Venezuela is a country blessed by the Creator, therefore it has the privilege of having a very diverse fauna. In this installment we will focus on addressing everything related to the variety of wildlife in Venezuela.
Venezuela is one of the countries with the greatest variety of animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, among others. Because this country has different ecosystems, it has a positive impact on the variety of wildlife in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan territory has a great diversity of landscapes including deserts, mountains, jungles, beaches. And in each of these ecosystems a large number of animals that live in that ideal environment are concentrated.
The diversity of vertebrates in Venezuela is about 2,120 terrestrial species and in continental aquatic species about 1,000 species.
As for birds, there is a diversity of bird species, including macaws, toucans, nightingales, turpiales (national bird), pavones, flamingos, and a variety of herons.
On the other hand, reptiles are numerous and species such as the Orinoco alligator and others can find five different species of turtles and snakes, such as anaconda, boa constrictor or rattlesnake.
Landscape diversity implies ecosystem diversity
Venezuela is a country that, due to its geographical location, its topography and diversity of territories, enhances biodiversity. Venezuela has been blessed by a great diversity of ecosystems and this multiplies its positivities of hosting and producing thousands of species.
Each ecosystem is capable of housing and developing animals with certain characteristics that allow it to adapt to an environment. In the more different ecosystems we have, the more different species can be housed in a territory.
Additionally, the boundaries between ecosystems become micro-ecosystems with their own characteristics. At these points of contrast, special processes of natural selection occur that will branch out the species and multiply it.
The process we describe is the process Darwin witnessed in the Galapagos Islands. This Ecuadorian archipelago served the English naturalist Charles Darwin to find evidence for his theory of Natural Selection.
The archipelago of the Galapagos Islands is composed of 129 islands of various sizes. The interesting thing is that each island is isolated enough from the others to become an ecosystem of its own.
This is how Darwin got dozens of variants of the same species. These species were related enough to relate and sufficiently differentiated to be considered an offshoot of the parent species.
There he discovered several birds related to their mainland congeners. However, these birds varied markedly with respect to those on land and among themselves, depending on the island on which they had developed.
He discovered the same about turtles, whose variants of their shell made it easier for them to identify their island of origin.
Darwin’s theory revolutionized biology and helps us understand why the wildlife of Venezuela is so varied.
Landscapes and their impact on the variety of wildlife in Venezuela
The theory of natural selection explains why variations of a species can arise in various ecosystems that adapt to their environment. Over time these offshoots will become species in their own right, thanks to the diversity of landscapes.
But to understand the variety of wildlife in Venezuela, we must internalize Venezuela’s enormous diversity of landscapes. A variety of landscapes that is also concentrated in less than one million square kilometers. This causes zones of exchange of species and microclimates that favor The variety of wildlife in Venezuela even more.
In Venezuela we find from desert landscapes and high temperatures to mountainous landscapes with temperatures below zero. Here are some of the main landscapes we find in Venezuela:
- Cloud forests
- Tropical rainforests
- Mountain forests
- Hardwood forests
- Dry forests
- Mountain climate
- Mountain ranges
- Coastal areas and beaches
- Lagoons, lakes, and rivers
- Islands and Archipelagos
The enormous diversity of landscapes and ecosystems translates into the multiplication of biodiversity and the varied wildlife of Venezuela. Therefore, below we will talk about the status of Venezuela’s biodiversity and its status worldwide.
Venezuela is in the Top 10 countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world. Specifically, Venezuela ranks seventh in the world for biodiversity. This is thanks to the great variety of landscapes, as mentioned above.
More than a fifth of Venezuela’s territory is categorized as protected areas. These protected areas are distributed between national parks (44 parks) and natural monuments (36 monuments). This indicates a high level of biodiversity protection.
It is interesting to mention that almost 10% of national parks have an area of more than 10,000 km2 and are as follows:
- Canaima National Park: It is one of the best-known national parks and has an area of 30,000 km2
- El Caura: It is the largest national park in Venezuela and the second largest national park in the world with 75,000 km2
- Parima-Tapirapeco: Here the birth of the Orinoco and the Yanomami indigenous ethnic group is protected. With an area of 39,000 km2 it is the second largest in Venezuela.
