Culture

20 Bizarre Animals You Can Only Find In Latin America

Latin America is one of the most culturally rich places in the world and is actually home to some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. Meet some of the most interesting, unique and bizarre animals that could only exist in Latin America.

Who knows, maybe you’ll find your spirit animal, eh?

1. Capybaras | East of the Andes

CREDIT: @capybara_siesta / Instagram

Capybaras are the largest living rodent in the world (like 150 pounds big). These cutie vegetarians are like giant guinea pigs, but they have webbed feet and like to go swimming.

2. Jaguar Leopard | Mexico to Paraguay

CREDIT: @johnoatesphotography / Instagram

Jaguars eat everything from crocodiles to deer to monkeys and fish. They’re kind of loners, too.

3. Arboreal Sloth | Rainforests of Latin America

CREDIT: @chamiechum / Instagram

Did you know a sloth’s fur is considered an ecosystem of its own? These slow pokes live up in trees and descend once a week to poop.

4. Giant Anteater | Central and South America

CREDIT: @araraspantanalecolodge / Instagram

These anteaters can be as small as a squirrel or as long as 7 feet, but what’s really remarkable is that their lengua is 2 feet long so they can reach deep into ant hills.

5. Macaw Parrots | Amazon

CREDIT: @animalplanet.panski / Instagram

You’ve seen these guys tethered to sweaty guys on Miami Beach, but they belong flying free in the wild forests of the Amazon. They are the largest type of parrot and live off fruits and nuts.

6. Mexican Tree Frogs | Texas through Costa Rica

CREDIT: @alessandro.tramonti / Instagram

Standing at only 3″ tall, these tree frogs are known for their strange sound. They literally honk. I’m surprised they haven’t found a home in Miami.

7. Galápagos Tortugas | Galapagos Island

CREDIT: @christinhanneken / Instagram

These turtles have been around for 2-3 million years, hence becoming the namesake of the only island they can be naturally found. They weigh up to 550 pounds and live up to 150 years. #immortal

8. Brazilian Tapir | Brazil

CREDIT: @photoinnatura / Instagram

They look like a cross between a pig and an anteater but weigh up to 700 pounds from an herbivorous diet. Groups of tapirs are called a “candle.”

9. Andean Condor | Peru

CREDIT: @timothyramond / Instagram

Of course Peru would be home to the largest bird of flight. Their wingspan is 10 feet long and they can weigh up to 33 pounds. We recommend avoiding the zoo like the plague and visiting them in Peru’s Colca Canyon.

10. Galápagos Finches | Galapagos Island

CREDIT: @enchantedadventurescactus / Instagram

You might remember learning about these guys when learning about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. He recorded 13 species of Galápagos Finches and how their different beak shapes determined their hold on food sources. This picture is of a Cactus Finch.

Read:

11. White Headed Capuchin Monkeys | Belize to Colombia

CREDIT: @fabienbeilhe / Instagram

Stay in a treehouse Airbnb in Costa Rica and you’re likely to see troops of these smart guys. Their lifespan and intelligence has made them vulnerable to animal testing, so shop cruelty-free, and go see them wild and free.

12. Golden Lion Tamarin | Amazon

CREDIT: @bioparcdedoue / Instagram

These monkeys are as small as squirrels with golden manes as regal as a lion. They only live wild in a coastal segment of the Amazon Rainforest.

13. Royal Flycatcher | Amazon

CREDIT: @faunayflora7 / Instagram

Of course these are Brazilian birds. They’re belleza headresses only come out when they’re mating or being handled by humans.

Read: 17 Latin Dog Breeds You Should Beg Your Mom To Let You Have

14. Blue-Footed Boobies | Galapagos Islands

CREDIT: @heckyeahletsdosomescience / Instagram

Alright, settle down children. You can tell why they’re called “blue-footed”–the males display their feet in a mating ritual with females. “Booby” comes from the Spanish word “bobo.” #TheMoreYouKnow

15. Blue Morpho Butterflies | Latin American Rainforests

CREDIT: @ashreec / Instagram

This butterfly has a wingspan of 8″, making it one of the largest butterflies in the world. The color actually comes from microscopic holes in the wings that reflect blue light (for our eyes at least).

Read: 20 Beautiful National Animals From Latin America That Are Everything

16. Maned Wolf | Grasslands of South America

CREDIT: @gzhenrique / Instagram

The Maned Wolf is actually not a wolf or a fox at all. It’s the largest wild dog species in South America.

17. “Jesus Christ” Lizard | Mexico to Ecuador

CREDIT: @superbentley305 / Instagram

Hey, Harry Potter fans, this is actually called a basilisk! They can run on water, which is why they’re called Jesus Christ lizards.

18. Marine Iguana | Galapagos Islands

CREDIT: @relax_itsnatalia / Instagram

Would you believe that these guys live off algae? The males dive deep into the water to eat algae while the females eat at low tide.

19. Toco Toucan | Brazil

CREDIT: Peter / Airbnb

It’s beak is a third the length of the whole bird, and you can only find them in the Amazon. There are many different species of toucans, but the Toco is the largest.

20. Amazon River Dolphin | Amazon

CREDIT: @azuladotcom / Instagram

We leave you with the Amazon river dolphin, aka the pink dolphin. As rare and beautiful as it looks, it’s actually the most common river dolphin on earth.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

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Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

Michael Wood/Stocktrek Images

Just when we thought Trump supporters couldn’t disgust us more, one disfigured a manatee by etching “Trump” into its back.

