The Cayman Islands is a self-governing British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea. The 264-square-kilometre territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, which are located to the south of Cuba and northeast of Honduras, between Jamaica and Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. With a population of 69,656, the Cayman Islands is the most populous of the British Overseas Territories.
The mammalian species in the Cayman Islands include the introduced Central American agouti and eight species of bats. At least three now extinct native rodent species were present until the discovery of the islands by Europeans. Marine life around the island of the Grand Cayman includes tarpon, silversides, French angelfish, and giant barrel sponges. A number of cetaceans are found in offshore waters. These species include the goose-beaked whale, Blainville's beaked whale and sperm whale,
Cayman avian fauna includes two endemic subspecies of Amazona parrots: Amazona leucocephala hesterna or Cuban amazon, presently restricted to the island of Cayman Brac, but formerly also on Little Cayman, and Amazona leucocephala caymanensis or Grand Cayman parrot, which is native to the Cayman Islands, forested areas of Cuba, and the Isla de la Juventud. Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are also home to red-footed and brown boobies. Although the barn owl occurs in all three of the islands they are not commonplace. The Cayman Islands also possess five endemic subspecies of butterflies. These butterfly breeds can be viewed at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park on the Grand Cayman.
Among other notable fauna at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is the critically threatened blue iguana which is also known as the Grand Cayman iguana, The blue iguana is endemic to the Grand Cayman particularly because of rocky, sunlit, open areas near the island's shores that are advantageous for the laying of eggs. Nevertheless, habitat destruction and invasive mammalian predators remain primary reasons that blue iguana hatchlings do not survive naturally.
The Cuban crocodile once inhabited the islands. The name 'Cayman' is derived from a Carib word for various crocodilians.