Animals and Plants
The nature in Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago are covered with forest. In addition to tropical (evergreen) rainforest, there is also dry forest, especially in the rain shadow of the mountains in the west and south of Trinidad, in the south of Tobago and on the small offshore islands.
The biodiversity is high. In addition to trees, orchids, ferns, mushrooms and bromeliads also grow in the rainforest. There are also coral reefs, mangrove swamps and seagrass fields off the coast and on the coast.
There are far more mammals and birds than on the other islands of the Lesser Antilles. That’s because the islands are so close to mainland South America. So they have more species in common with Venezuela. 90 reptiles and 30 amphibians also belong to the fauna of Trinidad and Tobago. There are snakes, frogs, turtles, crocodiles and lizards.
At the same time, however, there are fewer endemic species, i.e. species that only occur here. This is also due to the proximity to the mainland – the islands were not so isolated that such species could develop here.
Who is the Fettschwalm?
More than 470 bird species have been counted in Trinidad, and more than 200 on Tobago. That is a lot for such small islands. There are, for example, many hummingbirds that are just as pretty to look at with their brightly colored plumage and their fast flapping wings as the red scarlet ibis.
The fat swallow is an unusual bird. It is the only bird in the world that is active at night and eats fruit. Fat swallows especially like the oily fruits of palm trees and bay leaves. During the day they sit in pitch-dark caves in the earth, where they orientate themselves with a sound location, just like bats. They emit loud sounds for this. Do that many fat swallows at once, it gets really loud!
Cuandu, Grand Mazama and Tayra
With around 100 mammals, the number exceeds that of the northern neighboring islands many times over. However, around 65 of the species are bats. The second largest group are rodents, for example the paka, the cuandu, the golden aguti, the red tailed squirrel and some rats and mice.
Other animals are the southern opossum, the collar peccary, the great mazama (a deer), anteaters and armadillos. There are also monkeys, namely the Guyana howler monkey, the white-fronted capuchin monkey and the introduced hooded capuchin. There are also predators, such as the ocelot, the tayra, the South American otter and the raccoon. Check out some of these animals in the slideshow below!
From sugar to asphalt
Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most industrialized countries in the Caribbean. Agriculture plays almost no role in the economy and only contributes 0.4 percent to economic output. There used to be a lot of sugar plantations, today cocoa, rice, citrus fruits and coffee are still grown. However, these products are primarily intended for personal use; they are irrelevant for export.
Before asphalt could be artificially manufactured, Trinidad and Venezuela met most of the world’s needs. La Brea Pitch Lake is the largest asphalt lake in the world. The lake is accessible on the surface, but if you drill into it with a stick, liquid asphalt is revealed.
Asphalt is mainly needed for road construction. The natural asphalt from Trinidad is still popular as an admixture. Trinidad sells 150 to 200 tons of asphalt every year. The lake is also a tourist attraction in Trinidad. Guided tours are offered.
According to estatelearning, Trinidad and Tobago is one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean. Unemployment is low at 4.9 percent.
Mineral oil and natural gas
However, the extraction of natural gas and crude oil is particularly profitable for the country’s economy today. This has resulted in a whole industry that processes the natural resources. Natural gas has now replaced oil as the most important natural resource. There are also factories for ammonia, methanol, food, beverages, clothing, steel and cement.
Tourism and finance
However, services have the largest share in the economy. Tourism is growing, with more than 400,000 visitors in 2014, most of them from the USA and Canada. The finance sector is also important.
Typical Trinidad and Tobago
Carnival and other festivals
As in the rest of the Caribbean, carnival is celebrated on a large scale in Trinidad. It opens with the J’ouvert, a big street party with music and dance that starts before sunrise. On the same day and the next, big parades continue in which music bands and dance groups in colorful costumes show their skills.
Christmas is also celebrated as a Christian festival in Trinidad and Tobago, as are Diwali and Holi, two Indian festivals.
Music and steel pan
Like everywhere in the Caribbean, music is ubiquitous in Trinidad and Tobago. The styles range from calypso, which developed with the carnival, to soca to chutney and parang.
The steel pan was invented in Trinidad and is now considered a national instrument. The British had banned drumming on African instruments in the 1880s. That is why, in the 1930s, people simply took discarded oil drums, which were in abundance in Trinidad. Later they were made of sheet metal and so that they could also be hung around. Several players then form a steel band.
Cricket and soccer
Cricket and soccer are the most popular sports in Trinidad and Tobago. This is where the long British rule over the islands is noticeable.
Cricket is considered a national sport. Players from Trinidad and Tobago belong to the West Indies cricket team, a kind of national team from several West Indian states.
At the 2006 World Cup, the country’s national football team caused a surprise, first because they qualified at all, and then also because they exceeded expectations, even if they were eliminated in the preliminary round.