Animals in Central-America



Below you can find a complete list of Central American animals. We currently track 215 animals in Central-America and are adding more every day!

The term Central America refers to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. This region connects North America to South America. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. With its many miles of coastline, acres of tropical forest, and centuries of unspoiled growth, Central America is an important biodiversity hotspot. It contains more than 7% of the earth’s biodiversity.

What Are the National Animals of Central American Countries?

Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in Central America

All Central American countries have established national parks, marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. Some of these countries have turned to eco-tourism to boost their economies while preserving their unique wildlife species.

Here are some well-known places to visit animals in Central America.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Central America Today

Central America has many dangerous insects, reptiles and fish.

  • American crocodile: While not as large or aggressive as its Australian cousin, the American crocodile, also known as the Central American alligator, is dangerous when provoked. Fortunately, these crocodiles prefer smaller prey.
  • Venomous snakes: The fer-de-lance viper, which is native to the Central American forests, is one of the world’s deadliest snakes. Central America is also home to the tropical rattlesnake, yellow-bellied sea snake, and the Mexican bearded lizard. They are all highly poisonous.
  • Amazonian giant centipede: The world’s largest centipede can reach 14 inches. These long, brightly colored insects kill their prey by injecting venom. Their bite won’t kill you, but it will cause intense pain and swelling.
  • Bullet ant: Locals say the sting of this ant is like getting hit by a bullet. It is not fatal, but it will hurt.
  • Red-bellied piranha: Piranhas are carnivorous fish that live in the Amazon River and surrounding streams. Piranhas are aggressive, but attacks on humans are rare.

Endangered Animals in Central America

Central America’s endangered animals include jaguars, howler monkeys, iguanas, and scarlet macaws. The Bahama Swallow, Bang’s mountain squirrel, big deer mouse, funnel-eared bat, and brown pelican are all animals that may become extinct if current trends continue.

Central America’s Exotic Animals

The animals of Central America have evolved to endure the hot, humid conditions of the rainforest and warm coastal areas. Conservation groups are working to protect these unusual exotic animals from becoming extinct. The best places to see them are the many zoos, wildlife preserves and national parks.

Central American Countries Animals Lists

Click any of the countries below to see a detailed list of animals located in that country!

Central American Animals

Alligator Gar

The alligator gar has toxic eggs to protect against predators

American Robin

The color “Robin egg blue” is named after the hue of their eggs.

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Anteater

Found throughout the Southern Hemisphere!

Apple Head Chihuahua

Apple Head Chihuahuas are toy breed dogs with a history dating back to ancient Mexico. They are lovable, loyal, smart and courageous with a lengthy lifespan despite being the world's smallest canines.

Arizona Bark Scorpion

Under UV light they glow a bright blue or green, making them easy to spot.

Armadillo

Can curl into a hard, protective ball!

Armyworm

They are so named because they "march" in armies of worms from one crop to another in search of food

Axolotl

Found only in one complex of lakes!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.

Barred Owl

Like other owls, the barred owl swallows its prey whole.

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Bear

There are 8 different species!

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn rams can run at speeds up to 40 miles per hour when fighting for dominance.

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Blue grosbeak

Blue grosbeak parents take off the head, legs and wings of an insect before feeding it to their baby.

Bobcat

About double the size of a domestic cat!

Booby

Seabirds found across the South Pacific!

Bowfin

The bowfin is a primitive fish that first evolved in the Jurassic

Box Turtle

This reptile has an S-shaped neck allowing it to pull its entire head into its shell.

Bullfrog

Has loud cow-like calls!

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 20,000 species!

Caiman

Can grow to up 6 meters long!

Camel Cricket

The camel crickets that are found in the USA are light brown in color. They also have dark streaks all over their body.

Camel Spider

Fast, carnivorous arachnid with a painful bite.

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants can lift up to seven times their own weight with their teeth!

Cat

First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!

Caterpillar

The larvae of a moth or butterfly!

Catfish

There are nearly 3,000 different species!

Centipede

There are about 3,000 documented species!

Chickadee

Chickadees are named for the sound they make: Chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Chihuahua

Curious and devoted personality!

Cichlid

There are more than 2 000 known species!

Coati

Found in dense forests and wet jungles!

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Collared Peccary

Form bands of up to 12 individuals!

Common House Spider

House spiders have the ability to eat most insects in a home.

Common Raven

A group of ravens is called an unkindness or a conspiracy.

Cooper’s Hawk

Eyes change color as they age

Cow

There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!

Coyote

Also known as the Prairie Wolf!

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Deer Head Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world.

Desert Tortoise

Lives in burrows underground!

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Donkey

First domesticated 5,000 years ago!

Dragonfly

It's larvae are carnivorous!

Duck

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight

Eagle

Has exceptional eyesight!

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eastern Bluebird

Bluebirds drop straight down on their prey from their perch, much like leopards.

Eastern Fence Lizard

Females are usually larger than males.

