Despite its tropical forests, Vanuatu has a limited number of plant and animal species. There are no indigenous large mammals, poisonous snakes, or spiders. The 19 species of native reptiles include the flowerpot snake, found only on Efate. There are 11 species of bat (3 unique to Vanuatu) and 61 species of land and water birds. While the small Polynesian rat is thought to be indigenous, the large species arrived with Europeans, as did domesticated hogs, dogs, and cattle. (The wild pig and fowl appear to be indigenous.)
The region is rich in sea life, with more than 4,000 species of marine mollusks. Coneshell and stonefish carry poison fatal to humans. The giant East African snail arrived only in the 1970s but already has spread from the Port-Vila region to Luganville.