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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of the Dominican Republic

Geography

Dominican Geography - Macao, Dominican Republic
Macao, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic consists of the eastern half of the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles island chain. Dominican Republic's only land border is with Haiti, which consists of the western half of the island. To the country's east is the United States' territory of Puerto Rico and to the north is the British territory of Turks & Caicos. To the north of Dominican Republic is the Atlantic Ocean and to the south is the Caribbean Sea.

The Dominican Republic is a very mountainous country with three major ranges running east and west, including the Cordillera Septentrional in the north, the Cordillera Central, and the Sierra de Bahoruco in the south. Between these mountains there are significant valleys and plains, which is where much of the population lives in addition to the coastal areas.

Weather

Dominican Geography - Mangrove forest
Mangrove forest

The Dominican Republic has a few weather variations based on elevation, winds, and season. The temperature differences are fairly minor as the mountains tend to dip to 60° F (16° C) most winter nights, while the coasts average about 75-80° F (24-27° C) year round. The mountains, during a cold stretch can reach the freezing point at night, although this is rare and only at the most extreme elevations. Rainfall varies from coast to coast and mountain to mountain. The Atlantic Ocean coast gets most of its rain from November to January, while the rest of the country gets most of its rain from May to November. Also, due to the mountains, the rainfall amounts vary drastically. The Dominican Republic is in the hurricane zone and is susceptible to tropical storms from June to November, although no massively destructive hurricanes have struck for some time.

Wildlife

Dominican Geography - Inland landscape
Inland landscape

The Dominican Republic has a large number of animals, however there are not many native mammals due to the island's volcanic origin. The only native mammals to the island are a small rodent called the solenodon and the hutia, another rodent. However people have introduced other mammals like dogs, horses, etc. In the seas there are a number of mammals, including whales, dolphins, and manatees. In addition to mammals, there are thousands of fish surrounding the country and these waters contain larger animals like sharks, but also include eels, angelfish, barracudas, grouper, sponges, lobsters, snapper, crabs, and thousands more including coral.

Like the sea life, there are plenty of birds that live on the island or migrate through. These birds are primarily divided into water fowls like egrets, frigate birds, herons, ibis, and flamingos but there are other non-water fowl species that call the islands home such as the parrot, woodpecker, parakeet, owl, and pigeon. The reptilian and amphibian life is also limited in scope, but there are plenty of lizards in addition to smaller numbers of crocodiles, turtles, snakes, iguanas, and frogs among others. There are numerous other species, including insects, most notably butterflies on the island.

This page was last updated: March, 2013