Eastern Phoebe

This passerine bird can sing its song without ever hearing another bird vocalize first.

Eel

Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

False Widow Spider

False spiders actually prey on black widow spiders and other hazardous spiders

Ferruginous Hawk

The ferruginous hawk comes in both light and dark morphs

Fiddler Crab

The fiddler crab gets its name from the motion the males make with their over-sized claw during the mating ritual.

Flamingo

Sleeps on just one leg!

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Squirrel

Can glide up to 90 meters!

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Gar

Can grow to more than 3m long!

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Geoffroys Tamarin

Has distinctive V shape on head!

Glass Frog

You can see their internal organs.

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Gopher

They dig large networks of tunnels!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Grasshopper Mouse

The grasshopper mice attack predators using the poison of their venom.

Gray Fox

The gray fox has retractable claws and a rotating wrist that allow it to climb trees with some proficiency

Great Blue Heron

Their wingspan is larger than an eagle’s; both males and females help hatch the eggs; rich in symbolism

Guppy

Also known as the Millionfish!

Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Hare

Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!

Harpy Eagle

Talon's the size of a grizzly bear's claws!

Havanese

These are the only dogs that are native to Cuba

Hercules Beetle

This dynastine scarab beetle makes a weird huffing sound when it’s disturbed.

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Honduran White Bat

The bat only eats figs.

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Horned Lizard

The horned lizards are able to squirt blood from their eyes.

Horse

Has evolved over 50 million years!

Horsefly

Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.

Horseshoe Crab

Changed little in over 500 million years!

House Finch

The house finch can become redder depending on what it eats

House wren

The wren’s epithet, aedon, comes from a Greek queen who accidentally killed her only son. She was actually aiming for her nephew, and Zeus took pity on her and turned her into a nightingale.

Howler Monkey

Spends 80% of it's time resting!

Human

Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!

Hummingbird

Beat their wings up to 80 times per second!

Huntsman Spider

Some huntsman spiders have an interesting way of moving around. Some cartwheel while others do handsprings or backflips.

Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

Iguana

Uses visual signals to communicate!

Imperial Moth

Since the imperial moth doesn’t eat, it does die shortly after it lays its eggs. Its lifespan is only about one week.

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Ivory-billed woodpecker

The ivory-billed woodpecker can drill into wood with its sharp beak

Jaguar

The largest feline on the American continent!

Jaguarundi Cat

These cats are expert swimmers.

Kangaroo Rat

Merriam’s kangaroo rats literally never have to drink water

Keel-Billed Toucan

It's beak can reach nearly 20 cm long!

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Kinkajou

The kinkajou is a nimble forest-dwelling mammal of Central and South America.

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Leopard Frog

They can jump up to three feet

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Locust

Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.

Macaw

The largest species of parrot in the world!

Mallard

With an appropriate tail wind, the mallard can travel hundreds of miles a day

Marine Toad

Produces a toxin used in arrow darts!

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Mealybug

They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.

Mexican Alligator Lizard

Mexican alligator lizards shed their skin like snakes.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bat

Some colonies have millions of bats

Mexican Mole Lizard

They can break off part of their tail, but it will not grow back.

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

Mole Cricket

Adult Mole crickets may fly as far as 5 miles during mating season and are active most of the year.

Molly

Known for their calm and peaceful nature!

Monarch Butterfly

During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.

Mongrel

Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

Monkey

There are around 260 known species!

Monte Iberia Eleuth

The smallest frog in the Northern Hemisphere!

Moorhen

Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

Mountain Bluebird

Depending on the time of the year, the mountain bird can live as far north as Alaska.

Mountain Lion

Has no real natural predators!

Mourning Dove

It is almost always the male who makes the famous sad sound, which is a wooing call

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

Mule

The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!

Muskrat

The muskrat can stay underwater up to 17 minutes at a time

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

Northern Cardinal

Males are a bright red color, also called "cardinal red"

Ocelot

Also known as the Painted Leopard!

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Panther

Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Parrotlet

Parrotlets aren't the world's tiniest parrot — that would be the pygmy parrot of Australasia.

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth

Pheasant

Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pigeon

They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.

Poison Dart Frog

Inhabits the jungles of Central and South America!

Polyphemus moth

The Polyphemus moth doesn’t eat.

Porcupine

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Prairie Dog

Prairie dog “towns” can consists of hundreds of individuals

Prairie Rattlesnake

The striking distance of a prairie rattlesnake is 2/3rds the length of its body.

Pronghorn

While pronghorns are the fastest runner of any Western Hemisphere land animal, they are not good jumpers.

Puma

Has longer back legs than front legs!

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Quetzal

The tail feathers of the male can be 1m long!

Raccoon

Known to wash their food before eating it!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

Rattlesnake

It's venom digests it's prey before it even swallows it!

Red Finch

Red finches can form flocks of over 100 birds.

Red Knee Tarantula

Inhabits the Pacific Mountains of Mexico!

