In one day, while hiking from Prilep to Treskavec Monastery (and back), I saw the range of animals living in Macedonia, some of them expected, others unexpectedly exotic.
Horses are no surprise in a landscape that could be used for shooting Western movies.
Resting and seeking shade under a tree, I heard something move in the foliage. It was a sound like from a large animal, one that shouldn’t be living on trees. Like a crocodile. It was not easy to spot because it had exactly the same color as the leaves, but luckily it remained still once it noticed my curiosity: a green lizard.
It was quite big. I didn’t see the whole tail, but the main body was at least 10 cm long. And fat. Of course there were also hundreds of common lizards along the path, but I didn’t take any photos, maybe because I am so used to them by now, after living around the Mediterranean for a while.
The other animals of which I sadly didn’t capture any photos were butterflies. They were too fast, I was too slow. At times, five or six of them were circling around my head. Bright yellow ones, green ones, blue ones, butterflies with stripes, butterflies with see-through wings and butterflies in black, many of them bigger than the butterflies I had seen thus far.
“Whoa!” I screamed out in surprise, when I almost stepped on this animal by accident.
At an altitude of around 1,000 meters and in a very dry landscape, I really wouldn’t have expected to see a turtle. I used to think they prefer lakes or rivers.
And then the most surprising find. What’s the last animal you would expect in the hills of Macedonia? I don’t know if it regularly lives here or if it had escaped from a zoo, but there was an elephant, looking down on the town of Prilep indecisively.