Most Dangerous Animals In Jamaica?
Photo Source: Jamaica GleanerWhat 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 Amazon.com
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: https://www.real-jamaica-vacations.com/jamaican-animals.html
- Gibb, N. (2019, January 21). What to do when stung by a stingray? Retrieved from https://www.liveabout.com/safely-dive-with-stingrays-2962961
- Jamaica Gleaner. (2010, August 3). Swimmers stung by jellyfish at St Ann beaches. Retrieved from Jamaica Gleaner: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/power/21451
- Loop News . (2018, August 27). Crocodile kills man in Portmore. Retrieved from Loop News : http://www.loopjamaica.com/content/crocodile-kills-man-portmore
- RJR News Online. (2014, January 7). Beware of Pit Bulls! Retrieved from RJR News Online: http://www.rjrnewsonline.com/local/beware-of-pit-bulls_1
- RJR News Online. (2018, September 21). Fisherman killed in shark attack in St. Mary. Retrieved from RJR News Online: http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/fisherman-killed-in-shark-attack-in-st-mary
- Sharks in Jamaica: Why Jamaica Wouldn't Make the Cut for an Episode of Shark Week. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://blog.makeitjamaica.com/sharks-in-jamaica/
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