Located in the Caribbean islands off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba is a prime destination for tourists of all sorts. From beautiful beaches to exotic wildlife, Aruba truly has something to offer everyone. In 2019, Aruba welcomed close to two million tourists.
Aruba’s diverse wildlife can be enchanting for tourists. From lizards to butterflies and donkeys, there are a plethora of animals that can be seen throughout the island. Aruba even has several wildlife sanctuaries for tourists to enjoy on their visit.
While Aruba’s wildlife can certainly be enchanting for tourists, many of these animals can pose dangers to humans on the island. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and explored deadly wildlife in Aruba.
Here are six of Aruba’s most dangerous animals residing on the island.
1. Venomous Pit Vipers/Aruba Rattlesnakes
Scientific name: Crotalus unicolor
Habitat: Dry and rocky terrains
Conservation status: Critically Endangered
Quick summary: Though these snakes tend to distance themselves from humans, their powerful, venomous bites can result in catastrophic health complications.
Venomous Pit Vipers in Aruba are also commonly referred to as the Aruba Rattlesnake. Aruba Rattlesnakes are critically endangered, with about 230 species remaining on the globe.
These snakes can only be found on the Caribbean island of Aruba, primarily in the lower southeastern region where there is an abundance of dry and rocky terrains.
Aruba Rattlesnakes enjoy feasting on lizards, specifically the Aruba Whiptail. Apart from these Aruban lizards, the snakes may also eat birds.
Interestingly enough, Aruba Rattlesnakes are homebodies that typically remain in a compact area of 1-2 square miles throughout their lives!
There is a slim chance that you will encounter an Aruba Rattlesnake while on the island. Furthermore, the snakes tend to be non-aggressive towards humans.
What Makes Aruba Rattlesnakes Dangerous?
- Though rare, these rattlesnakes have been recorded to have bitten humans over the years.
- With sharp fangs, bites from the Aruba Rattlesnakes are sure to be painful. Fear not, a fraction of the bites from these snakes will be “dry,” meaning they will not release venom.
- If the snakes release venom with their bite, they can release a sizeable volume of it. Their venom can disintegrate the tissue of human skin.
- Other potential risks of being bitten by the Aruba Rattlesnake include blood clotting and internal bleeding, compartment syndrome, shock, seizures, and even organ failure.
Scientific name: Selachimorpha
Habitat: Deep oceanic areas
Conservation status: Endangered
Quick summary: Sharks in Aruba are not known for attacking humans, but their sharp teeth can fatally injure humans.
As most tourists visiting Aruba will be checking out the attractive beaches, sharks are one marine animal to watch during your trip.
There are many different shark species on the island, some more frequently seen being the Caribbean Reef Shark, Nurse Shark, Tiger Shark, and Blacktip Reef Shark.
Sharks in Aruba can vastly vary in size and weight, from smaller sharks with lengths of four feet to larger ones reaching an astounding thirty-two feet. Sharks can also be of many vibrant colors, such as blue and green.
The good news is that sharks in Aruba, though plentiful, typically reside in deeper ocean areas far from where the average tourist will be.
Therefore, tourists participating in snorkeling, boating, and scuba activities should be slightly more careful when venturing into the deeper seas of Aruba.
Most sharks found in Aruba do not have aggressive demeanors towards humans sharing their oceans. Since 2015, there have not been any reported shark attacks in Aruba.
Nevertheless, under unfortunate circumstances, sharks can attack humans.
What Makes Sharks Dangerous?
- Several species of sharks found in Aruba can be quite large, so they can quickly attack humans if provoked.
- The teeth of a shark can do horrific damage to humans, including the loss of a limb or even death.
- There are three forms of shark attacks: (1) “hit-and-run,” which occur the most; (2) “bump-and-bite”; (3) “sneak attacks.”
Scientific name: Aurelia
Habitat: Warm or cold oceans
Conservation status: N/A
Quick summary: Jellyfish are commonly found in the waters of Aruba, and their stings are often hard to avoid.
You may likely encounter a jellyfish that has strayed near shore in Aruba. There are plenty of jellyfish inhabiting the seas of Aruba.
There may be an increase in jellyfish near the shores following heavy rain. As the direction of the wind sways, oceanic currents carry jellyfish to different ocean areas.
It is often challenging to detect when a jellyfish is nearby due to their transparency. When one finally sees that a jellyfish is close by, it may be too late to get out of harm’s way.
Unfortunately, jellyfish do not actively avoid humans and often sting humans they come into contact with.
What Makes Jellyfish Dangerous?
- Jellyfish sting humans with tentacles. These stings come from several microneedles filled with poison.
- Some species of jellyfish, such as the box jellyfish, can kill humans within minutes of stinging.
