Here is the fourth installment of articles in memory of Jim Johnson (www.WalkNevis.com) who died tragically on Nevis recently. We are re-publishing a series of his articles over the coming weeks. Each one gives a fascinating insight into the man, his love of Nevis and his infinite knowledge of natural life on this beautiful Caribbean island.
Nevis is home to many strange and fascinating creatures of all shapes and sizes. Flowers and ferns abound, Bats, butterflies and birds fly overhead during the day and at night. How did they get here? Where did they come from? Where are most of the mammals?
What we are referring to is Nevis’ natural spread. This means the thousands of different plant species, hundreds of brightly coloured moths, butterflies, and beetles, all the birds, and even the bats.
First is getting here, they didn’t take a plane and we don’t think they were teleported by aliens from Outer Space (though we reserve this as an option). If you were to go back in time 20,000 years, the islands were bigger and easier to get between. This was during the last Ice Age and the sea levels were at least 300 feet lower. St. Kitts and Nevis were truly one, as were many places now separated. The plants and animals floated, swam, or flew from one place to the next. Thus most of our natural species are similar to South America (this is the direction most currents or winds go).
We didn’t get everything as many plants and animals have symbiotic relationships with each other. If you got one without the other, it couldn’t survive!
As for many of the animals, including the large mammals, when the oceans started to rise, they died off. Not only massive storms, but smaller territories and restricted food supplies (One jaguar requires 20,000 acres, 2 need more than all of Nevis). The larger predators probably ate all their prey, then died off themselves, the bones would have dissolved into our volcanic soil!
Many later evolved into unique species. So go out and enjoy our natural spread!
For more information please see our Definitive Caribbean Guide to Nevis.
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