Cuba

Updated: March 27, 2022
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Below you can find a complete list of Cuban animals. We currently track 219 animals in Cuba and are adding more every day!

Cuba is a subtropic island located in the northern Caribbean Ocean. The country is comprised of six major ecoregions, including humid forests, dry forests, pine forests, wetlands, cactus scrub, and mangrove forests. Thus, Cuba is full of diverse wildlife and, with 17,800 species, the country has more types of animals than any other in the Caribbean.

National Animal of Cuba

The national animal of Cuba is the Cuban hutia. Also known as the Desmarest’s hutia, this endemic animal is an omnivorous rodent, weighing up to 19 pounds. It’s the largest living member of the hutia species and lives in a wide range of habitats, which allows it to be quite widespread in Cuba’s diverse ecoregions.

Additionally, the national bird of Cuba is the Cuban trogon or tocororo. The trogon, a native animal to Cuba, lives in both dry and humid forests. Coloration ranges from red, purple, blue, green, and white. The trogon grows to about 10 or 11 inches from beak to tail.

Where To Find The Top Wildlife

Some of the most popular types of animals in Cuba include the hawksbill turtle, the Antillean manatee, the tiny bee hummingbird, the Cuban parakeet, the French angelfish, and the Cuban crocodile. Hawksbills are found throughout Cuban tropical waters, but they specifically go to Cayo Largo to lay eggs between April and September. The Antillean manatee is also found throughout Cuban waters and can be seen while snorkeling.

Endemic bird species such as the ones mentioned above can be found throughout Cuba, but a good place to see many of them is a rural area south of Najasa town. There are plenty of good snorkeling spots in Cuba such as Playa Pesquero. There, you can see many endemic fish species like the French angelfish. Zapata National Park is a major wetland area that houses the Cuban crocodile and many other species.

Native Cuban Animals

Cuba is home to many types of wildlife, many of which are native to the country. Following are several examples:

  • Cuban ground iguana
  • Land crab
  • Cuban crocodile
  • Cuban finch
  • Cuban treefrog
  • Cuban solenodon
  • Spinner dolphin

Native Birds

Along with the national bird, the trogon, there are countless unique avian species flying around or perched in the trees of Cuba. As a result of its convenient geographical location and size, Cuba is a hotspot for Neotropical migratory birds. Over 370 bird species have been seen on the island, out of which 27 are endemic. Some endemic species include:

  • Cuban tody – eats 40% of its bodyweight
  • Bee hummingbird – the world’s smallest bird!
  • Zapata rail – critically endangered
  • Zapata wren – one of the most sought after species to see in Cuba
  • Cuban kite – critically endangered

Migratory birds pass through heading south but some remain in Cuba for the winter. Following are several examples.

  • Black-throated warbler
  • Northern parula
  • Tennessee warblers
  • Cape may
  • American redstart

As for birdwatching location, La Guira Park is very popular, encompassing pine forests and semi-tropical forests. Caya Coco, surrounded by mangroves and famous for its incredible beaches, is home to over 200 avian species. Limestone ridges of Sierra de Najasa provide shelter and habitat for many bird species, such as hawks and parrots. Zapata National Park consists of swamp, scrubland, and salt flats, these diverse ecosystems are home to 18 endemic bird species along with other creatures such as crocodiles.

Native Fish

Surrounded on all sides by ocean along with inland rivers and lakes, Cuba is a popular destination for fishing of all kinds. Fly fishing, deep sea angling, half bottom fishing – you name it – and Cuba has it. Rules and regulations are in place to protect species and prevent overfishing, an important fact to consider when travelling for any kind of game fishing or hunting.

Some of the best lakes for fishing include Leonero Lake, Redonda Lake, and Algodonal Lake. The lakes are largely occupied by largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, and several other species, making for good freshwater fishing.

Jardines de la Reina is renowned worldwide for magnificent species caught here. However, the only modality allowed is Catch & Release, strictly enforced to preserve populations and the unique ecosystem off of the Caribbean shoreline. Exciting species found here include:

  • Sea bass
  • Bandit
  • Red porgy
  • Wimple piranha
  • Grouper
  • Wreckfish

The Hatiguanico River flows from a crystalline water spring and is refuge for many species such as manatees. A popular fishing destination, shad and sea bass are most often caught, while Cuban gar and other species also inhabit these waters.

On the northern shores of the country, the Guanahacabibes Peninsula has some of the most inhabited waters as a result of intensive preservation efforts by the government. Catch & Release technique is allowed, but other fishing is strongly prohibited. A variety of marine fish species are seen here such as grouper, lane snapper, sawfish, wahoo, tuna, and sailfish.

