Brazil is full of many weird and wonderful species, and in this instalment of Animal Travels we are going to explore all the amazing wildlife that Brazil has to offer.
Starting off with the mammals of Brazil and everybody’s favourite lazy animal, the sloth. More specifically the sloths in Brazil are Maned Sloths. Maned Sloths are one of the rarest of the six sloth species and they can only be found in Brazil. They gained their name due to their manes of black hair. If you want to view of the Maned Sloths in the wild you’ll need to head to the rainforests around Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo and Sergipe as these are the only places that the Maned Sloth is still surviving in the wild. Although not yet Endangered, the Maned Sloth is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List.
From sloths to anteaters. Brazil is home to the Giant Anteater, which can weigh anywhere from 40 to 140 pounds. They are generally solitary animals and are not normally aggressive but can become so if cornered. The Giant Anteater has also been known to fight off pumas and jaguars. If you want to see Giant Anteaters in the wild you’ll need to head into Brazil’s Cerrado. Fun fact: Giant Anteaters have the longest tongue of any animal! Again the Giant Anteater is considered Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List.
The Brazilian Three-Banded Armadillo is the only armadillo species that is endemic to Brazil. They can be recognised by their blackish brown armour plating that can allow they to roll into a ball to protect their vulnerable underbody. The three-banded armadillo has been spotted in Bahia, Alagoas, Rio Grande do Norte and the Federal District of Brazil. The three-banded armadillo is yet another species that the IUCN Red List classifies as Vulnerable with a decreasing population.
The South American Coati is a member of the raccoon family that can be easily recognised by its reddish-brown fur and banded tail. Locals claim that they best place to view coatis in the wild is in Pantanal. The coati population is doing well and they are currently classed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.
A zoo favourite Tapirs are also found in Brazil. The species is known by several different names, the South American Tapir, Brazilian Tapir or the Lowland Tapir. The Brazilian Tapir is one of four tapir species, and although the most abundant of the four, the Brazilian Tapir is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. Tapirs are hunted for their meat and hide and their habitat is being reduced by deforestation. If you want to see a tapir in the wild they inhabit the rainforests of Brazil and are most likely to be spotted in or around water as they are extremely capable swimmers and divers.
Brazil is also famous for its Capybaras, the world’s largest rodent. Capybaras are classified as Least Concern. They are good at avoiding predators as they can stay underwater for up to five minutes. In previous years capybaras were hunted for their meat, now the hunting of capybaras is prohibited in Brazil. To see a capybara in the wild you’ll need to visit some densely forested areas that are near water as this is the natural habitat of the capybaras.
From big rodents to big cats, Brazil has a variety of species. For example, Brazil is home to the Jaguar, the biggest of the South American felines. They can be found over most of Southern and Central America but they are notoriously difficult to spot. Most reports of sightings by tourists and locals come from Pantanal or from the Refugio Ecologio Caiman in Mato Grosso do Sul. Jaguars are recognised by their spotted coat and large stature. Fun fact: Jaguars have one of the most powerful bites in the animal kingdom. These powerful bites can allow them to hunt caimans as one bite can pierce the skull of the caiman. The IUCN classifies Jaguars as Near Threatened.
Brazil is also famous for its birds. Brazil is home to the largest species of toucan the Toco Toucan. Toucans are easily recognised by their large colourful bill. Although they spend most of their lifetime in trees, Toco Toucans are not very adept at flying and prefer to manoeuvre around the treetops by hopping. Fun fact: Toucans regulate their body temperature by adjusting the flow of blood to their bill. Toco Toucans are doing quite well on the conservation front as the IUCN classifies them as Least Concern.
Perhaps the most famous Brazilian bird is the Scarlet Macaw. Macaws are the largest parrots in the world and they mate for life. They spend the majority of their time in tall, deciduous trees near rivers. In Brazil Scarlet Macaws are found in eastern Brazil. Again, Scarlet Macaws are classified as Least Concern.
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- The IUCN Red List
- Fun Animal Facts