Below you can find a complete list of Dominican animals. We currently track 214 animals in the Dominican Republic and are adding more every day!
Types of Animals in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a country on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Maintaining a cool, tropical climate over gorgeous mountains and jungles bordered by over 900 miles of coastline, many types of wildlife, both native and introduced, can be found roaming the country.
Mammals, such as Hispaniolan Solenodons, Hispaniolan hutias, and common raccoons, coexist along with reptiles like snakes and lizards. Hundreds of bird species, namely the Hispaniolan Emerald hummingbirds, flit through the sky and reside in the trees.
Amongst the 20 mammal species found, 2 are native, while 32 bird species are native to the DR.
The Dominican Republic is a resting place for hundreds of transient species migrating in and out, along with the 32 species endemic to the country. Several of the most common birds to see in the DR include:
- Waterfowl (geese, ducks, etc)
- Pidegons, doves
The terrain in the Dominican Republic is highly diverse, contributing to the diversity of species found there. Because the DR is A few endemic species are particularly rare, including La Selle Thrush (Turdus swalesi) found in the cloud forests along with the Hispaniolan Pewee (Contopus hispaniolensis) and the Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli), both residing in the alpine pine forests.
The Dominican Republic is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the beautiful Caribbean Ocean. The Dominican Republic is highly attractive to anglers all over the world who come in to fish its marine waters. Some popular fish for anglers to find in the country are:
Seasons change for different species’ availability. Mahi Mahi (Dorado) and Wahoo are present year-round and probably the most commonly caught, both fun and easy to catch. Large, Yellowfin tuna are available between March-August and are hugely popular as a catch-to-eat fish, as some of these fish Amy reach around 400lb.
Probably the most exciting fish drawing anglers to the DR are Blue and White Marlin, followed closely by Sailfish and Swordfish. White Marlin can be found from March to July, while Blue Marlin comes around from June until October. Blue Marlin has the capacity to reach up to 1,000lb, making it a goal for experienced anglers everywhere to catch one at least once.
Sailfish, one of the fastest fish in the world, are more popular during the winter months of November to the beginning of March and Swordfish tend to crop up at the end of summer.
Alternatively, there are many native species found in freshwater sources, as well. A variety of Limia species, Pupfish species, Molly, and Rivulus fish are endemic to the DR’s freshwater.
Rarest Animals found in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is home to a number of rare and endangered animal species that are found nowhere else in the world.
One of the rarest animals in the country is the Hispaniolan solenodon, which is a small, insect-eating mammal that is classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The solenodon is unique in that it has a venomous bite, which it uses to capture prey. It is a nocturnal animal that is rarely seen by humans and is threatened by habitat loss and predation by introduced species like feral cats.
Another rare animal found in the Dominican Republic is the Bayahibe rosewood, which is a tree species that is critically endangered. The Bayahibe rosewood is a slow-growing tree that is prized for its high-quality wood and has been heavily exploited for commercial purposes. It is now found only in a few small areas of the country and is threatened by continued deforestation and habitat loss.
The endangered Hispaniolan parakeet is also found in the Dominican Republic and is one of the rarest parrot species in the world. The parakeet is threatened by habitat loss and poaching for the pet trade and is considered critically endangered by the IUCN.
Largest Animals Found in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is home to a number of large and impressive animal species that are found in a few other places in the world.
One of the largest animals in the country is the West Indian manatee, which is a large, aquatic mammal that can grow up to 13 feet in length and weigh over 1,000 pounds. The manatee is found in the rivers, estuaries, and coastal waters of the Dominican Republic, and is considered vulnerable due to habitat loss and hunting.
Another large animal found in the Dominican Republic is the rhinoceros iguana, which is a lizard species that can grow up to 4 feet in length. The iguana is found only on the island of Hispaniola and is known for its distinctive appearance and aggressive behavior. The rhinoceros iguana is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN and is threatened by habitat loss and hunting.
The Hispaniolan hutia is another large animal found in the Dominican Republic and is a rodent species that can grow up to 15 inches in length and weigh up to 5 pounds. The hutia is a herbivorous animal that is found in the forests and woodlands of the country and is known for its shy and elusive behavior. The Hispaniolan hutia is considered vulnerable due to habitat loss and hunting and is an important part of the natural heritage of the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic holds diverse landscapes and gorgeous sites for exploration. Wildlife is abundant throughout the country, found in the air, roaming the forest floors, or in the waters. Only a few species of snakes reside in the DR, none that are lethal to humans.