Some especially unique fish found in Cuba include:

  • Lucifuga fish
  • Goliath grouper
  • Cuban killifish
  • Biajaca

Native Snakes

While Cuba is home to impressive marine life, colourful birds, and eccentric mammals, reptiles also inhabit the waters and lands of the island. Snakes are common to Cuba, some venomous, some not. One of the best known snakes of Cuba is the Cuban boa, the largest species in its genus, reaching over 15 ft long. The Cuban boa is also thought to be the largest land predator on the island. Other snakes found in Cuba are:

  • Blind snakes
  • Other boa species – ex. dwarf boas
  • Nonvenomous colubrids – ex. salt marsh snake

While no species of snake found in Cuba is venomous, it is still important to seek professional medical attention if attacked or bitten by a snake, as allergic reactions or injuries may result.

The Most Dangerous Animals In Cuba Today

In general, there aren’t any truly dangerous wild animals in Cuba. The dangerous animals in Cuba are simply capable of delivering uncomfortable bites and stings. This includes Medusa jellyfish, mosquitos, scorpions, spiders, and lizards. Sharks are present in Cuba’s waters, but they’re mostly active at night. There are no records of shark attacks on Cuban beaches. As previously mentioned, the Cuban crocodile only inhabits one area, and the area is tightly controlled with fences and the like. Fortunately, there are no venomous snakes found on the island, lessening the chance of a fatal bite.

Famous Cuban Animals

Cuba’s natural biodiversity means that there are a lot of endemic animals in Cuba, meaning they are only found in Cuba, making them famous. The list includes the following:

Cuba is also very proud of its famous native dog the Havanese. The Havanese is very popular all over the world for its affectionate and playful personality, and cute small size.

Strange Animals

Cuba can claim a number of strange wild animals as well. Top of the list is the Cuban solenodon. This is an endangered animal described as a living fossil. It looks like a shrew, and it has venomous saliva that it injects into its prey with its teeth. The strange shrew was last spotted in 2003, however, recent research suggests that there’s evidence that the animal still exists in Cuba.

Another strange animal species in Cuba is the Monte Iberia dwarf eleuth frog. It’s the third smallest of all frogs and is only found in two small parts of eastern Cuba. It’s considered critically endangered due to a loss of habitat. This frog is about the size of a fingernail.

Mammals

Cuba doesn’t have a lot of large mammals or a lot of predators that are mammals. Many of the top animal species in Cuba are birds, reptiles, or fish. Some of the most well-known mammals in Cuba include the manatee, the Cuban hutia, the butterfly bat, the Indian mongoose, and the primitive Cuban solenodon. The Indian mongoose is not actually native to Cuba, but an invasive species. It was introduced to the island to cut down rat populations. However, it has almost no natural predators, so its numbers have gotten somewhat out of control.

Endangered Animals

There are a number of endangered animals in Cuba. Common threats to native animals of Cuba include invasive species, hunting from humans, and loss of habitat from human expansion. Some notable endangered animals species in Cuba include:

  • Bahama swallow
  • Baracoa dwarf frog
  • Cuban solenodon
  • Bee hummingbird
  • Cuban crocodile
  • Cuban kite
  • Cuban parrot

Zoos in Cuba

Cuba has a number of zoos and aquariums, including the National Zoo of Cuba located in Havana. Opened in 1939, this zoo is the oldest in Cuba. Monkeys are the main attraction of the National Zoo of Cuba; however, there are multitudes of species on exhibit here. Other zoos and aquariums include the following:

  • Delfinario (Dolphinarium) – Open since 1984 in Punta Hicacos Nature Park; Offers four daily dolphin shows
  • Delfinario de Cienfuegos – Popular tourist attraction for swimming with dolphins and dolphin shows
  • Delfinario Cayo Naranjo – Located in Bahia de Naranjo Nature Park, only accessible by boat; semi-natural enclosures for marine mammals, like dolphins, to interact with other marine creatures
  • Aquarium Baconao – Santiago de Cuba; also allows swimming with dolphins and is home to unique marine and freshwater species; educational room for historical significance of species and waters

Cuban Animals

Acadian Flycatcher

Their nests are sloppily held together and have an abandoned appearance

Amazon Parrot

These parrots can be trained to be "talking birds" that mimic human speech

American Eel

Don't eat raw eel! Their blood is poisonous to humans when consumed raw.

Anole Lizard

There are just under 400 species, several of which change color.

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Armadillo

Can curl into a hard, protective ball!

Armyworm

They are so named because they "march" in armies of worms from one crop to another in search of food

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Bear

There are 8 different species!

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.

Bee

Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Biscuit Beetle

The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Blind Snake

The blind snake is often mistaken for a worm.

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Joy and happiness are the spiritual meaning of this bird.

