Go Wild In Barbados
Barbados is home to a wide range of native animals, and you’re bound to spot a few during your time on the island. We have all you need to know about Barbados’ fauna right here on Totally Barbados.
The native wildlife of Barbados is varied and ranges from black belly sheep to Bajan green monkeys, the local mongoose, and swimming turtles.
The infamous Barbados black belly sheep is exactly that; a sheep with a black belly. Despite looking like the common goat, these sheep are called ‘hair sheep’ as they do not grow wool.
This breed of domestic sheep originally developed in Barbados from sheep brought over in the 1600s by African slave traders and is still found all over the island to this very day.
The black belly sheep are very easy to identify as they are various shades of brown with distinctive black hair covering the inside of their legs and underneath their bellies. They also have two black stripes, called ‘bars,’ which run down the front of their face inside the eyebrows and down to the muzzle. The black belly ram (male) is distinguished from the black belly ewe (female) by the coarse hair around its neck and a long heavy mane underneath.
The black belly sheep in Barbados is mainly raised for meat consumption and is often featured in stews and curries as well as roasts and racks of lamb, island-wide.
The Barbados green monkey was also brought initially over to Barbados from regions of West Africa during the slave trade. Many monkeys then escaped or were released and became ‘naturalized’ in Barbados.
The green monkey has a thick coat of brownish-grey fur, with highlights of yellow and green, making their overall appearance look green in color, hence the name the ‘green monkey.’
One of Barbados’ most famous residents, these notoriously cheeky animals, can be found island-wide, especially in bushier or countryside areas.
The fast-moving Barbados mongoose is often seen scurrying along with the countryside areas of the island like St. Lucy or St. Philip.
It’s a slender, furry creature with a brown/grey coat. It has a long body, short legs, and a bushy tail, and is comparable to a Weasel or a Stoat.
The mongoose was first introduced to Barbados from India in the 1870s as part of a plan to combat the increasing rat population, which was posing a threat to the sugar cane industry – Barbados’ economic lifeline at that time. However, this plan hit an unfortunate snag and backfired as the rat is a nocturnal animal and the mongoose tends to scurry along by day.
The swimming turtles of Barbados include the Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles. Both of these sea turtles nest in Barbados; however, in recent times, their nesting grounds have come under threat by infrastructure on the coastline such as hotel developments.
You’ll find countless opportunities to swim with these turtles and even feed them, during your stay in Barbados – an experience not to be missed.
What Else Can I Find?
Barbados also is home to many other kinds of animals. Just some of which are the European hare, whistling frogs, all manner of birds, lizards, as well as rats and house mice.
As you can see, you won’t be short of animals to sight during your stay on the island. We recommend always having your camera handy for those prime photo opportunities.
For more information, click on one of the links in our related articles section below.
Author: Brett Callaghan