The Wild Side of Barbados

Known for its long sweeps of plentiful and pristine white sandy beaches, unparalleled peaceful tranquility, and lazy days of unabashed relaxation, you’d be hard pressed to believe that Barbados has a wild side. But it does. A very wild one.

The wild side we’re talking about here of course is its rich and diverse wildlife. And while it may not have the variety of animals of places like the Galapagos, or the sheer number of places like Costa Rica, Barbados holds its own among its Caribbean brothers. And with some planning, and a little luck, you may very well encounter any of these critters on your next beach holiday to the island that’s been nicknamed “Bim.”

Turtles

Barbados is a virtual haven for these loveable slow moving creatures. Both the Leatherback and Hawksbill varieties, as well as other types, make their home in the sheltered waters along the Barbados coastline. Many have become accustomed to humans, so swimming with them is a definite possibility. Feeding sea turtles is frowned upon however. Although you may have the best of intentions, feeding any wildlife disturbs the natural order of things. When animals grow to depend on human handouts, they can become aggressive and deemed a nuisance if they exhibit unnatural behaviour.

Green Monkeys

Barbados Greem Monkey

You’ll have no trouble finding these cute but mischievous critters  — Green Monkeys are just about everywhere. Originating on ships arriving from West Africa over 300 years ago, many of the Green Monkeys of Barbados are used to interaction with humans. But as cute as they are, they are also just as clever. They will sometimes go to extremes to separate you from your snacks. Best to leave the food back at your hotel if you’re heading out in nature.

Mongoose

Barbados mongoose

The humble mongoose was introduced to Barbados as a means of coping with the rat problem which threatened the sugar cane industry. Some questioned the efficiency of the move since rats ate at night, and mongoose only hunted during the day. Whatever the reason, the mongoose thrived (the rats not so much.) Although they are rampant on the island, they are one of the more difficult creatures to spot.

If you’re staying at the Barbados Beach Club, staff there can arrange a trip to the local Wildlife Reserve, an island safari tour, and even snorkelling with turtles. Just remember to take your camera.

 

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