A Brief Guide to St Lucia’s Wildlife
by Karen Rollins Feb 27, 2023
St Lucia is home to an exceptionally rich variety of exotic animals including some species which are indigenous and cannot be found anywhere else on earth.
A diverse environment which includes thick forests, healthy corals and flatter areas inland, makes the country the perfect haven for countless birds, rodents, insects and reptiles which live alongside the island’s 170,000+ human population.
There are about 170 types of bird in St Lucia including the country’s only parrot which is known as the ‘St Lucia parrot’ or ‘Jacquot’.
The Jacquot was named the national bird of St Lucia in 1979. It has striking green, red and blue plumage which helps it to blend into its forest habitat at night and stand out during the day when the light catches its feathers.
In recent years the parrot’s population has steadily increased primarily due to various education programmes called ‘protection through pride’, and the introduction of large fines for anyone caught hunting, capturing or harming the bird.
There are now thought to be at least 500 St Lucia parrots living in the wild.
St Lucia is home to one of the rarest species of lizard in the world – the St Lucia Whiptail lizard which is a ground lizard and was unknown until 1958.
The male lizard has striking skin with a vivid blue-green tail, turquoise spots, a blackish head and a bright yellow underside. Coincidentally, the yellow, blue and black colours of the whiptail lizard can also be seen in the national flag of Saint Lucia.
The female of the species is a lot less colourful and normally has a brown body with cream-coloured stripes and a whitish belly.
Its conservation status is listed as ‘vulnerable’ and it cannot be found on the mainland but lives on Saint Lucia’s Maria Islands.
The worm snake, which is recognised as one of the smallest snakes in the world, is found throughout the island but spends most of its life underground and only comes out when the earth is saturated by rain.
It grows to only six inches long and is one-eighth of an inch across.
The fer-de-lance snake, which translates from French as spearhead, is an extremely dangerous and poisonous reptile also known as the St Lucia viper. It can grow up to nine feet long and is often found along the island’s drier central east and west coasts.
It’s the most dangerous snake found in the Caribbean and Central and South America and causes more human deaths than any other snake in the Americas but rarely kills anyone in St Lucia because it lives in sparsely populated areas.