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Why Cuba? by Richard Bartlett on 2022-08-08 10:17:00


An adult Cuban Crocodile. This species is not inclined to have a gentle disposition.

This Island Nation (archipelago) has always intrigued me. ‘Way back in the 1950s I had contemplated a visit to Cuba, but politics prevented a visit. And although politics still play an important role in a visit to Cuba, it is now at least possible. These reminiscences are about Patti’s and my trip number 3, from Havana westward to Soroa and Vinales and then southward to the Cienega Zapata, the home of the fabled Cuban Crocodile.

Cuba’s herpetofauna (and endemic birds) are very different from species found only 90 miles northward on the Florida peninsula and keys. Amongst the herpetofauna, for example, there are no seriously venomous species, although several snake taxa are rear-fanged and produce a venom of “mild” toxicity that assists in overpowering prey. Among the constrictors are the big Cuban Boa and a number of “Tropes” that were until recently considered dwarfed members of the boid family. Simply put, if you exclude the Cuban species of anoles and a treefrog now established in Florida, no matter where we stopped to search, any herps found would be distinctly different from those found only 90 miles distant in the Florida Keys. Now onto the air conditioned tour bus, and driver, Ronel, had us on our way in mere minutes.
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