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Flora & Fauna

Cuba has a diverse and unique landscape that constantly changes throughout each part of it you travel through.

From the amazing coastline with spectacular beaches and the magnificent mountains, rivers and waterfalls you will always discover hidden treasures and marvellous scenic experiences.

The Cuban flora and fauna state emblems consist of different species as the half of the 7000 species of plants in Cuba are endemic and nearly the 80% of the animals too.

There are 8 666 km2 of national conservation areas. National system of protected areas has 263 areas, 81 of national significance and 155 of local interest.  Cuba has neither dangerous animals nor plants, is simply a small paradise for nature lovers!


Animal Life of Cuba

  • 35  Mammal Species (24 endemics),
  • 350 Bird Species (23 endemics),
  • 121 Reptile Species (103 endemics),
  • 48 Amphibian Species (42 endemics),
  • 2947 Molluscs Species,
  • 185 Butterfly Species (endemics 5 of Swallowtail& Milkweed Butterfly Species),
  • 7493 Insects Species,
  • 300 Spiders Species (none poisonous).

         see the Cuban endemics




Bee Hummingbird (Calypte helenae)
This bird is the world's smallest bird species. Grows to a maximum length of 2 inches and weighs less than an ounce or dime. This species is an endemic bird species of Cuba. The Cuban Hummingbird has been labeled as threatened since 2000 due to loss of habitat. This species buzzes around forests and field edges in many parts of the island, where it feeds on flower nectar. On an ordinary day, the Bee Hummingbird will flap their wings about 80 times per second during flight. Cubans call it “zunzun,” and believe it is a symbol of love.
Cuban Trogon (Priotelus temnurus)
The Cuban Trogon is a colourful bird which has a red belly, a blue-colored back, a white underside, and a long fluffy tail. Its plumes echoes the colors of the Cuban flag so became the National bird. These birds are living in forests of all altitudes and eat flowers, fruits, and insects. The Cuban Trogon occupies abandoned holes in trees. This colorful bird measures 10 to 11 inches. Usually travel in pairs and their flying style is quiet elegant and noisy.
Cuban Parakeet (Aratinga euops)
This species is endemic to Cuba. This bird has been labeled as vulnerable since 2000 due to habitat loss and trapping. Lenght of 26 cm. This bird is plain green with red bend of the wing. Scattered red feathers on head and breast, bare white orbital ring, red carpal and underwing-coverts, yellowish-green underside of flight feathers and tail.
Cuban Kite (Chondrohierax wilsoni)
It is endemic to Cuba. This species is classified as critically endangered by BirdLife International. The current population is estimated 50 to 250 mature birds. It was once thought extinct, but 3 birds were recently found in eastern Cuba. The Cuban Kite's habitat is heavily forested land. This species is thought to feed mostly on snails.
Caribbean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber)
Caribbean flamingos are found in the Caribbean. The bird likes lagoons, muddy flats, and shallow lakes, and prefers saline water. They are quiet social birds and reproduce in large colonies of several thousand individuals. Flamingos eat small crustaceans, mollusks, algae, insects, and occasionally fish. Flamingos’ pink color comes from the carotenoids in their food. The Caribbean species, the brightest of all flamingos, perform displays such as wing salutes, twist-preening, and head flaggings in groups in order to synchronize breeding in a colony.
Cuban Hutia (Capromys pilorides)
The Cuban Hutia is the largest endemic land mammal of Cuba and the largest species of hutia.  They are 24-47 inches long (tail included) and the weight of 6 to 19 pounds.
This rodent’s habitat includes tropical and mangrove forests, marshy areas, scrubland, and the mountains of eastern Cuba. This animal is omnivore which means that eat both plants and flesh: leaves, fruits, small lizards and insects. Cuban hutia is an accomplished tree climber with 5 strong claws on each foot, but it spends plenty of time on the ground too,
They are shy and usually live in pairs and they are extremely social as compared of others of their species. Cuban hutias breed all year but births peak in June. The average lifespan is eight to eleven years.
Butterfly Bat (Natalus lepidus)
Bats are the most numerous of all mammals. There are over 27 species in Cuba. The many caves of Cuba are their home. The Cuban species are frutivores or insectivores. The best known Cuban bat is the Butterfly Bat, one of the world’s smallest and it can be found in the area near Baracoa. They have a wingspan of just 5 inches and are around 3 gramms.
Cuban Solenodon (Solenodon cunbanus)
The Solenodon is endemic to Cuba and endangered - once was thought to be extinct. This species is an insectivore, eats mainly insects and spiders. The Cuban Solenodon is found in forests. It is a nocturnal species, spending the day hiding under rocks or in trees. The solenodon is unusual among mammals in that its saliva is venomous. Its lenght is 16–22 inches from nose to tail-tip and resembles a large brown rat.
Reptiles & Amphibians:
Cuban Crocodile (Crocodilius rhombifer)
The Cuban crocodile can be found only in Cuba in the Zapata Swamp in the northwest and in the Lanier Swamp on Isla de Juventud and it It has been protected as an endangered species since 1996. Cuban crocodiles usually do not surpass 10.5 feet and have a total of 66 to 68 large teeth, especially suited for crushing turtle shells, turtles and small mammals. Cuban crocodiles are strong swimmers and are also able to walk and leap on the land. This species may live for about 50 to 75 years.
Cuban Ground Iguana (Cyclura nubila)
This species of iguana is unfortunately one of the most endangered groups of lizards that currently exist. It can be commonly found on the U.S. Naval base of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It’s  body length aroud 18 inches. The Cuban rock iguana is mainly herbivorous. Mostly eats fruits, flowers, and sometimes eats animals as the corpses of crabs, fish, and birds.

