Limestone rock coastline of Istria, Croatia

Mediterranean wildlife

Low rainfall and hot summers make the Mediterranean biome a hard place for animals and plants to thrive. Mediterranean plants are often adapted to conserve water and survive summer drought. Many African animals would probably suit the Med's hot, dry summers - porcupines and fruit bats have crossed over - but are less able to cope with the cooler, wet winters. The original Mediterranean Sea dried up in the Miocene Epoch and stayed that way until a little over 5 million years ago when water poured in from the Atlantic. It lacks nutrients and is saltier than the Atlantic, but it's still a biodiversity hotspot with many unique species.

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