Wildlife in Rome

Wildlife in Rome: Moorish geckoThe Moorish Gecko

For thousands of years, the city of Rome has pushed and pulled against the forces of nature... and not just in the controversial (but apparently much improved) zoo.

Much of the city is built on a drained swamp, whose mosquitoes once carried malaria; the disease has been eradicated, but notices are still put up every summer warning residents not to leave stagnant water, which provides a breeding ground for these little pests, and their bigger cousins, the tiger mosquitoes. Meanwhile, the waters of the Tiber River may be dirty, but they provide a home to a population of nutria (coypu).

The countless archaeological excavations around the city are full of creatures, from lizards to scorpions, which lurk beneath rocks or sunbathe on top of them: places like Ostia Antica can offer as many living surprises as marble ones among the ruins.

Above the city, an ever-increasing population of seagulls fights for available food with huge flocks of starlings, whose droppings cause countless problems in the piazzas.