Cuban Boa (Epicrates angulifer)
This species is listed as near-threatened. The Cuban Boa or Cuban Tree Boa, is a maximum length of 10 feet and spends most of its time in trees however it can be found in woodland and rocky habitats as well. Its lifespan is around 11 years. Especially feeds with birds and lizards, sometimes mammals and bats.
Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis)
This species of frog is endemic to Cuba. It is the largest Treefrog in North America. The Cuban treefrog lives in moist areas around trees or houses. This species is nocturnal, which means it is active during the night and rests during the day. The Cuban Treefrog is a carnivorous species and will eat almost anything it can catch: from frogs, small lizards and snakes to young mice and even hatchling birds They vary in color from dark green to pale gray depends on the enviornment. There is a difference between males and femals int the length 2 inches the others are 5inches and their weight around 2oz. Its lifespan is approximately 5-10years.
Monte Iberia Dwarf Eleuth (Eleutherodactylus iberia)
This endangered species is endemic to Cuba. It is primarily nocturnal, finding cover during the day and hopping around the moist forests and swamps of Cuba’s Monte Iberia during the night. The Monte Iberia Eleuth is the smallest species of frog in the Northern Hemisphere and is the second smallest species of frog. Discovered in the 1990s.
Ocean life
Cuba has 3,735 miles of coastline. This is more than any other island in the Caribbean. It has 7,848 sq. kilometers of species-rich mangrove swamp and its inland waters contain 22 or more endemic species of fresh and brackish water fish. Much of its coastline is surrounded by smaller islands and lagoons within large, relatively unspoiled coral reefs, which due to environmental degradation are a quickly vanishing source of biodiversity in the whole Caribbean Sea. A mixture of cultural, political and economic factors have contributed to preserve this important living resource, yet it has been only a temporary reprieve. The same global human forces that have ravaged the oceans and reefs in the rest of the Caribbean are splashing down in the coastal waters of the Cuban islands. Efforts to study this system before it is gone, and to fight to preserve what is left are definitely underway, but while they may help to protect some of these complex ecosystems it is certain that much of this biodiversity will soon be lost.
Cuban waters contain 3020 sq. km of reefs. After the Bahamas, this is the second largest reef area in the Caribbean. The Caribbean reefs as a whole are a unique ecosystem with endemic species found nowhere else in the world. But the reefs of the Caribbean have been vanishing even more quickly then reefs elsewhere. There are many theories about why this is happening: some blame it on rising water temperature; an increase in organic matter being washed out from nearby rivers due to the use of fertilizers; more aggressive deeper fishing with more destructive fishing techniques; and the recent proliferation of cruise ships and increased tourism on the reefs themselves. Scientists have recently discovered that many of the most rapidly vanishing reefs are infected with a bacteria that comes from raw human sewage. They blame the cruise ships for their practice of dumping their sewage tanks directly into the reefs' waters.
While 20 of the 24 nations of the Caribbean have more than 90% of their reef listed as threatened (see the reefwatch), Cuba has only 46% in this condition.
By looking at the suspected causes of reef loss listed above, one can make some guesses as to why. Cuba's commitment to sustainable agriculture results in much less organic matter being washed down into the reefs. Their more primitive fisheries technologies do not allow them to harvest the oceans at such an alarming rate, and the U.S. led ban on tourism to Cuba has vastly decreased the number of cruise ships frequenting its waters.
The higher than average commitment of Cuba to maintain its biodiversity also seems to have paid off. They already have several MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) and studies of enforcement have shown that Cuba not only sets these areas aside but has consistently policed them to prevent violations. Yet these reefs are increasingly threatened. Already there are plans for a unique US investment to upgrade Cuba's fishing fleet, allowing it to have a greater impact on the reefs by further over-fishing the Caribbean.
Diverse Cuban Fish
  • 900 Fish Species (22 endemics of Freshwater Fish Species and 4 endemics of Marine Fish Species),
  • The yellowtail snapper
  • Cuban reef fish
  • Carangaides barthomomei
At 1,116,440 acres the Zapata Swamp is one of the most important, naturally preserved wetlands in the world. This wilderness not only functions as a wetland but contains 14% of Cuba's natural forest, which makes it one of the Caribbean's largest forests as well. It is an important home and breeding ground to many birds and rare species of animal and ocean life, including the West Indian Manatee and the increasingly endangered Cuban crocodile.
  • 7000 species of plants
Royal Palm:
The Cuban Royal Palm grows from 40 to 60 feet tall and a beautiful crown of pinnate leaves sometimes over 20 feet diameter.
Is the island's national tree and symbol. It is recognized by Cubans as “the queen of the fields” because of the majestic of its structure, its peculiar size, the useful things that it gives and for being the most numerous of the trees that exist in Cuba.
The Palma Real fruits blossom and grow up almost year long and they were used by the Cuban aborigines to satisfy some of their needs, such as the food for the domestic animals, the wood to build their houses and the pad to cover their ceiling.
The elegant presence of the Palma Real that appear in the national coat of arms represents the freedom and the independence of the young Cuban republic, symbol of the luxuriance and ferocity of their privileged land. It is the most useful of their trees.
The Mariposa or butterfly jasmine (Hedychium Coronarium Koenig)
The White Mariposa or Butterfly Jasmine. It is a symbol of purity, rebelliousness and independence. An endemic jasmine species used by the Cuban women in the battles of independence to transfer messages to the front line. It raises in humid places as lagoons or banks of, but it can be cultivated in yards and gardens as well.
Mangrove forests are found in lagoons and there are made up of the four indigenous species: red mangrove, black mangrove, patabán and yana. These plants are very important coastal plant as they are a mainstay of many forms of life. Mangroves reside 4.8% of the surface of the Cuban archipelago, while preserving the coastal lands as an ecological refuge.