identities

20 Beautiful National Animals From Latin America That Are Everything

uwehasubek / Instagram
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.

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