Animals in Puerto Rico



Below you can find a complete list of Puerto Rican animals. We currently track 131 animals in Puerto Rico and are adding more every day!

Puerto Rico is a small Caribbean island and an unincorporated territory of the United States. It is in the southeast Caribbean Sea. Puerto Rico is part of the Greater Antilles chain of islands. It borders the Dominican Republic to the east, the Virgin Islands to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the north.

A popular tourist destination, Puerto Rico has mountain peaks, coastal areas, and acres of tropical rainforest. More than one-fourth of the island is covered in mountains and hills. Lush, humid rainforest areas cover the northern part of the island. The southern side has dry, scrubby plains.

Puerto Rico is home to many exotic animal species. It has over 200 unique bird species. The island has no large native mammals, and its small mammals include bats and shrews. Although they are not native, mongooses also live in Puerto Rico.

The island has a high number of amphibians and reptiles, including nonpoisonous snakes, lizards, frogs and iguanas.

The Official National Animal of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico does not have an official national animal, but the common coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) is an important cultural symbol and the unofficial national animal. There are 17 species of coqui, and 14 are endemic to Puerto Rico.

A popular saying on the island is, “De aqui como el coqui,” which translates to, “From here, like the coqui.”  

Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in Puerto Rico

The waters surrounding Puerto Rico are important breeding areas for humpback whales. Whale watching is a popular activity in Puerto Rico.

  • The Caribbean National Forest is a wonderful place to see many of the island’s exotic bat species, including the red fig-eating bat (Stenoderma rufum), sooty mustached bat (Pteronotus quadridens), big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), and Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis). It is a protected area where you can see rare species of orchids and the small green Puerto Rican parrot.
  • Bosque Cambalache National Park is a large forest reserve that’s popular among bird watchers. Birders can spot exotic native species like the Puerto Rican Woodpecker, Puerto Rican bullfinch, and Puerto Rican cuckoo.
  • Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge is part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. It is an excellent place to see gulls, herons, and other waterfowl.
  • Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular activities on Vieques Island and Culebra Island. The clear waters are filled with exotic fish, manta rays, sea turtles, and humpback whales. These islands are protected areas with healthy coral reef formations.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Puerto Rico Today

  • Giant centipede: This brightly colored insect can reach 12 inches in length. Its bite is extremely painful. It’s rare to come across them unless you’re hiking in the rainforest. The giant centipede’s venom is not fatal, but it will make you very sick.
  • Spiders and scorpions: Like most islands, Puerto Rico has a high number of spiders, including the brown recluse. It also has a healthy population of scorpions. Scorpions won’t kill you, but their bite is painful.

Extinct and Endangered Animals in Puerto Rico

  • Puerto Rican parrot: This rare bird is one of the 10 most endangered birds in the world. It is a small parrot that almost became extinct in 1975. Since then, conservation efforts have helped preserve this unique bird.
  • Sea turtles: The hawksbill turtle and leatherback sea turtle are native to Puerto Rico. Both species are in danger of becoming extinct.

Several native species have become extinct in Puerto Rico. Conservation groups and the Puerto Rican government have taken steps to reverse population declines among its most endangered animals.

Puerto Rico’s Unique Wildlife

Puerto Rico is a small island with many exotic species. Its clear waters are home to sea turtles, manatees and manta rays. Small mammals, snakes and bats share the forests with iguanas and frogs. Wildlife and bird tours are popular activities for visitors to the island.

Puerto Rican Animals

Amazon Parrot

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

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!

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Booby

Seabirds found across the South Pacific!

Burrowing Owl

The burrowing owl lives in underground burrows

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 20,000 species!

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!

Centipede

There are about 3,000 documented species!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Collared Peccary

Form bands of up to 12 individuals!

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

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Donkey

First domesticated 5,000 years ago!

Dragonfly

It's larvae are carnivorous!

Duck

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight

Earthworm

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

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eel

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

False Widow Spider

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

Flamingo

Sleeps on just one leg!

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!

Gar

Can grow to more than 3m long!

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Great Blue Heron

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

Guppy

Also known as the Millionfish!

Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Harpy Eagle

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

Hercules Beetle

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

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.

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!

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Macaw

The largest species of parrot in the world!

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.

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

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!

Moorhen

Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!

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.

Ocelot

Also known as the Painted Leopard!

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Panther

Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

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.

Poison Dart Frog

Inhabits the jungles of Central and South America!

Porcupine

There are 30 different species worldwide!

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!

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.

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!

Salamander

There are more than 700 different species!

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!

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

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!

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.

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!

White-Faced Capuchin

One of the world's most intelligent monkeys!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Woodlouse

This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Puerto Rican Animals List

Animals in Puerto Rico FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What Kind of Animals Live in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico has many exotic animals, including unique wildlife you will only find here.

Marine mammals:

Puerto Rico has dolphins, sharks and whales.

One of the most popular marine mammals is the Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus), which uses the waters around the island as its primary breeding ground. One of Puerto Rico’s municipalities, Manati, gets its name from this sea creature.

Bats:

Puerto Rico has 13 bat species, of which six are endemic to the island. It is one of the few places you will see unusual species like the Antillean fruit bat (Brachyphylla cavernarum) and Antillean ghost-faced bat (Mormoops blainvillii).

Birds:

Puerto Rico has about 350 bird species, of which 18 are endemic to the island. They include some of the rarest and most elusive birds in the world. It has tanagers, hummingbirds, flycatchers and passerines.

The common bird in Puerto Rico is the bananaquit (Coereba flaveola). This beautiful black and yellow bird is abundant on the island. Puerto Rico has 41 recognized subspecies of the bananaquit.

Reptiles and amphibians:

Puerto Rico has 11 species of snake, of which 10 are nonvenomous. The Puerto Rican racer (Borikenophis portoricensis) secretes venom, but there are no recorded fatalities from its bite. Puerto Rico has several species of iguana, including the Mona ground iguana (Cyclura cornuta stejnegeri), which is endemic to Mona Island. The largest snake on the island is the Puerto Rican boa.

The spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) is the only member of the crocodile family in Puerto Rico. Also known as the white caiman, it is a relatively small crocodile that reaches an average length of about 5 feet.

Monkeys:

Monkeys are not native to Puerto Rico, but two monkey species were introduced here. A small colony of Rhesus macaques lives on Cayo Santiago, and about 35 squirrel monkeys live in the Sabana Seca region.

What Is the Most Dangerous Animal in Puerto Rico?

Mosquito: This tiny bug has caused thousands of deaths from chikungunya, an infectious disease that causes fever, extreme joint pain and rashes. There is no treatment for this disease and no vaccination for it. The only way to prevent is to avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitoes also transmit dengue fever and the West Nile virus.

What Predators Live in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico’s predators include bats, which are important for controlling mosquito populations. Mosquitoes are dangerous, and bats eat millions of them every day.

The spectacled caiman eats insects, small mammals, fish, crabs, and snails. This crocodile is not aggressive or dangerous to humans.

The Puerto Rican boa eats birds, lizards, rodents, and bats.

Are There Lions in Puerto Rico?

There are no big cats of any kind in Puerto Rico.

Are There Jaguars in Puerto Rico?

No, there are no jaguars in Puerto Rico.