Several species of Boas populate the island, along with Hispaniolan Racers, La Hotte Blind Snake, and Blunt-Headed Tree Snakes. While none of these snakes are specifically lethal, they can still bite humans and may cause irritation. Always seek medical attention when bitten by a snake.
While it is exciting to see these different animals, it is always important to be aware of your surroundings and possible dangers.
In summary, common snakes to see in the DR are:
- Hispanoila Boa – Called “Culebra Jaba” by locals; largest snake in the country; found throughout the country. Coloration is brown, gray, black, or red
- La Hotte Blind Snake – Small snake living in trees and prefers the rain forest; Green, black, brown, or speckled
- Blunt-headed Tree Snake – Central DR in the tropical rainforests; Green or brown in color
The Official National Animal of the Dominican Republic
There are several national animals in the Dominican Republic, so there is no one official national symbol. One national animal is the Palm Chat, a small songbird that nests in large groups on Royal Palm trees. Another is the Hispaniolan hutia (Plagiodontia aedium), the last living native land mammal which is the official national animal of the West Indies of the Dominican Republic.
Another national animal is the Palm Stork (Dolus dominicus). On the shield of the city of Santo Domingo, there are two yellow lions which are symbols of dominion, sovereignty, and energy after the country won its independence three centuries ago. The coat of arms of the city likewise contains two lions as part of its symbols.
National Bird of the Dominican Republic
The national bird of the Dominican Republic is the palmchat, a small bird that is native to the Caribbean. The palmchat, also known as the “Cigua Palmera” in Spanish, is a common sight in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. It is a social bird that is known for its distinctive appearance and unique vocalizations.
The palmchat is about the size of a sparrow and has a distinctive plumage. It has a brown body, a short tail, and a pointed beak. It is easily recognized by the tuft of feathers on its head, which gives it a distinctive appearance. The palmchat is known for its chattering vocalizations, which are a common sound in the forests and woodlands of the Caribbean.
In addition to its importance as the national bird of the Dominican Republic, the palmchat also plays an important ecological role in the region. It is a frugivorous bird, which means that it feeds primarily on fruits and berries. In doing so, it helps to disperse seeds and promote the growth of new plant life. The palmchat is also a key pollinator for some plant species, which further highlights its importance in the Caribbean ecosystem.
Overall, the palmchat is a fascinating and important bird that is both a cultural symbol and an ecological keystone in the Dominican Republic and the wider Caribbean region. Its distinctive appearance and unique vocalizations make it a beloved part of the natural heritage of the region.
Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in the Dominican Republic
The top wild animals in the Dominican Republic are popular wildlife one can see on tours such as the forests of Sierra de Baoruco, by the sea at Boca de Yuma, Macao Beach at Punta Cana as well as national parks and other protected areas. They include unique animals one can only see in the country or on the island of Hispaniola.
The Hispaniolan Hutia (Plagiodontia medium) is the only living native rodent on Hispaniola and is found in the southwestern part of the Dominican Republic. The Hispaniolan Solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus) is one of two species in the world besides the one in Cuba (Solenodon cubana) and has a wide range in many forest habitats.
It can be seen during nocturnal tour outings along with owls and other nightbirds, distinguishable by its side-to-side waddle. Its primary, native predators are the Barn Owl, the Ashy-Faced Owl, the Stygian Owl, and the Hispaniolan Boa, but it’s also killed by feral and domesticated dogs.
Among other nocturnal animals is the Greater Bulldog Bat (Noctilio leporinus), the largest bat on the island with a 3-foot-long wingspan. The second-largest bat is the Big Free-Tailed Bat, with a 17.1-inch-long wingspan. The Minor Red Bat (Lasiurus minor) roosts in trees and lives only in 6 places on the island. Several other bats are endemic to Hispaniola and other countries, but not to the Dominican Republic.
