A Quick Guide To Barbados' Wildlife
When we think of Barbados, we often think of gorgeous beaches and warm weather, but the island has so much more to offer. Barbados is home to a vast array of interesting wildlife which you can enjoy whilst you’re there, some of which is easy to spot and some that is not.
If you’re going to be heading to Barbados soon, here is a quick wildlife guide for you, outlining the most common and quirky species so that you know what to look out for.
Perhaps the most well-known species of Barbadian wildlife is the green monkey which can be spotted all over the island, particularly in the parishes of St. John, St. Joseph, St. Andrew, and St. Thomas due to the abundance of woodland areas and natural vegetation to be found in the respective areas.
You’re more likely to hear a whistling frog before you see one as they tend to hide away during the daylight hours. This species is well known for its mating call which comes in the form of a quick, low note which is immediately followed by a higher-pitched, longer note. Whistling frogs differ from other frogs as their eggs hatch into fully-formed frogs rather than tadpoles.
Wood Doves can be found all over Barbados and are brown on top and red on the bottom, with black spots and a rounded tail feather. This sociable bird can be seen feeding close to water and they’re known to swallow fine gravel in an attempt to assist digestion. Whilst this bird is known for getting along well with other species, it is not uncommon for them to become aggressive with their own species.
The mongoose was introduced to Barbados to control the rat population which was causing damage to the much-celebrated sugarcane industry. However, this endeavour wasn’t entirely successful due to rats feeding on sugarcane at night whilst mongooses would hunt at dawn. It is quite a challenge to spot a mongoose in Barbados, but they are seen from time to time scurrying across roads and into fields.
Unlike a stereotypical sheep, the blackbelly sheep has coarse reddish brown or beige hair instead of wool and they’re thought to have been brought to Barbados from Africa or Brazil. Due to their colouring, they’re often mistaken for small deer or antelopes.
Contrary to the popular belief, fireflies are actually winged beetles as opposed to flies. These tiny insects are best known for seemingly glowing, an effect which is caused by a chemical reaction called bioluminescence which is primarily used to ward off predators and enable the insects to recognise their own species.
Despite their name meaning 1,000 legs, millipedes tend to have between 30 and a few hundred legs. Barbados’ millipedes are usually dark in colour with shades of brown, red, or orange as well and can be found in dark, damp areas. They primarily feed on living or decomposing vegetation and can often be found in Barbados homes during rainy seasons as they are unable to survive in much water.
The Barbados Bullfinch, also known as ‘the sparrow bird’, are small and stout birds which are usually grey or brown in colour. They tend to have short tails and forceful beaks and the males and females often look the same. This bird can be found all over the island and are known for being sociable and adapting well to humans.
Will you be visiting Barbados soon? Check out our guide to visiting Barbados with children.