Kourou Iguana

A guide to the animals in your Kourou garden

One of the perks of living in the Amazonian region is that even though you live in one of French Guiana’s cities (Kourou, Cayenne, etc..), you can spot a large number of animals by comfortably sitting on your garden’s patio. Also, one of the disadvantages of living in the Amazonian region is that some of the animals you will see in your gardens are sometimes unwanted guests.

Before you start, yes there are thousands of different birds and insects in French Guiana. And yes, you will have plenty of them in a Kourou garden. But you won’t find any in this post. I’m preparing a whole blog post dedicated to our flying and fluffy friends. Stay tuned! 😉

A practical guide to the animals you can see: My favorites

I’m starting the list with the less exotic animal you will see cats. Like any common city, Kourou has its number of stray cats (we adopted one too). Unfortunately, the Kourou’s refuge (SPA) has been closed for some time now, so most of the cats are left living on the road. Sometimes people adopt them, or animal associations take them in charge. Even so, the number of stray cats is still very high.

Kourou Tortoise
our “not domestic” tortoise

Tortoises, who doesn’t like them right? They come and go so don’t try to tame them. When it’s their time to go, they will just leave with no regrets. And if your kids or husband were attached to them, there will be some whining.

*speaking from experience*

Otherwise, it’s a nice surprise when they come back and you can give them your papaya peel, they just love it!

Also loving papayas and maracujas, you can commonly see iguanas resting on your trees or eating your plants. Even the ones they are not supposed to eat. So, if you are trying to grow a tomato garden in your backyard, you may consider adopting a dog. Sure, it will hunt the iguanas. Although, there isn’t much advantage to that. You won’t see more iguanas. And your dog will destroy your tomato plants while running through them.

*again, speaking from experience* 

If you get past your inner fears, snakes are one of the guests you may have the chance to admire in your garden. The species you’ll spot in the city are not dangerous. And when trespassing on your terrain, they are usually escaping from inundated areas. Be kind to them they are usually very scared, and you won’t see them for long.

Green Vine Snake Kourou
Green Vine Snake

And fewer favorite animals!

If you have a cat or a dog, you may find sometimes a bizarre object in your garden looking like a snake. It may be an opossum‘s tail. These marsupials are among the unwanted on the list because they can carry diseases and they are also very aggressive. Even though, because of their size, they don’t represent a danger to humans. You can easily get rid of them with cage traps placed on your roof.

Just be careful with those tiny teeth they are really pointy!

I finish the list with my fewer favorite animals: mygalomorphae and cane spiders. Let me start by saying that I’m arachnophobic. Despite this, thanks to the past years in the Amazonian rainforest I overcame quite many of my spider fears. For sure I’m over my fear of European spiders, they look so little in comparison to their South American cousins.

Both the mygalomorphae and cane spiders aren’t aggressive. They live in peace hidden in your garage or tool shed, and they eat unwelcome insects like cockroaches and bugs. So next time you see a spider, which is the size of your hand, you can ask yourself If you prefer to kill him or kill the cockroaches he can eat.

the one time in my life I’ve been brave, FYI the spider is dead.

Rare sights

Since French Guiana is very “green” sometimes there are wild animals that wandered in urban areas. Caymans were found inside swimming pools. Saimiri monkeys (squirrel monkeys) are among the trees in the city center.

Our home is in a borderline area with the forest. Among the rare animals, we have seen the rarest was the Tamandua, a specie of anteater. We met a Porcupine as well.

These are the perks (or not, depending), of living nearby the forest. Normally when you live in the center of Kourou, you won’t be bothered by many animals other than birds and insects.

Which wild animal would you like to spot in your garden? Which one you absolutely don’t want to? Let me know in the comments! Also, have you ever considered French Guiana for you to live in? My expat experience as an Italian living in Kourou.

 If you are interested in seeing all the animals of this amazing region you should consider visiting French Guiana’s zoo.

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