Some examples of other unique animals are:
- Amphibian species – the Hispaniolan Yellow Treefrog (Osteopilus pulchrilineata)
- Reptile species – the Antillean Slider (Trachemys stejnegeri)
- Lizard species – the Santo Domingo Curlytail or Hispaniolan Maskless Curlytail (Leiocephalus lunatus).
- Land snail species Cerion yumaense.
- Crab species – the Stone Crab (Menippe mercenaria).
- Butterfly species – the Polydamus Swallowtail or Gold Rim (Battus polydamus polycrates)
- Moth species – the Celery Leaftier Moth (Udea rubigalis)
- Dragonfly species of Tropical King Skimmers in the genus Orthemis, such as Orthemis macrostigma.
- Damselfly species Telebasis dominicana
- Spider species – the Orchard Orb Weaver (Leucauge venusta) and the Hispaniolan Giant Tarantula (Phormictopus cancerides)
The Most Dangerous Animals In the Dominican Republic Today
Among dangerous snakes, the Hispaniolan Boa (Chilabothrus striatu) is dangerous not because of any toxic venom, but due to its strength in squeezing or strangling people to death.
Venomous animals do not always mean life-threatening. Take the following most dangerous animals in the Dominican Republic:
- Rattlesnake bites are poisonous but rarely result in fatality unless the bite enters a vein.
- The Hispaniolan solenodons are far away from snakes and likewise secretes toxic saliva, but it is only fatal to smaller animals; in humans, it causes severe pain and localized swelling which can last for days.
- The stingray species the Thorn Stripe (American Whip-Stripe) and the centipede species Scolopendra gigantea cause pain for several hours.
- The Black Widow Spider, the Brown Recluse (Violin Spider), and the rarely-seen Portuguese Man O’War do not have lethal bites unless there are complications or a lack of treatment.
- The Lionfish causes extreme pain and can cause complications such as fever, respiratory paralysis, and heart failure.
- Both the Pufferfish and the Mamp Pempén or Cane Toad are only lethal if ingested.
- The Portuguese Frigate or False Jellyfish causes marks that resemble burns, extreme pain, and if it affected a large area, anaphylactic shock, and death.
It is common for people to assume that tropical islands have more dangerous wildlife than other countries. But while there are indeed several dangerous animals in the Dominican Republic, there are actually far more in the United States.
Some of the endangered animals in the Dominican Republic are:
- The Hispaniolan Solenodon, is a nocturnal burrowing shrewlike mammal.
- 2 species of manatees, the West Indian Manatee or North American Manatee (Trichechus manatus) and the subspecies the Antillean Manatee or Marine Cow (Trichechus manatus), a unique species in the Caribbean.
- The Rhinoceros Iguana (Cyclura cornuta)
- The Puerto Rican Nightjar or Puerto Rican Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus noctitherus)
One of the 20 species of mammals is critically endangered, another is endangered, and three species are listed as vulnerable.
A total of 9,539 species of animals including 483 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians; 527 species of freshwater and marine fish, and 8,529 species of invertebrates (1,696 marine and 6,833 terrestrial) are on the 2011 IUCN Red List of Endangered, Threatened or Protected Species of the Dominican Republic. Amphibians and lizards, including anoles, are some of the most vulnerable animals.
The Dominican Republic is home to a number of extinct animal species that once roamed the island. One such species is the Hispaniolan ground sloth, which was a large, herbivorous mammal that lived on the island until about 4,000 years ago. The ground sloth was a slow-moving animal that was well adapted to the island’s tropical forests. It is thought to have gone extinct due to hunting by the first human settlers on the island.
Another extinct species found in the Dominican Republic is the quail-dove, which was a bird that was native to the island. The quail-dove was a ground-dwelling bird that was about the size of a turkey. It had a distinctive appearance, with a brightly colored head and neck and a mottled brown body. The quail dove is thought to have gone extinct due to habitat loss and hunting.
Today, the only evidence of its existence is in fossils and the descriptions of early explorers who encountered the bird. The extinction of these and other species in the Dominican Republic is a reminder of the importance of conservation efforts to protect the natural heritage of the region.
Among the extinct wildlife in the Dominican Republic are 3 species of bats that are now extinct or were extirpated: One in the genus Pteronotus, Mormoops megalophylla, and Lasiurus intermedius. The Puerto Rican Hutia (Isolobodon portoricensis), introduced to Puerto Rico from Hispaniola, is completely extinct. Raccoons, namely common raccoons (Procyon lotor) are mammals non-native and eradicated. Eight species of the 20 mammals are extinct.
