Latin America

10 Animals unique to South America

This post was inspired by the bilingual children’s book I’m working on with a colleague.  I’m researching South American animals and was remembering the amazing encounters I’ve had with so many many of these animals while I was there.  

Whilst on a camping expedition in Venezuela the guides came across an Anaconda (I have an awesome photo of said snake around my neck).  We also went fishing for Piranha & spotted many Capibara & buffalo. I also have another fab photo of me holding a Caiman !!! A few years ago in Argentina we took a road trip to the Península Valdés in Patagonia where we spotted the Southern Right Whales who migrate there each year to breed. In Rio de Janiero I had a close encounter with the Capuchin monkey at Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain – which, by the way is full of them!) I don’t have my photos for this post (yet!) so made my own list of ten of my favourite South American animals.

  1. Andean Condor
Andean Condor
The Andean Condor is the national bird of Bolivia, Colombia, Chile and Peru and has a wingspan of up to 310 cm. (122 inches).

2. Piranha

A sweet water fish about 15 to 25 cm. (6 to 10 inches) long with razor sharp teeth.  I have fished Piranhas (successfully) in Venezuela!

3. Capybara

The largest of living rodents. They are semi-aquatic and live in the marshlands – I saw a lot of them in Venezuela.


4. Toucan

Probably the most well-know of South American animals. With their beautiful colourful beaks, they habitat the Amazon rainforests.


5. Southern right Whale

Southern Right Whale
They come to Argentina’s Península Valdés (Patagonia) to breed. They can be seen breeching from the shores -a truly amazing sight!


6. Anaconda

One of the biggest and heaviest snakes in the World.  the biggest sighted Anaconda is over 10 metres long.  They habitat the swamps and rivers of the dense forests from the Amazon Basin. I had an encounter with one in the Venezuelan Sabana.


7. Giant Tortoise

Giant Tortoise
They live on the Galapagos Islands and are also know as the Galapagos Tortoise.  A giant tortoise can weigh over 225 kg (500 pounds) and measure 1.8 m. (6 feet) from head to tail.

8. Capuchin monkey

Capuchin Monkey
These little fellas habitat most of Brazil.  they have a pretty high reproductive rate so are not in danger of extinction.

9. Giant anteater

Giant Anteater
Solitary creatures that eat ants!

10. Amazon Horned Frog

Amazon Horned Frog
Funny looking creatures that live in fresh water marshes in the Amazon rain forest.


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