Below you can find a complete list of types of Salvadoran animals. We currently track 243 animals in El Salvador and are adding more every day!
El Salvador is the smallest country in Latin America. Known as the Land of Volcanoes, the country has frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. For such a small country it has a diverse ecology with pine forests, mountain ranges, tropical dry forests, two volcanic ranges, and a coastline on the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador is the only country in Central America that does not have a coastline on the Caribbean Sea.
High in the mountains, there is a cloud forest at the summit of Monte Cristo Mountain. The area is home to spider monkeys, anteaters, and many species of birds including toucans. Orchids and wild ferns also adorn the exquisite cloud forest. Mango, coconut and palm trees line the country’s coastline.
Since most of the land is under cultivation, national parks and private reserves are the best places to see popular mammals, including ocelots, spider monkeys, and white-tailed deer.
National Animal and National Bird of El Salvador
El Salvador’s national animal and the national bird is the turquoise-browed motmot (Eumomota superciliosa), a gorgeous, brightly colored tropical bird with a deep turquoise chest and bright blue patches on its head, chest, and long tail feathers. People in El Salvador call this native bird the “torogoz.” It is said to symbolize freedom, liberty, and the beauty of nature.
These birds are fairly easy to encounter in El Salvador, often seen perching in trees at the edge of forests and more out in the open than other tropical birds. Turquoise-browed motmots don’t build nests like other birds – instead, they dig long burrows in the ground along river banks.
Where To Find The Top Wildlife
The sad facts are that the country is facing the destruction of forests due to deforestation, leading many animals native to El Salvador to endangerment. The best places to see wild animals are in national parks and private reserves.
Cerro El Pital is the country’s highest peak. It’s a popular place to see catch sight of motmots and quetzals.
Baird’s Tapir is the largest species of tapir and the largest land animal in El Salvador. This fascinating creature has a short tail and a long snout, which it uses like a snorkel to hide underwater. Stocky with short, mud-colored fur, this tapir’s feet are splayed to help it move on the muddy ground. Baird’s Tapir can reach lengths of 5 feet and weigh between 330 and 650 pounds.
These big herbivores eat leaves, fruits, twigs, small saplings, and aquatic vegetation. Their browsing behavior through the forest understory serves an essential task of seed dispersion. Baird’s tapirs can be found in the rainforests, swamps, mangroves, marshes, and flooded grasslands across Central America.
Mostly solitary creatures except for mothers caring for their young, Baird’s Tapirs are nocturnal but can also be active during the day. They escape predators by crashing their big bodies through dense vegetation or by jumping underwater. These animals are excellent swimmers and love to submerge themselves with only their snouts protruding from the water.
It is difficult to decide which animal is the absolute rarest in El Salvador, but one endangered animal comes near the top of most lists – the American crocodile. These endangered crocs are native to southern Mexico, Central America, and South America as far as Peru and Venezuela. Other small populations can be found in Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and on the southern tip of Florida in the United States.
The American Crocodile is a large species able to grow nearly 20 feet long and can weigh up to 2,200 pounds. They inhabit both freshwater and saltwater habitats including mangrove swamps, brackish creeks, and coastal canals. Their diets consist of fish and other marine animals, small mammals, birds, and turtles. American crocodiles were once prized for their hides which were used to make belts and handbags. That practice is now banned – but habitat loss, pollution, and accidental deaths by fishing nets, cars, and boats still threaten the animal.
El Salvador may be the smallest country in Central America but there is no lack of biodiversity. Unfortunately, due to the loss of habitat, many of these species remain only in protected natural areas and National Parks. Various species roam the unique habitats, here are several examples:
Montecristo National Park – A respected cloud forest home to resplendent quetzal, fulvous owls, and the native, blue-throated motmot.
Pine forests bordering Honduras – Many forests have suffered deforestation but a few remain and are habitats for species such as white-breasted hawks, fan-tailed warblers, orange-fronted parakeets, buffy-crowned wood partridges, and white-winged chachalacas.
Volcanoes – Many volcanoes dot the country, ranging through multiple environments with cloud forests encircling. As a result of isolated habitats, rare species have evolved, including the Rufus Sabrewing.
Ornithologists all across the world are studying ecological change and developments in El Salvador, monitoring bird and other animal species in order to enact changes to protect and further the preservation of wildlife.
Located directly on the Pacific Ocean, the country of El Salvador is no stranger to fishing the waters. Close to the shore, small game fishing is quite easy. Further offshore is where the big game catches take place, with species such as marlin and large sailfish. Some popular catches include:
South American rattlesnakes – most dangerous; hemotoxic and neurotoxic venom
Other, non-venomous species can also pose a serious threat, such as boa constrictors measuring 10ft and over in length and weighing up to 100lb, easily able to crush and disable prey. Sea snakes can also be found off the shores of El Salvador, though relatively shy to humans.
The Most Dangerous Animals
Animal attacks on humans are very rare in El Salvador. Its dangerous animals include the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), which can grow to 20 feet. The country also has dangerous snakes, poisonous centipedes, and scorpions.
Strangely, coyotes are considered to be dangerous animals – especially to a lone human encountering a pack, when they can be aggressive. Coyotes are numerous and can even be encountered in populated areas.
Zoos in El Salvador
It is hard to beat the outdoor views of El Salvador; however, visiting the National Zoo of El Salvador is an exciting adventure while in the country, as it is home to nearly 120 species, focused on Central American wildlife.
Endangered and Extinct Animals
The facts are grim. Over 90 species of animal are endangered or at risk of going extinct in El Salvador. These include animals native to El Salvador and others, including the American crocodile, cloud forest rice rat, hawksbill turtle, ocelot, margay, long-tailed otter, and the turquoise-browned motmot, which is the country’s national animal. Both jaguars and mountain lions are already extinct. Fortunately, the country’s government has recently taken steps to make conservation a priority.
Environmental restoration could lead to providing water necessary for agriculture and could restore native animal and plant species to the country.
Flag of El Salvador
Adopted in 1912, the flag of El Salvador consists of a blue-white-blue horizontal triband and the El Salvador coat of arms in the middle. The top and bottom blue bands represent the ocean and the sky, while the white color represents peace.
The color blue is important to the people of El Salvador. The Native American cultures produced an indigo plant which they used to extract blue dyes. When Europeans invaded and colonized the area, they realized the wealth that could be made from indigo and turned El Salvador into one of the world’s greatest providers of indigo dye. Today, El Salvador is one of the few countries in the world that still cultivates indigo to produce blue dyes.
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.
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