It’s no secret that I’m in love with St. John. I need my annual visits to this island like a fish needs water.
Being enthusiastic animal lovers, St. John is the perfect place for us to get our fix. And while most of our time is spent underwater communing with (and photographing) the fishes, St. John is home to a large stable of land based animals as well. Here are some of our closest encounters of the animal kind.
Donkeys were first introduced to St. John by plantation owners. They now roam freely, often in small groups. Don’t be surprised if you see them walking the beach. Some of them love the sand as much as we do.
We found this brilliantly colored caterpillar at Gallows Point. Can anyone ID the species?
Meet Cooper. He’s the official mascot of Low Key Watersports in Cruz Bay, and, he has the coolest haircuts of any dog I know. Check out his trendy mohawk!
These adorable kittens live at Gallows Point. They are friendly and love human attention. You may encounter some of the feral cats on St. John. Please consider supporting the Animal Care Center of St. John, which does excellent work in feeding, spaying and neutering the island’s cat population. They also have a shelter where you can volunteer to walk the dogs or help in other meaningful ways.
We’ve encountered many beautiful creatures of the avian kind on STJ. It’s amazing to see the pelicans dive around you while snorkeling the aquamarine waters.
This gull visited our balcony several times daily. His trademark squawking alerted us to his presence. I’ve no doubt that he was aggressively seeking sustenance, as he curiously eyed up our snacks and even our drinks.
White-tailed deer are common on St. John. This species is much smaller than the deer found on the US mainland. They were brought to St. John via the Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937. We saw the deer below on Scott Beach at Caneel Bay a few years ago.
And last, but not least, the island’s friendly iguanas can always be found roaming the grass, on the beach or in the trees (and on the rooftops). They also love to sunbathe by the pool.
You may also encounter wild goats, boar, pigs, mongoose and peacocks on the island.
The Caribbean has an island to suit everyone. It has the paved “paradise islands” with casinos, jet skis, all-inclusive resorts and disney-like attractions. But I’ll take St. John’s natural beauty over manufactured paradise any day.