What could possibly make an idyllic Caribbean island surrounded by sparkling hues of blue and tradewinds year round, better? Why, it’s animal life, of course!
Thousands of people make the journey to the southern hemisphere of the Caribbean to visit the beautiful island of Curacao, most well-known for its iconic liqueur. What many people don’t know about Curacao is that it’s home to some fascinating critters, and the chances are high that you’ll get to meet at least a few them, when you visit! For those of you planning a trip, or who just genuinely enjoy learning about wildlife around the globe, we are pleased to introduce you to Curacao’s critters.
Meet the Animals of Curacao
Say what? Deer on a tiny speck of land in the middle of the Caribbean Sea? You may be thinking Christopher Columbus was involved, but alas, in this situation he was not. As it turns out, the white-tailed deer have lived on Curacao before Columbus. The popular theory is that the islands first human inhabitants, the Arawak Indians, brought the deer from South America. The animals are now considered natives, and it’s a crime to harm them in any way! It’s quite exciting to catch a glimpse of one of these beautiful deer while exploring the island.
Birds, Birds, and More Birds
Curacao is a bird watching paradise, with over 168 species of birds having been identified over the centuries. Some of our favorites to spot include:
- Pink Flamingos
- Bare-Eyed Pigeon
- Tropical Mockingbird
- Saffron Finch
- Curacao Conure
- Yellow Warbler
- Crest Caracara
- Yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot
Everyone’s Favorite: Sea Turtles
Curacao is blessed to have four different types of sea turtles visit the island: the Green, the Hawksbill, the Loggerhead, and the Leatherback. Each of these species lays eggs on Curacao, typically in the national park called Shete Boka, in a protected area. On Klein Curacao, aka little Curacao, a nearby abandoned island, there is an even larger nesting site.
Though it is much less prevalent today, iguana stew used to be a staple of many Curacaoan’s diets. The reality is, the island has many iguanas! Very exciting to spot, there are a few different types of iguanas on Curacao. The Green Iguana is perhaps the more favorable aesthetically speaking. It also brings to mind images of dinosaurs, which makes sense since our reptilian friends have been around for quite some time.
Low on Mammals
Being an arid desert climate, Curacao has very few mammals. The 11 mammal species include the cottontail rabbit, mouse, white-tailed deer, and eight species of bats, and that’s all!
A Few More Reptiles
Low on mammals the island may be, low on reptiles it is not. Curacao has its fair share of lizards, geckos, iguanas, snakes (none are poisonous), and the red-eared slider turtle. The island also has a few species of toads and frogs.
Plenty of Sea Life
Far and wide Curacao’s most active fauna is under the sea. We already mentioned the four different species of sea turtles, who co-exist alongside plenty of other creatures:
- Moray eels
- Southern stingray
- Eagle ray
- Queen Conch
- Blue Tang
- Smooth trunkfish
- Glass-eye snapper
- Queen Triggerfish
…and many, many more! The sea life is best experienced on a guided snorkel or scuba dive tour.
Alright folks, there you have it, a quick introduction to the critters of Curacao, all of which you might be able to see next time you visit! If you’d like any help planning out tours and excursions to see the wildlife in the wild, then go ahead and contact us! We are happy to help you plan and ensure you see as many creatures as your heart desires.