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

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 2,000 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!

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Booby

Seabirds found across the South Pacific!

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 20,000 species!

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!

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!

Collared Peccary

Form bands of up to 12 individuals!

Common House Spider

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

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

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Discus

One of the only schooling Cichlids!

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!

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.

Emperor Tamarin

Has an elegant white moustache!

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

False Widow Spider

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

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!

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

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!

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.

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!

Jaguar

The largest feline on the American continent!

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!

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.

Macaw

The largest species of parrot in the world!

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.

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!

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!

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

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!

Poison Dart Frog

Inhabits the jungles of Central and South America!

Porcupine

There are 30 different species worldwide!

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!

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.

Roseate Spoonbill

The only Spoonbill in the western hemisphere!

Saber-Toothed Tiger

Canines up to 7 inches long!

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!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

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

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!

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.

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!

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!

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!

X-Ray Tetra

Yellow, black and white striped fins!

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.