Published On: Mon, Dec 22nd, 2014

Curaçao wildlife

Reptiles

Iguana1Whiptail lizards, endemic to Curaçao, can be found basking in the sun almost wherever you step. The slender brown ones (“lagadishi”) are the females and young, the larger blue green ones (“blò-blò”) the mature males of the same species. Geckos inhabit the scrubby trees, feeding on those ever-present mosquitos. The male anole (“totèki” or “kaku”) boasts an impressive bright yellow and orange dewlap, which he pompously fans to attract females and ward off attackers. One species of gecko, a translucent tan color, with bulging black eyes and splayed limbs, has sucker feet, which allows it to scale walls. Locals call this species the “plakiplak” (“stickystick”). All of these mentioned species are harmless.

Without a doubt, the iguana (“yuana”) is the king of Curaçao reptiles and its meat and eggs are coveted as supposedly powerful aphrodisiacs. In fact, iguana soup is a local delicacy.

Two species of snakes can be found on Curaçao, and both are completely harmless. Four types of sea turtles are common in our waters—the Green Turtle, the Hawksbill Turtle, the Loggerhead and the Leatherback Turtle. The first three make use of a few small beaches, located at the protected area in Shete Boka Park, to lay their eggs.

Mammals

The island hosts a total of 11 native breeds of mammals, which are the Curaçao White-tailed Deer, some field mice, small rabbits, and eight species of bats. The deer and bats are endangered species. Recent work has shown the key role bats play in the terrestrial ecosystem as the only principal pollinators of columnar cacti, which are a key food source for many species during dry periods. It is not uncommon to see goats or donkeys wandering the streets, particularly in the more rural areas.

Birding

Whether you are comfortably settled on a beach chair, strolling along the picturesque waterfront or trekking intrepidly through the underbrush, you're certain to come into contact with several of Curaçao's native birds. More than 168 bird species have been registered on Curaçao. At least 51 of these species are breeding birds, 71 are migrants from North America, 19 are visitors from South America and 19 are seabirds. The most common of the native birds include the Trupial, a black bird with a bright orange underbelly and white swatches on its wings, and the Cuchubi, the Caribbean mocking bird. Another typical bird is the “barikageel” which translates to “yellow belly.” These are little black birds with a bright yellow belly. Fall in love with Curaçao bird watching – a fun and informative way to spend an afternoon.

For more information about the Curaçao wildlife visit: www.carmabi.org.

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