There is only one type of native mammal still living on Nevis, and that is
the Bat. At least five species of have been identified , and are an
important part of the island's natural ecosystem. They pollinate plants,
spread plant seeds, and eat insects, especially mosquitoes.
Two types of bats eat insects; two consume fruits and flowers, two types
live in rooftops
Bats are mammals bearing live young and suckling them on milk. They belong
to the Order Chiroptera, which contain 956 species worldwide,
approximately one-quarter of all mammal species. They are the only mammals
capable of true flight (as opposed to the gliding flight found in some
mammals such as flying squirrels).
Whales and Dolphins
Whales are often considered by fisherman to be harbingers of good fishing.
When they appear, the mackerel, tuna, and other fish gather in abundance.
But anyone familiar with the entertaining aquatic gymnastics of spinner
dolphins and the unbelievable grace of breaching humpback whales also
welcome their arrival.
The year begins in January along the coast of Nevis with the haunting
songs of the humpback whales. They begin their annual journey thousands of
miles away near the Arctic and Canada to head for the warm waters of the
Caribbean to mate and give birth. These gentle giants, who filter huge
mouthfuls of plankton, crustaceans, and small fish through massive strands
of baleen plates that hang down from their upper jaw, pass by Nevis during
their courtship and mating rituals.
The males practice the newest version of their ancient love song in hopes
of attracting a mate. These otherworldly melodies can be heard underwater
from miles away. Occasionally one can view a remarkable show of jumps and
tail lobs, fin waving and barrel rolls. By April they move on.
While the humpbacks are migratory, several other types stay here year
round. They include pilot, sperm, fin, sei and minke whales. The largest
whale in the world, the blue whale, sometimes passes by and is truly an
Spinner dolphins are just as entertaining as they spin gracefully, leaping
through the air. Their streamlined bodies glide through the water as they
ride boat bow waves and their chatter and chirps seem to be cries of joy
and pure delight. To be surrounded by a playful pod is a memory beyond
Scuba divers often have the chance to see bottlenose, spinner, and other
small dolphins during their dives off Nevis. Sightseeing boats from Scuba
Safaris take trips out to see the whales and dolphins between January and
April. It's also possible to watch the whales from the top of Saddle Hill,
where the U.S. environmental organization Greenpeace has installed a
telescope. Call to use the telescope at 869-469-2856.
There are four species of sea turtles that venture to the beaches to lay
eggs: the green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas; the leatherback, Dermochelys
coricea, and the hawksbill, Eretmochelys imbricata, and the loggerhead
turtle, Caretta caretta.
On land they lumber arduously past the high tide mark to painstakingly dig
nests with flippers designed for swimming and lay 40-150 ping-pong ball
In the water, however, they are agile and streamlined and can soar along
at up to 35 miles per hour despite their massive bodies which can weigh up
to 1500 pounds.
During their life span of about 100 years, they travel the oceans,
sometimes hundreds of miles, and eat foods that range from jellyfish to
sponges, grass and fish. Despite the large number of eggs per nest, which
hatch in 50-60 days, all species of sea turtles are endangered.
The young brave many dangers after they hatch and crawl awkwardly toward
the sea drawn by the moonlight on the water. If they survive predators
from the land, they must evade many dangers in the sea if they are to grow
from the size of an EC dollar to approximately 40 inches. Only 1 in 10,000
survive to adulthood.
Check with the nature hiking guides for supervised viewing of nocturnal
turtle nesting activities. Swimming turtles are frequently seen on dive
trips organised by Scuba Safaris or Under the Sea, Sealife Education
Centre, phone: 869-469-1291.
Monkey sightings are common on Nevis, and most visitors delight in seeing
the energetic creatures run across the road (followed by a family of
babies) or swing from tree to tree. These green vervet monkeys live only
on St. Kitts, Barbados, and Nevis, brought to this island by British
Sheep and Goats
How do you tell the difference between them? Tails down-sheep. Tails
up-goat (To remember, P goes down and T goes up). Other than that, it's
often hard to differentiate between these two animals that roam the
island, crossing roads, grazing in fields, often with small young ones
struggling to keep up with the older herd.
Brought to the island originally in 1870 to get rid of the rodent
population, this small, brown ferret-like animal can often be seen running