Animals in Bolivia

For a country which saw all of its seacoast become extinct in a 19th Century war, the South American nation of Bolivia is still recognized as one of the most environmentally diverse places on the planet. The major topographical feature of Bolivia are twin strands of the great Andes Mountains running north to south down the western side of the country. In between these two chains is the 12,000 foot high valley known as the Altiplano and Bolivia’s twin capital cities, Sucre and La Paz. On the eastern side of the mountain ranges, the terrain descends down into the drainage basin of the Amazon River where features typical of a tropical jungle prevail.

The Official National Animal of Bolivia


Not surprisingly, the Llama is the national animal of Bolivia. This distinctive South American draft animal has been used by humanity going clear back to the lost civilizations of the Inca and beyond. Incidentally, the double “L” at the front of the llama’s name is actually a letter of the Spanish alphabet and pronounced as “Y”. Thus we have “yama” and not “lama”.

In addition to the faithful llama, Bolivia also has a national bird species, which is the gigantic Andean Condor, the largest bird species on the planet. So other birds have a slightly larger wingspan than the 11 foot span of the condor, but the condor is a bigger, heavier bird overall.

Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in Bolivia


There is a lot to choose from when it comes to wildlife viewing in the country. Many people interested in tropical species find the combination reserve/rescue operation of the privately-owned Chuchini Ecological Reserve in the rainforest to be worth their time.

The massive 1.7 million acre Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve is located in the far southwest corner of the country. Filled with erupting volcanoes, vast geothermal attractions and enormous numbers of elegant pink flamingoes, it is one of the country’s most visited wildlife attractions.

For something specific, one might look to the San Miguelito Jaguar Reserve.

The Most Dangerous Animals In Bolivia


Perhaps the most dangerous of all Bolivian wildlife is the Piranha. While people think of this voracious and carnivorous fish as being Brazilian, it is actually Amazonian and the headwaters of the Amazon are up in the high peaks of the Andes.

The infamous Anaconda is also found in the Amazonian basin, along with a small species of crocodile known as the Caiman. Also resident in the lowland rainforest areas of the country is the mysterious Jaguar.

Up in the highlands, there are fewer real risks to humans. The big condor is not really a menace, the sole member of the bear family in South America, the Spectacled Bear is small and rather shy. As for the Maned Wolf, it is not really a wolf per se, but a related species that looks like a wolf but hunts in solitary and is much smaller.

Endangered Animals in Bolivia

Among the endangered animals of Bolivia, the most well-known is probably the Chinchilla, which has some of the softest fur in the world and is thus a target for poachers.

The Jaguar is always threatened with becoming extinct everywhere it still exists. The same goes for the Giant Brazilian Otter. Like virtually all other otters, it seems to be an endangered species throughout the world due to its riverbank habitat which puts it in close proximity to humans.

The Chacoan Guanaco is another animal at risk of becoming extinct due to destruction of its grassland habitat.

Bolivian Animals

Alpaca

They can spit up to 10 feet.

Amazon Parrot

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

Amazon Tree Boa

Amazon tree boas come in a rainbow of colors.

Anaconda

They are the heaviest snake in the world

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

Avocet

Has a curved, upturned beak!

Banjo Catfish

The banjo catfish is extremely shy and known for hiding from onlookers.

Barb

There are over 1768 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.

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.

Bolivian Anaconda

This is a newly described species! In 2002, scientists realized they had a different species in Bolivia.

Booby

Seabirds found across the South Pacific!

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 17,500 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!

Caiman Lizard

Caiman lizards are among the largest lizards.

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.

Capybara

Excellent at both diving and swimming

Carpenter Ant

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

Cascabel

Cascabels rely on their camouflage first, and rattle if that doesn't work.

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!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Chinchilla

Natively found in the Andes Mountain range!

Cichlid

There are more than 2 000 known species!

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Codling Moth

Pupae are able to undergo diapause to survive poor fruit yield years and winter.

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.

Discus

One of the only schooling Cichlids!

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

Eagle

Has exceptional eyesight!

Earthworm

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

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eel

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

Electric Eel

Despite its powerful shock, electric eels have terrible vision.

Emerald Tree Boa

Their teeth are as long as a fully-grown reticulated python

Emperor Tamarin

Has an elegant white moustache!

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

False Water Cobra

There are several color morphs, including lavender!

False Widow Spider

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

Fer-de-lance Snake

The Most Dangerous Snake in the Americas

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

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!

Great Potoo Bird

At night, they make a terrifying low call that sounds like a distressed moan or growl.

Green Anaconda

Females are often five times longer than males.

Guinea Pig

Natively found in the Andes Mountain range!

