Jamaica has some of the most beautiful animals – it was so much fun to choose a few to feature in our Montessori-Inspired matching cards this month. It’s amazing how much I learn as a parent as I prep these activities for my kiddo!
It should come as no surprise that several of the animals I chose were sea-creatures; after all this is an island nation! You can download these three-part printable matching cards FREE HERE!
Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) – is the largest of all living turtles and is the fourth-heaviest modern reptile behind three crocodiles. It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell, hence the name. Instead, its carapace is covered by skin and oily flesh. While these animals live in the oceans, many lay their eggs on the beaches of Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Miniature: I used the miniature found in the X Hot Popcorn set here on Amazon.
Red-Billed Streamertail (Trochilus polytmus) – this bird is known in Jamaica as the “Doctor Bird” and is their national fauna. It is indigenous to Jamaica, where it is the most abundant and widespread member of the hummingbird family. These birds feed on nectar from flowers using a long extendable tongue or catch small insects on the wing. They are distinct by the long scissor looking tail feathers. Miniature: I used a miniature from “Backyard” Good Luck Minis by Safari, Ltd – I added two small plastic tail feathers to make it more authentic. You can the one I used here on Amazon.
Manatee (Trichechidae Trichechus) – are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows. They measure up to 13 feet long, and weigh as much as 1,300 pounds! The origin of their name may have come from “manati” used by the Taíno (indigenous natives to Jamaica) meaning “breast”. Although they are found in many tropical waters, this animal is also a frequent site around Jamaica. Miniature: I used the miniature found in the X Hot Popcorn set here on Amazon.
Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) – The jellyfish is translucent, usually about 10–16 inches in diameter, and can be recognized by its four horseshoe-shaped gonads, easily seen through the top of the bell. It feeds by collecting medusae, plankton, and mollusks with its tentacles, and bringing them into its body for digestion. It is capable of only limited motion, and drifts with the current, even when swimming. Miniature: I used a miniature from “Sea Life” Good Luck Minis by Safari, Ltd. You can the one I used here on Amazon.
Mongoose (Herpestes griseus) – is a recent addition to the island of Jamaica. Introduced from India to combat the white-bellied rat, which played havoc with the growing cane on the sugar plantations. Over the years it has succeeded in keeping this pest in check, but unfortunately has also negatively affected other animals such as poultry, eggs of all kinds and small pigs, lambs, etc. Miniature: I used a miniature from Curious Minds. You can also buy one here on Amazon.
Jamaican owl (Pseudoscops grammicus) – Called a Patoo by the islanders, it is a medium-sized tawny colored owl that is endemic to the island of Jamaica. It has dark brown barring, flecking and streaks and its amber facial disk is rimmed in black-flecked white. It has hazel eyes, long ear tufts and a grayish-yellow bill. It mainly uses open habitats with scattered clumps of trees, generally in lowlands. It is nocturnal and eats mainly large insects, spiders, lizards, birds & rodents. Miniature: I used a miniature from “Nature” tube by Wild Republic. You can buy one here on Amazon.
I laminated my cards so they would stand up to little fingers.
We talked about each animal, and basic species it was (bird, mammal, reptile, insect, etc). We talked about if it was large or small. My preschooler then matched up the animals with the miniatures. After this we worked on matching the word cards to the animal pictures (I read the word cards to her, since she can’t read yet). What fun to learn about animals that live in other countries! 🙂