Below you can find a complete list of Nicaraguan animals. We currently track 269 animals in Nicaragua and are adding more every day!
Nicaragua is the largest country in all of Central America. Situated between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the country shares a land border with Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The western half of the country is comprised of rugged mountains and volcanoes separated by large valleys. Some of these volcanoes are still active. The eastern half of the country is comprised of lowland plains and rainforests. Lake Nicaragua, which sits along the southwestern border, is the largest lake in all of Central America. Its unique fauna even includes sawfish and bull sharks. Nicaragua is also home to the region’s longest river, Rio Coco, which runs between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans on the northern border.
The Official National (State) Animal of Nicaragua
While Nicaragua lacks a single national animal, it is represented by a national bird, the turquoise-browed motmot. Sporting a brightly colored turquoise body, this bird is a dazzling sight throughout the country.
Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in Nicaragua
Since its independence in 1821, Nicaragua has established around 78 protected areas, encompassing about 17% of the entire landmass, in which you can find some of the best wildlife.
- The Zapatera Archipelago National Park near Lake Nicaragua is a common destination for both cultural and wildlife enthusiasts. Amid some of the preserved ruins and crater lakes, this park has plenty of winding hiking trails and visitor areas, where you can find a rich panoply of birds, mammals, and freshwater fish.
- The Mombacho Cloud Forest Reserve is a 2,500-acre protected area surrounding the extinct volcano Mombacho to the west of Lake Nicaragua. Plenty of colorful birds, butterflies, and reptiles flourish at these high elevations.
- The Indio Maiz Biological Reserve in the southeast straddles the mighty San Juan River. Although remote and somewhat difficult to reach, it is exceptionally rich in poison dart frogs, howler monkeys, and maybe even pumas and jaguars. The rest of the reserve contains hundreds of colorful birds like the royal flycatcher.
- Finally, San Juan del Sur, located in the southwest of the country, is an excellent spot to observe whales and other marine wildlife.
The Most Dangerous Animals in Nicaragua Today
The rainforests of Nicaragua are particularly rife with dangerous animals, including insects that transmit diseases to humans. But these are probably the most dangerous species that pose a direct problem for humans:
- Fer-de-Lance – Identified by the dark triangle patterns and broad, flattened head, this large species is one of the more dangerous snakes in all of Central America. Symptoms of its venom include pain, swelling, bruising, blisters, numbness, a headache, a mild fever, nausea, vomiting, oozing, and bleeding. If left untreated, death may occur in a small minority of incidents.
- Central American Rattlesnake – This species is in many ways similar to the rattlesnake in the United States. Symptoms of its venom include pain, swelling, blistering, and necrosis. In rare cases, it can lead to amputations.
- Coral Snakes – Nicaragua is home to three species of coral snakes, as well as the yellow-bellied sea snake. Their venom is one of the most potent in the world and requires immediate medical attention. In rare cases, it can lead to complete respiratory failure. Fortunately, these exotic snakes live in remote locations, and even when they are encountered by people, their first instinct is to run away and hide.
- American Crocodiles – This species can be found throughout the San Juan River and Lake Nicaragua. While attacks sometimes do occur, fatalities are exceptionally rare.
- Poison Dart Frog – Concentrated in the south of Nicaragua, there are a few unique species of poison dart frogs that advertise their danger with bright eccentric colors. When threatened, they secrete enough poison from the skin to stop someone’s heart. They appear to derive their poison from the foods they consume.
Endangered Animals in Nicaragua
Some of Nicaragua’s rich biodiversity is currently in danger of becoming extinct from rampant deforestation and poaching.
- Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey – Easily identified by the reddish-brown body color and the black arms, legs, and face, this is perhaps the largest of all the unique monkeys in the Americas. Since it requires so much living space to survive, it is particularly vulnerable to deforestation.
- Baird’s Tapir – The tapir is a large exotic pig-like mammal with a short prehensile nose trunk and hooves. This species is in danger of becoming extinct from poaching and habitat loss, but it also isn’t helped by a slow reproduction rate.
