Bermuda Animals & Wildlife
The first animals that were noticed in the island were the pigs, also known as hogs. In the 1500s, the Spanish mariners left them to breed in the island so that they could serve as food for the passing ships.
These hogs turned out to be of national importance by early 1600s when coins were made with hog impressions. It was called Hog Penny.
However today there is no trace of the original hogs or the pigs. The ones that can be seen in Bermuda were later imported or have been born out of the imported pigs.
Bermuda Animals of Endemic Species
Animals including fishes and birds belonging to Endemic species are those that are unique to Bermuda and can not be found anywhere else in the world. Since they are unique to the island, I thought of describing them first. They came to the island without human assistance, may be by flying, swimming, riding over floating logs and or means, became native to Bermuda and over time became an endemic species.
Skinks usually stay on ground or crawl up on a rock to bathe in the sun. They can be found mostly in Spittal Pond Reserve and Castle Harbor, and also along the rocky coastal areas. However they are an endangered species and therefore protected in the island by law. They fall prey to rats, cats and some birds like Kiskadee.
Bermuda Petrel: Commonly known in Bermuda as the Cahow, this is a nocturnal bird that spends most of its time flying over the open ocean. This is the national bird of Bermuda. They feed on squids, shrimps and fish. To know all about Bermuda's birds and the best bird watching locations in the island, check out Bermuda's Birds.
Bermuda Cicada: They are also known as Bermuda Singers because of the loud buzzing sound they can make while trying to lure females.
Bermuda Cave Shrimps: These shrimps had been first discovered in 1985 by the cave divers who were exploring the caves in Bermuda. These tiny marine creatures (about 3.5 mm in length when fully grown) are unique to Bermuda and can not found anywhere else in the world. They live in cave waters particularly that are filled with sea water and stay away from sunlight. They are colorless and blind, and prefer to swim around rather than walking or resting on rocks. This species is critically endangered and protected by act of law.
Bermuda Snails: The only surviving species of land snails in Bermuda are scientifically known as Poecilozonites circumfirmatus and they are endemic species. They are rare and can sometimes be seen in fossil form. However there is another type known as the Purpule Ocean Snail that lives on the ocean. It has a delicate shell which can grow up to some 1.5 inches. It looks light purple on top and dark purple at the bottom. The ocean snail creates a life raft made of its mucous and bubbles which makes it float on the water. They eat other ocean drifters like Portuguese Man of War etc.
Bermuda Animals of Native Species
The native animals of Bermuda had arrived here without human assistance. But they are not unique to the island and can be found elsewhere in the world. They have adapted to the ecology, and some of them would have gone on to become endemic species. They would have initially come to Bermuda flying, or swimming, or by drifting as eggs or by other means.
Bermuda Longtails: This is a white tailed tropic seabird found in tropical ocean areas including in Bermuda. They are locally called the Longtails because of their long single white tail feather.
This is the most common nesting bird in Bermuda. You can often see them flying together in small groups as part of mating rituals. It is said that longtails stay with the same mate and use their nests over and over again. Check out the link for details.
Land Hermit Crabs: They are native to Bermuda. The hermit crabs need shells to cover themselves for protection. However unlike snails, they do not produce their own shells, rather make use of old unused shells of others like marine snails.
Bermuda's Queen Conch: Also known as Pink Conch, they are usually found in the sea grass in shallow ocean waters. During the winter they usually bury themselves partially into the sand.
Sea Turtles in Bermuda: There are five species of turtles that can be seen in Bermuda.
If you are keen to see turtles, then check out How to see turtles in Bermuda.
Diamondblack Terrapins: These land based turtles have concentric rings on top of the shell giving an impression of multi faceted diamonds. Hence the name. However not all terrapins would have concentric circles. Some may have smooth surface on top of the shell.
The baby terrapins are some 3cm long and often fall prey to yellow crowned night herons and crows. Their overall color and pattern remains almost unchanged through out their life. The Mangrove Lake and Trott's Pond located in Hamilton Parish have large number of diamondblack terrapins. Another wetland turtle called the Red-eared Slider can also be seen in Bermuda.
Introduced and Other Species
There are other species of animals that exist in Bermuda including the introduced species which have been brought in through human assistance. Few of the introduced species have gone on to become invasive in nature.
Bermuda Frogs: These tiny toads are also known as whistling frogs because of the bell like chorus sound they make. They are so small that they can easily sit on a thumb nail.
Humpback Whales: March and April are the best time to watch humpback whales in Bermuda migrating to north Atlantic. They are known for their acrobatic breaches, melodious mating songs and long flippers. An adult humpback whale could be well over 40 foot and weigh some 90,000 pounds. You can watch them from the shore or take a whale watching boat tour. Check out the link to get complete information.
Sharks in Bermuda: The biggest of all sharks that are seen in Bermuda waters are the tiger sharks. But they generally stay far away from the shoreline and eat on other sharks, fishes, turtles and other marine creatures. Check out the link for details.
Bottlenose Dolphins: The Dolphin Quest located in the National Museum Complex of Bermuda at the Royal Naval Dockyard is a great place to see Dolphins in action. You can also have interactive experience with dolphins here and swim with them. The center had taken up a Dolphin Tracking program in which they tagged and released six Bottlenose Dolphins. They had recorded a dive at depths greater than 2,700 feet.
Portuguese Man of War: These jellyfish like marine creatures have a purple blue bladder and many long tentacles. They are normally seen in the ocean feeding on small fish although sometime they get swept on to the shore. Their stings can be painful and poisonous.
Caribbean Lizards: There are three types of Anole lizards that are quite common and have all been introduced to Bermuda from the Caribbean. Unlike the skinks, they have their legs well developed for climbing. They also have an expandable fan from the throat which the males use during mating time. Jamaican Anoles can grow up to 8 inches and often change colors from dark brown to greenish blue. Antiguan Anole was introduced around 1940 and is also known as Warwick Lizard. Barbados Anole accidentally arrived in Bermuda by ship in 1940s. They can be found in the western end of the island and therefore also known as Somerset Lizard. They are native to Barbados.
Kiskadee: This brown and yellow colored bird was introduced in 1957 to control the anole lizards in Bermuda. But the Kiskadees did something different from what was expected out of them and were soon called invasive species. Check out the link to know what they did in Bermuda.
Bermuda Glow Worms: A great natural spectacle takes place over Bermuda's ocean in the dark, when the glow worms or the fire worms go in circles above the sea surface releasing green glow and illuminating the sea area. Check out the link for details.
Rats: Rats in Bermuda come in two forms - Black Rats and Brown Rats. They are widespread in the island. They first arrived in early 1600s by visiting ships. They have always caused wide scale problems by eating crops and fruits. The early settlers tried to eliminate them in vain by burning many areas. They continued to live and relish on seeds of Bermuda Sledge, and fruits of Bermuda palmettos and Olivewood trees. They often steal the eggs of birds and known to kill the chicks of Longtails and Petrels. Barn owl is their only major predator.
Check out Bermuda Activities to know about all the popular activities in the island.
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