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The Beautiful and Exotic
Animals in Jamaica

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Animals in Jamaica | Jamaican BirdAnimals in Jamaica | Jamaican Bird

By Wellesley Gayle

I already provided you a brief introduction to plants and animals in Jamaica on this page, but here is a little more about our animals in here in Jamaica.


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Here is a list of the notable species of animals in Jamaica and some facts about them.

  • Jamaican Iguana
  • Crocodiles
  • Mongoose
  • Coney or Jamaican Hutia
  • More than 200 species of birds, 25 of which are endemic and
  • 21 subspecies which are found nowhere else.
  • Over 100 different types of butterflies including the endangered Swallowtail Butterfly
  • 2 Endemic parrots [The Yellow-billed and the Black-billed parrot]
  • Sea turtles ( Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green Turtle and Hawksbill) &
  • Manatees, plus
  • Over a dozen different kinds of frogs and
  • 25 species of Harmless Bats!

Indian Mongoose

It is interesting to note that the Indian mongoose (Herpestus Griseus or H. mungo-grown), which grows wild, has been naturalized in Jamaica, where it has been carried to from India in the days of the plantations. Its first introduction into Jamaica was in 1872, and ten years later the animal was credited with saving many thousands of pounds annually by its destruction of rats.

But before an equal space of time had further elapsed, it had itself become a pest killing many of our other endemic animals including lizards. Today though they appear to be minimal in Jamaica although every now and then you drive past a dead one on the roads -killed by automobiles.

Birds

We already mentioned the diversity of birdlife in Jamaica above. Yep, more than 200 bird species have been recorded here, including migratory birds, 27 of which are endemic. Parrots, green todies, cuckoos, pelicans and the national symbol hummingbirds are especially abundant.

By the way, guided bird-watching tours are available everywhere in Jamaica, including Rocklands Bird Sanctuary; one of the to places I listed on my Top 5 Things to Do in Jamaica page.

Bird Feeding in JamaicaBird Feeding in Jamaica

Reptiles

Jamaica has plenty of reptiles, but none of them is venomous. The native Crocodile is found in wetlands and mangrove swamps along the south coast (I am reminiscing my Black River Safari trip in 2006). There are several species of snakes here, including the Jamaican Boa/Yellow Snake, blind snakes, grass snake, Jamaican dwarf boa, ground snake and more. 

You can find a picture of us on the boat on my Pictures of Jamaica page.

Fishes 

The turquoise waters washing Jamaica are clear and warm all year. They caress the seabed, covered with multi-hued coral reefs, home to an uncountable quantity and diversity of bright exotic tropical fish. Some of the most common are yellowfin tuna, white marlin, barracuda, mahi-mahi, and wahoo.

Additionally:

  • Lizards and frogs are everywhere, iguanas hang on to survival in remote backwaters, and there are plenty of snakes. Bat species are the most numerous of the mammals.
  • Marine turtles also find Jamaica's beaches to be appealing as nest sites. The mountain mullet is the most prevalent freshwater fish, and there are four species of crayfish.
  • Jamaica has few indigenous mammals. We also have cows, horses, goats and donkeys - all a non-threat, so if you are coming to Jamaica, that should not be a concern if you plan to do some hiking!
  • The only native land mammal is the endangered Jamaican Hutia, the same cony - a large brown rodent looking like a guinea pig.
Jamaican Turtle in my BackyardJamaican Turtle in my Backyard

What animal is only found in Jamaica?

The Jamaican hutia, the Yellow Billed & Black Billed Amazon Parrots, The Doctor Bird (national bird), the Jamaica Iguana and the Jamaican swallowtail butterfly are all uniquely found in Jamaica.

What dangerous animals are in Jamaica?

When compared to most places, even the most dangerous animals in Jamaica don’t seem quite dangerous at all. Scorpions, fortylegs,  the Brown Recluse Spider, crocodiles and stingrays are some of the most dangerous animals in Jamaica. 

What animal is Jamaica known for?

Jamaica is known for the humming bird, which as I mentioned before is our national bird. It is known also as the red-billed streamer tail or the doctor bird. 

What is the largest animal in Jamaica?

The Jamaican Iguana, which is now considered as a critically endangered species, is the largest animal that is native to Jamaica.

Do remember that the JPAT (Jamaica Proctected Areas Trust) which was mentioned in the 'Plants and Animals in Jamaica'  main page has developed a website which provides information on the Protected Areas in the island - homes to many of our native plants and animals in Jamaica.  

Here is the Link to JPAT 

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Watch Video!

We had a most memorable moment chilling with the birds at the Rockland's bird sanctuary and got the chance to see how they feed too!

Return to Plants and Animals in Jamaica from Animals in Jamaica
Return to My Island Jamaica Homepage from Animals in Jamaica

References & Sources For Animals in Jamaica

  1. https://www.my-island-jamaica.com/plants_and_animals_in_jamaica.html 
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