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20 Beautiful National Animals From Latin America That Are Everything

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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

CREDIT: @bigcatskingdom / Instagram

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

2. Llama | Bolivia

CREDIT: 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

CREDIT: @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

CREDIT: @chaboom1986 / Instagram

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

CREDIT: “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

CREDIT: @sarahlovessucculents / Instagram

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

CREDIT: @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

CREDIT: @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

CREDIT: @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

CREDIT: @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

CREDIT: @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

CREDIT: @binggallery / Instagram

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

CREDIT: @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

CREDIT: @timothy_weaver704 / Instagram

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

CREDIT: @billlysantiago / Instagram

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

CREDIT: @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

CREDIT: @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

CREDIT: @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

CREDIT: @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

CREDIT: @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.

26 Signs You Grew Up Puerto Rican AF

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26 Signs You Grew Up Puerto Rican AF

mjulio777pr / Twitter

Whether you grew up in the home isla, Miami or Alaska, when you grow up Puerto Rican, we might as well be from the same family. TBH, we’re probably cousins.

Have a healthy fear of your mom’s moods? Puerto Rican. Can you dance merengue and eat it, too? Puerto Rican. I could go on.

1. Saying hi to your family at every holiday.

puerto rican
CREDIT: @GenericName76 / Twitter

Be prepared to be greeted with open arms, all the hugs and kisses on each cheek. You have 147 cousins, so the parties go on till the morning.

2. You don’t play dominoes.

CREDIT: @mjulio777pr / Twitter

You compete at longanas, and you expect your mom to cheat or make up a new rule halfway through. You also have a sneaking suspicion that your abuelita is an evil genius who could win every time but is an actual angel so she lets someone else win.

3. You had a janky Barney at your party.

CREDIT: @nicole.allyn_ / Instagram

And your parents swear you had a good time, but the home videos prove otherwise. The only thing I was caught saying on video was, “Barney sucio.”

4. You had this bracelet with your name on it.

CREDIT: @the_notorious_idv / Twitter

It’s how they kept track of all us screaming Latino kids on the playground. This is practical AF and the tradition will live on, IMO.

5. You had your ears pierced when you were 5 seconds old.

CREDIT: @thelacquerhouse / Twitter

I swear there is not a single photo of me without gold studs. Does Miami-Dade hospital have an infant ear piercer on call?

6. You also started drinking café con leche when you were an infant.

CREDIT: “Cuba cafe con leche with crackers” Digital Image. Best Cuba Guide. 29 May 2018.

And it was all about soaking the cracker for as long as you could without it falling to the bottom.

7. You know who el Cuco is but have no idea what they look like.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Wikipedia. 30 May 2018.

Is she an alligator or a boogeyman? IDK, except for that she’s always watching to see if I’m behaving, and if I don’t, she’s going to eat me. Growing up Puerto Rican means growing up scared… like all the time.

8. Chancletas were child’s play.

CREDIT: @Qsportsm / Twitter

The most terrifying phrase, “Do you want the belt?” We all give our mom’s shit for it at Christmas but low key, I don’t own a belt.

9. Marc Anthony and J.Lo were also your parents.

CREDIT: “Image: File photo of Marc Anthony and wife Jennifer Lopez arriving at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit in New York” Digital Image. Today. 30 May 2018.

When they split up, it was a global life event for every Puerto Rican on the Earth. You remember your mom or tia crying and questioning their own marriages if the Puerto Rican Royalty couldn’t make it.

10. You know not to leave a single fork in the sink.

“Nadie me alman.” “If you loved me, you wouldn’t disrespect me like this.” “No, now I know how you really think of me.”

For real, we all started mothering our mothers when we were children. Including my own mom con su mama.

11. The Cuban Mop is universally accepted as the only way to clean a house.

CREDIT: @tinaaxox1 / Twitter

When I moved out and bought a steam mop, my mom flipped her shit. “Nothing works as well as the Cuban mop, Dani, c’mon.” Spoiler: she admitted that she likes the steam mop now. But she’ll never buy one when she has a perfectly good Cuban mop.