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.

Hepatic Tanager (Red Tanager)

Parents and their young sing sweetly to each other

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 Frog

Natively found in South America!

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

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

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!

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Llama

Natively found in the Andes Mountain range!

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

Maned Wolf

Despite its name, the Maned Wolf is not actually a wolf.

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Mealybug

They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.

Megatherium

Megatherium probably used its lips more than its tongue when feeling for choice leaves in the treetops.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bat

Some colonies have millions of bats

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

Molly

Known for their calm and peaceful nature!

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!

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

Mule

The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!

Muscovy Duck

Unlike most duck species, the Muscovy is silent and only makes noise when excited or threatened.

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

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

Owl

The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

Panther

Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!

Parakeet

Monk parakeets are the only parakeets that actually build nests. They’re also the only parakeets to nest in great colonies.

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.

Piranha

Generally found in fast-flowing streams!

Pit Viper

Pit vipers's fangs fold up into their mouths when they don't need them.

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!

Rainbow Boa

The rainbow boa is named for its iridescent skin that refracts light and creates a rainbow-colored effect.

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-Footed Tortoise

Male and female Red-Footed Tortoises move their heads to communicate.

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!

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!

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!

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Scrotum Frog

The frog's ears are underdeveloped, and if it hears it probably does so through its lungs.

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

In captivity, sharp-shinned hawks can live up to 13 years. However, in the wild, this number is significantly reduced to 3 years!

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!

Silver Dollar

Closely related to the Piranha

Skink Lizard

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

Skunk

Also known as the Polecat!

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!

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

Spectacled Bear

Native to the Andes mountains of South America!

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.

Summer Tanager

They remove bee stingers by rubbing them against a tree

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tapir

Most closely related to horses and rhinos!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.

Termite

Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Tetra

Native to the freshwater streams of South America!

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!

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!

Unau (Linnaeus’s Two-Toed Sloth)

Its top speed is 0.17mph

Vampire Bat

Have a heat sensor on the end of their nose!

Vermilion Flycatcher

They have a fast song that lasts up to 10 syllables at max.

Vicuña

Vicuñas have some of the softest wool in the entire animal kingdom

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 Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Woodlouse

This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Woolly Monkey

Has a long, strong prehensile tail!

Worm

Doesn’t have eyes.

X-Ray Tetra

Yellow, black and white striped fins!

Yellow Anaconda

Anacondas take prey much bigger compared to body weight than other snakes.

Bolivian Animals List

Animals in Bolivia FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are there black panthers in Bolivia?

This is an interesting question. Zoologically speaking, there is no such thing as a black panther. There are, however, cat species which sometime produce all-black offspring. These include the Leopard and the Jaguar, both of which are known to produce the occasional black member of a litter. So, yes, there are “black panthers” found occasionally in Bolivia but they are actually jaguars.

Are there Pumas in Bolivia?

Bolivia is home to Pumas. Like all apex predators, they are only present in small numbers. A number of rescue organizations in Bolivia specialize in puma rescue for big cats that were taken as kittens and kept as pets until they became too large and dangerous to keep safely.

What plants and animals live in Bolivia?

Due to its biodiversity and terrain differentiation, that is a large question for a medium-sized country. In addition, South America is home to many unique creatures not found elsewhere in the world. Thus the fearsome piranha is found in the Amazon reaches of Bolivia. So too is the unique Amazon, or Pink, river dolphin.

The jungle and rainforest areas of the country abound with big cats and primates. The usual selection of tropical birds inhabit the lowland jungles while migratory species such as the Andean Flamingo are found in the lake regions of the highlands.

Large rodents are characteristic of South America. The endangered Chinchilla is one, as is the huge Capybara, the world’s largest rodent and capable of growing to as much as 140 lbs in weight. The rabbit-like Viscacha is a well-known denizen of Bolivia’s highlands.

The mighty Andean Condor prowls the skies while the ubiquitous cousins Alpaca, Llama, and Vicuna are found throughout Bolivia.

As for plant life, the most unique and well-known entry in the plant kingdom is the coca plant, of which Bolivia is considered to be the third-largest producer of this leaf used to manufacture cocaine with. Beyond that, Bolivia is home to a wide but not especially remarkable assortment of plant species, most of which can be found elsewhere in the world in one variant or another.

Do alligators live in Bolivia?

Differentiation is scientifically made between alligators and crocodiles. There is one species of small alligator, the Caiman, present in Bolivia. This would qualify as a member of the Alligatoridae family, but all alligators are members of the order Crocodylia. They can thus very broadly be considered to be crocodiles as well, but this appellation is not commonly applied to any of the alligators, including the caiman.