Fiji, an island nation in Melanesia east of Australia, is an archipelago of roughly 300 islands and more than 500 islets. Comprised of habits ranging from mangrove swamps in the east to dry grasslands in the west with rainforest in between, the fauna of Fiji is abundant and varied. More than half of the island's landmass remains forested, providing native creatures with safe haven from the advancing tide of civilization. Introduced animals such as dogs, cattle and even mongooses have acclimatized themselves to the beautiful environment. Indigenous mammals are limited to two varieties of bats, a fruit-bat and an insect eating species, and one variety of rat. There are a number of birds present on the islands, ranging from migratory species to parrots and mynahs with several species unique to Fiji such as the green kadavu parrot, the kula lorikeet, Fiji petrel
, endangered peregrine falcons
, the silktail
and the long-legged warbler. Reptiles are represented by a few seldom seen snakes and lizards varying in size from geckos to crested and banded iguanas, native to the islands. Banded iguanas can grow to a meter long but are also seldom seen. Toads enjoy the rainy weather present in the central areas of some of the islands and have a large selection of insects and spiders to dine upon. Underwater off the coasts provide unique habitats in which sea snakes and fish of all shapes and sizes frolic with sea cucumbers and shellfish. Unfortunately the introduction of domesticated species has wreaked havoc on Fiji's native animal population, leaving few unique species surviving.