Red-winged blackbird

The male red-winged blackbird can sing to attract mates

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!

Robin

There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!

Rodents

The capybara, the world’s largest rodent, likes to be in and around bodies of water. Because of this, the Catholic Church in South America decided that it was a fish, and people were allowed to eat it during Lent and First Fridays.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are closely related to cardinals

Roseate Spoonbill

The only Spoonbill in the western hemisphere!

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated hummingbirds can beat their wings more than 50 times per second.

Saber-Toothed Tiger

Canines up to 7 inches long!

Salamander

There are more than 700 different species!

Scarlet Macaw

Like many parrots, the scarlet macaw is capable of vocal mimicry.

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Skink Lizard

Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.

Sloth

It's body temperature is between 30 - 34 degrees!

Slug

They glide around on one foot, which is aided by the slime they produce

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Snapping Turtle

Only found in North America!

Spanish Goat

They have long, horizontal ears.

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

Spider Monkey

Found in the tropical jungles of South America!

Spider Wasp

They prey on spiders to feed their larvae or they parasitize other spider wasps.

Spotted Gar

They are commonly mistaken as logs in the water due to their cylindrical body.

Squirrel

Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Squirrel Monkey

Lives in groups of up to 500 individuals!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.

Termite

Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Thrush

The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.

Tiger Beetle

The adult tiger beetle is one of the fastest land insects in the world

Tortoise

Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Toucan

There are more than 40 different species!

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!

Tree swallow

The tree swallow can make more than a dozen distinct vocalizations

Turkey

Closely related to pheasants and chickens!

Turtles

Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.

Umbrellabird

Migrates up and down the mountains!

Vampire Bat

Have a heat sensor on the end of their nose!

Vinegaroon

Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted

Vulture

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Wasp

There are around 75,000 recognised species!

White-Faced Capuchin

One of the world's most intelligent monkeys!

White-tail deer

White-tail deer are good swimmers

Wolf

Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Wood Turtle

Temperature determines the sex of turtle eggs

Woodlouse

This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Xoloitzcuintli

The Xoloitzcuintli is the national dog of Mexico

Central American Animals List

Animals in Central-America FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What Kinds of Animals Live in Central America?

In Central America, you are likely to see many exotic rainforest animals like parrots, toucans, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, crocodiles, and jaguars. Unique birds include macaws, parrots, and toucans, but you will also find owls and hawks in the forests.

Central America is home to several species of big cats, including panthers, jaguars, margays, ocelots, and jaguarundi.

The waters of these countries support many important coral reef systems. For instance, the Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest barrier reef system in the world. These waters are important nesting grounds for sea turtles, manatees, water birds, and many endangered species. Central America contains many UNESCO World Heritage Sites that recognize the unique importance of their flora and fauna.

Each country in Central America has its own unique species. These countries have taken steps to protect their precious natural resources by establishing national parks and marine reserves.

What Exotic Animals Are in Central America?

  • Baird’s tapir: The tapir, known locally as the mountain cow, looks like a cross between a cow and a wild pig.  This unusual animal almost became extinct, but it is now beloved for its gentle personality and amusing behavior. Tapirs now enjoy protected status in most of Central America.
  • White-faced capuchin monkey: This small, beautiful monkey is exceptionally smart. Central America has many unique monkey species, including howler monkeys, which are the loudest animal on earth.
  • Quetzal: This brilliantly colored bird is remarkable for its extremely long tail feathers. Although the quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala, it is critically endangered. Cloud forest preserves are important sanctuaries for quetzals and other tropical birds.
  • Jaguar: The largest wild cat of the Northern hemisphere, the mysterious, elusive jaguar is an important cultural symbol to Central Americans. Although jaguars are endangered, their populations are recovering.
  • Iguana: There are several types of iguanas, and you can find them all in Central America. You can find marine iguanas, green iguanas and blue iguanas. Although iguanas seem to be everywhere when you’re in Central America, they are threatened by habitat loss and introduced species, including cats and dogs, that prey on them.

How Many Mammal Species Are Found in Central America?

Central America has more than 350 native mammal species.

What Animals Live in the Central American Rainforest?

  • Tropical birds: You will see many vivid, loud tropical birds in the rainforest, including scarlet macaws, keel-billed toucans, and orange-winged parrots. Hummingbirds are prevalent in the rainforests and surrounding areas.
  • Big cats: Jaguars, ocelots, panthers, and margays all live in the tropical rainforests and the mountain cloud forests.
  • Kinkajou: This small, nocturnal mammal spends its life in the rainforest trees. This adorable, big-eared creature has a long tongue and loves to forage for fruit.
  • Marsupials: Central America is home to much-loved marsupials like the sloth. Central America is home to pygmy sloths, Hoffman’s two-toed sloths, and brown-throated sloths.
  • Marine life: Dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles all live in the warm waters around Central America.
  • Insects: The lanternfly, rhinoceros beetle, black butterfly, mosquito, and praying mantis are all native to the rainforest.

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