Culture

20 Beautiful National Animals From Latin America That Are Everything

Between the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica to the grasslands of Mexico, there are a slew of interesting animals creeping and crawling all over Latin America. The various ecosystems throughout the region are astonishing and beautiful. Here are just some of the magnificent creatures that have earned the title of National Animal. Essentially, they serve as the mascots for the country because, when chosen, people in the country believe those animals are the physical manifestation of what the country represents.
They all look so smug because they know they’re honorific, just roll with it.

1. Jaguar | Brazil

@bigcatskingdom / Instagram

Brazil’s national animal ranks on top. Here’s to hoping we never stare down those golden eyes, though.

2. Llama | Bolivia

dvillavicencio_photo / Instagram

The regal giraffe of Latin America is a guy I’d love to spend some one-on-one time with. Though I hear they spit on whoever they deem deserves it.

3. Keel-Billed Toucan | Belize

@uwehasubek / Instagram

Those beaks are a third the size of the whole bird, and even though their beaks look like a ball and chain to carry around, they’re actually made of spongey, hollow bone covered in keratin. Like Belizianos, you rarely see one of these birds alone.

4. Golden Eagle | Mexico

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Mexico’s National Bird is the cute and fuzzy guy. He’s still a young one, but they grow to become one of the largest birds in North America and are known for their relatively small heads.

5. Vaquita | Mexico

“Only 12 Vaquita Porpoises Are Left in the Entire World” Digital Image. Lady Free Thinker. 25 May 2018.

Mexico’s National Marine Mammal is the peculiar porpoise, la vaquita. They’re found in the Northern Gulf of California and there are only 12 left in the world. Reason for imminent extinction? Fishing.

6. Grasshopper | Mexico

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Of course Mexico has a national arthropod. Mexico is known for some of the most progressive laws to protect wildlife, including a ban on circuses that use wild animals. Plus, this grasshopper is clearly enjoying the spotlight.

7. Xoloitzcuintli | Mexico

@mishalukianovphotography / Instagram

Meet the ridiculously handsome National Dog of Mexico. They are almost completely hairless and are known for their big ears. Relics from tombs date the existence of this breed back to the Aztec, Mayan and Toltec Native Americans. Archeologists suspect that hairlessness in tropical Mexico had the evolutional advantage and so they prospered.

8. Cuban Trogon | Cuba

@kennydiazj / Instagram

You could spot this Cuban from a mile away. She’s bold, she’s high fashion and she wears red well. If you could see the backs of their feathers, you’d cry for the blue teal colors.

9. Pampas Fox | Paraguay

@fernandofariasphoto / Instagram

These guys like to live alone, but are pro-monogamy around breeding season. Plus, they eat literally everything: birds, rabbits, fruit, lizards, armadillos, snails, lambs, and insects.

Read: 20 Bizarre Animals You Can Only Find In Latin America

10. Southern Lapwig | Uruguay

@chikkurosaki21 / Instagram

Yo, this bird has been around since dinosaur times. They famously swarm soccer matches after the bright lights have attracted thousands of insects–they’re favorite.

Read: These Photos Of Celebs With Their Beautiful Fur Babies Will Melt Your Heart Because, Duh

11. Quetzal | Guatemala

@filipe_deandrade / Instagram

This ridiculously cute fluffer is, of course, Guatemala’s national animal. They’re savage, too. They go after frogs.

12.  West Indian Manatee | Costa Rica

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While Costa Rica is known for preserving its natural wildlife, its manatees are facing near extinction from erosion and pollution from the banana plantations. Recently, Costa Rica declared the manatee as their National Aquatic Animal.

Read: This Is Why Kate Del Castillo And Other Latino Celebs Are Boycotting SeaWorld

13. While-Tailed Deer | Costa Rica

@bleuphotographie / Instagram

Costa Rica’s National Animal (proper) is this cutie little Bambie. Fun fact: they have incredible eyesight and hearing and only the males grow antlers.