Zoos in the Dominican Republic
There are several zoo-equivalents in the Dominican Republic. However, the best known is the National Zoological Park, established in 1975. Currently, this zoo houses 82 species of animals, both endemic and exotic, as well as plants.
The National Zoological Park is located in Santo Domingo and houses African lions, alligators, snakes, and an array of mammals, such as monkeys and Bengal tigers.
Some other similar places to visit in your free time include:
- National Aquarium (Santo Domingo) – Established in 1990, this aquarium attracts visitors with a clear tunnel that allows you to get an almost 360 view of the sea turtles, sharks, fish, and sea horses swimming around you.
- Parque Zoologico (Santo Domingo) – In order to protect unique species and habitats, the Parque Zoologico was officially established in 1975, creating a home to 82 species. Many different birds, mammals, and reptiles are found in this zoo.
Dominican Animals List
- Admiral Butterfly
- Amazon Parrot
- American Eel
- Anole Lizard
- Barn Owl
- Barn Swallow
- Bed Bugs
- Biscuit Beetle
- Black and White Warbler
- Black Widow Spider
- Blind Snake
- Blue Tang
- Brazilian Treehopper
- Brown Dog Tick
- Burrowing Owl
- Camel Cricket
- Carpenter Ant
- Chestnut-Sided Warbler
- Codling Moth
- Collared Peccary
- Common Furniture Beetle
- Common House Spider
- Common Yellowthroat
- Crab Spider
- Dog Tick
- Dubia Cockroach
- Dung Beetle
- Dwarf Boa
- False Widow Spider
- Fiddler Crab
- Flying Squirrel
- Fruit Fly
- Fulvous Whistling Duck
- German Cockroach
- Gray Catbird
- Great Blue Heron
- Harpy Eagle
- Harris Hawk
- Hawk Moth Caterpillar
- Hercules Beetle
- Herring Gull
- Honey Bee
- House wren
- Huntsman Spider
- Jack Crevalle
- Jumping Spider
- Kentucky Warbler
- Lesser Scaup
- Lone Star Tick
- Magnolia Warbler
- Marine Toad
- Mexican Free-Tailed Bat
- Mole Cricket
- Monarch Butterfly
- Mountain Lion
- Mourning Warbler
- No See Ums
- Northern Harrier
- Northern Parula
- Northern Potoo
- Orb Weaver
- Peregrine Falcon
- Pit Viper
- Poison Dart Frog
- Pompano Fish
- Praying Mantis
- Ring-billed Gull
- River Turtle
- Roseate Spoonbill
- Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
- Saber-Toothed Tiger
- Sable Ferret
- Sand Crab
- Sea Eagle
- Senepol Cattle
- Sharp-Shinned Hawk
- Short-Eared Owl
- Skink Lizard
- Smokybrown Cockroach
- Spider Wasp
- Stick Insect
- Swallowtail Butterfly
- Tarantula Hawk
- Tiger Beetle
- Tree Frog
- Upland Sandpiper
- Vampire Bat
- Western Tanager
- Whiptail Lizard
- White-Faced Capuchin
- White Ferret / Albino Ferrets
- Wolf Spider
- Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
Dominican Republic FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What kind of animals live in the Dominican Republic?
A variety of terrestrial, marine, and freshwater animals live in the country, whether unique, native, or introduced.
What dangerous animals live in the Dominican Republic?
There are several dangerous animals including the Hispaniolan Boa, the Hispaniolan Solenodon, the Rattlesnake, the Thorn Stripe (American Whip-Stripe) stingray, the centipede species Scolopendra gigantea, the Black Widow Spider, the Brown Recluse (Violin Spider), the Portuguese Man O’War, the Lionfish, the Pufferfish, the Mamp Pempén or Cane Toad, and the Portuguese Frigate or False Jellyfish.
What is the most dangerous animal in the Dominican Republic?
The Hispaniolan Boa, which is so strong it can squeeze or strangle humans to death.
Are there tigers in the Dominican Republic?
No. The Saber-Toothed Tiger used to roam the Americas but it is extinct.