Petite Terre Archipelago
Petite Terre Archipelago: Two main islands
Petite Terre Archipelago is located 10 km from the south of Grande-Terre Island. This uninhabited archipelago is administratively part of La Désirade Island. The two main islands: Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas are surrounded by a Coral reef. If you want to meet with Hawksbill sea turtles, Green turtles and many species of birds and reptiles, Terre de Haut is the island to go. On the other hand, Terre de Bas is the biggest island and also the only one where human activities are allowed.
Petite terre Archipelago’s history
The first inhabitants of Petite Terre were the Arawak Amerindians then the Caribs. After that, in 1493 Christopher Columbus arrived and it was the beginning of the European influence with the Cotton Culture. Petite Terre has been classified Nature Reserve in 1998 due to its biological diversity and different natural environments. Today, Petite Terre is fully managed by the ONF (National Forests Office)
Overhanging Terre de Bas Island, the lighthouse is an integral part of Petite Terre scenery. Created in the 18th century, it has been improved over the years. The lighthouse is very helpful to indicate from far Petite Terre Archipelago to sailors and fishermen. In addition to that, it is also open to visitors. You will be able to find out more about the fauna and flora as there is a wide range of educational signals. Finally, Petite Terre’s lighthouse will give you the opportunity to have a nice viewing of the sea and surrounding vegetation.
Fauna in Petite Terre Archipelago
One of the biggest asset of the archipelago is definitely the diversified fauna. From the terrestrial animals, marine wildlife to the different species of birds, Petite Terre Archipelago is full of life.
- Birds: There are over 100 species of birds in Petite Terre. The nonmigratory birds that you can see quite often include: American oystercatcher, Bananaquit and Yellow warble. On the migratory birds’ list, the Yellow-billed cuckoo, Bobolink, Least tern and Ruddy turnstone are the main ones.
- Terrestrials animals: In Petite Terre Archipelago, there are over 10 000 iguanas that will definitely catch your eyes. These herbivorous lizards are vegetarians as they are usually feeding on flowers, fruits and leaves.The Hermit crab which is the mascot of the archipelago has a quite important population as well. Finally, the Leopard anole and Mabuya mabouya are other reptiles found on the island. These two species are specifically endemic to Guadeloupe Archipelago and other Caribbean islands.
- Marine wildlife: The coral reef is a protective area, under strict supervision as it shelters the diverse marine wildlife. The tropical fishes include Acanthurus gahhm, Angel fish, Coffer fish, Chines trumpetfish, Dog snapper, Grey snapper, Longspine squirrelfish, Spotlight parrotfish. There are two species of rays: Common stingray and Spotted eagle ray. In the crustaceans’ category we have the Crab, Sea urchin and Royal spiny lobster. The marine mammals comprise two species of turtles: The Hawksbill sea turtle and the Green one. And lastly, if you are lucky enough, you might see Common bottlenose dolphins as well as Lemon sharps.
Petite Terre is a stunning archipelago with a multi-faceted and abundant fauna. To preserve all this beauty, the natural reserve is under protection. If you want to visit, you will need to respect regulatory measures. For a matter of fact, only few excursions companies are allowed to bring visitors over there. Do your researches beforehand about the different companies and services.