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

Hundreds Of Street Rats Were Taken In By A Peruvian Man Who Trained Them To Do Tricks

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Hundreds Of Street Rats Were Taken In By A Peruvian Man Who Trained Them To Do Tricks

Screenshot via YouTube

Rats are such interesting creatures. They’re usually associated with dirt and disease, but they’re also some of the most popular animals on the internet.

Those who have been around rats for longer than a few seconds (hey, that’s how long it usually takes us before we run screaming!) know that they’re highly intelligent creatures.

And no one knows this fact better than Miguel Angel Silva, affectionately known as the “Rat Man of Peru“.

@dorelycaluasalvad

Yo haciendo malabares con mi ex 😂😂😂😂

♬ Dance Monkey – Tones And I

Recently, a TikTok went viral showing a man on the streets of Lima playing with a group of rats on the sidewalk. The video begins with what can only be described as a rat-version of Cirque du Soleil.

The man holds his finger out like a trapeze before one of his rat friends jumps onto his finger and flips around on it like a trapeze artist.

The video continues with the man crouched on the ground, his rats in an orderly line in front of him.

It’s immediately evident that these aren’t your ordinary rats–they’re super obedient. Trained, even.

To make things even more entertaining, the TikTok poster captioned the video with: “Yo haciendo malabares con mi ex.” (“Me playing games with my ex.”)

While the TikToker doesn’t identify the man, he is very-well known to locals. His name is Miguel Angel Silva, otherwise known as “Ratman”.

Silva has been covered extensively by different media channels for his abnormal lifestyle. Not only does he perform tricks with his rats on the street, but he also lives with them–around 100 of them, to be exact.

Silva, who is also a drummer in local rock bands, spends almost all of his time with the rats–he often has one on his shoulder as a travel companion. Camera crew have followed him as he goes about his normal day, running errands, playing music–all with a rat on his shoulder. They even eat from the same plates as him.

In various interviews, Silva has revealed that his love for rats started as a child, when he saved a rat from being killed from his friend. The rat ended up living in his roof for a while before he permanently befriended it. It was then that Ratman was born.

Silva says he loves rats because they are misunderstood creatures, shunned and abused by the public.

He acknowledges that many people judge him harshly for his lifestyle, thinking he is dirty and his home is unsanitary. But Silva says he keeps his rats clean, washing them everyday and making sure they’re never infected with dangerous parasites.

We’re glad Silva is following his dreams regardless of what people think. Hopefully, we’ll see him on the streets of Peru one day.

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

Guardians Of The Galaxy Star Offers Reward To Find Who Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’

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Guardians Of The Galaxy Star Offers Reward To Find Who Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’

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, last week, 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.” 

Guardians of the Galaxy actor Dave Bautista has offered a $20,000 reward to anyone who finds the person who etched “Trump” into the Florida manatee’s back.

Bautista offered the reward on Twitter, writing “if there’s not already a reward for the arrest and conviction of the low life scummy MAGATs that did this I’ll throw in $20,000. And I promise there will be bonuses to that reward!”

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?

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