Land and Resources, Plant and Animal Life
solenodon, cane rat, chigoe, hutia, jaguey
Cuba has a wide variety of tropical vegetation. Cuba’s varied climates enable over 3,000 species of tropical fruits and flowers to inhabit the island. Extensive tracts of land in the eastern portion of the island are heavily forested. The most predominant species of trees are palms, of which Cuba has more than 30 types, including royal palms. Other indigenous plants are mahogany, ebony, lignum vitae, cottonwood, logwood, rosewood, cedar pine, majagua, granadilla, jaguey, tobacco, papaya trees, and the ceiba, which is the national tree.
Only two land mammals, the hutia, or cane rat, and the solenodon, a rare insectivore that resembles a rat, are known to be indigenous. The island has numerous bats and nearly 300 species of birds, including the vulture, wild turkey, quail, finch, gull, macaw, parakeet, and hummingbird. Among the few reptiles are tortoises, caimans, and a species of boa that can attain a length of 3.7 m (12 ft). More than 700 species of fish and crustaceans are found in Cuban waters. Notable among these are land crabs, sharks, garfish, robalo, ronco, eel, mangua, and tuna. Numerous species of insects exist. Of these, the most harmful are the chigoe, a type of flea, and the Anopheles mosquito, bearer of the malaria parasite.
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