Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. The closest land outside the territory is in the American state of North Carolina, approximately 1,035 km to the west-northwest.
When discovered, Bermuda was uninhabited by humans and mostly dominated by forests of Bermuda cedar, with mangrove marshes along its shores. Only 165 of the island's current 1,000 vascular plant species are considered native; fifteen of those, including the eponymous cedar, are endemic. The semi-tropical climate of Bermuda allowed settlers to introduce many species of trees and plants to the island. Today, many types of palm trees, fruit trees, and bananas grow on Bermuda, though the cultivated coconut palms are considered non-native and may be removed. The country contains the Bermuda subtropical conifer forests terrestrial ecoregion.
The only indigenous mammals of Bermuda are five species of bat, all of which are also found in the eastern United States: Lasionycteris noctivagans, Lasiurus borealis, Lasiurus cinereus, Lasiurus seminolus and Perimyotis subflavus. Other commonly known fauna of Bermuda include its national bird, the Bermuda petrel or cahow, which was rediscovered in 1951 after having been thought extinct since the 1620s. The cahow is important as an example of a Lazarus species, hence the government has a programme to protect it, including restoration of its habitat areas. Another well-known species includes the white-tailed tropicbird, locally known as the Longtail. These birds come inland to breed around February to March and are Bermudians' first sign of incoming spring.
The Bermuda rock lizard was long thought to have been the only indigenous land vertebrate of Bermuda, discounting the marine turtles that lay their eggs on its beaches. However, scientists have recently discovered through genetic DNA studies that a species of turtle, the diamondback terrapin, previously thought to have been introduced to the archipelago, actually pre-dated the arrival of humans.