- White-lipped Peccary – This large pig-like hoofed mammal is currently endangered from deforestation and hunting.
- Great Green Macaw – This large, bright-green gregarious macaw once teemed across the rainforests of Central America. But hunting, poaching, and habitat loss have placed this species in danger of becoming extinct.
- Sea Turtles – Nicaragua is a prime nesting location for the hawksbill sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, olive ridley sea turtle, and the Pacific green turtle. All of them are currently classified as vulnerable or endangered due to the loss of nesting sites, vessel strikes, pollution, intended or accidental catches, etc.
Flag of Nicaragua
The Nicaraguan flag is simple and classy, primarily featuring white and a light shade of blue. These colors form horizontal stripes and hold symbolism. The white represents peace, while the blue represents the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean to the east and west of the country. The Nicaraguan coat of arms lies in the center of the flag. It depicts Nicaragua’s landscape, with volcanoes and a rainbow, which stands for unity.
National Flower of Nicaragua
The national flower of Nicaragua is the sacuanjoche. It has five beautiful white petals with yellow in the center. The flower is known for its beauty, wonderful aroma, and medicinal healing properties. The flower blooms the most in June.
Their nests are sloppily held together and have an abandoned appearance
Stunningly beautiful wings
The agouti is one of the only animals that can crack open Brazil nut pods!
These parrots can be trained to be "talking birds" that mimic human speech
Don't eat raw eel! Their blood is poisonous to humans when consumed raw.
Their name means snake bird
There are just under 400 species, several of which change color.
First evolved 100 million years ago!
Has the longest tongue of any animal in relation to its body size!
Can curl into a hard, protective ball!
They are so named because they "march" in armies of worms from one crop to another in search of food
Found everywhere around the world!
Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.
Detects prey using echolocation!
There are 8 different species!
Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.
Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years
There are more than 350,000 different species
Not all birds are able to fly!
The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast
They typically prey on insects!
They are the only songbird in North America with an orange throat!
The blind snake is often mistaken for a worm.
Blue grosbeak parents take off the head, legs and wings of an insect before feeding it to their baby.
They travel and forage in pairs or groups
One of the most colorful members of the genus Acanthurus
About double the size of a domestic cat!
Seabirds found across the South Pacific!
Can live its entire life indoors
The burrowing owl lives in underground burrows
The bushmaster’s scientific name means “silent death.”
There are thought to be up 17,500 species!
Some species' babies use their hooked or scraper-like teeth to peel off and eat their mother's skin
Can grow to up 6 meters long!
The camel crickets that are found in the USA are light brown in color. They also have dark streaks all over their body.
Carpenter ants can lift up to seven times their own weight with their teeth!
First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!
The larvae of a moth or butterfly!
There are nearly 3,000 different species!
Their feathers have red, waxy tips that can be hard to identify unless you’re up close.
There are about 3,000 documented species!
It has the ability to expel a stinky liquid from its body as a way to make predators (and humans) retreat!
They inhabit regrowing forests
First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!
There are more than 2 000 known species!
Found in dense forests and wet jungles!
Dated to be around 300 million years old!
Pupae are able to undergo diapause to survive poor fruit yield years and winter.
Form bands of up to 12 individuals!
The common furniture beetle feeds exclusively on wood
House spiders have the ability to eat most insects in a home.
The Common Yellowthroat stays close to the ground and uses stealth to survive!
There are over 80 species of coral snake worldwide.
They can fly 35 mph and dive 150 feet below water.
There are nearly 1.5 billion worldwide!
There are 93 different crab groups
Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings
Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together
Have changed little in 200 million years!
Crocodylomorphs include extinct ancient species as well as 26 living species today.
A group of these birds is called a Murder.
First domesticated in South-East Asia!
Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals
First domesticated 5,000 years ago!
It's larvae are carnivorous!
The most popular species of feeder roach
Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!
The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight
The Dusky Shark sometimes eats trash discarded by humans.
Some species can change color from dark to light, and back again.
Has exceptional eyesight!
They are hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female organs
There are nearly 2,000 different species!
They can live up to 9 years.
Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!
Have a lifespan of 20 years or more
Emerald Toucanets spend their lives high in the canopy of tall forests, almost never coming to the ground!
The fastest creatures on the planet!
False spiders actually prey on black widow spiders and other hazardous spiders
The fiddler crab gets its name from the motion the males make with their over-sized claw during the mating ritual.
The firefly produces some of the most efficient light in the world
Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air
There are more than 240,000 different species!
Can glide up to 90 meters!
There are around 7,000 different species!
Fruit flies are among the most common research animals in the world
Can grow to more than 3m long!
There are thought to be over 2,000 species!
The most common type of urban roach
When giant leopard moths mate, their mating sessions last over 24 hours.
Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!
Males form large mating swarms at dusk
There are 11,000 known species!
Their songs have cat-like qualities and can mimic other birds and animals, like tree frogs.
The gray fox has retractable claws and a rotating wrist that allow it to climb trees with some proficiency
Their wingspan is larger than an eagle’s; both males and females help hatch the eggs; rich in symbolism
This species makes use of some truly unusual nesting material, including snakeskin and garbage
At night, they make a terrifying low call that sounds like a distressed moan or growl.
Also known as the Millionfish!
One of the most invasive species in the world
They are natural pest controls
Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!
Can reach speeds of over 50 mph!
Talon's the size of a grizzly bear's claws!
Their vision is eight times better than a human's
Many hawk moth caterpillars eat toxins from plants, but don’t sequester them the way milkweed butterflies do. Most toxins are excreted.
Parents and their young sing sweetly to each other
This dynastine scarab beetle makes a weird huffing sound when it’s disturbed.
Inhabits wetlands around the world!
They are loud, spirited birds with raucous cries that sound like bursts of laughter.
There are only 8 recognized species!
Has evolved over 50 million years!
Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.
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.
Spends 80% of it's time resting!
Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!
Beat their wings up to 80 times per second!
Some huntsman spiders have an interesting way of moving around. Some cartwheel while others do handsprings or backflips.
Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!
Uses visual signals to communicate!
There are an estimated 30 million species!
They form lifelong pair bonds and live in groups near water sources.
The jacana has the ability to swim underwater
One of the biggest species in the Caranx genus
The largest feline on the American continent!
Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies
It's beak can reach nearly 20 cm long!
The Kentucky Warbler appears to wear bright yellow cat-eye glasses!
Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!
The kinkajou is a nimble forest-dwelling mammal of Central and South America.
There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!
They can jump up to three feet
There are around 5,000 different species!
Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.
Only females have the ‘lone star’ marking
The largest species of parrot in the world!
The complicated story of how MacGillivray’s Warblers got their name involves three ornithologists, a physician and a compromise.
Will only live in wet areas
They line their nests with fungi strands
Margays are one of the world’s most highly adapted cat species for climbing trees!
Produces a toxin used in arrow darts!
Mayan cichlids live longer in captivity than they do in the wild.
There are 2,500 known species worldwide!
They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.
Some colonies have millions of bats
Some species have a poisonous bite!
Mockingbirds are incredible mimics that can learn hundreds of songs!
Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!
Adult Mole crickets may fly as far as 5 miles during mating season and are active most of the year.
Known for their calm and peaceful nature!
During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.
Has characteristics of two or more breeds!
There are around 260 known species!
Moonglow boas are the result of mixing three genetic traits.
Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!
Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood
There are 250,000 different species!
Has no real natural predators!
It is almost always the male who makes the famous sad sound, which is a wooing call
The Mourning Warbler was named for its gray head, which resembles a mourning veil!
Found on every continent on Earth!
The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!
Unlike most duck species, the Muscovy is silent and only makes noise when excited or threatened.
There are more than 5,000 species.
They can reach speeds of 25 Mph but prefer to soar low and slow.
They live in coffee and citrus plantations during the winter
You can find them near golf courses in urban areas
Also known as the Painted Leopard!
Females are about four times the size of males
They reuse nesting sites for 70 years!
There are 13 different species worldwide
The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees
Owl butterflies derive their name from big spots on each hindwing that resemble owl eyes
Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!
