The Bahamas is home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world, and not only does it offer unique species but also unique experiences from a beach full of pigs to swimming with the sharks – the Bahamas takes animals to a whole other level. The 700 islands of the Bahamas are home to long stretches of beach, crystal blue water full of exotic sea life and island wildlife that will amaze you. Along with the wildlife, expect vibrance, amazing local flavours and endless adventure and activities.
The ‘ferel’ pigs inhabiting Exuma are known as a wildlife mystery as it was found that the hogs are not native to the Bahamas and somehow just ‘ended up’ on the white sand clear water beach – not a bad place to end up! There are now around 20 pigs on the beach from little piglets to some of the biggest you will ever see. The Bahamian Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources allow tourists to feed these babes fruit and vegetables and only do so whilst in the water. The reason for this is because many pigs have gotten sick from ingesting the sand on the beach so to ensure that they are safe and healthy, being fed in the water finds less of a chance of pigs ingesting the gravel.
Rock Iguanas are another native wonder of The Bahamas where tourists travel on boats with feeding food and cameras in hand to take in the small reptile’s majesty. These iguanas keep to themselves and are very friendly to its onlookers, especially the ones who feed them. Known for their distinctive thick ringed tail, these animals are found all over The Bahamas and can be confronting in their size, so if you are expecting a small little lizard – think again! They are used to regular human visitors; however, it is important to note that as all native wildlife, some may be less merciful than others so keeping your distance and being respectful is important.
Flamingos are the national birds of the Bahamas and on the island of Inagua get ready to find over 80,000 flamingos and over 140 species of other native birds. The islands flamingo population now outnumbers human inhabitants by over 80 to 1 and The Bahamas places much importance in protecting and preserving these native regal beauties. These flamingos cover almost half of the island and it is in fact the wetland salt production sites here that make Inagua the largest nesting ground for flamingos in the Western Hemisphere.
There are many spots for shark siting across all of the islands of The Bahamas and the islands house some of the gentlest yet most frightening sharks of the world. Shark populations thrive in The Bahamas and they are the only country in the world that has declared their entire marine habitat a shark sanctuary. There is a known ‘big five’ shark population that inhabits The Bahamas and are shark royalty whereby specific islands will find specific areas to encounter the sharks. The five main shark species include Hammerheads, Oceanic Whitetips, Tiger Sharks, Silk Sharks and Caribbean Reef Sharks.
Where to find them:
If you are in search of Hammerhead Sharks head to the island of Bimini specifically during the months of December through to April where the warm waters draw these large predators in.
Oceanic Whitetips are often sighted on Cat Island and be prepared to travel into the depths of the ocean to sight these creatures.
For Caribbean Reef Sharks heads straight to the country’s capital Nassau where you will be sure to sight the species, as well as Silky Sharks where you may also be in luck on the island of Andros for a sighting.
To encounter Tiger Sharks, you will need to visit West End Grand Bahama. Experiencing Tiger Sharks in the Bahamas offers one of the most breathtaking shark diving experiences that the country has to offer and be prepared to see a whole pack of them.
Sting Rays are found all around The Bahamas and there are many opportunities to encounter the sea creatures. Generally, the Crownose stingrays are shy and swim at the surface and when organising a specific guided encounter with the Bahamian Rays, the Crownose are the ones you will come into contact with. Often many of the Bahamas southern stingrays are found on the island of Bimini where tens to hundreds of rays can be spotted. There are many opportunities to get up close and personal with stingrays in the Bahamas and there are many places (Such as The Atlantis Nassau) that offer hands on encounters with the rays allowing you not only to feed and pet them, but swim alongside them too!
The island of Bimini houses Hammerhead Sharks as well as many pods of Bimini Dolphins (traditionally known as The Atlantic Spotted Dolphin) that lucky boaters will see bouncing through the waves of the island. These wild dolphins are sure to bring a smile to your face as they dance through the water majestically as you see in movies and they are known to be some of the most playful dolphins in the world.
Things to do
This beach, also known as ‘Pig Beach’, is located on the Bahamian island of Exuma and houses a colony of pigs. This experience has become an avid tourist attraction that has led many people venturing to the small island to experience these pigs. The loud, snorting inhabitants of the beach greet you warmly and there are many tour guides that can take you to visit the island and experience these pigs up close and personal in the safest way possible. These tours will usually take you through the Exuma Cays and you will not only get the joy of experiencing these water hogs but also revel in the glorious white sand beaches and cays, say hello to native iguanas and be open to amazing natural beauty.
Inagua National Park
The Inagua National Park is located on the island of Inagua, the third largest Bahamian island with the park covering 45% of the island. The National park houses hundreds of wildlife that is native to The Bahamas and is a specific haven for bird lovers housing West Indian Flamingos, pelicans, the Bahama parrot, ducks, hummingbirds and other bird species found nowhere else in The Bahamas.
Swimming with the Sharks
The Bahamas is every diver’s dream, and the Bahamian islands offer some of the best and most unique shark diving experiences in the world and they allow you to experience the sea life creatures with comfort. Many experiences involve basic feeding whether it is chumming or handfeeding or if you would prefer an unbaited encounter, there are many boat tours that will find you sure to see the grey fins from the comfort of a sturdy vessel. Compass Cay marina will allow you to get up close and personal with nurse sharks that gather for free chum. If you aren’t brave enough to jump in and swim, you can find a feeding area where you can pet and feed the sea life wonders from a safe and comfortable distance.
Where to stay?
Atlantis Paradise Island, Nassau
One Casino Drive, Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas
Atlantis Paradise Island is not just a place to stay but an experience in the Bahamas. The accommodation is built around a 62-hectare waterpark which includes marine habitats, water slides, river trips and both fresh and saltwater lagoons. The resort offers 11 pools, rock climbing, dolphin swims, comedy showers, a casino, 6 tennis courts, 19 bars and 21 restaurants including Nobu – whether you are with your family or travelling on a romantic getaway this resort has it all and is located a short drive away from the main town of Nassau.
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
One Baha Mar Bvld, Nassau, Bahamas
Like most resorts in The Bahamas, the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is full of things to do that you will have no reason to leave. With over 30 dining options, a golf course, tennis court, 6 swimming pools, a wildlife sanctuary, art centre with the Bahamas largest contemporary art collection, luxury shopping and the Caribbean’s largest casino this resort will keep you busy 24/7 – and if all you want to do is lounge on the resort’s beach that’s fine too.
Queen's Highway, Eleuthera, Bahamas
This all-inclusive resort located on the less touristy island of Eleuthera and is the ultimate sanctuary for your Bahamian getaway. The simple yet sweet resort is nestled between sand coves and offers freestanding bungalows to make you feel even more secluded and off in your own little paradise. With complimentary resort bikes, kayaks, SUP boards, island tours and private boat excursions, The Cove is a modest slice of heaven.