This protects the more than 21,000 species of fauna between vertebrates and invertebrates. And if we only count vertebrates, we talk about more than 4,100 species.
Thanks to this we can find in the variety of wildlife in Venezuela, many unique animals that we cannot find anywhere in the world. Next, we will tell you more about these species that only exist in Venezuela.
Wide variety of unique wildlife animals of Venezuela
The wildlife of Venezuela consists of a great variety of unique animals. This means that about 23% of reptiles and 50% of the amphibian species that dwell in the country are endemic to Venezuela.
It should be noted that this represents an approximate of 8000 species that are exclusive to Venezuela, this being the fifth highest in the world.
Also of endemic fauna, Venezuela has manatees, dolphins and crocodiles in the Black River and Orinoco.
This beautiful country has a total of 1420 bird species, 48 of which are endemic. Those 48 species of bird can only be found in this beautiful country. It is certainly something that nature-loving tourists appreciate.
More than half of the Venezuelan bird and mammal species are found in the Amazonian forests south of the Orinoco. Venezuela is among the 17 most mega diverse countries in the world.
Mega diverse countries are a group of countries that host the highest biodiversity index in the entire planet.
Venezuela is among the 10 most biodiverse countries on the planet according to National Geographic. Without a doubt, this is one more reason to preserve the unique wildlife of Venezuela in perfect conditions.
The Sea and aquatic fauna in Venezuela
In relation to the fauna in Venezuela, specifically to the one that belongs to the area of beaches and seas, there is a great variety of animals that decorate these paradisiacal landscapes.
It is for this reason that in the Venezuelan coasts or surrounding areas bird diversity. You can see parakeets, doves, wild ducks and herons are abundant.
In addition, the presence of reptiles is very large, since it is easy to find a great diversity of sea and land turtles.
Snakes also abound in these hot zones, among them are the rattlesnake, the coral, and the guayacán or “terciopelo”(velvet) whose scientific name is Bothrops asper.
Sea and aquatic fauna in Venezuela is characterized by the great variety of sardines and other fish. In addition there are other marketable products, such as tuna, zero mackerel, sergeant fish, Atlantic bigeye.
Also among the aquatic fauna of Venezuela there are Mollusks and Seafood such as crabs, clams, oysters, lobsters and others.
It should be noted that among the cetacean mammals that swim in Venezuelan waters are porpoises and dolphins always popular.
Without a doubt, the fauna in Venezuela is very varied in the sea areas …
Wildlife in Venezuela: In the jungle areas
Wildlife in Venezuela especially in the jungle areas there is a great diversity of species. This is because the ecosystem of the area is humid with warm climate, an environment especially conducive to the growth of animal populations.
It is the perfect environment for thousands of species, of which we will mention below some of them:
- Mountain Paca: It is a species of rodent of great dimensions. It resembles a rat, but with larger dimensions, hovering from 30 to 60 centimeters. They are not usually in herds and the female of the species is usually larger than the male.
- White-tailed deer: also known as whitetail or Virginia deer, this herbivorous mammal runs at high speed and does not possess numerous predators, so its population has spread. It is highly appreciated by hunters for the challenge they pose for their keen hearing and the speed of travel and reaction. The subspecies found in Venezuela is of small size, whose adult specimens rarely weigh more than 60 kg.
- Saíno: It is also known as collared peccary, javelina or báquiro, although these names are used to designate other specimens of this family of animals. We can find it throughout the Americas. It is a family of pigs and wild boars. We can find it in the savannas, deserts and jungles. They adapt to humans and are of diurnal habits. They feed on tubers, fruits and insects.
- Anteater: This curious animal feeds on termites and ants and weighs approximately 40Kg in its adulthood. It is capable of climbing and its elongated snout and its tongue extremely long and cylindrical (which can reach 60 centimeters). Its tongue helps it catch food.
- Brazilian Rabbit, speckled chachalaca, coral snake, and green vine snake, are some of the species that inhabit the jungles.
