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Most Dangerous Animals In Jamaica?


Photo Source: Jamaica Gleaner

What are the most dangerous animals in Jamaica? || Answered by Aneisha Dobson, Associate Writer

When we talk about Jamaica, we tend to focus on the music, food, natural attractions and other elements of the culture.

Today, however, I want to highlight the islands biodiversity – specifically our animals.

Blessed with a diverse wildlife, Jamaica is the home to several species of animals. Some animals are endemic to the island, while others can be found in other parts of the world.

Birds are definitely one of the most diverse species of animal. In fact, there are approximately 300 species of animals, in which around 30 are endemic to the island.

By virtue of Jamaica being an island, our marine life holds a wide variety as well. However, is there danger lurking behind the exotic beauty?

Let’s talk snakes!

The Jamaican Boa is the largest of the seven species of snakes on the island. It is capable of reaching over six and a half feet in length. While this crawling reptile may appear frightening at first glance, it is not poisonous.

In fact, all seven species of snakes on the island are harmless. In truth, despite their appearance and various myths, the majority of Jamaica’s animals are relatively harmless.

However, do not take that for granted. A few creatures here are considered dangerous, especially when you trespass into their natural habitats.

Here is a list of, in my opinion, five (5) of the island’s most dangerous animals.

  1. American Crocodiles

    Although Jamaicans have the tendency to refer to these large reptiles as "alligetta", in truth they are actually crocodiles.

    Notably the largest reptile in the island, the American Crocodiles are usually found on the southern coast of the island. These large lizards prefer brackish waters and are found in mangrove swamps.

    They are not endemic to the island though, as they can also be found in the wetlands of Cuba, Cayman Islands and Florida.

    Here in Jamaica, the highest concentration of crocodiles can be found in Black River, located in St. Elizabeth.

    These large reptiles are also found near the south east of Hellshire, Portmore in the parish of St. Catherine.

    They can grow up to six meters long and their meals usually consist of frogs, turtles, small mammals and small birds.

    According to the National Environmental & Planning Agency (NEPA), crocodiles are usually docile, but may become aggressive when harassed. NEPA also urges citizens to stay clear of the reptile’s natural habitat.

    However, there have been cases where unsuspecting humans have been fatally attacked by the animal. One such person is 67-year-old Wilford Edmondson. Whilst fishing with friends in the Hellshire Pond area of Portmore, Edmondson became the victim of a crocodile attack on August 26, 2018.

    The croc carried him into the mangroves and inflicted wounds to his head. Tragically, Edmondson died and only a part of his body was recovered.

    It is also important to note that crocodiles are protected under the Wild Life Protection Act. Thus, it is an offense to have a crocodile or a part of crocodile in your possession.

  2. Sharks

    Some of the most dangerous animals are actually found underwater. Amongst the list of dangerous aquatic animals are sharks.

    Sharks that are found in Jamaican waters are those that prefer to inhabit warm waters. These include Caribbean reef sharks, nurse sharks, tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks and bull sharks. Read more on Sharks in Jamaica here.

    There have been very few shark attacks and most occur in deep waters. Such is the case with the death of Nicholas Malcolm. The shark attack occurred in St. Mary on September 19, 2018 where Nicholas Malcolm, a fisherman, was killed. Malcolm was underwater fishing at the famous James Bond beach with a friend when he was attacked.

  3. Jellyfish

    While not as dangerous as sharks and crocodiles, an encounter with a jellyfish can still cut your beach trip short.

    This seemingly jelly-like creature is known for inflicting painful stings to unsuspecting swimmers.

    In 2010, four individuals were reported to have been stung by jellyfish at the Turtle Towers, Puerto Seco, Priory beaches.

    While none of the victim received life threatening injuries, one of the victims described the injury as severe burning of the skin after being stung.

  4. Stingrays

    Another aquatic animal you may want to stay clear from are stingrays. As the stingray glides through the crystal waters, it appears somewhat calm.

    However, once disturbed a stingray can pack a wicked sting. Most stingray attacks occur when the animal is stepped on. It defends itself by jabbing its stinger, which is at the base of its tail, into its victim.

    It can be very difficult to pinpoint the sea creature’s location since it can camouflage itself under the sand. However, I have yet to find any instances of stingray attacks on the island.

    In fact, visitors can actually have a one-on-one encounter with these sea creatures at Dolphin Cove. Don’t worry, their barbs are removed.

