Guatemala

Below you can find a complete list of Guatemalan animals. We currently track 223 animals in Guatemala and are adding more every day!

Stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Central American country of Guatemala comprises approximately 60,000 square miles of territory. This is split up between a large, relatively cool area known as the Central Highlands, an extensive volcanic mountain chain running along the Pacific coast, and extensive tracts of humid, tropical jungle in both the northern and southern parts of the country.

This lush landscape is home to many unique and exotic tropical types of animals, especially a large number of particularly colorful birds and the world-famous but notoriously shy jaguar.

The Official National Animal Of Guatemala

Unlike a surprising number of countries, Guatemala does have an Official National Animal in the form of a multicolored bird known as the quetzal. Seen on both the Guatemalan flag and its National Seal, the quetzal takes pride of place over some other equally suitable candidate such as the jaguar. This is probably due to its association with the unique folklore and religious rites of pre-Columbian civilizations found in the area.

Where To Find The Top Wild Animals In Guatemala

As is the case with many other underdeveloped countries, particularly tropical ones, wildlife is easy to find almost everywhere in the country. Yet the most desirable sighting when it comes to wildlife is the incredibly cautious and somewhat endangered jaguar, one of the best known native animals to Guatemala. It is so hard to find jaguars in the wild that the only realistic hope of ever seeing one is to erect a time-lapse camera inside a jaguar’s territory and hope it passes by sooner or later.

  • The zoo in Guatemala City is probably the best place for people to actually view a jaguar in the flesh. Although the country was a little slow to get on to the conservation bandwagon, Guatemala has been catching up recently. More distinct nature preserves have been added to the list of established reserves, and more additions have been made to the unique, large concept Maya Biosphere Reserve.
  • Due to their distinct climate zones, reserves represent specific parts of the overall types of animals in Guatemala rather than an overview. With extensive numbers of reptiles and amphibians thriving in its coastal zones or along its many jungle rivers, the Sierra Caral Amphibian Reserve provides both a safe zone for recovery of endangered species. Situated on the eastern coast, the reserve also provides opportunities for enjoyment and study.
  • Sierra del Lacandon National Park is oriented more towards the creatures living in the dense jungles of Central America. This includes relatively large populations of many of Guatemala’s most famous indigenous animals, such as Howler Monkeys, Macaws, Toucans, Jaguars, Alligators, and Crocodiles.
  • For bird aficionados, Tikal National Park is the place to savor Guatemala’s extensive catalog of colorful native avians.
  • Along the coastal regions of the country, marine life is found in abundance, particularly a spectacular assortment of sea turtles, including several species at risk of extinction.

Birds in Guatemala

Appropriately named as “land of trees” by the Maya, Guatemala is covered by forests over almost 35 percent of its entirety. These forests provide shelter, food, and habitats to around 770 different species of bird, many of which are unique to the country. Cloud forests in the mountainous region remain the perfect environment for distinctive species such as the Resplendent Quetzal and rare Horned Guan. Surrounding the Mayan ruins of Tikal are lowland forests. Humidity within these forests attracts the impressive Ocellated Turkey and Orange-breasted Falcon, an elusive bird. Volcano foothills serve as domain for more common birds like the Azure-rumped Tanager. Other common avifauna, Pink-headed and Goldman’s Warblers, reside in highland pine-oak forests.

Other spectacular species of Guatemala include:

  • Garnet-throated Hummingbird
  • Surf Scoter
  • Guatemalan Pygmy Owl
  • Keel-billed Toucan

Bird species of the country contribute greatly to the immense biodiversity it offers. Avifauna is threatened by deforestation in many parts of Guatemala, so it is especially important to respect conservation efforts and environments when visiting.

Fishing in Guatemala

Not only top in the world for biodiversity and ancient culture, Guatemala is also a number one for angling. Billfish are especially popular to fight for off the Guatemalan Pacific coast, reaching whopping sizes of around 600 pounds. Marlin, dorado, and yellowfin tuna are also common to reel in.

