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Cayman Fauna

The Cayman Islands don't have a lot of wildlife, but there are some small animals that can be seen.

A shy resident of these islands is the agouti, a rabbit-sized rodent once hunted for meat. Introduced by the early settlers, the agouti is a Central American native. Once kept as a pet and raised for food, today the rodent is rarely seen in the wild. A family of agoutis can be viewed at the Cayman Turtle Farm on Grand Cayman. The agouti has long, thin legs, hoof-like claws with three toes on its hind feet and five toes on its forefeet. The hickatee, a freshwater turtle, is found in the freshwater and brackish ponds in the Cayman Islands and neighboring Cuba.

Although the Cayman Islands have no poisonous snakes, you might spot one of the harmless indigenous species such as the grass snake. The numbers of this snake, which feeds on frogs and lizards, have been reduced by the mongoose, which was introduced to control rats. (Unfortunately, rats and mongoose keep different hours, so the mongoose feed on the snake the natural predator of the rat causing the rat population to swell.) A favorite sighting is that of the blue iguana, a vegetarian species that can grow to a length of five feet.

Little Cayman is home to over 2,000 iguanas (check out the "iguana crossing" signs around the island). On Grand Cayman, you can see a large male on display in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Gardens.

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