4 Surprising Animals That Live In Volcanoes

Animals are living in almost all ecosystems around the world.

From the icy peaks of the Himalayas to the subaquatic depths of the ocean – and even near bubbling pits of magma – animals are found everywhere.

4 Surprising Animals That Live In Volcanoes

These environments aren’t even considered the most uninhabitable places in the world; hence, you won’t find the most extreme animals living there. 

One such extreme habitat would be volcanoes, where animals live near the constant volcanic activity. And indeed – animals do thrive near these magma-spewing formations.

You may wonder how any animal can survive the sweltering hot pits filled with molten lava that burns and erupts anything nearby, but life has even found a way here.

Although not within the molten rock itself, you will find life thriving near the surrounding cooled lava of the volcano – some species may even astound you. 

Keeping this in mind, this article will be looking at 4 surprising animals that live around volcanoes. 

Galápagos Land Iguanas

These are endemic reptiles that can be found on the volcanic islands of the Galapagos islands archipelago. 

They are one of a few reptiles that can live in both high altitudes of the islands’ mountains as well as the coastal areas of the islands.

The temperatures in this national park, which boasts volcanoes, remain consistent, fluctuating between 35 and 38 degrees Celsius. 

This gives the iguanas an upper hand, allowing them to navigate the volcanic craters near the cooled lava, and steer clear of any predators.

The cooled lava and volcanic ash provide an ideal location for these Hawaiian iguanas to incubate their eggs.

As a result, despite the risk, iguanas will always venture to the volcanoes during their breeding period, showing how wildlife can live near volcanoes.

Iguanas also possess the remarkable ability to sense changes in seismic activity, enabling them to retreat if a volcanic eruption is imminent. 

While it could be argued that iguanas don’t, in fact, live in volcanoes.

They do, however, spend most of their lives around volcanoes and willingly make the journey into the volcanoes themselves. 

4 Surprising Animals That Live In Volcanoes

Volcanic Giant Tube Worms

These volcanic giant tube worms, akin to the Loihi shrimp, could be deemed one of the most bizarre creatures thriving on this planet, yet they also survive one of the harshest environments – near active underwater volcanoes.

The tube worm is an invertebrate marine worm that, over the years, has adapted to be able to live in underwater volcanoes.

These underwater volcanoes produce hydrogen sulfide, boiling ash, carbon dioxide, and methane – a combination of elements that would kill any other creature. 

However, due to some key adaptations, these creatures can live right next to these vents.

These include extremely strong muscles and skin that can withstand these toxic elements. 

What sets these creatures apart from any other animal is how to absorb oxygen, which is simply that they don’t.

Rather, they absorb the carbon dioxide from the underwater volcano to breathe.

This is strange considering that these are animals, not vegetation or plants, and they use carbon dioxide to breathe. 

Little is still known about the animals. Having been discovered relatively recently in 1977, scientists have yet to study them extensively; how they age hasn’t even been discovered yet. 

What we do know is how fast they grow, which is a rate much faster than some other deep-sea animals, but this is it.

Their body and lives are so vastly different from anything else we’ve seen before; that they could be considered alien.

Lesser Flamingo 

Typically found in areas of India and the arid regions of Africa, lesser flamingos are also known to live around volcanoes.

The reason for this is that flamingos tend to feed on a species of algae that is commonly found in alkaline lakes, with these lakes being found near sites of active volcanoes. 

As a result, these lakes are believed to be some of the toughest environments on the planet due to reaching temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius and containing extremely concentrated levels of salt. 

Ever wondered why flamingos have long legs? Well, this is one of the reasons.

Their long legs help protect their bodies from the hot water while still allowing them to feed.

They also use their wings to fly away from any dangers which may occur such as volcanic eruptions. 

4 Surprising Animals That Live In Volcanoes

In addition to feeding, they also use the water to drink. Flamingoes have extremely sensitive gills, allowing them to taste even the smallest amount of salt in the water.

For this reason, they were once called sea birds due to their saltwater drinking abilities. 

Pompeii Worm

These are similar to the Volcanic Tube worms; however, there are a few differences between the two.

The biggest difference is that these Pompeii Worms are much more extreme than their counterparts. 

While the Volcanic Giant Tube worm lives by the volcanic hydrothermal vents, these extremophile animals live directly on top of these vents and can be found nowhere else on earth. 

They follow some of the same breathing patterns as tube worms such as absorbing CO2 and being unaffected by the surrounding elements; however, these worms do it much better.

For one, they are extremely heat-tolerant and are considered one of the most tolerant complex creatures in the world, after the tardigrade, and can withstand temperatures to 105 degrees Celsius for a short time comfortably. 

Having also been discovered by humans 40 years ago, there is still little known about them, with only a dozen Pompeii worms recorded.

This is mainly due to their extreme habitats. This makes them one of the strangest and most interesting species in the world. 

Final Thoughts

A volcano is one of the most extreme environments in the world. As a result, it is one of the most difficult places for animals to live(see also: Animals That Live in Canada).

Not only are you exposed to extreme heat and instability, but even the water and air are toxic to most animals.

Within volcanic landscapes, extraordinary ecosystems host surprising creatures. Microorganisms thrive amidst extreme conditions, harnessing gases for sustenance and shaping an unconventional food web.

Unveiling these habitats reveals a world similar to a rabbit emerging from a hat—a breathtaking display of nature’s adaptability and resilience within the fiery environment of volcanoes.

However, as listed above, these are just a few incredible animals that can survive these conditions and not only survive but thrive.

Hopefully, this guide has provided you with everything you need to know about animals living in volcanoes. 

Olivia Kepner