CAYMAN'S ANIMAL LIFE
Although the Cayman Islands are not as lush as some of their Caribbean neighbours, they are nonetheless home to a wide variety of wildlife with a number of endemic and protected species. Some of the wildlife to look out for includes:
Once upon a time, turtles were the main inhabitants of the islands. Over fishing has reduced their numbers dramatically but thanks to the conservation work of the Turtle Farm and their programme of releasing hatchlings back into the sea, you may well see green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles in the sea. Alternatively at the Turtle Farm you can see, touch and even swim with captive turtles.
These rabbit sized rodents are shy creatures who inhabit forested areas and are rarely seen. They were introduced to the islands to control the rat population. However, rats being nocturnal creatures and agoutis being day time hunters, the agoutis turned to snakes for food. As snakes are the natural predators of rats, the introduction of agoutis had the opposite of the desired effect, and caused rat populations to swell.
There are four species of snakes found on the island. All are harmless grass snakes and not a cause for concern. As they are hunted by the agoutis, they are quite rare.
A variety of fresh water turtle, hickatees are found in the fresh water and brackish ponds around the islands.
Iguanas: Three varieties of iguana inhabit the islands:
Bats are the only mammals native to the Cayman Islands. Nine species of bats have been found in the Cayman Islands. All are rare or very rare and one species is nowhere else in the world other than Grand Cayman. They are vital in maintaining a balanced ecology and harmless to humans.
Over 200 species of bird are found in the islands, some 50 of which are resident populations. There are 5 seabird colonies and seven bird sanctuaries. Species found in the Cayman Islands include bananaquits, boobies, frigate birds, herons, egrets, ducks, sandpipers, terns.
The Grand Cayman Parrot and the Cayman Brac parrots are endemic to their respective islands and both are protected species. With iridescent green bodies and white eye patches, they are well camouflaged when sitting amongst foliage.