Papillote Tropical Gardens: Fauna
Papillote Tropical Gardens is home to a wide variety of rainforest creatures, including birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, crustaceans and insects.
More than two dozen species of birds are commonly seen on our grounds, including four varieties of hummingbirds such as the purple-throated carib (pictured at left) and the Antillean crested hummingbird. Click here to view a species list and photo gallery.
The two largest mammals you may encounter in the gardens are the red-rumped agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) and the manicou (Didelphys marsupialis), a close relative of the American opossum. The shy agouti forages on the ground by day, mainly in the early morning and near dusk, while the manicou is an arboreal night-dweller with a taste for ripe fruit.
The indigenous Dominican anole (Anolus oculatus) and the invasive Puerto Rican crested anole (Anolis cristatellus) both are ubiquitous in the gardens, along with larger lizards like the blue-spotted Dominican ground lizard or abolo (Ameiva fuscata) that can be seen lingering around sunny areas on a warm day. The Dominican clouded boa (Boa constrictor nebulosis), locally known as tete chien, is a regular night time visitor to the gardens, along with several species of smaller snakes.
As dusk arrives at Papillote, you will hear their chorus before you see them: scores of tiny tree frogs of the genus Eleutherodactylus. One of the largest frogs in the world, the critically-endangered mountain chicken or crapaud (Leptodactylus fallax) was once found at Papillote, but the devastating chytrid fungus has nearly exterminated this species from Dominica and Montserrat, the only two islands in the world where it exists. Efforts are currently underway to save the mountain chicken from extinction.
Freshwater crabs ( Guinotia dentata), known locally as cyrique, are common along the streams and trails of our gardens. They are a favourite food of the yellow-crested night heron. A small freshwater shrimp, known as bouk (Macrobrachium crenulatum), inhabits the cold water streams that crisscross the gardens.
An abundance of insect life populates the rainforest at Papillote, including nineteen species of colourful butterflies, walking sticks and one of the largest beetles in the world – the hercules beetle.
Spiders, too, are common inhabitants of the tropical rainforest, spinning their delicate webs in accommodating locations.