Some predators of the Venezuelan jungle
- Ocelot: Also known as “Cunaguaro”, it is a feline that resembles a leopard, but smaller in size. Short coat large ears, excellent ear and large eyes, we may remember a cute kitten, but it is a great predator. Their beautiful eyes are adapted to see in the dark what makes them excellent hunters. Also its legs are adapted to minimize noise and be able to approach its prey without being heard. They are mainly found in mountainous and jungle areas and are nocturnal.
- Rabipelado: Also known as opossum is a marsupial that is widespread throughout the American continent. While this predator focuses on small prey and insects and pests. Although it has a bad reputation for being ungrateful aesthetically speaking, its presence is key to restricting populations of cockroaches, spiders, scorpions, mice and small snakes. They are nocturnal and solitary animals. As they are unskillful to defend themselves, they pretend to be dead in the face of a threat. Without a doubt an intelligent animal that protects us from harmful animals and insects.
Wildlife in Venezuela: In the plains region
Each region has a specific fauna due to other geographical aspects such as relief, climate, water. Undoubtedly these elements influence the types of animals that are located in the different regions of Venezuela.
That is why in the Venezuelan plains there are many animals that can be seen, especially in summer,
These meet in the summer to locate space where they get the vital liquid such as water.
Among the most characteristic species we can mention the following:
- The capybara, the “spectacled bear”, the “Cuban tree frog”, the deer, the “spectacled caiman”, the collar peccary, the piranha, and the chigüire.
- The pavón, the king buzzard, the gray heron, with the yellow head of the caracara, and the stork among others.
Venezuelan Andes and their native wildlife
One of the regions with a cooler climate is the Andes. In the highest peaks, El Cóndor and the Copete Eagle fly, both in danger of extinction.
While on the slopes are the cock of the snows, the blue hen and the leather hen, several Paujíes, Monte Pavas, ducks.
In addition the Guácharo is the only bird that is oriented in the darkness of the deepest caverns, similar to the bat. Magpies also live in this area.
Some of the other animals that inhabit the Andean region are:
- The fox, the frontino bear, the Andean lapa, the porcupine, the shrew, puma, owls of the valley and mountainous areas, armadillo, heron of the lakes, iguana, ounce,
- The cachicamo of the Andes, frogs, venaditos, foxes, rabbits of the moor, wild ducks, fish, like the natural trout of the region
- In addition, another variety of imported trouts which are highly appreciated; Among the reptiles we have: the mantona coral, the fearsome mapanare, the butterfly tigra, among others
- Spectacled bear: Also known as Andean Bear, this bear is located in the area of the Venezuelan Andes. It is similar to a panda because of the large size of its head with respect to the body and the spots on its eyes. This is one of the native bears of the South American area. It is of medium size, with a height of 1 to 2 meters. In addition, its weight is a little higher than that of a human being, ranging from 80kg to 110kg.
Species endemic to the Venezuelan Andes
Due to its level of geographical isolation, in the Venezuelan Andes we find some unique animals of the region. Below, we will mention some of the endemic species of the Venezuelan Andes:
- Paramo’s White-tailed deer in Merida: Also known as deer, it is an animal that is usually confused or related to the common White-tailed deer. Although it belongs to the family “Cervidae” they have different genetic characteristics. It is herbivorous and usually moves alone or in small groups. Its context makes it a great runner which allows it to easily flee from its predators. This species is endemic to Venezuela, specifically the moorland areas of mérida state.
- Rose-crowned parakeet: It is a green parakeet with a head and tail grazing with white plumage around the eyes. It is located along the entire Venezuelan Andean mountain range.
- Shorthead Anadia Lizard: Its scientific name is Anadia brevifrontalis and it is endemic to the Merida moor of the Tambor area.
Wildlife of Venezuela – A jewel to know
The wildlife of Venezuela is extremely wide taking into account the different species of birds, mammals, reptiles among others.
This element is something we should be proud of and take care of to maintain. It is a great opportunity to promote sustainable tourism based on natural beauties. If we know how to take care of this “goose with the golden eggs” we can show the world the beauties of our country, Venezuela. Without a doubt a great opportunity for the environment, the economy and our country.
Venezuela is a country worthy of admiring its attributes reflected in each of its regions, its flora, fauna, climate.
In addition the courtesy and kindness of its inhabitants make it ideal to know it.
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