Sadly, over the weekend, a manatee was found in Florida’s Homosassa River with the name “Trump” scratched into its back. The discovery has prompted federal officials to open an investigation into the disfigurement of the threatened species.

A mutilated manatee was found over the weekend with the name Trump scratched into its back.

According to a report published by the Citrus County Chronicle, it is unclear when and how the manatee was mutilated. It is also unknown whether the current investigation has made any leads in regards to the perpetrators. Still, footage of the abused animal has sparked outrage online.

Douglas Nowacek, a professor of Conservation Technology at Duke University told Vice that the incident is “one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen done to a wild animal.” In a separate email, Ruth Carmichael, a Senior Marine Scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and a Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama described the act a “horrific” to VICE saying “I have no words to express how deeply troubling, thoughtless, and potentially cruel this is.” 

Marine biologists say that it is unclear just how much harm the mammal endured.

“It’s a little hard to see the extent of damage from the video,” Carmichael explained. “It is harassment regardless. If the scrape penetrates the skin, then it likely caused some pain and stress. The animals have nerves and sensory hairs in the skin. Additionally, open wounds could become infected.” 

According to Graham Worthy, Department Chair and Pegasus Professor at the University of Central Florida who spoke to VICE the letters could mostly be shallow, and may mostly be algae scraped off the animal’s back making“ injury would be virtually non-existent.”

Still, physically hurt or not, the manatee in question was clearly harassed by a person. As such the perpetrator could face severe penalties if found. 

“Violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act may result in fines of up to $100,000 and one year’s imprisonment for individuals and up to $200,000 for organizations,” Worthy told Vice. “It is illegal to approach and make contact with these animals let alone deface or injure them. It is illegal to feed or harass wild marine mammals including dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, sea lions, and manatees. You are not allowed to feed, swim with, or harass these marine animals… They should be observed from a distance of at least 50 yards.”

The mutilated manatee is a West Indian manatee and is a herbivorous mammal found in coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Up until 2017, the species was considered endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Today, conservation status is listed as “threatened.”  

As many users of social media have noted, perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of the images that humans already cause so much pain and suffering to innocent animals. When does it stop?

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These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

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These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

2020 will easily go down in manny of our memories as the year that just wouldn’t stop. As the year started, it all seemed to be sort of fine as the world came together to battle record-breaking Australian bushfires and worked to hopefully contain an outbreak of a strange new virus in China.

However, as the year comes to a close things have gone de mal a peor for the world in general, but for the Latino population in the United States and Latin America as a region in particular. Though it’s hard to realize just how much we all witnessed and experienced since so much of what happened seems like it was a lifetime ago.

Here’s a look back at some the defining moments from 2020 across Latin America.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira kicked off the year hopeful with a history-making performance at the Super Bowl.

Yes, believe it or not, this happened in 2020. The pair put on what many have called the best half time show in Super Bowl history. They were also joined by J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales was forced into exile, only to return to the country in November.

After being forced into exile at the end of 2019 for attempting to illegally run in upcoming presidential elections, Morales spent a year abroad – first in Mexico and then in Argentina.

Mexico’s President AMLO made his first trip abroad to visit Donald Trump at the White House.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a staunch populist and has long said his primary focus is domestic policy within Mexico. Therefore, despite two years in office, AMLO hadn’t left Mexico once. So it came as a surprise when his first trip abroad was a visit to the U.S. leader who had long disparaged Mexico, the government, and Mexicans – not to mention his trip came in the middle of a global pandemic.

Migrant caravans continued to make their way towards the U.S. despite interference from Mexico and Covid-19.

Migrants attempting to make their way to the U.S. isn’t unique to 2020. For decades, migrants have long banded together for safety in numbers along the treacherous journey to the north. However, they became larger and better organized in 2020, perhaps owing to the new dangers of Mexican interference.

Mexico’s AMLO vowed to stop migrants from reaching the U.S.-Mexico border, adhering to Trump’s request. It was also noteworthy because the caravans continued despite the Covid-19 crisis, which has hit the region particularly hard.

Peru saw three presidents in the span of a few weeks after massive protests.

Peru is facing one of the greatest crises the nation has faced. Just as the country seemed to be emerging from the worst of its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has entered a severe political crisis.

The country’s elected president, Martin Vizcarra, was impeached and removed from office. His predecessor responded with a heavy hand to the protests that ensued resulting in his resignation less than 24 hours later. The government then had to find someone willing to take the job which proved to be a tough sell.

In fact, massive protests swept across Latin America.

From Mexico in the north to Cuba in the Caribbean and Chile in the south, protests were seen all across the region. Although each movement had it’s own stated goal and objectives, many were largely borne out of the same purpose: to fight back against corruption.

Brazil’s President Jaír Bolsonaro tested positive for Covid-19 but it did nothing to change his approach to the pandemic.

Jaír Bolsonaro has long been compared to Donald Trump, with many calling him the Donald Trump of South America. The two were also strongly aligned in their responses to the Coronavirus pandemic, with the pair largely downplaying the severity of the crisis.

Then, Bolsonaro became infected with the virus and many hoped it would change his view on the crisis. It didn’t.

A growing feminist movement developed in Mexico, demanding protection from a shocking rise in violence against women.

Mexico has long been battling endemic violence and the country has continued to see record-setting rates of homicides. But it was the growing rate of violence against women, particularly femicide, that gained national attention.

Women banded together and started large nationwide protests. Over the summer, women in the capital of Mexico City occupied government buildings and destroyed many of the city’s most popular monuments to hopefully get their message across. Although the movement has gained more recognition by Mexicans, the government has still failed to address their concerns. Let’s hope things are different in 2021.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com