Snakes in Guatemala

Reptile life in Guatemala is abundant, including around 134 species of snake. A majority of species fall under the family colubrid, followed by viperid and elapid snakes. In the country, 18 species of snake are venomous and pose a threat to humans. Listed are some of the most common snakes in Guatemala:

Blind snakes tend to reside in urban and agricultural areas. Meanwhile, burrowing snakes are rightfully named for their tendency to burrow the forest floors of the country. Coral snakes remain in wet lowlands and forests of the Pacific side of Guatemala. Viper, pit viper, and dwarf boa habitats range from arid deserts to humid rainforests. Visitors should keep an eye out for these beautiful yet dangerous animals.

The Most Dangerous Animals In Guatemala

The country is always in some degree of political tumult, which makes the local examples of humanity one of the species that it is most important to be wary of. Apart from that, the jaguar of course enjoys the same fearsome reputation as all other large members of the cat family.

Crocodiles and alligators are always something to beware of in tropical areas. The same goes for the usual host of stinging insects, deadly snake species, spiders, and even frantic packs of wild primates.

Zoos in Guatemala

On days when visitors aren’t hitting the beach or hiking the mountains of the country, it may be worthwhile to check out some of the zoos and wildlife parks in Guatemala that offer an array of animal species, both native and exotic.

One of the most exciting zoos to visit is La Aurora Zoo, located in Guatemala City, itself. Around 2,100 animals reside within the zoo of almost 290 different species. The zoo focuses its efforts on participating in conservation efforts and also on educating the public about threatened species. Species that visitors particularly adore include:

And many more!

Another popular zoological garden to visit in Guatemala is the Petencito Zoo. Surrounded by a lake, the zoo is comprised of two parts connected by a wooden drawbridge. Exhibits include jaguars, monkeys, ocelots, lions, and several different species of bird as well as reptiles.

Zoological gardens exist mainly for the purpose of animal protection as well as educational for visitors from around the world.

Endangered Animals In Guatemala

Both the majestic jaguar and the revered quetzal are endangered species due to habitat loss and human exploitation. The jaguar seems to hover on the dividing line between threatened and endangered, as its elusiveness may contribute to the haziness of this designation.

Another famous native species of Guatemala, the Guatemalan Black Howler Monkey also counts as endangered, as does the Horned Guan, which is threatened by extinction. Guatemala is home to many species of iguana and sea turtle that have found their way onto the list even as other closely related species appear to be in little or no danger of becoming extinct at all.

Guatemalan Animals

Amazon Parrot

These parrots can be trained to be "talking birds" that mimic human speech

Anole Lizard

There are just under 400 species, several of which change color.

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Anteater

Found throughout the Southern Hemisphere!

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

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.

Basilisk Lizard

Can run/walk on water.

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Bear

There are 8 different species!

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.

Bee

Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Biscuit Beetle

The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Blind Snake

The blind snake is often mistaken for a worm.

Blue Catfish

It's a strong fighter when caught on a fishing line

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!

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors

Burrowing Owl

The burrowing owl lives in underground burrows

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 20,000 species!

Caecilian

Some species' babies use their hooked or scraper-like teeth to peel off and eat their mother's skin

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.

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!

Checkered Garter Snake

It has the ability to expel a stinky liquid from its body as a way to make predators (and humans) retreat!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

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 Furniture Beetle

The common furniture beetle feeds exclusively on wood

Common House Spider

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

Coral Snake

There are over 80 species of coral snake worldwide.

Cow

There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings

Cricket

Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Crow

A group of these birds is called a Murder.

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Dog Tick

Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals

Donkey

First domesticated 5,000 years ago!

Dragonfly

It's larvae are carnivorous!

Dubia Cockroach

The most popular species of feeder roach

Duck

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight

Dwarf Boa

Some species can change color from dark to light, and back again.

Eagle

Has exceptional eyesight!

Earthworm

They are hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female organs

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eastern Racer

Fast and Furious!

Eel

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

Elegant Tern

Have a lifespan of 20 years or more

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

False Widow Spider

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

Fiddler Crab

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

Firefly

The firefly produces some of the most efficient light in the world

Flamingo

Sleeps on just one leg!

Flea

Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air

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!

