Barbados, a small but perfectly formed tropical paradise, might be best known for its beaches and watersports, but there is also an interesting array of wonderful animals there. The government has done a good job of preserving the coral reefs which protect the coastline, and thus the habitats of a number of native creatures. Inland, there are a number of well kept tropical gardens, as well as the Barbados Wildlife Reserve – famous for Green Monkeys. Taking time to experience some of the wonderful animals that call Barbados home should be on every visitor’s agenda.
There are two hummingbirds in Barbados – the diminutive Antillean Crested Hummingbird, and the Green-Throated Carib. They can often be seen hunting for nectar amongst the colourful flowers in the many tropical gardens across the island.
These shy but curious monkeys originate from west Africa, and have been in Barbados for around 350 years. They can be seen all across the island, but especially in the Barbados Wildlife Reserve where they like to feed in the afternoon.
Barbados Green Face Monkey |© Joe Ross/Flickr
The mongoose can be found across the island, having been originally introduced to tame the snake population. In fact they were so successful in their mission, that Barbados now has very few snakes, and certainly none to really worry about when exploring the island.
Barbados is famous for its Sea Turtles. The protected reef helps create the perfect habitat for these interesting creatures. Many of them have become so accustomed to the presence of humans that they are almost tame and perfectly happy for you to swim with them.
Nocturnal creatures, bats come out to play at approximately 7pm, although they spend the days hanging out (literally) in caves and other dark places. They’re best spotted shortly after sunset as they come out to feed. In Barbados, the bats are a vital part of the ecosystem, keeping the insect population under control – something every visitor to the tropics should be thankful for.
Another creature that prefers to come out at night, the Whistling Frog is responsible for providing Barbados’ natural backing music once the sun goes down. These tiny little frogs (males are just 2.3cm long) prefer wet habitats such as lush tropical gardens and they get their name from the two-tone male mating call.
Thought to have arrived from Africa with early European settlers, the Barbados Blackbelly is particularly well adapted to the heat and is quite hardy. Farmed for the domestic food market and for export to breeders, the Blackbelly, which looks something like a small deer, can be seen grazing on pastures across the island.
These small creatures are everywhere in Barbados, and are usually seen scurrying along the sides of buildings and rocks. Interestingly, they are able to discard their tails if escaping a predator. Sometimes known as the cock lizard by locals due to the male’s habit of head-bobbing and puffing out the neck to attract females.