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.
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Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma's writing and photography have been published in CNN Travel, New York Magazine, AFAR, Delta Sky, MorningCalm Magazine (Korea Air), The Guardian, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, The Travel Channel, BBC Travel, and more. Lily is the author of MOON BELIZE and MOON BELIZE CAYES for Moon Travel Guides; she is currently writing a brand new edition of MOON DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (October 2016 release). She is also AFAR’s Jamaica expert, and author of the AFAR Jamaica Country Guide. A serial expat, Lily has lived and studied on three continents, including Africa–from her native Ethiopia to Côte d’Ivoire–Europe and the Americas, 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 has a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish (summa cum laude) from the University of Maryland at College Park, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.

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  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 #

    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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