  5. Pit bull dogs

    Now, let’s get back on land. Although pit bulls are treated as household pets, they have a reputation for being extremely dangerous.

    While not frequent, pit bull attacks are not rare in Jamaica. In fact, in the past, the animal has been known to attack strangers and owners alike.

    In 2012, two-year-old girl was killed by a pit bull in St. Catherine. In that same year, a mother and her 14-month-old son were also attacked.

    Despite this fact, it is not illegal to purchase the animal, once done with the necessary permits. As such, the police have warned owners to keep their animal properly secured in order to prevent it from getting into contact with the public.

    Passers-by are asked to take extreme precaution when approaching premises where pit bulls are being kept.

    Ask me and I'll tell you that they are my biggest fear!

As you can see, our island's animals are not all dangerous, in fact, most are not, so you can breathe a sigh of relief.

However, that does not mean that you should throw all caution out the window.

So, if you come across these critters take the necessary precautions.

In fact, I highly recommend that you consider getting Rough Guides' Rough Guide To Jamaica! Its a comprehensive guide covering tips, cautions, recommendations and also the best of Jamaica. You can check the current price on

Be sure to read more about animals in Jamaica here.

So what's your most feared animal? Share it with us in the comment section below.



  • Jamaican Animals Did you know.... (n.d.). Retrieved from Real Jamaica Vacations:

  • Gibb, N. (2019, January 21). What to do when stung by a stingray? Retrieved from

  • Jamaica Gleaner. (2010, August 3). Swimmers stung by jellyfish at St Ann beaches. Retrieved from Jamaica Gleaner:

  • Loop News . (2018, August 27). Crocodile kills man in Portmore. Retrieved from Loop News :

  • RJR News Online. (2014, January 7). Beware of Pit Bulls! Retrieved from RJR News Online:

  • RJR News Online. (2018, September 21). Fisherman killed in shark attack in St. Mary. Retrieved from RJR News Online:

  • Sharks in Jamaica: Why Jamaica Wouldn't Make the Cut for an Episode of Shark Week. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Comments for Most Dangerous Animals In Jamaica?

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 14, 2020
Very Accurate
by: Anonymous

As an owner of 2 lovely Staffordshire terriers, it pains me to admit that pitbulls do year after year make the list of top 10 dogs to have kill humans. As a child in St Elizabeth, i heard of well more dog attacks then Crocodile. It greatly disturbs me that my fellow pitbull owners could try arguing the facts. I found this article to be very accurate. Next time it would be more appropriate to start an article like this by saying something along the lines of "Here is a list of, in my opinion, five of the island’s most dangerous animals."

Jun 05, 2020
Horrible article!
by: Anonymous

If someone pays you to be a writer, they need to fire you. Your ignorance on pitbulls is absolutely disgusting. You should stick with facts and leave opinion out of your articles.

Apr 26, 2020
It wasn’t horrible until I got further down...
by: Anonymous

You really have zero education in any animals. Boas are not harmless though they are not poisonous they can very easily eat small pets and children as well as leave a nasty bite with infections. Alligators are less likely to attack unless provoked but it is still smart to keep an eye peeled. However it is unlikely to encounter them in the ocean or away from dense areas or a read with tree and such. They can very well take an arm or leg or end a small pet or child(rens) life(ves). Lastly, the pit bull thing.. are you serious? Yes they can attack but so can any other breed of dog. It is not a fact that they are an aggressive breed nor do they attack anymore often than any other breed of dog. You have not done any real research other than experiences on "your" island. Just saying you shouldn’t have a biased article when trying to educate others.

Apr 25, 2020
Yeah right
by: mb

Golden Retrievers as dangerous as Pit Bulls??? Gimme a break

Apr 19, 2020
False Information About Pitfalls
by: Anonymous

That Pitbull

Reference was highly uneducated post. Any breed of dog may become agressive and to catagorize this breed with wild animals for ''dangerous animals in Jamaica'' is wrong. Research with evidence should be provided before writing such accusations about a dog's breed.

Jan 22, 2020
Terrible Article
by: Anonymous

This is truly a terribly written article for many reasons. In regards to the content, you are obviously quite uneducated when it comes to dogs and your prejudice towards pit bulls, which are truly amazing dogs.Its a fact that every year other dog breeds bite people, for example, golden retrievers & shitzus. Pit bulls are amazing, loving, & extremely loyal pets..Next time you "write" an article, first do your research on what you are writing about, & keep your personal fears out of it. Nobody cares.

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