Postcard Of The Week: Seahorses in Belize

The sea horse is the second most surprising creature I came across in Belize  (right after the manatee). I never even thought seahorses still existed! I’m not sure why, but I imagined them to be a thing of the past.

Until I saw them in Caye Caulker – swimming and drifting in their natural habitat, by the mangroves off the island’s famous “Split” or swimming area.

This post by current Matador Road Warrior, Norbert Figueroa, reminded me to dig up these images.

Ask around for Ras Creek, a licensed tour guide on Caye Caulker, who has taken it upon himself to protect the seahorses and teach the island’s residents and visitors about the endangered nature of these creatures. One of his dreams is to create a seahorse reserve. (Other times, he runs a sunset cruise off the Split for anyone who’s up for a quick and affordable boat trip).

It was so hard to photograph the seahorses up close not just because they’re tiny in size, but because they’d anchor themselves by the tail on a mangrove branch one second and the next they would float away really fast in between the mangroves.

Cool fact: it’s the only animal species in the world in which the male gives birth, not the female.

Pretty amazing, right? You just never know what you’re going to see next in Belize.

Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma has contributed writing and photography to CNN Travel, New York Magazine, AFAR, American Way, Travel Channel, BBC Travel, and others. She’s the new author of MOON BELIZE for Moon Travel Guides, and is completing a second title, MOON BELIZE CAYES. A serial expat, Lily’s lived and studied on three continents, including Africa–from her native Ethiopia to Côte d'Ivoire––and Europe, and is fluent in four languages. A former attorney who ditched the office for the road in 2009, she favors all things culture, adventure and storytelling, and escapes Washington DC’s winters every year. Lily also runs her award-winning travel and photography blog, Sunshine and Stilettos.

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7 Comments

  1. Alex Evans 1 December, 2011 at 12:59 PM #

    I had no idea there were seahorses right here in my own country… cool stuff

  2. Eric 1 December, 2011 at 1:04 PM #

    Wow!!! I have not thought about Sea Horses since I was a boy and would see them for sale in the back of my “Boy’s Life” Magazine!

    And, I had no idea that it was the male sea horse that gives birth! Finally…. Proof that a male can “know” what a woman goes through with child birth!!! LOL

    - Eric

  3. Lebawit Lily Girma 1 December, 2011 at 1:30 PM #

    I need to take you with me to explore next time, Alex :-)

    Haha! Eric, nice stretch there! But yes I never knew they still existed either. So cool.

  4. Norbert 2 December, 2011 at 2:05 AM #

    Your pictures look so great Lily! The sea horse I saw in Caye Caulker looks just like the little yellow one. Who knows if it is the same sea horse! ;)

  5. Eric 2 December, 2011 at 3:27 PM #

    Lily,
    Thanks! :-)

  6. Elizabeth Thomson 6 December, 2011 at 5:20 AM #

    WOW!! Who knew?? Beautiful postcard……just one more to LOVE Belize.

  7. Lebawit Lily Girma 6 December, 2011 at 9:13 AM #

    Thanks Elizabeth! Yes, one more. :-)

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