Puerto Rico is an island nation located in the Caribbean Sea. Like most islands, Puerto Rico has a rocky interior composed of volcanic rock with coastal areas to the north and the south. The climate is generally tropical due to its positioning in the Caribbean.
Puerto Rico was once home to a few types of rodents including, the now extinct, Puerto Rican Shrew. An influx of settlers and colonization introduced many new species to the Puerto Rican environment that preyed or destroyed the habitats of native species. Therefore, the only surviving native mammals to Puerto Rico are bats. Puerto Rico is home to six types of bats that are endemic to the island. These bats are either insect-eaters or feed off of the nectars of plants.
Puerto Rico is also the native home to eighteen species of birds. Among these are the Puerto Rican Woodpecker
and the Puerto Rican Screech Owl. Both of these birds stand out as the only native woodpecker or owl to the island environment. Puerto Rico also boasts a host of colorful birds with the Puerto Rican Parrot
, the Puerto Rican Oriole and the Puerto Rican Emerald
Puerto Rico also boasts a bevy of amphibians and reptiles native to the island nation. Among those is the Puerto Rican Crested Toad
which is endangered due to habitat loss. The largest endemic terrestrial lizard is the Mona Ground Iguana. It can grow to lengths of over four feet long. The Puerto Rican Boa
Snake is also native to the island and preys on birds, bats and small mammals.
One of the truly great sources of endemic life on Puerto Rico comes in the form of spiders. It is home to over forty types of spiders that have adapted to the rocky terrain and colonial invasion. The spiders typically feed on insects, small mammals or birds and discarded meat.
The majority of species native to Puerto Rico are endangered or soon to be due to loss of habitat. For the animals found only on the island, this is a possible loss for both science and humanity as a whole.