Cuba, better known as the land of Castro. It has been an off-limits country for so long that people are just now beginning to remember it exists outside of wars and PBS specials. Exist it does, though, and it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Cuba is a haven for all things exotic: from people to food to some of the most lovely, and rare, wildlife in the world. It has more native wildlife than any other Caribbean island, and a booming eco-tourist trade because of it. So come join the people who are in the know, and discover some of the most amazing animals anywhere.
Cuba is one of the tropical islands, which means it is home to a host of colorful avian creatures of all shapes and sizes. Some of the most popular are:
Cuban Hummingbird, or Bee Hummingbird
This tiny bird is thought to be the smallest in the world. It grows to be no more than two and a quarter inches long and weighs less than a dime, making it difficult to spot among the flowers that provide its food. It is most typically found in gardens, forests and valleys where there are plenty of flowers to choose from, and is an endemic species to Cuba.
This bird is a favorite of Cuba’s people, since its markings are the same colors as the Cuban flag. It is known as Cuba’s national bird, and is strikingly beautiful with blue, black, white and red feathers.
This bird is endemic to the island, and is a lovely green with red spots on his head. Intelligent as any other parakeet, he can mimic sounds with enough exposure to them, and has been listed as vulnerable due to lack of habitat.
This bird defends very small patches of territory in forests or mostly wooded areas. There are only five species of Tody in the world, and all of them are found on the Caribbean islands. The Cuban Tody is endemic to the country.
This bird was thought to be extinct, but was recently found in a corner of the island. It lives in heavily forested land, and eats mainly snails. It is listed as critically endangered.
Though birds are beautiful and graceful, they are not the only exotic animals to be found on the island. Land and sea animals, too, are widely available for animal watching. A few of them are:
This is an endemic rodent. It is thought to be the largest endemic rodent on the island, growing up to sixty centimeters, roughly two feet, in length. It looks something like a beaver, but is found in trees and rocky areas and eats everything from fruit to small mammals.
Crocodiles are found most places there are swampy areas and heat. Cuba is no exception. It used to be found on other Caribbean islands, but hunting has decreased its habitat. This rather spectacular version of the well-known lizard can grow up to sixteen feet long and can jump out of the water in order to grab a hutia from its perch in a tree.
There are a number of bats flying around the warm Cuban skies at night. The Butterfly Bat is one of the smallest bats currently known to exist, with a wing span of a tiny five inches and weighing in at less than an ounce. On the other end of the spectrum is the Greater Bulldog Bat, which lives near water since its main food source is fish. Perhaps the most interesting of the bats is the Pallid Bat, who has extremely large ears for its small frame.
Cuban Tree Frog
This is another endemic species. It is the largest tree frog in North America, lives in moist areas and is active at night. It is also a carnivore, eating just about anything it can catch.
This, the smallest frog species in the Northern Hemisphere, does not have a common name. It can fit on a dime, and it’s written name is actually longer than the animal itself. It lives in the area of Monte Iberia, and was discovered in the 1990′s. It too, is endemic to Cuba.
There are two very interesting fish that are native to Cuba. The Goliath Grouper, which can grow up to eight feet long and weigh up to eight hundred pounds, and the Lucifuga Fish, which is a cave-dweller that has no eyes and almost no pigment. There are four types of Lucifuga fish in Cuba. Much like any cave creature, these fish are sensitive to light, and will typically swim away from anyone with bright lights.
Cuba is a wonderful, beautiful place with wonderful, beautiful animals; some of which cannot be seen anywhere else on the planet. Come take a vacation and spend some time watching some of nature’s most interesting creations while sampling the unique culture of the island’s people.