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wild life

Here are some of the creatures you will likely find in your exploration of St. John.  They'll be in the trees, in the air, in the bush, underwater, and often in the middle of  the road.

Do not be alarmed if and when you see donkeys roaming the same trail as you. These donkeys are feral and are not to be touched (they really wouldn't let you any way). Please be safe and do not try to approach, ride or touch them. The most harm they will do to you is maybe wake you in the middle of the night with their loud "HEEEE HAAAAW!!"

See Also:  St. John flora


Oh yes- there is plenty of WILD life on the island of St. John!


Cattle Egret (bubulcus ibis)
These small white herons (19 to 21 inches tall) may be seen all over the island but especially where there are cows or recently cleared bush.  Very often, you will see a single egret perched on the back of a munching cow or horse.  They snap up insects that are disturbed by the grazing animals.  It is not unusual to see an otherwise green tree become white when a flock of egrets alights.

Mongoose (herpestes auropunctatus)
What was that animal darting across the road?  Chances are it was a Mongoose.  These small, ferret-looking animals were imported into the Caribbean in the 19th century to help with the rat problem.  As they are diurnal and rats are nocturnal, they failed miserably at their task.  They do provide, however, an interesting (although voracious) compliment to St. John's fauna.

Common Ground Dove (columbina passerina)
Often seen in small flocks on the ground, these small, brown, seed-eating avians coo and bob their way along most of the shaded lanes and roads of St. John.

Bananaquit (coereba flaveola)
These active, vocal birds used to be everywhere in the Virgin Islands.  Their numbers, however, were decimated by hurricanes Hugo and Marilyn.  They are only now making a comeback.  Often you will see these ingenious black and white flyers along the railings of open air restaurants.  They sometimes steal sugar packets to get at the tasty treats inside.

House Gecko (hemi-dactylus mabovia)
As native St. Johnians know, the Gecko is invaluable in keeping down the flying pest population in and around houses on the island.  They commonly come out at night, are used to people but don't like to get too close and can actually shed their tails if caught.

  Long-spined Black Urchin (diadema antillarum)
If you see one of these spiny creatures on the rocks or coral of the sea bed, steer clear.  It's needlelike spines can penetrate rubber fins, clothing and , of course, skin.  The tip of the spine often breaks off, causing several hours of stinging discomfort.  Squeeze a lime on the area to help with the pain.  The spine will eventually disintegrate.

  Queen Conch (strombus gigas)
This giant snail inhabits all the waters surrounding the U.S.Virgin Islands.  They have been grossly over-harvested in recent years, so it is important to check with the government before taking any out of their natural habitat.  They are delicious, however, in chowder, fritters or as an entree.

  Parrotfish (sparisuma viride)
Perhaps the most vibrantly colorful inhabitant of St. John's coral reefs, the Parrotfish is easily identifiable by its fused teeth, which resemble a parrot's beak.  It uses this feature to turn dead coral into sand at the astonishing rate of about a ton per year.  It keeps edible algae for itself and gives St. John the rest.

  Trumpetfish (aulostomus maculatus)
Snorkeling along the reef, you will often see a Trumpetfish hanging, head down, gently swaying among soft coral and sea fans.  It can change color to fit its surroundings and preys on smaller unwary fish by sucking them into its long slim body.

  Sea Turtles
If you're lucky , you'll happen upon one of these majestic sea creatures while swimming or boating.  The major types here in the Virgin Islands are the Leatherback, Hawksbill and Green Turtles.  They are protected and, occasionally, beaches or portions of beaches will be marked "off limits" to protect the turtle nestlings incubating in the sand.  Please honor our efforts to restore these endangered animals to a healthy population.

Peacock

These beautiful birds have been mostly seen on the western side of St. John hanging out in the shade and enjoying the view.  It is recommended that you too, just enjoy the view and not try to approach these handsome birds.

Iguana
Iguanas are a common sight on St. John.  They can be found in the trees, crossing the road, or lounging on the patio of an outdoor bar, waiting for diners to drop them a treat.  Be kind to them.  Do not try to approach them, their tails can, and will, be used as a whip.

Brown Boobie
Usually these birds will be found near mangrove forests and saltwater ponds feeding on small fish or dozing in the shade.


where to stay on St. John, USVI where to play on St. John, USVI Virgin Islands National Park who to hire on St. John, USVI useful info about St. John, VI
overview
campsites
hotels / inns
resorts
villas (by owner)
villas (by agent)
art scene
boating
dining
fishing
health and fitness
island hopping
land activities
nightlife
shopping
scuba
water activities

overview
facilities
beaches
programs
marine life
nature trails
plant life
wild life
suggested reading

car rentals
caterers
cyber cafes
business services
real estate agents
financial services
tour operators
taxi tours
travel agents
weddings
events calendar
ferry schedule
getting here
history / culture
info request
island maps
sky watch
webcam
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(St. John, St. Croix & St. Thomas)

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