Kourou Iguana

A guide to the animals in Kourou

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 in your garden’s patio. Also one of the disadvantages of living in the Amazonian region is that some of the animals you’ll 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’ll have plenty of them in a Kourou garden. But you won’t find any in this post. I’m preparing a whole article dedicated to our flying and fluffy friends. Stay tuned ! 😉

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

I’m starting the list with the less exotic animal you will see: cats. Like any common city, Kourou has its amount of stray cats (we adopted one too). Unfortunately Kourou’s refuge has been closed for some time now, so most of the cats are left living on the road. Sometimes they are adopted or taken in charge by associations, but 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 they’ll just leave and If your kids, or husband were attached to them It’ll be hard. *speaking from experience* Otherwise it’s a nice surprise when they come back and you can give them your papaya’s peel, they’ll just love it !

Also loving papayas and maracudjas, you can commonly see iguanas resting on your trees or eating your plants. Even the ones they are not supposed to eat. So when you’re trying to grow a tomato’s garden in your backyard you may consider adopting a dog so that your plants aren’t eaten right away. Although you won’t see more iguanas. And your dog will destroy your tomatoes plants while running trough 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 aren’t dangerous. And when trespassing 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 less favourite 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 of 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 for humans. You can easily get rid of them with cage traps placed on your roof. Just be careful to those tiny teeth they are really pointy.

I finish the list with my less favourite animals: mygalomorphae and cane spiders. Let me start by saying that I’m arachnophobic, so for me It’s difficult even to type about them. But I must admit that thanks to them I overcame 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. I’ll definitely go with the first option. Sorry spiders!

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

Rare sights

We’ve met as well a Porcupine, a Tamandua, and we had a bat inside our house! Be reassured, our house is very close to the forest. If you live in the centre of Kourou you won’t be bothered by many animals other than birds and insects, or maybe just like our friends, a Saimiri (squirrel monkey) which escaped from someone else’s garden. Which wild animal would you like to spot in your garden? Which you will absolutely not? Let me know in comments! And don’t forget to check my instagram for more animal related photos.

If you want to know more about French Guiana continue your reading here. Also do you know why French Guiana may be the perfect country to live in ? My expat experience as an Italian living in Kourou.


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