National animals provide countries and their citizens with a unifying image, sharing one common image helps bring a country and its people together. Not only does it help with cultural identity within the nation, but outside of its borders as well. Foreign citizens can tell a lot about another country by observing the symbolism that brings it together. National animals bring with them an interesting history and significance. The following article discusses the national animals of various countries within North America and the Caribbean.
The Countries and Their National Animals
The beautiful and tropical island of Anguilla chooses to represent its nation via the Zenaida Dove, also commonly referred to as the Turtle Dove, although the two birds are different species.The Zenaida Dove lives throughout the Caribbean in open woodlands, shrubs, and mangroves. Doves typically represent hope, renewal, and peace. Antigua and Barbuda, the twin-island nation in the Caribbean, have three national animals and interestingly, one is a sea creature. Few countries in the world have identified a sea creature as a national symbol. On this twin island nation, however, the Hawksbill Turtle plays an important role. The Fallow Deer, not originally from Antigua and Barbuda, takes the role as the national animal. These graceful deer only inhabits Barbuda and Guiana Islands in the Caribbean. It’s easy to understand why these deer represent the country. The industrious and busy-bodied beaver embodies everything that is Canada. This animal represents the long history that Canada had with the fur trade. It is also not surprising to suggest that modern-day Canada might not have existed had it not been for the beaver and its role in the fur trade. Businesses began to use the beaver image to advertise fur hats and coats, and then the government depicted it on the currency. The beaver is an appropriate national animal for Canada and has a rich history to back its selection. Frequently, nations choose an animal that is indigenous to its lands as the unifying symbol. Jamaica is not an exception and calls the Red-billed Streamertail its national animal. This colorful and unique bird belongs to the hummingbird family. Birdwatchers from many areas consider the Red-billed Streamertail to be one of the most beautiful hummingbirds in the Caribbean. They can be seen flitting all over the island and have been sung about and written into poetry for centuries and for this reason, they make a wonderful national identifier. In the southern-most tip of North America, Mexico unites its citizens with the Xoloitzcuintli Dog. This canine is perhaps better known as the Mexican Hairless. In Mexico, it is true that a dog is a man’s best friend and the thousand year history that the Xoloitzcuintli shares with Mexicans further supports the idea. The ancient Aztec culture even revered this hairless breed as having mysterious healing powers.
The Significance of National Animals
Whether it’s a tropical island or a northern nation, all countries have something in common. They want to represent themselves to the rest of the world and provide their citizens with a unifying cultural symbol. Selecting a national animal is one way to accomplish both goals. Before visiting a new country, consider getting to know its national animal first. Knowing that small fact may provide interesting insight into the nation, its history, and its people.