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10 Incredible Animals in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a sovereign island country situated between the eastern Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s made up of two main Islands, Antigua, and Barbuda among other smaller Islands. St John is the capital city, located on Antigua Island while English is the most widely spoken language throughout the country.

Not limited by its size, Antigua and Barbuda islands offer a rich natural diversity that is mainly influenced by the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean surrounding waters. The country provides varieties of ecosystems including mangrove forest, dry forest, and coral reefs where a variety of remarkable wild species such as sea marines, mammals, birds, and reptiles proudly calls home.

In this article, we explore 10 incredible animals in Antigua and Barbuda.

1. Fallow Deer

Antigua Barbuda Animals - Fallow Deer
  • Scientific name: Dama dama
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Where found in the country: Barbuda and Guiana Islands.
  • Conservation status: Last Concern

The fallow deer is a medium-sized deer species with a distinctive brown coat and white spot on its back in summer. The male can weigh up to 200 pounds and have broader antlers which shed off annually while females weigh around 100 pounds. 

They are found in varieties of habitats including woodland, forests, and grassland, and primarily diet on vegetation such as grass, trees, and leaves. They are social animals and graze in herds of 10 to 20 individuals, led by a dominant male. 

Their lifespan in the wild is around 10 to 15 years and their survival is threatened by natural predators including bears, wolves and cougars, and human who hunts them for their meat, hides, and antlers.  The fallow deer is the national animal of Antigua and Barbuda and its used as a symbol of the country’s coat of arms

★ Did you know? The fallow deer produces a unique sound called groan and uses it to communicate with other deer.

2. Antiguan Racer

Antigua Barbuda Animals - Antiguan Racer
  • Scientific name: Alsophis antiguae
  • Type of animal: Reptile
  • Where found in the country: Great Bird Island and Green Island.
  • Conservation status: Endangered

The Antiguan racer is a rare non-venomous snake native to the Antigua islands. The snake is generally grey to brown in color and it’s normally found in dense woodland, rocky areas, and sandy beach habitats. 

These small snake species are considered to be diurnal, meaning it’s most active during the day and rest at night. Their diet mainly consists of small animals such as lizards, birds, and rodents. The Antiguan racer is typically an ambush predator, whereby it hides beneath leaves and attacks its prey when least expected. 

The population of Antiguan racers is declining due to habitat loss, persecution by humans, and predation by species such as black rats and mongoose.

★ Did you know? The Antiguan racers exhibit sexual dimorphism; adult female racers are larger than males..

3. Caribbean Reef Shark

Antigua Barbuda Animals - Caribbean Reef Shark
  • Scientific name: Carcharhinus perezi
  • Type of animal: Fish
  • Where found in the country: Cades Reefs and Stingray City.
  • Conservation status: Endangered

The Caribbean reef shark is a species of requiem shark found in the western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea tropical waters surrounding Antigua and Barbuda. Its distinct coloration includes grayish color, white underneath, and white bands on the flanks. 

This small shark is approximated to weigh around 150 lbs(70kg) and typically grows to a length of 9.8 ft (3 meters). They are mostly active at night and primarily feed on crustaceans, fish, eagle rays, and cephalopods. Their agility and speed enable them to capture prey while accelerating and spinning their head. 

The Caribbean reef sharks are endangered due to habitat fragmentation and human activities such as fishing.

★ Did you know? The Caribbean reef shark plays an important role in ecotourism in Antigua and Barbuda. The country offers tourists diving tours, giving them a chance to observe these wondrous creatures in their habitat. These tours are conducted according to the set guidelines to ensure safety.

4. Green Iguana

Antigua Barbuda Animals - Green Iguana
  • Scientific name: Iguana iguana
  • Type of animal: Reptile
  • Where found in the country: The Walling’s Nature Reserve.
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The green iguana, commonly known as the common green iguana is a large herbivorous lizard species native to Caribbean islands. 

They can grow up to 5.6 ft (1.7 meters) with a maximum weight of 20 lbs (9.1kg). They are normally green in color with a row of spine on their back and tails which protect them from predators. 

Green iguanas are mostly found in captivity as a pet and play an important role in their ecosystem by controlling the growth of plant material. They mainly feed on a variety of plants including flowers, growing shoots, mustard, fruits, and leaves.

★ Did you know? The Green iguanas have excellent vision, which allows them to detect objects and other animals from a distance.

5. Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Antigua Barbuda Animals - Hawksbill Sea Turtle
  • Scientific name: Eretmochelys imbricata
  • Type of animal: Reptile
  • Where found in the country: Darkwood Beach and Jolly Beach.
  • Conservation status: Endangered

The Hawksbill sea turtle is a magnificent sea turtle found in waters surrounding Antigua and Barbuda Islands. It is distinguished from other sea turtles from its curvy beak that resembles the beak of a hawk bird. Its carapace consists of overlapping scales with shades of brown and yellow. 

