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Flora and Fauna of Aruba

Aruba has 48 different types of native trees, 11 of which are now very scarce and in some cases have only 5 examples left. The loss of native trees is due to wood cutting, changing weather and marauding goats. A tree planting program is under way and negotiations with goat owners are in progress to keep them out of protected areas.

About 170 species of birds can be found on Aruba, and about 50 species breed on the island but if you include the migratory birds which come in November - January the total rises to around 300 species. The most common birds are trupiaal (with its bright orange colors), the chuchubi, the prikichi (a little parrot) and the barika geel (the little yellow-bellied bird you will find eating the sugar on the table in your hotel). The shoco, a burrowing owl, is endangered. An interesting place to see waterfowl is the Bubali Plassen, opposite the Olde Molen. Here you can often find cormorants, herons and fish eagle. Brown pelicans can be found along the south shore. Two kinds of snakes can be found on Aruba: the Santanero, a harmless little shake (however, be careful when you pick it up, because it defecates in your hand) and the not-so-harmless rattle snake. Aruba's rattle snake, the cascabel, is a nearly extinct unique subspecies and does not use its rattle. Rattle snakes live in the triangular area between the Jamanota, Fontein and San Nicolas. The best place to go looking for rattle snakes, if you really want to, is the area south of the Jamanota mountain. In the unlikely event that you get bitten, go immediately to the hospital. They have anti-serum.

Arikok National Park

The Arikok National Park covers a triangle of land between Boca Prins and San Fuego and bounded on the east by the sea as far as Boca Keto. After decades of discussion the plan converts 17% of the island into a protected park area. Work is continuing to provide trails, clean up and upgrade the park, clearing litter and reconstructing benches and a stairway built at Fuerte Prins in the 1960s. Arikok Center contains the 184.5 m (203 yards) Arikok hill, the second highest point in Aruba. Prins Center in the northeast includes the former Prins Plantation, the functioning Fontein Plantation and the Fontein Cave. The Jamanota Center in the south includes the 189 m (207 yards) Jamanota hill, the highest point of Aruba, and the old gold mining operation at Miralamas. The Spanish Lagoon area is also included.

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