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Bermuda: Travel Guides, Environment

Bermuda is a subtropical island in the Atlantic Ocean, 570 nautical miles off the coast of North Carolina and not in eh Caribbean as many may think. It comprises 150 small islands, which collectively total just 21 sq miles. The eight largest islands are connected by causeways and bridges to form a continuous fishhook-shaped land mass that stretches 22 miles in length and averages less than a mile across. Bermudians tend to treat these eight islands, which comprise 95% of the country's land mass, as a single geographic entity and commonly refer to it as simply 'the island.' Only about a dozen of the other islands are inhabited.

All the islands are volcanic in origin, the emerged tips of a volcanic mountain mass that rose from the sea floor several million years ago. They are surrounded by fringing coral reefs and have hilly interiors, though the highest peak is a mere 259 feet high. Bermuda's size, relatively high-density population and half million visitors per year inevitably cause stress on the environment. Over-fishing, for example, has devastated the island's commercial fishing possibilities. Fortunately increased environmental awareness and legislation have succeeded in protecting and re-introducing some species, most notably turtles.

Bermuda enjoys a mild, agreeable climate because of the warming effects of the Gulf Stream. The average annual high temperature is 75°F (23°C), while the average annual low is 68°F (20°C). Humidity is high year round and rainfall is evenly distributed, with no identifiable wet season.

This frost-free climate means the island is abloom with colourful flowers like bougainvillea, hibiscus and oleander. Bermuda has no native land mammals; the endemic Bermuda rock lizard was the only non-marine land animal on Bermuda prior to human contact. The island now has a variety of introduced lizards, a couple of types of whistling tree frog, and a giant toad mostly seen squashed on the road - hence its nickname 'road toad'.

Bermuda has the northernmost corals found in the Atlantic, and they attract a variety of colorful tropical creatures such as angelfish, triggerfish and the clown wrasse. Unfortunately, jellyfish-like Portuguese man-of-wars are also found in Bermuda's waters between March and July; a brush with one of these guys and you'll know the meaning of pain.

     

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