Flora & Fauna
More than 300 protected areas in the country occupy some 22 per cent of the island. Six of these have been declared world biosphere reserves by UNESCO: Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Sierra del Rosario and Ciénaga de Zapata, in the west; Buenavista in central Cuba; and Baconao Park and Cuchillas del Toa in the east. More than half the island?s diverse flora and fauna are indigenous.
As you would expect in tropical climate, Cuba has many species of plants. There are nearly 7000 species of plants, which are found in Cuba, out of which some 50% are native to the island. The flora is varied, out of which orchids assume a high position. The orchids have outstanding colors, flawless shapes and exist in more than 300 species. The national flower of Cuba is butterfly jasmine (Mariposa), which is a tiny orchid with white petals. The national tree is the Royal Palm (Palma Real). Both can be found all over the island.
The mountainous areas are covered by tropical forest, but Cuba is essentially palm-studded grassland. The royal palm, reaching heights of 15 to 23 m (50–75 ft.), is the national tree. Pines like those in the southeastern US grow on the slopes of the Sierra de los Órganos and on the Isla de Juventud (Isle of Youth). The lower coastal areas, especially in the south, have mangrove swamps. There is a small area around Guantánamo Bay where desert plants grow.
Only small animals inhabit Cuba. These include tropical bats, rodents, birds, and many species of reptiles and insects. No land animal is harmful in Cuba. The biggest animals you can find are deer, wild boar and fresh water crocodiles. It is bird life what makes Cuba so special, with approximately 300 native species. Of course the most famous bird in the island is the Bee Hummingbird (Zunzuncito or Pajaro Mosca), which is the smallest bird in the world.
The forests and hilly areas of Cuba are the home of diverse species of wildlife. The important ones are:
- Jutia, (a rodent). It is also known as “Banana Rat”.
- Snakes like the Boa Constrictor.
- Different kinds of fish.
The Flora and Fauna Cuba form an exuberant and striking picture of the landscapes of Cuba. It can be said, that the Flora and Fauna Cuba is one of the primary attractions of this Caribbean Isle.