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List of the most popular wildlife you might see in Oahu

Oahu_HFOIA6a path with trees on the side of a mountain

Hawaii is considered a tropical state, and it is not a secret that tropical regions receive more solar energy than temperate countries. They have fewer seasonal variations and have more or less stable environments. Due to this, seeing a higher diversity in species is not new in Hawaii despite its relatively small size. 

Moreover, this Aloha state is among the most isolated archipelagos globally. Each island is isolated enough to create unique biogeography for countless wildlife species. It is estimated that over 21,000 species of wildlife are taking up a habitat in Hawaiian rainforests and oceans. With that in mind, keeping the animals in mind on your next vacation in Hawaii is certainly a must.

Oahu is known for its numerous clean beaches and mouth-watering dishes. But apart from these, the Gathering Place can also be a rewarding place for nature lovers. If you go on an Oahu tour, be prepared to be rewarded with the view of many different species across the island.


Below are some of the most popular wildlife you might encounter on your Oahu tour:


  • Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins

black and white dolphin in water_HDufhn

In the kingdom of Animalia, dolphins are among the most intelligent creatures. They live in complex social groups and their brains evolved to be highly developed. Their brains contribute to why they are friendly with humans and have the emotional intelligence to become compassionate and empathic. 

When you spend your vacation in Hawaii, it is more likely that you will see spinner dolphins, especially if you book a dolphin snorkeling excursion. Spinner dolphins are known to be less aggressive and friendlier compared to their family, the bottlenose dolphins. Spinner dolphins were given their name due to jumping out of the waters before spinning around. 

If you are interested or want to know about this Oahu tour, you may visit the Go Tours Hawaii website at

But remember that despite being friendly, these creatures are still part of Hawaii’s wildlife. This means that they should be treated with the utmost respect, so when you encounter them while on a swim, keep a safe distance from them for your and their safety. 


  • Sea Turtles

underwater photography of turtle on coral reefs_HIDOA

In Hawaii, sea turtles or Honu are considered sacred animals. These creatures have played an important role in Hawaiian culture for hundreds of years. Sea turtles were utilized in traditional ceremonies, and many families have referred to them as aumakua or family spirits. Aumakuas are familial guardians or ancestors that can assume the form of animals or plants to guide the family they left behind. 

A Hawaiian vacation to Oahu will allow you to witness the beauty of Honus. Despite their seemingly large size, they are friendly, and if you are snorkeling in the waters of Hawaii, you might even experience them swimming next to you. If you want to have fun snorkeling with the sea turtles, you may book a turtle canyon and Oahu tour through Go Tours Hawaii. If you are interested or want to know more about this excursion, you can check this link:

However, you have to be careful as they are protected species. Touching and feeding them is a serious offense that might cost you hefty fines and other non-monetary punishments. 


  • Whales


The humpback whale is officially recognized as Hawaii’s official aquatic mammal. This creature is also regarded as the official state animal. Given their importance to the islands, it is easy to see why. Humpback whales are also known as kohola in Hawaiian, and they have taken an important place in the island’s culture.

In the Kumulipo, a 2,000-line Hawaiian creation chant, whales are introduced in the 16th verse in the time of po or darkness. In the chant, it is said that whales will help to usher in the time of ao or light when the man is made – Hanau ka palaoa noho i kai (Born is the whale living in the ocean). Moreover, they are also believed to be aumakua, just like the sea turtles. 

From November to April, humpback whales make their annual journey to Hawaii. So if you want to watch these beautiful creatures swim as they travel to the islands of Hawaii, an Oahu tour would be a great idea.


  • Hawaiian Monk Seals

sea lion in water during daytime_GDUw

Hawaii is a place of culture and many traditional rituals, and the Hawaiian monk seals also have an outstanding contribution to this. In many Hawaiian native literature and oral stories, these creatures have been mentioned many times.

But apart from the cultural and historical significance of monk seals, they play a significant role in Hawaii’s diverse ecosystem. Since these animals are carnivores in nature, they are apex predators responsible for keeping the populations of some marine animals under control. They ensure that the numbers will not increase to dangerous levels. 

A Hawaiian vacation may allow you to see monk seals, but there are things that you have to consider – they are one of the most endangered species in the world. Their population has been declining for six decades, and while their current numbers are slowly increasing, they are only about one-third of historic population levels. Therefore when you encounter a monk seal, you must remember to keep a distance and never disturb the animal. Failure to comply can result in penalties of five-year imprisonment and a $50,000 fine.


  • Birds

black duck swimming on body of waterphoto-1451493683580-9ec8db457610

Being a tropical state, Hawaii is gifted with many bird species. It is recorded that there are over one hundred endemic species of birds on the island. On your Oahu vacation, one bird species that you might see is the Nene goose, Hawaii’s state bird. 

The Nene goose is the rarest type of goose in the world. In 1967, they were almost on the brink of extinction. They were only re-introduced to the wild when their numbers slowly recovered. Through the efforts of protecting these birds, the nene goose is finally off the list of endangered animals after sixty long years.

If you want a chance to encounter some of Hawaii’s endemic bird species, booking a botanical garden tour in Oahu is an excellent choice. Go Tours Hawaii offers a tour to the Waimea botanical garden or Waterfall, where you can witness the beauty of many bird species.

For more information about the tour, you may check out Go Tours Hawaii website or click on this link:


Oahu Wildlife Watching Spots

Now that you know about the list of animals you might encounter on your Hawaiian vacation, here are some of the places you can visit to spot these animals.



Have fun in Hawaii with Go Tours Hawaii

Going on a Hawaiian vacation should be fun and exciting. This is the time when you can just relax. Thus, it should not be filled with anxieties and hassles. So if you are looking for a way to achieve a relaxing getaway, try checking out Go Tours Hawaii.


We are a local Hawaii tour operator specializing in Oahu tours. Let us take you on an unforgettable Oahu vacation you will remember for a lifetime. For more information about us, what we do, and the list of our tours, you can visit our website at