Animals and plants in Venezuela
Many species of animals and plants live in Venezuela. The country is one of the 17 countries in the world, in which together 70 percent of all species in the world can be found. One calls the megadiversity country. The many different landscapes such as coasts, deserts, mountains, rivers and rainforests offer a habitat for many different animals and plants. Many species are endemic, so they only occur here.
Venezuela has set up 43 national parks to protect its nature. More than 60 percent of the country’s area is under protection. It was urgently needed because the pollution of the environment is great. Lake Valencia is also affected because untreated wastewater is discharged into it. More than half of all fish species in the lake died between 1960 and 1990. Forest deforestation is another problem. Not only the extraction of wood destroys the forest, but also oil production and mines.
Which animals live in Venezuela?
The diverse landscapes of Venezuela are the habitat of many animals. Collared peccaries, capybaras (capybaras, the largest rodents in the world) and the smallest deer in the world live here. They are called pudus and are hardly bigger than rabbits!
Armadillos, anteaters, sloths, coatis, possums and tapirs are also native here. The country’s predators include the jaguar, the puma, the ocelot, the tiger cat, the long-tailed cat and the forest dog.
Of course, monkeys also live in Venezuela, for example the brown capuchin, the white-headed saki, the gray-throated night monkey or the brown spider monkey. There are around 290 species of mammals in total.
Reptiles also come in a variety of species. You can find pointed crocodiles, Orinoco crocodiles, crocodile caimans as well as many iguanas and turtles. The giant otter, piranya and Amazon dolphin also swim in the Orinoco.
The great anaconda feels at home close to the water. She is one of the largest snakes in the world. It is on average about 4 meters long (at least the larger females) and weighs more than 30 kilograms. On the other hand, Caribbean manatees can be seen on the coast.
Venezuela is home to more than 1,400 species of birds. Brown pelicans, flamingos and red ibis can be seen on the coast. One of the largest birds in the world, the Andean condor, flies in the Andes. When it spreads its wings it measures more than 3 meters.
But there are also very small birds, for example hummingbirds. The endemic white-tailed rapier wing is one of them. The parrots and toucans are particularly colorful. The hoatzin has a noticeable forelock.
The white-winged tribal was named the country’s national bird. It occurs only in Venezuela and in the border area with Colombia as well as on some Caribbean islands. Its bright orange plumage on the belly is striking.
The hoatzin is a large bird that lives in the rainforest in northern South America. He does not digest his food, especially leaves, in the stomach, but in a sac in the esophagus. Depending on the food, the hoatzin then exudes a peculiar smell, which has earned it the name stink bird.
Because the water of Lake Maracaibo is very rich in oxygen, many algae grow here. But this also favors a great diversity of species. Herons and brown pelicans cavort on the banks, where crocodile caimans also like to doze.
Catfish, perch, mullets and shrimp live in the water, as do Guyana dolphins. The armor catfish with the name Lamontichthys maracaibero is endemic.
What is growing there in Venezuela?
So far, 21,000 plant species have been counted in Venezuela. About a quarter of it is endemic, so it only occurs here. Tropical rainforest covers large parts of the country. In the mountains it changes into mountain rainforest and cloud forest. From about 3000 meters you can find páramos with grasses, ferns and the typical Espeletia bushes (frailejones) and other rosette plants. They are so named because they form rosettes, a tight, round arrangement of leaves.
Plants in the páramo
Páramo is the name given to the cool, tropical, humid landscape in the mountains from around 3000 meters above sea level. We find this altitude level everywhere in the Andes. This combination of cool and tropical moist air creates certain plant shapes. Typical are grasses that grow in clumps and rosettes like Espeletia. Trees no longer grow in Páramo and bushes tend to remain small.
The puya plants are typical of the mountains and also in the páramo. They belong to the bromeliads, but do not grow on trees like many species, but on the ground. The leaves are in rosettes. From these a high inflorescence grows in the middle after many years.
Plants on the tepuis
The Tepuis, the high table mountains in the highlands of Guyana in the southeast of Venezuela, also form a very special landscape. They rise high above the rainforest, offer a completely different climate and the high cliffs form a natural obstacle. Lichen, grasses, orchids and many carnivorous plants, for example swamp jugs or trap traps, grow on the barren stone floors.
Plants in the northwest
In the northwest of the country there are deserts and salt marshes on the land bridge to the Paraguaná peninsula. Only plants that can survive extreme drought grow here, i.e. cacti or prickly shrubs. In the marshy and humid areas of the coasts and the Orinoco Delta, however, mangroves grow.
National tree and national flower
Venezuela’s national tree is the yellow-flowering trumpet tree Tabebuia chrysantha. A national flower was also found. It is the orchid Cattleya mossiae, also called May flower (Flor de Mayo).