Caledonian fauna is particularly unique and above all friendly. Species are sometimes surprising but never dangerous to humans. Some 2,535 species are currently listed in New Caledonia, of which 300 are endemic.
Rich in birds, New Caledonia plays host to many species such as the symbolic cagou, the bird that barks! This gray bird of the size of a hen cannot fly, and is people-friendly. Living in large forests, you may have the opportunity to see one whilst hiking. There is also the ingenious Caledonian crow, which uses tools to find food.
In the Deep South, other more colourful birds like the notou, green pigeon will brighten up your journey with their singing, although you might not see them, and if you go to Ouvéa, do not miss the parakeets sanctuary.
The roussette – (a large fruit eater flying fox) can also be found here. These large fruit bats can reach 80 cm. They have a face similar to that of a fox. This is the only mammal that inhabited the archipelago before the arrival of man.
In 1862, the governor’s wife brought Rusa deer from the Philippines. The species has proliferated rapidly, so that today the deer lives in the savannah and even around the farms where they compete with cattle for food.
At sea, fauna and flora are as equally unique and diverse. Second largest collection of coral reefs in the world after the Great Barrier Reef, the New Caledonian reef is a natural jewel of 23,000 square km, listed in July 2008 in the World Heritage by UNESCO. The reef and turquoise lagoons host many curiosities; the most spectacular are the phosphorescent corals, where the clown fish and the large Napoleons with their fleshy mouths play.
Four species of turtles live in the lagoon: the “Franche” or green turtle, the loggerhead turtle or “caouanne”, “bonne ecaille” turtle, and finally the “Luth” turtle. New Caledonia is also home to the world's third largest population of dugongs, "sea cows" who are thought to be the original mermaids. It is also the only place on earth where the Nautilus is still living, macromphalus nautilus, a cephalopod that is 360 million years old and that haunts the depths between 150 to 600 meters.
There are no scorpions, deadly spiders, or creepy snakes, only sea snakes, including the famous knit striped snake, definitely venomous, but not dangerous.
Finally do not miss the opportunity to admire the spectacle of whales mating. New Caledonia breeding ground for « grandes ailes » whales, (“great wings").
In the mating season, from July to September, humpback whales are found in the bays of the southern lagoon and in Lifu. Their observation is now highly regulated but is still an easily accessible and touching sight.