This tiny island has so much to offer beyond its white-sand beaches. Barbados' nature reserves are among the Caribbean’s finest, home to diverse wildlife including green monkeys and over a hundred different bird species. Barbados is also a haven for Hawksbill turtles which feed amongst the coral.

10 animals found in Barbados

From land to sea, this Caribbean island is a treasure trove of natural wonders and captivating wildlife. Notable inhabitants are the playful green monkeys that roam the island, while sea turtles, including the critically endangered hawksbill, grace its shores. The turquoise waters harbour a wealth of marine species including flying fish and gentle manta rays, while the skies are adorned with hummingbirds and soaring frigatebirds.

1. Barbados Green Monkeys

The endearing Barbados green monkey has become a symbol of the island's wildlife. Endemic to Barbados, these playful primates are known for their distinctive olive-green fur, winning over nature lovers with their expressive faces. See them across a variety of environments including forests, lush gardens, and even urban areas.

2. Barbados Bullfinch

The Barbados bullfinch is a visually striking bird found exclusively on the island. Known for its black and red plumage and melodious songs, they can often be seen and heard throughout the acres of mahogany forest. The bullfinch is recognised as a national symbol of Barbados and features on the country's postage stamps.

3. Red Footed Tortoise

The Red Footed Tortoise is originally from South America, but is now an exotic inhabitant of Barbados. The endemic species add a touch of colour to the landscape with their striking red or orange-scaled feet, which contrast against the dark shell. Whether digging burrows or munching on a varied diet of fruits and insects, the Red Footed Tortoise plays a unique role in the island's ecological balance. 

4. Bats

Barbados is home to several fascinating bat species, each with its own unique characteristics. During a Barbados island tour, you'll likely spot the velvety Free-tailed Bat, which plays a crucial role in controlling insect populations. Other native species include Seba's Short-tailed Bat often found roosting in underground caves, and the Jamaican Fruit Bat that contributes to seed dispersal and pollination through its fruit-filled diet.

5. Blackbelly Sheep

Native to Barbados, The Blackbelly sheep are known for their distinctive appearance and hardiness to challenging tropical conditions. Having evolved in the Caribbean, they have developed resilience against heat and humidity, helped by their striking black belly which aids in heat dissipation. Many of the island's restaurants feature Blackbelly lamb on the menu, renowned for being deliciously tender. 

6. Small Indian mongoose

The small Indian mongoose is an intriguing creature, introduced in the late 19th century to control the rat population in sugarcane fields. This sleek and agile mammal resembles a ferret and possesses remarkable hunting skills, able to climb trees and swim proficiently. It's also an entirely diurnal species that hunts during the day and rests at night. 

7. Barbados Turtle

Two of the world’s rarest sea creatures make their nests on the beaches of Barbados - the Hawksbill and the Leatherback Turtles. The Hawksbill nests between April and November mainly on the west and south coasts, whilst the Leatherback, the largest of all turtle species, nests between February and July on the  eastern and southern shores. To allow population recovery of these endangered species, local scientists, conservation organisations and volunteers work tirelessly to protect their nesting sites and hatchlings.

8. Whistling Frogs and Toads

Barbados is home to a unique group of amphibians known as Whistling Frogs and Toads. Their distinctive vocalisations resemble musical whistles or bird-like songs, hence their name. They've also adapted to the island's arid conditions; Barbados experiences relatively low rainfall, however these remarkable creatures can reach a state of dormancy during periods of extreme dryness to conserve moisture and energy.

9. European Hare

The European hare is one of the largest rabbits in the world with powerful hind legs, and can reach an impressive top speed of 70km/h. These nocturnal creatures spend the day resting in areas with long grass and are most active at night, munching on grass and vegetables.

10. Green Lizards

Green lizards have the remarkable capability to adjust their skin pigmentation to blend in with their surroundings, helping them stay concealed from predators and effectively hunt prey. Known for their impressive climbing skills, you can most likely spot them amongst exotic plants in one of the botanical gardens.

Are there any dangerous animals in Barbados?

Barbados is generally considered a safe island when it comes to dangerous animals. There are no venomous snakes, which sets the island apart from some other tropical regions. The green monkey is not aggressive by nature, but could exhibit defensive behaviour when feeling threatened or cornered, so make sure you observe them from a safe distance.

Best Places to Spot Animals & Wildlife in Barbados

This Caribbean island offers several fantastic locations to spot wildlife, including verdant nature reserves where green monkeys and tiny hummingbirds flit through the lush greenery. For any marine life enthusiasts, exploring the pristine coral reefs while snorkelling or diving is a must. We'd be happy to organise any of the trips below. 

Barbados Wildlife Reserve

Located directly opposite the Farley Hill National Park, Barbados Wildlife Reserve covers four acres of enchanting nature trails where animals thrive in their natural habitat. Prepare to be captivated by mischievous green monkeys, who swing from branch to branch above your head. Keep your eyes peeled for red-footed tortoises, brocket deer and peacocks, too. 

PEG Farm and Nature Reserve

Immerse yourself in a world of sustainable farming and ecological preservation. PEG Farm has transformed a 108-acre site into a biodynamic farm where free-range cows, pigs, goats, and chickens roam. The best part is the Farm House Café, where you can sample farm-to-table dining, prepared with locally grown produce.

Arbib Nature and Heritage Trail

This award winning trail was developed by the Barbados National Trust, and is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers. Learn about the local flora and fauna and the area’s history with a guide, before grabbing your binoculars to spot myriad bird species in their natural habitat. 

Turner's Hall Wood

Turner's Hall Wood is a fifty acre natural preserve that is probably the wildest area left in Barbados. It is the last remnant of the original tropical forest that once covered the island before 1627, when the British first settled on the island. This dense forest is home to beautiful and exotic species of trees and plant life including mahogany trees, silk cotton trees, and the indigenous Macaw Palm. Adjoining attractions include Coco Hill Forest and Welchman Hall Gully.

Ready for your Barbados adventure?

We’d love to help you tick these nature and wildlife experiences in Barbados off your travel bucket list! Speak to one of our Travel Specialists today to start planning your next unforgettable escape or to simply talk through your holiday ideas.

Why we're the Barbados experts
  • Airport meet-and-greet for immediate post-flight assistance
  • Escort through to your private transfer for a seamless arrival
  • Direct line of contact to Kerin's team for any requests or assistance
  • In-resort support for booking taxis, excursions and restaurants
  • Barbados lounge passes included on return

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