) is endemic to the Americal State of California and is widely used for the production of frog legs. However, in 2000 a businessman from Chania, who bred bullfrogs was disappointed by his investment and released all his frogs into the Lake Agia. This resulted in the complete displacement of the local Cretan frogs from the lake.


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