Lizards, Snakes & Shrimp of the Caribbean National Forest

Except for bats, there just aren't that many mammals around.

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The island has 12 native species , 8 of which are found in El Yunque. The largest is the Puerto Rican Giant Anole whose body grows to 5 inches ; the tail adds several more.

All of the male lizards have a dewlap, or sac, on their throat that they inflate to defend their territory or to impress females.

When its sac is inflated, a male will often erect a dorsal crest, bob its head, wag its tail, do push ups and/or stick out its tongue.   

Most lizards are able to change color, going from green to almost black or turning different shades of brown. The need to camouflage may be only one of the reasons for this. The color variations also appear to be related to changes in mood or temperature.


Several different species, none poisonous. The largest is the Puerto Rican boa, which grows to a length of 7 feet.

Freshwater Shrimp

Nine species representing 2 different families live in the pools and streams of the forest. Most are nocturnal. At that time you can find them on submerged tree branches, rocks and roots. During the day look for them in the pools and around the rapids.

Shrimp of the Atyidae family are filter feeders, consuming microscopic algae and decomposing materials. Shrimp in the Palaemonidae family are quite different, preferring to hunt and eat small fish, insects and other shrimp.

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