Read: 21 Animals You Should Be Following on Instagram (Beyond Cute Cats & Dogs)

14. White-Tailed Deer | Honduras

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They grow up to be SO CUTE, like actual reindeer. No wonder Honduras went with the same National Animal as Costa Rica.

15. Coquí | Puerto Rico

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My third grade project on el coquí is finally coming full circle. Puerto Rico’s National Animal is this tiny frog that you can hear from the rainforests going, “coquí, coquí, coquí.”  They kind of define your nights in Puerto Rico, so might as well define the National Animal.

16. Andean Condor | Colombia

@timothyramond / Instagram

Meet the largest raptor in the world. They produce only one egg every two years, y todavía, they just lay the egg on a bare cliff edge. The parents make up for their questionable parenting liberties by incubating the egg together.

17. Harpy Eagle | Panama

@wild.jaw / Instagram

It’s talons are as large as bear’s claws and its legs can be as thick as a man’s wrist. He looks like he came straight from Jurassic Park and kind of terrifying if you think about one attacking you.

18. Vicuña | Peru

@panchetex / Instagram

I know what you’re thinking: that looks like a llama. While it is a “camelid”, it’s closest relative is the Alpaca. They’re tiny faces and sleek ears are much more chic than the scruffy look of the llama.

19. Bare-Throated Bellbird | Paraguay

@nvl_photo / Instagram

The National Bird of Paraguay is known for it’s white plumage and blue face, but here you’ll find the female bird. The poor girl has to endure its male counterpart’s loudest call of any bird. His call has been described as that of a hammer striking an anvil.

The sound can actually damage human hearing if they’re within range.

20. Baird’s Tapir | Belize

@naomouse70 / Instagram

We leave you with Belize’s National Animal, the tapir. More than one tapir together is called a candle. They live up to 30 years and are most closely related to horses and rhinos.

Some species’s noses are so long that they use them as a snorkel when they’re swimming.

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Here Are 9 Salsas From Across Latin America That You’ll Carry In Your Bag Every Day Of The Week

Culture

Here Are 9 Salsas From Across Latin America That You’ll Carry In Your Bag Every Day Of The Week

I guarantee that since Beyonce’s hit anthem ‘Formation’ hit the airwaves, we’ve all been wanting to channel our inner Bey and carry some hot sauce in our bags. But which one would you choose?  

Whether you prefer sweet and sour, ranch, spicy, or mild, when it comes to options, the possibilities are endless!

A sauce’s beauty is that every country has its famous creation that usually accompanies their traditional dishes. Every Latin American country has its mouth-watering sauce that was created using recipes passed down from ancestors.

AJILIMOJILI

In Puerto Rico, this sauce is quite popular because of its ají dulce flavor – a mix of sweet and sour notes. The green salsa is the Caribbean’s version of hot sauce and is added to recipes, such as seafood and boiled vegetables.

VALENTINA

Few of us don’t know about the magic that is Valentina. Pour that sauce all over your papas, pizza, jicama, elotes, and so much more. And it’s great because it’s available in a variety of heat levels so everyone can enjoy. 

TIÁ LUPITA HABANERO SAUCE

This Habanero Hot Sauce is an original family recipe of the brand and combines just the right amount of heat with each fruit’s natural sweetness. It is handmade in small batches, using only habanero peppers, dates, mangos, and spices. All ingredients are sourced from local farms and are non-GMO and gluten-free certified.

The sauce can be used as a condiment with breakfast burritos, eggs, sandwiches, tacos, pulled pork, steak, chicken, fish, quesadillas, and more.

CHIMICHURRI

Chimichurri is mostly tied to Argentina, even though other countries also serve the herb-based salsa. To achieve the perfect chimichurri, mix parsley, oregano, garlic, onion, pepper, vinegar, and olive oil. Pair with meat cuts like churrasco and watch the magic happen.