Can live for up to 100 years!
The parrot snake shows off with bright green and bronze colors that cover its entire body.
Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!
They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.
Pit vipers's fangs fold up into their mouths when they don't need them.
Inhabits the jungles of Central and South America!
There are 30 different species worldwide!
The mantis can turn its head 180 degrees.
Has longer back legs than front legs!
Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!
The tail feathers of the male can be 1m long!
Known to wash their food before eating it!
Omnivores that eat anything!
Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.
Rattlesnakes may have evolved their rattle to warn bison away from them.
Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!
Roadrunners are one of the few animals that prey on rattlesnakes and tarantula hawk wasps.
There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!
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.
Will mate with the entire flock!
This bird is also called cut-throat because the male looks like his throat has been cut and has bled over his breast.
The only Spoonbill in the western hemisphere!
Canines up to 7 inches long!
Ferrets were used during the Revolutionary War to keep down the rat population.
There are more than 700 different species!
The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail
Like many parrots, the scarlet macaw is capable of vocal mimicry.
There are around 2,000 known species!
The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner
Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!
In captivity, sharp-shinned hawks can live up to 13 years. However, in the wild, this number is significantly reduced to 3 years!
Around 35 million in the English countryside!
The spinal column of the shrew Scutisorex somereni is so strong and reinforced that it can support the weight of an adult human.
There are 2,000 different species worldwide!
Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.
It's body temperature is between 30 - 34 degrees!
They glide around on one foot, which is aided by the slime they produce
Has up to 45 eggs per egg case
There are nearly 1,000 different species!
There are around 4,000 known species worldwide
There are 140 different species!
They prey on spiders to feed their larvae or they parasitize other spider wasps.
Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!
There are more than 3,000 different species!
They can’t sing like other birds.
Their wings form a “V” shape when flying.
Populations have been affected by pollution!
Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.
Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!
The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.
They inject hosts with a chemical that stops them from feeling the pain of the bite
The adult tiger beetle is one of the fastest land insects in the world
Can live until they are more than 150 years old!
There are more than 40 different species!
Found in warmer jungles and forests!
The tree swallow can make more than a dozen distinct vocalizations
Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.
Migrates up and down the mountains!
They make jerky movements as they walk through the grass, searching for food.
Have a heat sensor on the end of their nose!
They have a fast song that lasts up to 10 syllables at max.
A slender body and elongated snout give the vine snake a regal look.
Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted
There are 30 different species worldwide!
There are around 75,000 recognised species!
They migrate farther north than any other tanager.
Many whiptail species reproduce asexually.
One of the world's most intelligent monkeys!
There are two different types of white ferrets!
White-tail deer are good swimmers
Although deer are herbivores, they will sometimes eat mice and birds when they can catch them.
These birds live in the understory and are named for their propensity for flitting between willows and shrubs.
Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.
Temperature determines the sex of turtle eggs
This animal can roll up into a ball
There are 200 different species!
The males are responsible for choosing the nesting tree most of the time. Luckily, cavity nests are often reused for multiple breeding seasons (up to 7 years.)
Gives birth to live young.
They forage near the ground, searching leaves for insects
They can stay hidden in their burrows for months!
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Animals in Nicaragua FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What animals live in Nicaragua?
Nicaragua is home to more than a hundred species of mammals, including opossums, rodents, sloths, anteaters, deer, large cats (like ocelots and margays), and perhaps most common of all, bats. There are only a few species of monkeys, but they’re very conspicuous and easy to identify. The country also teems with 700 species of birds, including eagles, macaws, pelicans, and egrets. And it’s particularly rich in turtles, snakes, lizards, insects, and freshwater fish.
What dangerous animals live in Nicaragua?
Nicaragua is home to about 15 exotic species of venomous snakes, as well as scorpions, spiders, poison dart frogs, and large crocodiles, and carnivorous mammals.
Are there any jaguars in Nicaragua?
Yes, jaguars are found in the country’s eastern rainforests. Although they look intimidating, jaguars are the least likely of all big cats to attack humans.