They primarily inhabit coral reefs and lagoons, and typically weigh around 180 lbs (80 kg). They are omnivorous creatures that mainly diet on a variety of algae, sea sponge, marine plants, and comb jellies.

★ Did you know? The hawksbill sea turtle can hold its breath for up to 7-15 minutes, allowing them to dive deep in search of food. However, some individuals have been known to remain underwater for up to 30-40 minutes.

6. Brown Pelican

Antigua Barbuda Animals - Brown Pelican
  • Scientific name: Pelecanus occidentalis
  • Type of animal: Bird
  • Where found in the country: John’s Harbour, English Harbour, and Falmouth Harbour.
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The brown pelican is a large majestic seabird that inhabits along coastal areas of Antigua and Barbuda. It’s known for its distinctive gular pouch which it uses to catch fish. 

They dive headfirst into the waters to catch their prey and mainly feed on fish but sometimes they eat other small marine animals including frogs and crustaceans. The adult brown pelican can weigh up to 11 lbs (5 kg) with a wingspan of 6 feet(1.8 meters).

Brown pelicans provide a wonderful view for nature lovers and birdwatchers.

★ Did you know? The brown pelican has air sacs inside their bones, enabling them to lessen their body weight. This makes it easy for them to soar.

7. Antillean Crested Hummingbird

Antigua Barbuda Animals - Antillean Crested Hummingbird
  • Scientific name: Orthorhyncus cristatus
  • Type of animal: Bird
  • Where found in the country: Frigate Bird Sanctuary in Barbuda.
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The Antillean crested hummingbird is a beautiful hummingbird species found across Antigua and Barbuda islands and endemic to the Caribbean region. They are characterized by their crest, where the males are red in color while the females are a bit less colorful. 

They inhabit a variety of habitats with plenty of flowering plants and trees, such as gardens, tropical forests, open vegetation, and parks. They primarily feed on nectar from flowering trees, spiders, and insects. 

The Antillean crested hummingbirds are known to produce a high-pitched noise that resembles clicks.

★ Did you know? The Antillean crested hummingbird has a long adaptable tongue with small hairs that enables the bird to lick nectar from flowers.

8. Caribbean Flamingo

Antigua Barbuda Animals - Caribbean Flamingo
  • Scientific name: Phoenicopterus ruber
  • Type of animal: Bird
  • Where found in the country: Local Zoo in Antigua and Barbuda.
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The Caribbean flamingo is a subspecies of American flamingo found in Antigua and Barbuda and commonly inhabits coastal areas and shallow saltwater lagoons. Their habitats have a common feature of a combination of saltwater and freshwater. 

Their appearance is characterized by pink feathers and long legs. The pink coloration of their feathers is due to the pigments of the algae and the crustaceans they feed on. A mature Caribbean flamingo is estimated to weigh around 9 pounds with an approximate height of 4 feet.  Their most preferred breeding season falls in March and June of every year.

★ Did you know? The Caribbean flamingoes are long-lived species; they are known to live for up to 40-60 years in the wild and in captivity.

9. Antillean Nighthawk

Antigua Barbuda Animals - Antillean Nighthawk
  • Scientific name: Chordeiles gundlachii
  • Type of animal: Bird
  • Where found in the country: Frigate bird sanctuary in Barbuda.
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The Antillean nighthawks of Antigua and Barbuda are commonly found within water bodies specifically in habitats such as forests, open fields, and savannas. These nighthawks have a physical appearance characterized by gray and brown feathers which gives them a perfect camouflage, matching rocks, and tree barks. 

These birds are medium-sized with an approximate length of 8-10 inches and a wingspan of 20 inches. Their common diet comprises insects, such as mosquitoes, moths, and beetles. They hunt their prey in midair and catch them using their gaping wide mouths.  

April to August is their breeding season. The eggs are laid on open grounds or rocky outcroppings.

★ Did you know? The Antillean nighthawk, despite its name, is not a species of hawk, nor is it closely related to hawks in any way.

10. Western Indian Manatee

Antigua Barbuda Animals - Western Indian Manatee
  • Scientific name: Trichechus manatus
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Where found in the country: Waters surrounding Antigua and Barbuda.
  • Conservation status: Endangered

The Western Indian manatee is known to inhabit shallow calm lagoons, bays and estuaries, canals, and slow-moving rivers. The coastal mangrove forests are other common habitats for the Manatees where they specifically get food in plenty. 

Manatees are herbivores in nature, feeding on aquatic plants including algae and sea grasses. They are large mammals with gray-brown bodies and paddle-shaped tails. They are considered social animals and often live and move in groups. 

The breeding season of manatees is controlled by environmental factors such as food availability and temperature. They are threatened by habitat destruction due to pollution and collision by boats and ships. 

★ Did you know? The Western Indian manatee has no natural predators, which is one of the reasons it has a relatively long lifespan. The average lifespan of a manatee is around 40 years in the wild, but they can live for more than 60 years in captivity.

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