Fruit Fly

Fruit flies are among the most common research animals in the world

Gar

Can grow to more than 3m long!

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Gnat

Males form large mating swarms at dusk

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

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

Great Crested Flycatcher

This species makes use of some truly unusual nesting material, including snakeskin and garbage

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!

Harris Hawk

Their vision is eight times better than a human's

Hawk Moth Caterpillar

Many hawk moth caterpillars eat toxins from plants, but don’t sequester them the way milkweed butterflies do. Most toxins are excreted.

Hercules Beetle

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

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

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.

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.

Housefly

The fly has no teeth

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!

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Jacana

The jacana has the ability to swim underwater

Jaguar

The largest feline on the American continent!

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

Keel-Billed Toucan

It's beak can reach nearly 20 cm long!

Killdeer

The killdeer feigns injury to draw a predator away from its nest.

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!

Leech

Has 10 pairs of eyes!

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.

Lone Star Tick

Only females have the ‘lone star’ marking

Macaw

The largest species of parrot in the world!

Maggot

Will only live in wet areas

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

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!

Moorhen

Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!

Mosquito

Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

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!

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!

Orange-Crowned Warbler

Often mistaken for the Tennessee Warblers, which are equally dull.

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Owl

The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

Panther

Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Parrot Snake

The parrot snake shows off with bright green and bronze colors that cover its entire body.

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!

Porcupine

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Praying Mantis

The mantis can turn its head 180 degrees.

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!

Racer Snake

The racer snake can speed away at up to 3.5 miles per hour

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

Rat Snakes

Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.

Rattlesnake

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

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.

Rooster

Will mate with the entire flock!

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are closely related to cardinals

Roseate Spoonbill

The only Spoonbill in the western hemisphere!

Saber-Toothed Tiger

Canines up to 7 inches long!

Sable Ferret

Ferrets were used during the Revolutionary War to keep down the rat population.

Salamander

There are more than 700 different species!

Sand Crab

The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail

Scarlet Macaw

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

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Eagle

The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Shrew

The spinal column of the shrew Scutisorex somereni is so strong and reinforced that it can support the weight of an adult human.

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

Smokybrown Cockroach

Has up to 45 eggs per egg case

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Snapping Turtle

Only found in North America!

Southern Black Racer

These snakes live underground, beneath piles of leaf litter or in thickets, and they are expert swimmers.

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

Spider Wasp

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

Squirrel

Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!

Stork

They can’t sing like other birds.

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.

Tick

They inject hosts with a chemical that stops them from feeling the pain of the bite

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!

Vine Snake

A slender body and elongated snout give the vine snake a regal look.

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!

Whiptail Lizard

Many whiptail species reproduce asexually.

White-Faced Capuchin

One of the world's most intelligent monkeys!

White Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

White-tail deer

White-tail deer are good swimmers

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!

Worm

Doesn’t have eyes.

Yellow Spotted Lizard

Gives birth to live young.

Guatemalan Animals List

Guatemala FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What kind of animals live in Guatemala?

Guatemala is a tropical country and thus its animal species are also tropical in nature. As is often the case, many more snakes, lizards, and other reptiles are found in such regions than exist in more temperate zones. Monkeys, crocodiles, exotic birds, and the ever-lurking but seldom glimpsed jaguar are among those species most commonly associated with the country.

What dangerous animals live in Guatemala?

Since they are present in large numbers, the crocodile probably represents the most statistically dangerous risk. One might also consider the various plagues transmitted by mosquitoes, in which case the crocodile menace decreases to a great degree. Jaguars, angry monkeys, and various reptilian risks are always to be careful around. The well-known Tarantula spider is also a native species of Guatemala. These are the only member of the spider family that hunts rather than spins webs to trap their prey in.

Are there jaguars in Guatemala?

Central America, including Guatemala, is the original home of the famed jaguar. Here in the deepest parts of the Guatemalan jungle is the place where they are most likely to live, although there is almost no chance of ever seeing one outside of zoological conditions.

Are there any tigers in Guatemala?

Tigers are an Asiatic member of the cat family. Thus, there are no tigers in Guatemala unless there is perhaps a sample or two in some zoo.