Booby

Seabirds found across the South Pacific!

Brazilian Treehopper

“Mild-Mannered Minimonsters”

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors

Brown Headed Cowbird

Males are generally monogamous during mating season and will protect the female from other males. However, females tend to venture from their partners and mate with other males.

Burrowing Owl

The burrowing owl lives in underground burrows

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 17,500 species!

Caecilian

Some species' babies use their hooked or scraper-like teeth to peel off and eat their mother's skin

Caiman

Can grow to up 6 meters long!

Camel Cricket

The camel crickets that are found in the USA are light brown in color. They also have dark streaks all over their body.

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants can lift up to seven times their own weight with their teeth!

Cat

First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!

Caterpillar

The larvae of a moth or butterfly!

Catfish

There are nearly 3,000 different species!

Cedar Waxwing

Their feathers have red, waxy tips that can be hard to identify unless you’re up close.

Centipede

There are about 3,000 documented species!

Chestnut-Sided Warbler

They inhabit regrowing forests

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Codling Moth

Pupae are able to undergo diapause to survive poor fruit yield years and winter.

Collared Peccary

Form bands of up to 12 individuals!

Common Furniture Beetle

The common furniture beetle feeds exclusively on wood

Common House Spider

House spiders have the ability to eat most insects in a home.

Cow

There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings

Cricket

Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Crow

A group of these birds is called a Murder.

Cuban Boa

One of the only snakes observed using cooperative hunting tactics.

Cuban Cockroach

Believed to have been introduced to the United States by being shipped with green bananas.

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Dog Tick

Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals

Donkey

First domesticated 5,000 years ago!

Dragonfly

It's larvae are carnivorous!

Dubia Cockroach

The most popular species of feeder roach

Duck

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight

Dwarf Boa

Some species can change color from dark to light, and back again.

Earthworm

They are hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female organs

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eastern Meadowlark

They can live up to 9 years.

Eel

Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

False Widow Spider

False spiders actually prey on black widow spiders and other hazardous spiders

Fiddler Crab

The fiddler crab gets its name from the motion the males make with their over-sized claw during the mating ritual.

Firefly

The firefly produces some of the most efficient light in the world

Flamingo

Sleeps on just one leg!

Flea

Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Squirrel

Can glide up to 90 meters!

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Fly

Fruit flies are among the most common research animals in the world

Fulvous Whistling Duck

They build a ramp from their nest, which leads to a nearby water source

Gar

Can grow to more than 3m long!

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Gnat

Males form large mating swarms at dusk

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Gray Catbird

Their songs have cat-like qualities and can mimic other birds and animals, like tree frogs.

Great Blue Heron

Their wingspan is larger than an eagle’s; both males and females help hatch the eggs; rich in symbolism

Great Crested Flycatcher

This species makes use of some truly unusual nesting material, including snakeskin and garbage

Guppy

Also known as the Millionfish!

Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Hare

Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!

Harpy Eagle

Talon's the size of a grizzly bear's claws!

Harris Hawk

Their vision is eight times better than a human's

Havanese

These are the only dogs that are native to Cuba

Hawk Moth Caterpillar

Many hawk moth caterpillars eat toxins from plants, but don’t sequester them the way milkweed butterflies do. Most toxins are excreted.

Hercules Beetle

This dynastine scarab beetle makes a weird huffing sound when it’s disturbed.

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Herring Gull

They are loud, spirited birds with raucous cries that sound like bursts of laughter.

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Horse

Has evolved over 50 million years!

Horsefly

Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.

House wren

The wren’s epithet, aedon, comes from a Greek queen who accidentally killed her only son. She was actually aiming for her nephew, and Zeus took pity on her and turned her into a nightingale.

Housefly

The fly has no teeth

Human

Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!

Hummingbird

Beat their wings up to 80 times per second!

Huntsman Spider

Some huntsman spiders have an interesting way of moving around. Some cartwheel while others do handsprings or backflips.

Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

Iguana

Uses visual signals to communicate!

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Ivory-billed woodpecker

The ivory-billed woodpecker can drill into wood with its sharp beak

Jacana

The jacana has the ability to swim underwater

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

Killdeer

The killdeer feigns injury to draw a predator away from its nest.

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Knight Anole

When threatened, the promiscuous knight anole rises on all fours and turns bright green, and gives a menacing look.

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Leech

Has 10 pairs of eyes!

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Locust

Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.

Lone Star Tick

Only females have the ‘lone star’ marking

Macaw

The largest species of parrot in the world!

Maggot

Will only live in wet areas

Magnolia Warbler

They line their nests with fungi strands

Marine Toad

Produces a toxin used in arrow darts!