CHIRMOL

In Central America, chismol or chirmol is made of tomatoes, onion, peppers and other ingredients. It’s similar to pico de gallo and is used in a variety of dishes.

RICANTE

Sauce, dressing, dip, marinade… Ricante does it all and with no sugar or salt added and with just the right amount of approachable spice. Ricante is not only Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, and Keto Friendly, but tiá approved!

Ricante launched with five incredibly unique hot sauces, marrying non-traditional essences like apples, mangos, carrots, and habaneros.

SALSA ROSA

Pastas are enjoyed all across Latin America, especially in Argentina and Uruguay, which pair the dishes with salsa rosa, a tomato-based sauce mixed with heavy cream. Together, they create a pink paste that blankets a variety of pasta dishes.

TACTICAL TACOS

Wait, so not all taco bases are citrus?! Tactical Tacos knows how to do taco sauce right with their notes of orange, lime, and cilantro to start your bite out just right, followed up with a perfect hint of Jalapeno and Cayenne pepper in the background. That’s just their mild sauce, Snafu. The Fire Fight and Ghost Protocol give you a similar ride with the citrus kick but with a much bigger spice hit for those that are brave enough to try it out!

MOLE

Mole is a spicy-and-sweet sauce made from chocolate that translates. The dark brown sauce gets its heat from chiles, but also has a touch of sweetness from the cacao, almonds, and peanuts often added. The sauce is topped with sesame seeds.

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There’s A Mysterious “Bat Cave” Full Of Blind Snakes Near Cancun And It’s Creepy AF

Things That Matter

There’s A Mysterious “Bat Cave” Full Of Blind Snakes Near Cancun And It’s Creepy AF

Mexico is full of incredible natural beauty, so it’s no wonder that it’s frequently one of the world’s most visited destinations. People love to visit the picturesque beaches, the ancient ruins, lively cities, and relaxed pueblos. But we would imagine that few people would add this mysterious ‘bat cave’ to their list of destinations, considering it’s full of blind snakes that hang from the ceiling to catch their prey. 

Mexico’s mysterious ‘bat cave’ is part of a truly unique ecosystem. 

Cancun is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s home to some of the world’s greatest beaches and tons of adventure at cenotes and Mayan ruins. But, apparently, it’s also home to a unique ecosystem that includes a so-called bat cave home to thousands of blind snakes that hang upside down. Yikes!

The cave, located less than 180 miles from Cancun’s spectacular beaches, is home to a species of blind, deaf snakes that feed mainly on flying bats.”This is the only place in the world where this happens,” Arturo Enrique Bayona Miramontes, the biologist who discovered it, told Newsweek.

The cave system remained completely unknown to tourists and surprised many scientists, who marveled as the jungle was peeled away to reveal another species, another hidden natural world.

The “cave of the hanging snakes” has a 65-foot wide mouth from which thousands of bats of seven different species swarm out every night, seeking food in and around Lake Chichancanab, some 2 miles away. When the bats return from nighttime feeding, some become food for the snakes.

The cave is a bat paradise – unless they become food for the blind and deaf snakes.

The giant cave is home to hundreds of thousands – perhaps even millions – of bats who cling to the cave’s roof. Joining them in the cave are a unique species of blind and deaf snakes that strike unsuspecting bats as they fly by.

The technique of the yellow-red rat snake is frighteningly precise, Bayona Miramontes said. “These snakes do not see or hear, but they can feel the vibrations of the bats flying, and they use that opportunity to hunt them with their body, suffocating their victims before gobbling them down.”

If you’re feeling adventurous, the cave is open to a limited number of visitors.

The cave is located nearby a very small Mayan community in Kantemó, on the Yucatan peninsula. Although the village is so small that it only has one church, the community has been working hard to protect this unique ecosystem.

Only 10 visitors are allowed inside the cave at a time and no photography is permitted. Since the pandemic began, the cave has been closed but it will reopen when the health department of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo allows tourism again.

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