Top 8 Isle of Man Animal Encounters
From magnificent marine creatures, to a huge population of visiting and migrant birds, and wildlife from around the world, you’ll find it all in the Isle of Man!
1. Underwater Wildlife
The Isle of Man has been increasingly recognised for its clear waters and varied underwater wildlife. Dolphins, whales, porpoise and basking sharks frequent the shoreline and many companies on the Island offer diving or kayaking experiences where you can view these creatures up close.
The Island’s waters are home to a sizeable seal population, the vast majority of which are grey (also known as Atlantic Grey Seals). They can be seen in particularly strong numbers at the Calf Sound, where they ‘haul out’ onto the rocks at low tide.
It is believed there are now up to a hundred wallabies roaming free after they escaped from the wildlife park 45 years ago. These beautiful yet timid creatures seem to flourish in the Isle of Man’s climate – despite the belief that they prefer hotter weather.
4. Manx Loaghtan Sheep
Manx Loaghtan is a four-horned sheep, unique to the Isle of Man. The sheep are thought to have been introduced in prehistoric times or to have been introduced by the Vikings.
5. Curraghs Wildlife Park
Curraghs Wildlife Park, located in Ballaugh in the north of the Island, is a haven for wetland animals and home to around 100 species – many of which are endangered in the wild. Animals are grouped together with other wildlife from the same county so you can travel the park continent by continent from America to Australia. You’ll find monkeys, kangaroos, pelicans, pandas, lynx, storks, bats, penguins, otters, reptiles and meerkats!
6. Horse Trams
Horse trams, operated by Douglas Corporation, are a common sight on the promenade during the summer months. They started running along Douglas Promenade in 1876. A charity operates the Home of Rest for Old Horses in Douglas where tram horses enjoy their retirement.
7. Mountain Hares
On your walks in the northern hills around the Isle of Man, you may encounter rare mountain hares. It is a separate species to the more common brown hare which can be found in all parts of the island on lower land. However, even the brown hare is relatively rare these days, having declined dramatically throughout the British Isles since the 1960s, with an estimated drop from 12 million to just one million animals.
The mountain hare can be found in northern upland areas among the heather and into the snow line. It is slightly smaller and rounder in appearance than the brown hare, has smaller ears which are held upright and an all-white tail.
8. Manx Cat
The Isle of Man is home to the tailless Manx cat. Many have a small ‘stub’ of a tail, but Manx cats are best known as being entirely tailless and it is the distinguishing characteristic of the breed. There are various legends that seek to explain why it has no tail. In one of them, Noah closed the door of the ark when it began to rain and accidentally cut off the Manx’s tail. Another legend claims that the Manx is the offspring of a cat and a rabbit which is why it has no tail and rather long hind legs.