Animals of Central America

Central America has a wide range of wildlife from a variety of insects to birds and various mammals. This wide range is partly due to the different types of fauna within the region from open grassland to tropical rainforest giving Central America this vibrant mixture within its ecosystem.

Due to its location you can perhaps see Central American wildlife as being the meeting point between the tropical animals of South America to those more common in North America. This can perhaps be best seen within the spread of big cats in Central America with the existence of cougars, pumas and jaguars to name but a few. People shall perhaps be more familiar with cougars appearing in parts of the United States and jaguars can be associated with the Amazon in South America yet they exist in Central America although in smaller numbers. Sadly these numbers are becoming fewer due to hunting and the destruction of their preferred habitat such as the rainforests.

The rainforests which cover a vast part of Central America are relatively light on mammals but instead are full of insects and reptiles. This is mainly due to the rainforests being exceptionally crowded with very little floor space for them to survive on. Apart from reptiles and insects perhaps the next most common type of animal is a monkey with several species being found in the area.

Snakes are a common occurrence within the rainforests of Central America but some people mistakenly believe that the anaconda can be found in the area due to its existence in the Amazon. However this is not the case but other constrictor snakes do appear in the area and can still grow to an amazing length. Apart from constrictors you have a number of tree snakes as well as some that are poisonous. Therefore great care has to be taken in the area but due to the sheer number of species it is impossible to understand and know about each and every one. The other most common type of reptile in the area is the lizard. Several species can be found right across Central America with the most common being the iguana and the gecko. In some parts they are actually sold as meat as a local delicacy. This hunting them for meat is helping to put additional pressure on their numbers along with the destruction of the rainforest.

One type of animal mostly associated with tropical regions is brightly colored birds and Central America is no different. The bright feathers of the quetzal have long been sought after right from Mayan times when they used them for their head dresses and ceremonial uses. But apart from the quetzal you have a number of parrots, toucans and other birds migrating from North and South America.

To see the wildlife and to be able to fully appreciate it you are best to get off the main tourist tracks and see what lies behind it. It may not be a vacation full of luxury however as to get the best out of it you shall more than likely find yourself in hostels, guest houses or campsites across the area.