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Learn about Venezuela > Plants & Animals

Plants & Animals
With a large diversity of landscape and life zones Venezuela one of the top 12 "Megadiverse" countries in the world. The uniquely diverse environment of Venezuela supports a wide variety of exotic plants and animals, including the fearsome piranha, primitive hoatzin birds, jaguars, ocelots, tapirs, armadillos, and anteaters.

Venezuela has the longest snake in the world, the anaconda (Eunectes murinus); the largest rodent in the world, the capybara (Hydrochoerus Hydrochaeris), and the world's largest flying bird, the Andean Condor (Vultur Gryphus).

With it's diverse geography and tropical climate, Venezuela is abundant in plant species every bit as varied and interesting as the fauna. A quarter of the country is covered in tropical forest.

Over 30,000 species of named tropical plants inhabit the dense mountainous cloud forest of the Henri Pittier National Park. Here you'll find the beautiful bird of paradise plant (Heliconia acuminata), primitive tree ferns, and epiphytic plants (plants that derive moisture and nutrients from the air and rain) are part of the lush scenery.

In the upper reaches of the Andes Mountains are the desolate but beautiful paramaos. Here in these high tundra, boggy highland meadows you'll find amazing cotton-soft shrubs called "frailejones" whose large, down-covered cream-green leaves are arranged in a striking rosette pattern. Found only in Venezuela, Columbia, and Ecuador, the frailejones blossom from October to December with yellow flowers, turning the mountains into a mass of green and yellow.

Thin prairie palm, saman, carocaro and pardillo trees thrive in the Llanos plains lowlands, while moriche palms and coco de mono make up the gallery forests clinging to riverbanks.

Venezuela is also home to numerous species of reptiles like the cayman (Caiman crocodilus), also known as the American crocodile.

There are some 250 species of mammels recorded in Venezuela, including the hard to spot jaguar, the largest cat in the New World. Sloths and monkeys are also found here, as well as the armadillo, anteater, tapir, cappybarra, puma, ocelot, and the peccary to name just a few.

There are some 1250 species of birds in Venezuela – more than in Europe and North America combined. Los Llanos is famous for bird-watching, as is the cloud forests of the Henri Pittier National Park. From tropical birds such as macaws, toucans, and parrots to water birds like the scarlet ibis, herons, and pelicans, eco-adventurers to Venezuela will delight at the diversity of species.

Some highlights include the primative hoatzin, the endangered Andean Condor, Jabiru, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Roseate Spoonbill, as well as more than 47 species of parrots and 97 species of hummingbirds recorded in Venezuela.

Insects & reptiles
Over 30,000 insect species have been discovered in Venezuela, including the brilliant electric-blue morphos butterflies and the slightly less charming gnat.

Venezuela is also home to numerous species of reptiles like the cayman (Caiman crocodilus), also known as the American crocodile. Other reptiles include the snakes like the boa and rattlesnake, and herbivorous iguanas.

Underwater Life
With a maze of small islands and coral reefs, the submarine flora and fauna of Venezuela is incredibly rich. Dive beneath the waters and you'll see multicolored fish, starfish, sea urchins, sea anemones, corals, etc.

          Did you know?
                   The arboreal
                Capuchin monkey
               (Cebus Capucinus)
                only descends to
              the ground to drink.
andean condor
Andean condor
(Vultur Gryphus)
Once perilously close to extinction due to agressive hunting, the Andean condor is now making a dramatic comeback in Venezuela after being placed on the Endangered Species list in 1973. This majestic bird has a wingspan of up to 10 feet and is considered to be the world's largest flying bird.
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