One of the biggest draws of the island is the Barbados wildlife and your opportunity to see a range of animals in their natural habitats. Although the island is only 14 miles wide and 21 miles long, there is a lot of interesting wildlife to be discovered on the island.
One of the most famous animals to be found in abundance on Barbados is the Green Monkey. So named due to its olive green fur, these creatures are considered to be one of the icons of the island by the residents.
The Green Monkeys joined the wildlife in Barbados by making their way to the island over 350 years ago from Gambia and Senegal. This was mainly due to slave ships from West Africa arriving at the island.
Green Monkeys in Barbados are very social animals but you will have to get up very early to see them as they tend to hide once the island comes alive.
They are very mischievous and are often found running across roads and inspecting resident’s gardens! They can be found in most parts of Barbados with them most commonly seen in the quieter woodlands of the central parishes.
If you want to guarantee an up close and personal experience with our Green Monkeys then you should visit the Barbados Wildlife Reserve at Farley Hill in the parish of St. Peter Parish.
Leatherback and Hawksbill Turtles
Barbados is also one of the best places to see turtles, especially the Leatherback Turtle and the Hawksbill Sea Turtle.
These beautiful sea creatures were once endangered due to over-fishing in Barbados. They are now protected and many fishermen make sure that they are well fed.
These sea turtles make their nests on our shorelines, lay their eggs in the sand and then cover them up for protection. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project has been operative since 1987 and monitors the turtles, checking for hatching eggs and to deter possible poachers.
Barbados sea turtles are very sociable animals and tend to stay in the same location, eating the coral in the reefs. In parts of Barbados it is even possible to swim with these turtles, many of which have become very accustomed to human attention and are now one of the most popular Barbados wildlife attractions.
The Barbados Mongoose
Another member of the Barbados wildlife that can be seen during your vacation is the Mongoose.
Contrary to popular belief, mongooses are not actually rodents; they are from the Herpestidae family, a carnivorous member of the cat family. These beautiful golden brown creatures were brought over to the island from India.
While some people kept them as pets it was hoped that these creatures would help kill rats that were feeding on the sugar cane crop.
The only problem with this is that mongooses are diurnal creatures where as rats are nocturnal. The rats therefore continued to feed on the sugar cane at night while the mongooses were sleeping.
Mongoose are very fast and efficient at catching snakes; this meant the snake population of Barbados dwindled instead of the rat population. This posed another problem as the snakes used to eat the rats which the mongooses were meant to get rid of!
Mongooses are very wary of humans and it is quite a privilege to see one. They frequently run across the roads in front of cars on the island, including your rental car! So keep an eye for this furry members of our Barbados wildlife while driving around the island
The Barbados Whistling Frog
As the sun begins to go down on the island, many insects and amphibians begin their evening chorus.
One such animal that inhabits the island is the Whistling Frog (Eleutherodactylus johnstonei), sometimes known as Johnstone’s Whistling Frog.
These member of the Barbados wildlife are tiny and it is extremely, extremely difficult to see them at all, especially in the dark.
With so many on the island night time turns into a chorus of whistling, the sound of which can be likened to a symphony of flutes.
It can be quite distracting if the sound is new to you because the chorus can go on for hours during the night.
Grasshoppers and Crickets
Visitors to Barbados will also be able to see and hear crickets which are grasshopper-like animals from the Gryllidae family. They are commonly mistaken for grasshoppers but crickets have longer antennae and really long hind legs for jumping.
They can usually be heard during the evening when they make a chirping noise.
Some species of grasshopper have the ability to camouflage themselves but they are easy to find on the island if you look in the right places. The chirping of a grasshopper is usually heard in the evening and is achieved by rubbing their hind legs against their forewings.
The Barbados Green Lizard
Of the three species of lizard that can be found on Barbados, the Green Lizard or Anolis extremus is one of the most fascinating.
This small creature has the ability to change its colour from a muddy brown to bright green to mimic a leaf on a tree.
Another defense tactic is to drop their tails to the ground as a distraction, with the severed appendage dancing on the floor!
These are very useful abilities for the Barbados Green Lizard to have, for this poor creature has a number of natural predators including birds, cats and monkeys. The skin of the lizard is so delicate and it is an easy catch for many of these animals in Barbados.