- The majority of jellyfish stings will result in itchy or burning skin. After a jellyfish sting, the human skill will generally turn red.
- More severe health complications of jellyfish stings include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, hyperhidrosis, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
4. Boa Constrictors
Scientific name: Boa constrictor
Habitat: Deserts, savannas, forests
Conservation status: Least Concern
Quick summary: These invasive snakes have hooked teeth and flexible jaws and can quickly suffocate their unlucky victims.
Aruba’s physical environment fosters enough humidity to create a comfortable home for boa constrictors throughout the island. These snakes have been spotted in developed areas, not only in the less-habituated regions in Aruba.
Boa constrictors have quickly populated Aruba. Female Boa constrictors have the capacity to birth up to fifty snakes at one time!
Moreover, boa constrictors have few predators hunting them, allowing the snake’s population to increase rapidly. As boa constrictors are not Aruban natives, they are invasive.
Boa constrictors are incredibly adaptable snakes, and to get around the island of Aruba, the snakes have been known to hide underneath cars for long rides.
Boa constrictors are ambush predators, meaning they cease to hunt their food sources actively. Instead, boa constrictors wait for their prey to approach them. Common sources of food for boa constrictors include lizards and birds.
Though boa constrictors undoubtedly have a daunting appearance (females can be over nine feet long), attacks on humans are rare.
What Makes Boa Constrictors Dangerous?
- Boa constrictors are massive snakes! These snakes have been noted as weighing over one hundred pounds and four meters long.
- Boa constrictors can open their jaws incredibly wide, quickly swallowing their prey in one gulp.
- These snakes have hooked teeth that permit them to latch onto and hold their prey. Under this death grip, boas will then suffocate their prey.
5. Green Iguana
Scientific name: Iguana iguana
Habitat: Tropical climates and rainforests
Conservation status: N/A
Quick summary: Green iguanas are plentiful throughout Aruba and tend to be harmless but can attack humans if provoked.
Green iguanas live on the Caribbean islands, including Aruba, Bonaire, and Grenada.
These iguanas are of vibrant colors, spanning from green to black. If an iguana feels as if they are under threat, it will typically become darker in color.
These iguanas are athletic climbers and stealthy swimmers. Green iguanas have many useful defense mechanisms against predators, such as camouflaging and hiding within trees.
They can also be long, with adult males reaching a whopping two meters! Green iguanas are natural herbivores, enjoying leaves, fruits, and flowers.
If a green iguana is startled or threatened, it will flee or swim. If the iguana is unable to flee from the predator, it will attack, utilizing its teeth, claws, and spikey tail to defend itself.
It is extremely unusual for a green iguana in Aruba to attack a human unprovoked, but if necessary, the iguanas can wound a human.
What Makes Green Iguanas Dangerous?
- Green iguanas release venom with their bite. Though this venom generally does not pose a risk to humans, these iguanas have hefty jaws and sharp teeth that can definitely hurt.
- Green iguanas also have sharp tails, which they will use to defend themselves when they feel threatened.
- Additionally, the iguanas can run quite fast toward humans if necessary.
6. Baker’s Cat-Eyed Snake
Scientific name: Leptodeira bakeri
Habitat: Grasslands, rainforests
Conservation status: N/A
Quick summary: In the Caribbean island of Aruba, a nocturnal reptile goes by an intriguing name: santanero.
This unique species is more commonly known as baker’s cat-eyed snake and has distinctive eyes that resemble those of cats – but you won’t want this particular critter cuddling up against your chest anytime soon!
The smell it leaves behind on any human contact can be unbearable, so don’t put yourself in danger trying to handle one; their venom isn’t life-threatening but still potent enough to cause severe pain and muscle aches if provoked or surprised.
You may come across them near dams during the wet season when they hide under tree foliage or rocks for shelter from daylight hours before emerging at nightfall onto roadsides.
What Makes The Baker’s Cat-Eyed Snake Dangerous?
- The Baker’s Cat-Eyed Snake (Leptodeira bakeri) is a nonvenomous snake native to Central and South America.
- It produces venom that has low toxicity.
- They are not considered aggressive and rarely bite, so their main defense mechanism is camouflage to avoid predators or territorial disputes.
- However, they can still deliver a bite if threatened and should be treated cautiously when found in the wild. It’s best to admire this species of snake from a safe distance, as they may feel uncomfortable if approached too closely.
All in all, Aruba’s plethora of wildlife attracts a number of tourists annually. Throughout the island, many unique animals can be spotted.
The majority of Aruba’s wildlife poses no active threat to humans. However, each animal may act aggressively toward humans under the right circumstances. To make the most of your wildlife viewing in Aruba, ensure that you are staying a healthy distance from the island’s animals.