If you’re a wildlife photographer or simply a nature-loving tourist, you will find an unlikely subject in Aruba. The island, known for being a rich retirees’ playground and honeymooners’ heaven, offers a breathtaking diversity of mammals, birds, lizards, and amphibians. Here are some of the most common Aruba wildlife:
The animals to look for in Aruba include Lizards, Snakes, Camels, Donkeys, and Dolphins. The country’s water, middle region, and sanctuaries are filled with interesting wildlife specimens that birdwatchers, reptile spotters, and nature enthusiasts love.
In this article, you will learn more about the different categories of animals to look for in Aruba. More importantly, you’ll learn about the places where these animals dwell so you can easily spot them.
By the end of this post, you will know everything important about spotting interesting wildlife in Aruba. But first, let’s look at the things you should buy before seeking out interesting animals in Aruba.
Given that Aruba has plenty of cacti, sunshine, and heat, it is no surprise that it has a thriving population of lizards. Aruba’s desert conditions are perfect for cold-blooded animals like lizards. The kind of reptiles that crawl across the Aruban grounds are not common house geckos.
Aruban lizards are more scaly and unique-looking. The most unique of them all is the Aruba Whiptail, which is unique to the island. A rocky coast classic in Aruba is the Cope’s Ameiva, which might sometimes be spotted on Eagle Beach. Other lizards that you can see in Aruba include Green Iguanas, more specifically the Yuwana variety.
You can spot lizards in Aruba on Eagle Beach if you look hard enough. If you want to see them without actively looking for them, take a trip to the Bubali reserve, which has plenty of big lizards and even a few snakes on display.
Aruba is home to various types of Snakes. Its arid, rocky, succulent-covered middle makes it highly habitable for reptiles, including snakes. Tourist-friendly areas don’t usually have snakes except for exhibition purposes. You have the highest chance of spotting a snake in Arikok National Park.
The most famous snake hailing from Aruba is the Aruba Island Rattlesnake. It can survive in the sandy and arid atmosphere and is often imported by zoos around the world. Other snakes in Aruba include the Latin Rattlesnake and Spitviper. But the most awe-inspiring one of them all is the mighty Anaconda.
You can witness an Anaconda at the Arikok National Park as well. This snake is comfortable in the sand, and its size makes it easy to spot even though it blends into the beige of the Aruban earth pretty well.
Camels can survive in hot weather because they are desert-dwelling animals with efficient water-storing bodies.
They aren’t as common in Aruba as they are in countries down south like Australia and the Arabian gulf countries. You’ll come across animals at petting zoos in Aruba, where you can feed them. A great place to encounter a camel in Aruba is Philip’s Animal Garden in Noord.
Donkeys have been integral to the Aruban heritage, though the country’s pivot towards tourism as its main source of revenue is making them less practical to own and feed.
Aruba’s Donkey Sanctuary takes care of most of the donkeys on the island, and very few donkeys in the country are work animals.
Dolphins are intelligent mammals that can socialize with humans in a limited capacity. They are found in deep waters off the Aruban coast.
If you love dolphins and want to maximize your chances of coming across one, you should visit Boca Catalina. A very significant density of the Dolphin population is around that coast.
Speaking of water-dwelling mammals, there are plenty of whales in Aruba as well. Humpback whales, killer whales, Eden’s whales, and sperm whales are just some of the whales that have been documented as members of the Aruban marine life.
Any territorial waters you can see from Oranjestad may carry these whales. A pair of binoculars is recommended if you want to spot whales from a distance. And if you want to get closer, you might want to take a tourist cruise.
You can see monkeys in Aruba though the country’s natural landscape doesn’t really attract these animals. Monkeys in Aruba are mostly caged animals present in zoos and similar establishments.
Philip’s Animal Garden, for instance, has a few species of monkeys, but no surrounding land or forest has any. You can feed monkeys at the Animal Garden, but you have to exercise caution while doing so.
Aruba is home to a wide variety of crabs. The crabs in Aruba are rarely sighted on the tourist-heavy beaches but tend to roam the secluded beaches that have less traffic. Not all crabs roam the beaches, though. Some are deepwater dwellers.
One of the most common crabs in the Aruban territorial waters is the Batwing coral crab. It isn’t seen on land as often as the common saltwater crab.
While Aruba’s marine life gets publicity because of the popularity of snorkeling, its bird life enjoys niche popularity among bird watchers.
People who like to spot birds may travel to Aruba to catch a glimpse of the Aruban burrowing owl. While the island’s burrowing owl might be the only bird endemic (exclusive) to the island, it is not the only bird worth watching.
If you go birdwatching in Aruba, you will find parakeets, flamingos, and various types of flycatchers. While birds that take flight often get noticed more, there are land-dwelling birds in Aruba that deserve to be mentioned as well.
- Emus – Aruba has a small population of emus in Aruba, most of which are confined to the Aruba Ostrich farm.
- Ostriches – Aruba has plenty of ostriches, many of which are (unsurprisingly) at the Aruba Ostrich farm.
Aside from the land-dwelling Aruban birds, there are migrating, endemic, and resident birds in Aruba. Here are some that you can spot easily.
- Pelicans – You can spot brown pelicans in Aruba.
- Flamingos – While Flamingos can be seen at some public beaches in Aruba at different times of the year, you’re most likely to come across them at Flamingo Beach on the private Reinnesance Island.
- Flycatchers – Aruba has a variety of flycatchers, including the brown-crested flycatcher, tyrant flycatcher, and Alder Flycatcher.
- Mimids – Mimids are small, sharp-beaked birds that are found in Caribbean countries.
- Pigeons – Aruban pigeons are beige and sandy in color.
While sharks might be exciting on TV, they can be terrifying as potential neighbors at your beachside vacation destination.
Still, sharks are no threat in Aruba because they stay away from the beach. That said, they do reside in the island’s territorial waters and, therefore, can be spotted every now and then.
The shark most commonly sighted in Aruban waters is the Caribbean Reef Shark, a resident of the Caribbean sea.
Two types of frogs are among Aruba’s amphibian natives: the Barbados Whistling Frog and the Colombian Four-Eyed Frog. You can spot them in the shallow water on abandoned or secluded coasts in Aruba.
Aruba has a variety of desert mice, none of which are as rare as the Hummelinck’s Vesper Mouse. The Vespers that reside in Aruba are endangered, with a declining population that has earned them a rank in the IUCN Red List since 2016.
Final Thoughts on Aruban Wildlife
Aruba has rich and diverse wildlife with unique animals, birds, and reptiles. However, not all of the animals in Aruba are as safe to approach as donkeys and flamingos.
Make sure to avoid snakes and venomous animals out in the wild. If you want to feed the animals in Aruba, do so in sanctuaries where it is allowed.