Wildlife on the Island of Iceland
Iceland's rich landscape provides a great home for several different types of wildlife. We drove around the country for eight days and were lucky to see the diversity of the country's landscape and wildlife. The lush countryside is full of farm animals like fluffy sheep and Icelandic horses, while the island's coast is full of birds, seals, and occasionally whales.
When we picked up our Kuku Camper, we were warned about seemingly suicidal sheep. We were told they will jump in front of cars in a panic. Sure enough, when some sheep hear a car, they just start running. Sometimes that means they run away from traffic, and sometimes that means they run into traffic. We were also warned that if we hit one, we would have to pay the farmer €500, so we made sure to always keep an eye out for them.
Pinterest and friends who had visited Iceland informed us that Icelandic Horses are prominent as well. We stopped several times to see and pet the horses along the ring road, but it turned out that we didn't need to. Several of the campsites we stayed at had barns and stables on the premise!
Our first encounter with marine life was at Ytri Tunga Beach on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. We sat and watched roughly ten seals play in the icy Atlantic Water and relax on the beach. Alongside the seals were squawking seagulls fishing in the waves.
Kendall, John, and I were treated to an unexpected penguin sighting in the Snæfellsjökull National Park. A crowd of professional and amateur photographers were taking pictures, and we had to see what had captured their attention. I tried to snap a few, but I didn't get any great pictures from that distance.
As as general rule, the northern region of Iceland provides a greater chance of seeing wildlife. There are less people and colder temperatures, and it is the perfect summer nesting ground for Arctic foxes and puffins. The Arctic fox is an elusive animal and is difficult to find unless you're in the West Fjords. We did not go that far north but we did get to see one fox during our trip. It scurried across the road near the Saxhóll Crater around 1 AM.
We did get to see hundreds of puffins, though, in the northeast corner of the country. The cliff sides of Borgarfardarhöfn is the summer nesting ground for thousands of pairs of puffins every year. We went on a cold, rainy day early in the morning, so we were some of the only people on the viewing platform.
The last wildlife we saw in Iceland were a majestic couple of reindeer. We were not expecting to see any on our trip, then we spotted these two on the side of the road. It really capped off an already great day outside of Vik.
We loved watching these animals interact in their natural environment, and going to Iceland in the summertime allowed us to see more animals than we would have otherwise. If you leave the city of Reykjavik, it might be impossible to not see some of Iceland's wonderful wildlife.
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Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read.