Mount Etna

A fauna yet to be discovered

Etna’s fauna must coexist with the moods and upheavals of the volcano; during its eruptions, especially those at low altitude, it destroys large portions of land and causes death and destruction. In fact, this forces the animals that live there to flee, where they must also survive the changes made by humankind to the natural environment . Therefore, it is important to classify the animal species that can be found on Etna, the most common being:
Lacertids: the green lizard, the Italian wall lizard and the gongilo, known locally as tiraciatu. These reptiles are easy to find, especially the Italian wall lizard, on dry stone walls and in the rocks that make up the lava flows.
Snakes: the green whip snake, the European ratsnake, the Aesculapian snake and the asp viper, the only poisonous one, which rarely attacks, preying instead on small mammals, mainly rodents, as well as lizards and birds.
Amphibians: amphibians need an aquatic environment. This important need means they are only present in the foothills of Etna. The most common species is the pool frog.
Birds: there are many bird species, many of which are protected. Some include: the Eurasian sparrowhawk, the buzzard, the kestrel, the peregrine falcon and the golden eagle. Of the nocturnal birds of prey also present in urban areas: the barn owl and the Eurasian scops owl. Finally, we find the tawny owl and the long-eared owl, present only on Etna and not in other areas of Sicily.
Lagomorphs: the rabbit and the hare, both visible in green spaces and around urban centres.
Rodents: the dormouse, the garden dormouse, the black rat, the house mouse, the wild mouse and the crested porcupine
Carnivores: the fox, often present in urban centres and the most popular tourist areas. The weasel, which especially lives around cultivated areas.
A characteristic animal of the volcano, present in Sicily for centuries and a great companion for people, especially hunters, is the Cirneco dell’Etna.
Cirneco dell’Etna It is a dog with pointy ears that are wide at the bottom and a slender bearing with long and agile legs that allow it to run at speeds of 45 km/h. This makes it a master at catching hares and rabbits. The Cirneco also has sturdy cushioned paws that make it easy to walk among the volcanic rocks.

The senses tell Torre del Filosofo

Lachea Island and the Aci Trezza Stacks

An ever-evolving volcano


The Elliptical, the first great volcano of Etna

The eruption of 1928 that destroyed the town of Mascali

The senses tell Valle del Leone

Acireale and reconstruction after the 1693 earthquake

Summit crater activity between 2011 and 2019

The Grand Tour in Sicily

The “notches” of snow

The senses tell The Red Mountains

The 1669 eruption in Catania

The senses tell Acicastello and Acitrezza

The senses tell The summit craters

Val Calanna, the first step towards a single large volcanic structure

The first volcanic structures of Etna, between Aci Castello and Aci Trezza

The world’s first (almost successful) attempt to stop a lava flow: the eruption of 1991-93

The senses tell The Etna Viewpoint

Etna: a marvellous group of different types of flora

Humankind and the volcano: how should we behave? Volcanic risk

The earthquake that changed the geography of eastern Sicily in 1693

The Red Mountains and the destructive eruption of 1669

The living mountain

The different names of the “Muntagna”

Torre del Filosofo: at the base of the summit craters (2950 metres)

The senses tell Acireale

Empedocles and his passion for Etna

The Jaci river

Acireale and its “timpe”

Etna, a natural laboratory where experiments can be carried out

A fauna yet to be discovered

The fault system of the “Timpe” of Acireale

The senses tell Val Calanna

The 2001 eruption of Etna, when the Mountain seemed to be alive

The Etna viewpoint

The continuous evolution of the Etna summit craters

Valle del Leone and the Elliptical

Why is Etna one of the most studied volcanoes in the world?