A List of the Endangered Species of Barbados

Leave a comment / / Updated on: 25th September 2023

The national flag of Barbados
The national flag of Barbados / TAK via Istock

People need to understand that their activities can set some animals on the path of endangerment and eventual extinction.

Apart from human activities, the primary reasons for a species’ endangerment are habitat loss and loss of genetic variation.

While human activity can cause habitat loss, it can also happen naturally.

On the other hand, the loss of genetic variation is entirely natural.

Considering all these factors, the IUCN Red List has 41,415 species, and 16,306 are endangered species threatened with extinction.

Although endangered species exist in various regions and countries, there are some without.

Sunrise on the East Coast of Barbados
Sunrise on the East Coast of Barbados / Above Everywhere via iStock

One such country is Barbados.

Located in the Caribbean, Barbados is a small island country with little biodiversity.

However, because the country is small, it has a limited range of native species.

As such, there are not as many endangered species on the island, just mostly vulnerable or near-threatened species.

This article focuses on two near-threatened species in Barbados and the various factors that classify them as such.

Keep reading to discover more about these animals.

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2. Barbados Threadsnake

Photo of Leptotyphlops carlae on a US quarter
Photo of Leptotyphlops carlae on a US quarter / Blair Hedges / License

Also called the Barbados blind snake, the Barbados threadsnake (Tetracheilostoma carlae) is a threadsnake species endemic to the island country.

Due to its small size and elusive nature, the Barbados threadsnake was not discovered until 2008, making it one of the most recently discovered snake species.

The first finding was by a team of researchers led by Blair Hedges, a herpetologist at Pennsylvania State University, who were surveying the island’s reptile and amphibian populations.

The team found the snake by digging through the soil in the island’s forested areas, where the snake is known to live.

As one of the world’s smallest snakes, the Barbados threadsnake has a total length of around four inches. The largest species found averaged 4.09 inches.

Because of its size, many mistake it for a worm.

Illustration of Barbados Threadsnake
Illustration of Barbados Threadsnake / Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images

The snake has a slender body with a pointed head and is typically a uniform gray or brown color, with some individuals having theirs slightly darker.

Completely blind, the snake has vestigial eyes covered by scales and cannot detect light or form images.

Instead, it relies on its sense of smell and touch to navigate and find food.

Because it is a burrowing snake, it spends most of its life underground.

Since its discovery, the Barbados threadsnake has become famous for scientific research and, despite its importance, is currently facing several threats.

One of the biggest is habitat loss due to urbanization and deforestation.

Aerial view of today's Barbados
Aerial view of today’s Barbados / Diego Tirira via Wikimedia Commons CC A-SA 2.0

As more of the island’s forests go to development and agriculture, the snake’s habitat is shrinking, and its population is declining.

Also, because the snake is sometimes mistaken for a worm or insect, it is killed by humans or pets.

1. Barbados Leaf-toed Gecko

The Barbados Leaf-toed Gecko
The Barbados Leaf-toed Gecko / iNaturalist user: dcblades / License

The Barbados leaf-toed gecko, also known scientifically as Phyllodactylus pulcher, is a unique gecko species that can be found exclusively in Barbados.

This small, nocturnal reptile distinguishes itself physically from other gecko species and plays significant ecological responsibilities in Barbados.

The behaviors and geographic range of the species remain largely unknown.

However, some studies show it is arboreal, nocturnal, and insectivorous.

As mentioned, this species is small, averaging 3.2 inches.

Barbados leaf-toed geckos have a distinctive pattern of black spots and stripes and range from light gray to brown.

The Dixonius siamensis or Siamese Leaf-Toed Gecko is another type of Leaf-Toed Gecko
The Dixonius siamensis or Siamese Leaf-Toed Gecko is another type of Leaf-Toed Gecko / Thomas Brown via Wikimedia Commons CCA 2.0

They also have a triangle-shaped head and a flattened body.

They have large eyes perfect for night vision.

Specialized pads on their toes enable them to adhere to surfaces, such as smooth leaves and walls.

The Barbados leaf-toed gecko’s tail, which can break off and regrow, is one of its most distinctive characteristics.

This feature serves as a defense strategy against larger predators.

While its predators are distracted by the wiggling tail, the gecko flees.

Despite being significant to ecology, the Barbados leaf-toed gecko faces threats.

Habitat destruction is one of the main dangers, as urbanization and agricultural growth have caused the natural environment to collapse.

A curious Indian Grey Mongoose
A curious Indian Grey Mongoose / Ninaada Bellippady via iStock

The population of geckos also faces threats from invasive species brought to the island, like the Indian mongoose, which prey on them.


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