Secret Cuba

Cuba: a Naturalist's Paradise

Bee Hummingbird                 

Cuban Boa      

Cuban Croc

Cuban Hutia

Bee Humming-bird:
the world's smallest bird

MajŠ de Santamaria -
Cuba's Boa Constrictor

Cuban crododile : an
estimated 6,000 of these remain

MajŠ de Santamaria waits at a cave entrance in Eastern Cuba, to catch & kill emerging bats

Santamarias grow up to 15 ft (5 m ) long

The Iguana is Cuba's biggest lizard.
This 3 ft. one was seen on the wall of the Morro castle, near Santiago
The Tocororo, Cuba's national bird.
It's got the same colours - red, white and blue - as the Cuban flag
Cuban Painted Snail very rare Cuban Solenodon




   Cuba has for years been famous for Socialist Politics, Salsa Music, and beautiful beaches. So much so, that other important aspects of the island have been ignored, and are little-known. Such is the amazing bio-diversity which exists in Cuba. Most people if asked about Cuban wildlife, would probably think about Hemingway's Marlin fishing, or flamingos. It's amazing the number of guide-books which state that Cuba "has no snakes". It has!  Loads!    In fact of all Cuba's wildlife species, an amazingly high 90% are endemic - that is, species found only in Cuba.

    What are the reasons for this abundance of wildlife?  One is the sheer size of the island, and the variety of habitats; from mountains and jungle, to deserts, savannah  and swamps. But a much more important reason is the tightly-controlled nature of Cuban society, which has prevented the uncontrolled commercial exploitation of so much of the island. This is especially true of the crucial period 1960 to 1980, when development took place all over the world with no awareness of environmental issues. 

    A third reason is the extent of protected areas in Cuba: they total 22% of the island. Clearly, the level of "protection" in these areas is not uniform; some are high-profile National Parks with a good level of supervision; others, just areas protected in name. However this vast acreage of reserved land has certainly helped to conserve rare species. If Cuba had been open to unfettered commercial pressures, these protected areas would have been eaten into long ago. 

Here's some more detailed information on the individual species featured here ....


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