Wildlife of Turkey:

 

Turkey is not blessed with the diverse wildlife we have here in the United States. They have smaller animals such as foxes, rabbits, squirrels, birds, etc. but they do not have the larger animals such as bears, deer, etc. The most common animal I saw was a cat. Turkey is known for their large population of stray cats. They were everywhere. As we ate lunch one day in Istanbul, our table was outside on the street. It was interesting to observe the cats on the street and on the roofs that popped in and out occasionally. They all seemed to be very similar in color and fur patterns, which leads me to believe that the cats will typically stick to one neighborhood. Turkish stray cats were much different than American stray cats. Stray cats around America look thin and boney, have eye disease, have matted fur, and can be squeamish. On the other hand, Turkish cats appeared healthy, well feed, and had the appearance of house cats. Their fur was soft and well groomed. Most cats in Turkey are friendly and may even jump in your lap. The place that had the highest concentration of cats was Ephesus. They were everywhere! Since there is no real town near Ephesus, these cats fed on mice, snake, scorpions, or whatever they could get a hold of.

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Another prominent animal in Turkey is the pigeon. We learned that pigeons were a vital part of life back in the day, especially in the Cappadocia region. In this region, people would make pigeon holes at the tops of rock formations. The pigeons make their nests in these holes. Long ago, people would collect the pigeon droppings and use it for fertilizer or sometime in their paintings. We had a close encounter with these pigeons. On the last day in Turkey, we stopped at a panoramic viewpoint called Pigeon Valley. A large flock of pigeons would roam around this stop and eat the seed that tourists fed them. It is surprising how loud that flock of pigeons were when they all took flight at the same time. It made my heart jump a few times!Image

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