Animals in Jamaica Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Wendy McDougal

Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education.

Jamaica is a small island in the Caribbean and is a host to many different types of animals. You may be surprised to learn which are the most common. Read on to learn more.

Island Animals of Jamaica

If you were to take a guess about which animals live on the island of Jamaica, what would you say? It might help to know a few things about the island itself. Jamaica is located in the Caribbean Ocean, about 90 miles south of Cuba. It is fairly small, about the size of Connecticut. Jamaica is mountainous, with a warm, tropical climate.

Which animals can be found on the tropical island of Jamaica?

Now that you know a little more, you might be picturing jungle animals such as monkeys, jaguars, and parrots. If these were some of your guesses, you were partly right. While there are many birds, you might be surprised at how few mammals live there. Join us as we explore the creatures that roam, crawl, slither, fly, and swim on and around the island of Jamaica.

Mammals of the Land and Air

As we mentioned earlier, Jamaica is not exactly an island teeming with different mammals. In fact, there is only one land mammal native to the island! It is the coney, a large, brown rodent resembling a guinea pig. Conies are hunted by a ferocious predator: the mongoose. The mongoose is a small but fierce mammal with a long bushy tail. It looks and acts similar to a weasel, but is surprisingly not a relative.

The mongoose is a fierce hunter

The mongoose is not native to Jamaica, but was brought in from India to kill rats that had also been introduced to the island. However, it was soon realized that mongooses were interested in much more than just rats. They also killed many of the other birds and lizards on the island. Since they have no predators themselves, mongooses have become a huge problem and nuisance in Jamaica.

Which is the only mammal that has wings and can fly? If you said a bat, you are exactly right. Bats are the most plentiful of the mammals living in Jamaica. There are 21 species of bats that inhabit the many caves of the island.

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