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21 Dangerous Animals You Can Only Find in Latin America

Some of the most dangerous animals in the world inhabit Latin America. While most prey on other species, some are known to harm and even kill humans if they come into contact with them.

1. Amazonian Giant Centipede

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The world’s biggest centipede, the Amazonian giant centipede can reach 14 inches in length. These carnivorous centipedes are found throughout South America, and kill prey by injecting a toxic venom. Although a bite will not kill people, it can cause a great deal of pain, along with swelling and fever.

2. Black Caiman

Credit: Pixabay. Digital Image.

One of the largest members of the crocodile family, the black caiman is native to the Amazon Basin and other freshwater Latin American areas. It is the largest predator in the Amazon, and like its alligator cousins further north, has been known to prey on people. The black caiman is endangered because it has been hunted extensively for leather.

3. Brazilian Wandering Spider

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The bite of this large, brown spider can kill people, especially small children. It is considered one of the most venomous spiders on the planet. They are also known as banana spiders or armed spiders. The eight species of these spiders are found throughout Brazil and the rest of Latin America.

4. Bullet Ant

Credit: Scribol. Digital Image.

The bullet ant is so named because its sting is akin to being hit by a bullet. While a sting is extremely painful, it’s unlikely to prove fatal to a human unless they are stung by thousands of the creatures. Officially known as Paraponera clavate, the bullet ant is found in lower rainforests ranging from Nicaragua to Paraguay.

5. Bull Shark

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These stout sharks are the likeliest to attack humans. While they are more often found in the Gulf of Mexico, they are known to live in the Amazon River.

6. Electric Eel

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More appropriately known as the knifefish, the electric eel lives in the basins of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers. The electric eel does generate electricity, and while the shock is not likely to kill a person, it could prove temporarily incapacitating and the individual might drown.

7. Giant Otter

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The endangered giant otter is found only in the Amazon, La Plata and Orinoco river areas. A member of the weasel family, it is the longest type of its species at 6 feet and adults may weigh as much 75 pounds. Giant otters live in large family groups and seldom threaten people, but there are reports of attacks on humans. Overall, though, humans are responsible for the vulnerable status of this animal due to poaching for the fur trade.

8. Green

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Weight wise, the green anaconda is the world’s largest snake, but at 17 feet, it’s also quite long. While it rarely attacks humans, the green anaconda has been known to take down other large and carnivorous species, including jaguars. With its green body and black and yellow belly scales, the snake is a master of camouflage. They are found in rivers, streams and marshes throughout tropical Latin America.

9. Golden Poison Dart Frog

 Credit: Pixabay. Digital Image.

This beautiful small frog is also the world’s deadliest. Native to Colombia’s Pacific Coast, the area’s indigenous people used the poison from this frog on darts while hunting to kill prey. Anyone touching this frog will likely die within minutes. The frog’s skin contains the toxin, which causes rapid heart failure in victims.

10. Goliath Bird Eating Spider

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This spider belongs to the tarantula family and is found throughout northern South America. In terms of sheer mass, it is the world’s largest spider. Humans are rarely bitten, and then only when the spider is defending itself. For people, the bite is comparable to a bee or wasp sting.

11. Harpy Eagle

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The biggest and most powerful raptor in the rainforest, the harpy eagle’s natural habitat ranges from Mexico to Argentina. However, development has destroyed much of its habitat and the bird is increasingly rare. The harpy eagle has been known to carry off livestock such as lambs and kids – baby goats, not humans – and has few natural predators other than man. The female is twice the size as the male, and pairs mate for life.

12. Humboldt Squid

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Also known as the jumbo squid, the Humboldt squid is found in the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Peru and Mexico. They are known for aggression towards people found
in their wake.

13. Jaguar

Credit: Pixabay. Digital Image.

The biggest cat in the Western Hemisphere, the South American jaguar is heavier than its feline wild cousins in North America. Although they have vanished in many areas, they are still found in Peru and neighboring countries. Jaguars do not usually attack people, but have been known to kill small children in the past.

14. Jararaca

Credit: Wikimedia. Digital Image.

This large snake is found in southern Brazil and northern Argentina, and is one of the most likely snakes to bite humans in the region. The bite may cause shock and kidney failure, and can kill the victim without prompt treatment.

15. Kissing Bug

Credit: Visual Hunt. Digital Image.

The kissing bug sounds like such an innocuous name, but keep in mind it is also known as the vampire bug or the assassin bug. Found throughout Latin America, this bug can transmit a fatal infection known as Chagas through its feces. Chagas doesn’t cause instant death, but infected people are prone to developing heart disease. The name kissing bug comes from its tendency to bite sleeping humans on the mouth, but it is poop and not the bite that transmits Chagas.

16. Mexican Beaded Lizard

Credit: Wikimedia. Digital image.

A relative of the better-known Gila monster, this lizard resides in western Mexico. These two lizards are also the only venomous members of their species. However, humans are unlikely to suffer the consequences of this carnivorous lizard’s venom, as the venom is distributed by the animal actually chewing into its prey. Mexican beaded lizards are endangered in the wild.

17. Pit Viper

Credit: Pixabay. digital Image.

