20 Bizarre Animals You Can Only Find In Latin America

johnoatesphotography / Instagram

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.


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.

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