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Mealybug

They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bat

Some colonies have millions of bats

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

Mole Cricket

Adult Mole crickets may fly as far as 5 miles during mating season and are active most of the year.

Molly

Known for their calm and peaceful nature!

Monarch Butterfly

During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.

Mongrel

Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

Monkey

There are around 260 known species!

Monte Iberia Eleuth

The smallest frog in the Northern Hemisphere!

Moorhen

Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!

Mosquito

Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

Mountain Lion

Has no real natural predators!

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

Mule

The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers often make their homes in dead trees.

Northern Harrier

They can reach speeds of 25 Mph but prefer to soar low and slow.

Northern Parula

They live in coffee and citrus plantations during the winter

Ocelot

Also known as the Painted Leopard!

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Osprey

They reuse nesting sites for 70 years!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Owl

The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

Panther

Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth

Pheasant

Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pigeon

They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.

Pit Viper

Pit vipers's fangs fold up into their mouths when they don't need them.

Poison Dart Frog

Inhabits the jungles of Central and South America!

Porcupine

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Praying Mantis

The mantis can turn its head 180 degrees.

Puma

Has longer back legs than front legs!

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Quetzal

The tail feathers of the male can be 1m long!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

Rattlesnake

It's venom digests it's prey before it even swallows it!

Red-winged blackbird

The male red-winged blackbird can sing to attract mates

Ring-billed Gull

The ring-billed gull feeds on vast quantities of human waste and garbage.

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!

Rodents

The capybara, the world’s largest rodent, likes to be in and around bodies of water. Because of this, the Catholic Church in South America decided that it was a fish, and people were allowed to eat it during Lent and First Fridays.

Rooster

Will mate with the entire flock!

Roseate Spoonbill

The only Spoonbill in the western hemisphere!

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated hummingbirds can beat their wings more than 50 times per second.

Saber-Toothed Tiger

Canines up to 7 inches long!

Sable Ferret

Ferrets were used during the Revolutionary War to keep down the rat population.

Salamander

There are more than 700 different species!

Sand Crab

The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Eagle

The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

In captivity, sharp-shinned hawks can live up to 13 years. However, in the wild, this number is significantly reduced to 3 years!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Short-Eared Owl

The short-eared owl is one of the most widespread owl species in the world, covering five continents.

Shrew

The spinal column of the shrew Scutisorex somereni is so strong and reinforced that it can support the weight of an adult human.

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Skink Lizard

Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.

Sloth

It's body temperature is between 30 - 34 degrees!

Slug

They glide around on one foot, which is aided by the slime they produce

Smokybrown Cockroach

Has up to 45 eggs per egg case

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Snapping Turtle

Only found in North America!

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

Spider Wasp

They prey on spiders to feed their larvae or they parasitize other spider wasps.

Squirrel

Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!

Summer Tanager

They remove bee stingers by rubbing them against a tree

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.

Termite

Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Thrush

The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.

Tick

They inject hosts with a chemical that stops them from feeling the pain of the bite

Tiger Beetle

The adult tiger beetle is one of the fastest land insects in the world

Tortoise

Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Toucan

There are more than 40 different species!

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!

Turkey

Closely related to pheasants and chickens!

Turtles

Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.

Umbrellabird

Migrates up and down the mountains!

Vampire Bat

Have a heat sensor on the end of their nose!

Vinegaroon

Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted

Vulture

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Wasp

There are around 75,000 recognised species!

Western Tanager

They migrate farther north than any other tanager.

Whiptail Lizard

Many whiptail species reproduce asexually.

White-Crowned Sparrow

Males learn distinct songs from the community they grew up in and continue to sing in the same dialect as adults.

White-Eyed Vireo

During courtship, males put on exciting displays by fluffing their plumage, spreading their tails, and letting out a whining call.

White-Faced Capuchin

One of the world's most intelligent monkeys!

White Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Woodlouse

This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Worm

Doesn’t have eyes.

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

The males are responsible for choosing the nesting tree most of the time. Luckily, cavity nests are often reused for multiple breeding seasons (up to 7 years.)

Cuban Animals List

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About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.

Cuba FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What animals live in Cuba?

Cuba is home to over 17,000 species of animals, including the Cuban hutia, the bee hummingbird, the Cuban land crab, the Cuban ground iguana, and the Cuban crocodile.

What is the most dangerous animal in Cuba?

Cuba has no truly dangerous animals, but Medusa jellyfish, crocodiles, and sharks are some to look out for.

What is the state animal of Cuba?

Cuba has two state animals in the Cuban hutia and the Cuban tocororo bird.

Are there monkeys in Cuba?

Cuba also used to be home to native monkey species, but there are no longer any native monkey species in Cuba.

Does Cuba have sloths?

Cuba was once home to giant ground sloths, but it no longer has any sloth species.