Cuba is rich in tropical vegetation. But every local will tell you there are no dangerous animals to be afraid of. You can just walk straight away to one of Cuba’s national rainforest parks like El Nicho rest assured that all the snakes and lizards you’ll see are not poisonous.
And of course, the tropical birds will do no harm to your children. We explain 5 top of the list animals that live in Cuba and have the publicity of being dangerous. Statistically speaking these animals these animals are in fact not dangerous to humans.
1. Mosquito and Dengue virus
There has been a big misunderstanding about the Cuban rainforests called the “dengue” virus. It is advertised there is, in fact, a grade of a risk of epidemy, but in practice, there are no real-life cases of people being infected by dengue. It is just more convenient to use a repellent because mosquito bites can be quite unpleasant and can itch for an hour or more.
The landlord of our casa particular in Havana, Sergio, warned us against mosquitos. They may not carry poison, but when bitten, people of scratch their skin uncontrollably. This leads to wounds and infections that may be threatening to your health. Just use a repellent that locals do (ask Sergio) or bring the best one from your home pharmacy.
2. Jellyfish also know as Medusa
It could be very unpleasant for a swimmer to be stung by a jellyfish or medusa as the locals call it. One quick medicine is to pour vinegar on the skin where it hurts. In 10 minutes the pain will go away. You can take vinegar from your morning visit to the breakfast restaurant or ask the snack bar on the beach to help you out. The friendly locals will be more than happy to help. Jellyfish can be found on all the beaches of the world, but not friendly locals as the Cubans are.
3. Sharks in Cuba
Truth is that Cuba is in the intersection of the Caribbean sea, the Bermudas, Atlantic ocean and the Mexican bay. A lot of different water streams are mixing there. But the statistics say differently. Shark attacks on popular beaches are zero. The water is too shallow and too warm for them. Some go to Cuba to fish sharks, but as boat trips to the coral riffs that are full of different animal species. The popular sandy beaches are too boring for any sea animal to go there. A useful tip is to avoid swimming in unpopulated areas in the early morning and in the evenings.
The crocodiles live in Cuba. But they can only be found in areas not attractive to tourists like swamps and river deltas. In most cases, their living space is fenced and controlled. On your average Cuban road trip adventure you will see them in a ZOO and on special crocodile farms.
They are in fact in Cuba, but their home is the ZOO. It is dangerous so the ZOO guide will instruct people to close the windows of the ZOO bus when entering the lion’s part of the ZOO. This is a bit of a joke because no other animals can be exposed for being dangerous.
Plus 3 that look dangerous but are not:
This mid-sized fish with a strange looking head and nosy character will truly scare you. Especially if you wear swim goggles you can see it closely, you will get plenty of opportunities to see its weird anatomy.
Lizards are the most widespread animals in Cuba. You can see Cuban curly-tailed lizard on every little street or plaza. You might see the interesting anolis sagrei when eating your breakfast on a balcony. In the forest, you will also see gekons. All Cuban reptiles are harmless and shy. Even the famous autochthonous iguana cubana (Cyclura nubila) is a sensible creature that would rather hide than to attack a human being.
This great bird looks scary like a predator but is really only a vulture, living on the brinks of the rainforest. It looks like an eagle and flies pretty close to roads and houses.
All in all, Cuba is a safe island to visit. When we were there the landlord of our casa particular, Sergio successfully calmed us down. Of course, we expected snakes, spiders, big lizards, mosquitos and other jungle monsters, but at the end, we even walked the Cuban rain forests barefooted.