Animals on the Gili islands

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3 min read
by Marlin
June 1, 2023

I've been wandering around the breathtaking Gili islands, soaking up all the beauty they have to offer. And came across some incredible animals during my strolls that I'm dying to tell you about!

But before we jump right into it, I want to address a couple of frequently asked questions about the animals on the Gili islands, just to clear things up.

Are there Komodo dragons on Gili islands?

No, there are no Komodo dragons on Gili islands near Bali. They're primarily found in the Komodo National Park which includes Komodo island, Rinca island, Padar island, Flores island, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami. And they are nowhere near Bali.

Why are there no dogs on Gili islands?

You won't come across any dogs on the Gili islands. For some unknown reason, dogs just can't thrive there.

Every dog that's been brought to the islands mysteriously met its end. There have been a few instances where people brought their dogs but could only manage to survive for about a week.

According to a local, it's not because the dogs aren't fed or that people harm them intentionally, but because these islands reject their presence.

Enough with the formalities! Let's dive right into the real deal and discover the incredible array of animals that await you on these little slices of paradise!


cat on gili islands
My 5-month old cat

While there aren't any dogs around, the Gili islands are home to some cool cats! 😻 They're like the perfect pet option if you're living on the island and want a furry friend by your side.

People say there are lots of cats on these islands, but during my stay, I only found one special spot where a few cats hang out. It's this super cute place called the cat clinic on Gili Trawangan!

cat clinic on gili trawangan
cat shop and vet on gili trawangan
Cat clinic & cafe on Gili Trawangan

They don't just take care of cats there, but they also sell cat food. That means there are lots of people who own cats on the island.

One cool thing about cats is that they're naturally cleaner animals compared to dogs. It seems like the islands really enjoy having them around because of that.


horse on gili islands
Horse-drawn cart

As you step foot on the Gili islands, especially Gili Trawangan, the first animal that'll catch your eye is most likely a horse.

You'll spot plenty of them, but they are not roaming freely as wild horses do. Instead, they are owned by horse-drawn carriage businesses, providing a means of transportation for island visitors.

These horse-drawn carriages or locally known as Cidomo, neatly lined up along the streets by the jetty, eagerly awaiting passengers in need of a ride.

Perhaps you've seen those images of people enjoying horseback rides? Well, guess what, you can also experience it for approximately Rp 750,000 or $50 USD per hour.

Clown Fish

clown fish on gili air
Clown fish

Clown fish might not ring a bell for everyone, so let's just call them Nemos 🐠 🐠 like the little guy from Finding Nemo.

Now if you're on the hunt for these cute Nemos, head over to Gili Meno and Gili Air, those are the places to be.

To find them, you'll need to jump on a snorkeling boat, which will cost you around Rp 750,000 or $50 USD.

These boats will take you to some awesome spots where you can snorkel and spot those Nemos in action. And you'll get to see not just Nemos, but a whole bunch of other cool fishes too.

Reef Shark

reef shark on gili trawangan
Reef shark

There are sharks on the Gili islands! But hey, no need to be scared. The sharks you'll find there are reef sharks 🦈 and they're known to be pretty shy creatures.

The chances of them attacking or eating humans are extremely low, unless they feel threatened.

Now, if you're eager to catch a glimpse of these sharks on the Gili islands, hold on to your wallet! It's gonna be a pricey adventure.

We're talking about a deep dive that could set you back around $500 USD per person. Keep in mind though, spotting a shark isn't guaranteed.

It all depends on your luck. Just be prepared that you might not get to see one, and that could feel like a bummer considering the cost.

Manta Ray

manta ray on gili trawangan
Manta ray

If I had to choose between diving to see reef sharks or manta rays, I'd totally go for the manta rays. They're absolutely stunning creatures you can spot right there on Gili Trawangan!

The cost of diving to see the manta rays is pretty much the same as for the sharks since they both hang out at similar depths in the water.

The cool thing about manta rays is that they're known for being super chill. Unlike other rays, they don't have any stingers to worry about.

Even though manta rays don't sting, they can still cause harm if you're not careful. So, it's important to treat them with respect and keep a safe distance.

Sea Turtle

baby sea turtle hatchery on gili meno
Sea turtle babies in sanctuary

Did you know that sea turtles absolutely adore the Gili islands? They just can't get enough of swimming around these awesome spots!

If you're on the lookout for some sea turtles, Gili Meno and Gili Air are the places to be. You'll often find these magnificent creatures just hanging out there.

The Gili islands are like a luxury resort for sea turtles, as they also choose these islands to lay their eggs.

Back in the day, there used to be a bunch of turtle hatcheries around, but nowadays, there's only one left, and it's on Gili Meno.


cow on gili trawangan
Brown cow is the common cow in southeast Asia

The Gili islands aren’t rural areas with farms around every corner, but you can spot some cows there. These cows aren't wild, they actually belong to the locals.

During my exploration, I came across cows right in the middle of Villa Kelapa Street and Sunset Road Street, which are located in the heart of Gili Trawangan.

But don't let the presence of cows make you reconsider your trip to the Gili islands. It's not like you'll find cows casually strolling around the main streets like you would in India.

Instead, they tend to stay in fields that are away from the bustling tourist areas.


goat on gili trawangan
Goat family

Goats are roaming around the Gili islands too! They're not as common as cows, but you can still spot a few of them hanging out in the same fields.

Speaking of farm animals, there are also chickens around, but they're not really worth mentioning. They're just there, doing their chicken thing, and don't draw as much attention as the goats and cows.

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