Only on Praslin and Curieuse islands, northeast of Mahé, can any of the primary forest be seen. On both islands the native forests of coco-de-mer have been protected in small reserves; its fruit, a huge coconut weighing up to 18 kg (40 lb), is the largest seed in the world. Virtually all the broadleaf evergreen rain forest has been cut down. In its place are the coconut plantations, with occasional patches of vanilla. Other existing trees are native to the islands and have adapted to the local conditions. Underplanting is quite usual and includes avocado, breadfruit, banana, cinnamon, mango, papaya, patchouli, and pineapple.
Sharks abound in the surrounding oceans, but on land there are no reptiles or mammals that present a threat to human life. The most noteworthy animal is the giant tortoise; once very plentiful, the species is now sorely depleted. There is a great variety of bird life including dozens of the world's rarest species, but very few insects.