12. All your pots and pans were in the oven.

CREDIT: @miastasha / Twitter

And cutting boards, and strainers, and basically anything that could fit. It’s fine though because you pretty much fried all your food.

13. Like bacalítos y croquetas.

CREDIT: @franexla / Instagram

There is nada ni nadie as comforting as a lime-doused codfish fritter with jamón croquetas. Oh, and you know not to ever turn down a second helping of arroz con gandules or any other food or risk deeply offending your mother.

14. You don’t need an oven because you roasted the pig outside.

CREDIT: @latintouchproducts / Instagram

He’s going to have arroz con frijoles stuffed up his culo and you’re going to eat it, entiende?

15. You can’t remember not drinking coqui at the holidays.

CREDIT: @pietri_dish / Instagram

Your earliest memory is when you were 6 years old and the family watched you for your reaction and then exploded with, “ayyyy” when you pretended to like the taste of rum. Puerto Ricans don’t follow silly American laws.

16. You know not to even whisper “mofongo” unless it is immediately available.

CREDIT: @fulanathefoodie / Instagram

Or risk getting slapped upside the head for teasing your mother. Then, you’ll have to comfort them while they throw a tantrum for trying to make fools out of them.

17. Everything tastes like the Pickapeppa brown sauce.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Pickapeppa. 29 May 2018.

It’s her not-so-secret sauce for arroz con habichuelas, pot roast, picadillo, todo y todo. At least, if you’re from Miami and your boricua mom married a Jamaican. 😛 Either way, there was mango in your food.

18. One shelf of your fridge was dedicated to homemade sofrito.

CREDIT: @izzy_money85 / Instagram

Your mom made this in bulk because this was your actual base for all your food. I grew up in Miami, so the ajices dulces and culantro were easy to pick up but since moving, it’s still rico without it.

19. Vienna sausages were life.

CREDIT: @14mangualv / Twitter

If your mom could open a can and make it into a pot before me or my brothers could eat them straight from the can, it was a win. Weekend mornings were the best because you knew you were getting some sautéed sausages and leftover crispy rice for breakfast.

20. Another favorite breakfast food was arroz con huevo frito.

CREDIT: @foodyatheart1

As kids, this was the No. 1 ultimate comfort food. The yolk would run through all the white rice and then we felt fancy for having arroz amarillo. 💅

21. We cannot forget the “Egg in the Hole” brekkie.

CREDIT: @fredsabbag / Instagram

A buttered crispy toast and egg all in one?! I honestly don’t know which one is more satisfying because they were equally as exciting as kids.

22. You probably had at least two of these in your house.

CREDIT: @miss__imperfectly_perfect / Instagram

Don’t call it a mortar and pestle, because it’s just not. It’s a pilón and the plantain-based food that must not be named is served in it. I’m upsetting myself just thinking about it.

23. These merengue cookies were everywhere.

CREDIT: @kevinqcarmona / Twitter

You had to buy a box of merengue every day for a family of five, but this giant tin of cookies felt bottomless, y gracias a Dios por eso. Oh, and nobody speaks Spanish or English. It’s Spanglish, mami.

24. You also had an emergency stock of banana peppers.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Seasons. 29 May 2018.

Your pantry was ready for the next hurricane at all times. Twelve jars of vienna sausages and at least six jars of banana peppers. Isn’t the rule for emergencies to have a week’s supply? 👅

25. You were shocked to find masa in tamales after growing up with pasteles puertoriqueño.

CREDIT: @katycorn87 / Instagram

Made from yucca, olives and, of course, sofrito, and wrapped in a boiled banana leaf, these have a totally different flavor than Mexican tamales. When you brought them to your white school and friends asked if you were Mexican, you were also afraid your face would freeze in an eye roll. It’s what your mamma taught you.

26. Your abuelita slayed at making flan.

CREDIT: @el_chalet_express / Instagram

Every time we went over, she had flan for us and even though we were stuffed from being forced to eat two full plates of picadillo, a jar of banana peppers, and arroz con habichuelas, we eagerly ate up the flan. When you’re Puerto Rican, there’s always room for dessert. 🇵🇷

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