Jamaica is known as a resort island that lures tourists with its beautiful beaches and crystal waters. However, as an island it is home to an abundance of wildlife. Some of the wildlife is native to the island paradise, while others are just passing through its waters or has been brought by early settlers. In terms of habitat, Jamaica is an island that has vastly different zones. The South and Southwest of the island is dry with cacti. The West is grassland and plains. The remainder of the island is more tropical with many plants and rainfall.
The only native land animal in Jamaica is the Jamaican Hutia. The Jamaican Hutia is a large brown rodent that feeds mainly on plants and nuts. The Jamaican Hutia is found in the forests areas of the island. It typically grows between 12-17 inches (330-445 mm) long and weighs between 2-4 pounds (1-2 kg). Another native land mammal, the Jamaican Rice Rat became extinct in the 19th century due to the introduction of the Brown Rat
Once thought extinct, the Jamaican Iguana was rediscovered in the 1990's. The largest land animal in Jamaica, the Jamaican Iguana's diet consists of leaves and flowers with occasionally ingestion of insects and smaller snails. The disappearance of the Jamaican Iguana is attributed to the introduction of the Indian Mongoose by colonizers to combat snakes. The American Crocodile
also calls Jamaica 'home'.
For those who prefer creatures with wings, Jamaica is home to over twenty types of bats. While many are not only found in Jamaica, they have taken home and built magnificent roosts in the caves of the islands rocky interior. In terms of birds, Jamaica is home to many endemic species. The Black-Billed Amazon and Yellow-Billed Amazon are two of the most beautiful examples.