These serpents make up the majority of venomous snakes in Latin America, and their bite rate on the local populace is relatively high. Such bites primarily cause deep tissue damage, but can prove fatal to some individuals.

18. Red-Bellied

Credit: Pixabay. Digital Image.

This piranha species is named for its red coloring from its face to its belly. When full-grown, this deadly fish may weigh up to four pounds. Red-bellied piranhas travel in schools of up to 20 individuals throughout the Amazon River basin. While this fish is naturally aggressive, attacks on humans are relatively uncommon.

19. South American Rattlesnake

Credit: Wikimedia. Digital Image.

This is the only rattlesnake found throughout Latin America with the exception of the Andes Mountains, and it is also the most dangerous. Each year, several people in the region die from the bite of this snake, although lack of access to medical treatment is also a factor in these deaths. There are various subspecies of this rattlesnake which vary in color from light to dark, but all sport the familiar diamondback pattern.

20. Terciopelo

Credit: Flickr. Digital Image.

Also known as the fer-de-lance, this venomous species ranges from Mexico to northern South America. Because is often found near human dwellings, it is considered especially dangerous. When disturbed, they are known to vigorously attack.

21. Tree Boa

Credit: Pixabay. Digital Image.

Although the tree boa is not venomous, it can wrap itself around the neck of prey, choking its victim to death. While this does not often happen with human, it is a possibility. Native to the South American rainforests, the tree boa reaches 6 feet in length when full-grown. While the tree boa is green, body markings vary according to subspecies.

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Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

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Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

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Just when we thought Trump supporters couldn’t disgust us more, one disfigured a manatee by etching “Trump” into its back.

Sadly, over the weekend, 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.” 

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?

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These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

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These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

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2020 will easily go down in manny of our memories as the year that just wouldn’t stop. As the year started, it all seemed to be sort of fine as the world came together to battle record-breaking Australian bushfires and worked to hopefully contain an outbreak of a strange new virus in China.

However, as the year comes to a close things have gone de mal a peor for the world in general, but for the Latino population in the United States and Latin America as a region in particular. Though it’s hard to realize just how much we all witnessed and experienced since so much of what happened seems like it was a lifetime ago.

Here’s a look back at some the defining moments from 2020 across Latin America.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira kicked off the year hopeful with a history-making performance at the Super Bowl.

Yes, believe it or not, this happened in 2020. The pair put on what many have called the best half time show in Super Bowl history. They were also joined by J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales was forced into exile, only to return to the country in November.

After being forced into exile at the end of 2019 for attempting to illegally run in upcoming presidential elections, Morales spent a year abroad – first in Mexico and then in Argentina.

Mexico’s President AMLO made his first trip abroad to visit Donald Trump at the White House.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a staunch populist and has long said his primary focus is domestic policy within Mexico. Therefore, despite two years in office, AMLO hadn’t left Mexico once. So it came as a surprise when his first trip abroad was a visit to the U.S. leader who had long disparaged Mexico, the government, and Mexicans – not to mention his trip came in the middle of a global pandemic.

Migrant caravans continued to make their way towards the U.S. despite interference from Mexico and Covid-19.

Migrants attempting to make their way to the U.S. isn’t unique to 2020. For decades, migrants have long banded together for safety in numbers along the treacherous journey to the north. However, they became larger and better organized in 2020, perhaps owing to the new dangers of Mexican interference.

Mexico’s AMLO vowed to stop migrants from reaching the U.S.-Mexico border, adhering to Trump’s request. It was also noteworthy because the caravans continued despite the Covid-19 crisis, which has hit the region particularly hard.

Peru saw three presidents in the span of a few weeks after massive protests.

Peru is facing one of the greatest crises the nation has faced. Just as the country seemed to be emerging from the worst of its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has entered a severe political crisis.

The country’s elected president, Martin Vizcarra, was impeached and removed from office. His predecessor responded with a heavy hand to the protests that ensued resulting in his resignation less than 24 hours later. The government then had to find someone willing to take the job which proved to be a tough sell.

In fact, massive protests swept across Latin America.

From Mexico in the north to Cuba in the Caribbean and Chile in the south, protests were seen all across the region. Although each movement had it’s own stated goal and objectives, many were largely borne out of the same purpose: to fight back against corruption.

Brazil’s President Jaír Bolsonaro tested positive for Covid-19 but it did nothing to change his approach to the pandemic.

Jaír Bolsonaro has long been compared to Donald Trump, with many calling him the Donald Trump of South America. The two were also strongly aligned in their responses to the Coronavirus pandemic, with the pair largely downplaying the severity of the crisis.

Then, Bolsonaro became infected with the virus and many hoped it would change his view on the crisis. It didn’t.

A growing feminist movement developed in Mexico, demanding protection from a shocking rise in violence against women.

Mexico has long been battling endemic violence and the country has continued to see record-setting rates of homicides. But it was the growing rate of violence against women, particularly femicide, that gained national attention.

Women banded together and started large nationwide protests. Over the summer, women in the capital of Mexico City occupied government buildings and destroyed many of the city’s most popular monuments to hopefully get their message across. Although the movement has gained more recognition by Mexicans, the government has still failed to address their concerns. Let’s hope things are different in 2021.

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