As with most tropical destinations, Tobago's lush vegetation provides a wonderful habitat to a wide variety of wildlife and insects of every type and description. Fortunately, the island has very few poisonous or venomous creatures, so visitors need have no fear.
Visitors regularly blame all bites on mosquitoes. However, the most common cause of bites to visitors are sand flies, gnats, midges and other tiny flying insects. Mosquitoes are very visible, slow flying insects. Nine times out of ten you will see the mossie and can kill it before it has left your body. They are particularly active at night and during the rainy season of June to December.
Dengue, chikungunya and zeka virus are endemic in most countries in the Caribbean and Tobago is no exception. Please click on the 'Medical' tab for further information.
Midges, gnats and a host of other invisible nasties which the Americans rather aptly call 'no-see-ums', can make life in the tropics a total misery for some poor souls. Unless it is your first trip to the Caribbean, you will know whether you are sensitive to them or not. Many people are lucky enough to never attract bites. For the majority, they are only a minor inconvenience. Sand flies are at their most active in the hour before and after sunset, so avoid the beach - particularly along the tide line - at that time. Gnats and midges are present in all grassy areas, so avoid walking on grass verges or lawns.
Cockroaches are a normal part of life in the tropics. Your hotel will undoubtedly have done everything possible to eradicate or minimise the problem. Although some species of cockroach are accepted pests and associated with a dirty environment, there are also 'clean' varieties of cockroach that occasionally fly in from the garden. Your hotel will undoubtedly be highly embarrassed if you find one. If the establishment is otherwise clean and well maintained, please understand that it does not always indicate poor housekeeping. The chances are you will never see a single 'roach.
These shouldn't be included here, because lizards are not pests. Some visitors can be a little unsettled by the small, almost transparent, geckos that are found in most houses. Have no fear. They do not bite and are totally harmless. Welcome them, because they feed on the insects that might otherwise bite you. You may also be lucky enough to see green iguanas in the garden. These ancient prehistoric-looking creatures can pack a nasty punch with a lash of their tail, but are not aggressive. So, leave them alone and they certainly won't trouble you.
SNAKES, SPIDERS AND VENOMOUS CREATURES
Tobago is almost devoid of noxious wildlife. The island has no poisonous snakes. Tarantula spiders can be found in some areas, particularly the forests between Mason Hall and Castara, but their bite is more of an irritant than a danger. Scorpions are present in some areas but it is extremely rare for anyone to be bitten by one. If you have the misfortune to be that exception, make a very quick trip to the hospital as it is important that the antidote is administered as quickly as possible.