A Guide to Typical Animals of Peru and Where to Find Them!
One exciting thing about traveling is being able to see animals that you can’t find at home. Peru is replete with interesting birds and mammals due to its diverse climatic regions. From the Pacific Ocean to the Andes Mountains to the famous Amazon Rainforest, you can travel far and wide to see the incredible creatures that roam these habitats.
1. The Humboldt Penguin
These famously cute, tuxedo-wearing animals are a crowd favorite among animals of Peru. The Ballestas Islands are the only place in Peru to witness these little guys. The islands have the nickname of the poor man’s Galapagos, as they are home to many species, including plenty of pelicans and sea lions.
2. Amazon River Dolphin
When thinking about which animals of Peru you might encounter on your visit, I bet the dolphin wasn’t the first to come to mind. The Amazon River Dolphin is not your average dolphin either. Commonly referred to as a “pink” dolphin due to the rosy hue of their skin, the Amazon River Dolphin grows pinker with age. It is thought that the pink color comes from repeated abrasions due to aggression within their social groups. Your best chance of seeing these guys is on a tour from Iquitos, as they live in the Amazon River.
3. Andean Condor
Possibly the most majestic among all of the animals of Peru, the king of the Andes Mountains is the Andean Condor. With a wingspan of up to 11 feet, they are the largest flying animal in the world. These birds thrive in high altitudes. They fly, eat, and nest at 16,000feet above sea level. One of the best areas to spot these majestic creatures is at the Mirador Cruz del Condor, located at the edge of the profoundly deep Colca Canyon outside of Arequipa.
4. The Puma
The elusive puma will be a difficult one to find in the wild, like most other big cats. But these stunning creatures play an important role in Andean folklore and you can observe that in the ancient buildings and paintings that often depict these mysterious animals of Peru. It’s even believed that Cusco was built in the shape of a puma. Your best chance to see this large feline would be at Tambopata Reserve, although there are still some roaming the Andean highlands as well.
5. The Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
Even if you don’t consider yourself a “bird watcher,” you’ll still be impressed with the Andean the Cock-of-the-Rock, as they put on quite a show during mating season. With vibrant orange and black feathers that they puff up when trying to impress, these little birds are worth seeking out. Your best bet for seeing these brightly-colored birds are in the Andean cloud forests of the Manu Biosphere Reserve. And if you’re lucky you might even find these beauitfully feathered animals of Peru along the trek to Machu Picchu.
6. The Macaw
The macaw is a fluorescent, rainbow-colored bird (the kind you’d imagine hanging around pirates).These birds flock throughout the Amazon, but you’re most likely to see them at Tambopata National Reserve, as it home to the clay licks that the macaw likes to eat as a digestive aid.
7. The Jaguar
If you thought seeing a Puma would be difficult, then catching a glimpse of the jaguar will be even more challenging. This beautifully spotted cat, an apex predator among animals of Peru, is nearly impossible to spot as it avoids humans and likes to keep to itself. If you want to try your luck, then the Manu Biosphere Reserve would be your best bet.
8. Peruvian hairless dog
These dogs may not win best-in-show, but they are remarkable. These Peruvian pups have adapted to surviving the difficult desert climates by freeing themselves of fur. They play an important role in the country’s cultural heritage and have been revered by the Incas for thousands of years. Although some are kept as pets throughout Peru, you can find these beloved canine animals of Peru roaming near the Pacific coast aroundTrujillo or among the ancient ruins of Chan Chan.
9. The Caiman
Kind of like alligators, but fun-sized (a typical specimen is around 6 feet in length.) These mean-looking animals of Peru are commonly found in the Amazon. They often spend their days basking in the sun and their nights hunting for food in the water. They are resilient and can live up to 40 years in the wild. They can be found anywhere throughout the Amazon but the Tambopata National Reserve is the best place to spot caiman.
These feisty fish with razor-sharp teeth are found in the Amazon. Typically any riverboat cruise from Iquitos will include fishing for piranha on the itinerary. Catch one and enjoy frying one up for dinner. Piranha soup is also a local favorite.
11. Llamas and Alpacas
Arguably the most famous of all animals of Peru are the fluffy and adorable llamas and alpacas. No trip to Peru would be complete without a selfie with these cuties. They play important roles in Peruvian society, as they are consumed for their tender meat and their wool is spun and used for clothing. Llamas are also used as pack animals. It would be near impossible to travel through the Andes without seeing a llama or alpaca. You can even see them with their wool brushed and adorned with colorful accessories as a tourist attraction in the streets of Cusco.
Peruvians love and respect nature and the earth, Pachamama, so it makes sense that there are so many protected nature reserves. This allows visitors to be able to witness the extraordinary animals that call this diverse country home. Grab your binoculars and reach out to our team today to have the chance to see some of these remarkable animals of Peru!
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