Unlike other islands in the Archipelago, jagged and barren, Zannone is evenly shaped, compact, and with a lush and well preserved Mediterranean vegetation, therefore representing an ideal rest stop for thousands of migratory birds.
On the Island of Zannone, vegetation has diverse shapes and colours. Although the island presents a typical Mediterranean flora, with brooms, myrtle, tree heath and wild olive, vegetation remarkably varies according to elevation and exposition.
Clinging to the cliff, we find helichrysum; at higher elevation mastic, myrtle and heath take its place, and are shaped by the wind. Further up, the variety is more remarkable: Phillyrea, spurge, rockrose and broom, gradually replaced by strawberry trees and bushes of evergreen oak.
Completely different plants grow on the north-facing slope. Species are less numerous; there is a proper evergreen oak wood, with heath and laurel underwood. A single specimen of oak of Virgil represents the only deciduous species on the island.
Life underwater is just as luxuriant as on the land: while a thick, green wood covers the island, a thick forest of Gorgoniidae fluctuates on the seabed.
The lush vegetation makes Zannone an ideal intermediate destination for many migratory birds: beside more common species, peregrine falcons and western marsh harriers can also be spotted. Yellow-legged gulls, Scopoli's shearwaters, yelkouan shearwaters and blue rock thrushes nest on the island; migratory birds include the Montagu's harrier, the turtle dove, the swallow, the redstart, the aquatic warbler, and the woodchat shrike.
Endemic reptile species are lizards, lepidopterans, and orthopterans. A small colony of mouflons, originally brought from Sardinia in the 1920s, also lives on the island, and is now protected.