Animals in Peru

Updated: March 7, 2023
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Below you can find a complete list of Peruvian animals. We currently track 289 animals in Peru and are adding more every day!

Bordered to the north by Ecuador and Colombia, to the east by Brazil and Bolivia, to the south by Chile, and the west by the Pacific Ocean, Peru is unusually rich in wildlife. Indeed, the recognition of the country’s natural resources is in its very constitution, and its National System of Natural Areas was established as far back as 1900.

The great diversity of Peru’s wildlife has much to do with the fact that it contains some of the Amazon rainforest and the Andes Mountains and has a coast on the Pacific Ocean. There are 1800 species of birds, 120 of which are only found in Peru, 500 types of mammals, 300 types of reptiles as well as many species of insects, cetaceans, crustaceans, fish, and seals. Unique species of animal are discovered in Peru on a regular basis, amazing when considering how many animals around the world are going extinct.


Peru is located in western South America, bordered by both Columbia and Ecuador in the north, Bolivia, and Brazil to the east, Chile in the south, and the mighty Pacific Ocean along its western coast.


The Official National Animal of Peru

The national animal of Peru is the vicuña. Related to the llama, this animal is prized for the quality of its wool, and in ancient times only royalty was allowed to wear clothes made of vicuña wool. It is probably for this reason that this animal is on the Peruvian coat of arms. The wool is not only great for warmth but also extremely soft to the touch.

The vicuña is an herbivore, and much of its diet is made up of the grasses found in its habitat, which are the plains and semi-arid grasslands found in Peru. To help obtain as much nutrition from their food they chew their cud. They have adapted the trait to continue growing their bottom teeth throughout their life, which causes these teeth to remain sharp and help process the dry grass.

It is the smallest camelid and stands less than five feet tall on average and weighs between 88 and 132 pounds. They can be found living in herds comprising adult females, their young, and one male. This one dominant male will defend the herd from predators and also any male challengers that come into the territory.

group of vicuñas

The vicuña are prized for the quality of its wool.

©Carlos Sala Fotografia/

Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in Peru

Peru offers many places to find its top wild animals. They include the Ballestas Islands, which are the home of sea lions. Popular Huascarán National Park is one area to see herds vicuña as well as condors and the north Andean deer. The park also has Peru’s highest point, the majestic and snow-capped Mount Huascarán.

Bahuaja-Sonene National Park‘s rivers and hills are home to a variety of birds, including toucans, harpy eagles, egrets, and hummingbirds. It also has the maned wolf and the puma.

In addition to the Andes Mountains, Peru also has one of the world’s deepest canyons in Colca Canyon. This popular tourist site is also home to vicu˜ñas, flamingos, hummingbirds, the Andean condor, and the Andes skunk. Manú National Park has clouds and rainforests as well as grassland. At 4,241,057.9 acres, it is a World Heritage Site and is home to the Andean cock-of-the-rock, which is Peru’s national bird, jaguarundi, deer, sloth, squirrel monkeys, spectacled bears, roseate spoonbills, and ocelots.

Found in the Loreto region of the country, Pacaya–Samiria National Reserve is also a popular place to see the country’s wildlife. Animals include the coati, the jaguar, and the capybara, the world’s largest rodent.

Keel-billed Toucan - Ramphastos sulfuratus, large colorful toucan from Costa Rica forest

One of the most unusual birds, the toucan can be found in Peru.

©David Havel/

The Most Dangerous Animals In Peru Today

Like other South American countries, Peru is home to many dangerous animals. The challenging types of terrain hold ecosystems that produce danger at every corner, from deadly plants to deadly animals.

The most obvious terrain that poses many threats within the borders of Peru is the local rainforests, where exotic plants and animals thrive due to the wet climate and closeness to the equator. Some of the most deadly hunters live within the rainforest and are able to blend into their surroundings with near-perfect stealth.

Besides the treacherous rainforests, Peru also contains parts of the Andes Mountains. Together, these two terrains cover over half of the country’s landscape. The Peruvian Andes have almost forty mountain peaks that reach 6,000 meters high. These peaks and mountains provide a lot of space for animals like mountain lions to roam.

The most dangerous animals in Peru include:

  • Puma. This is the South American version of the cougar. It is territorial and an ambush predator. Though it’s rare, the puma has been known to kill humans. These attacks are becoming more frequent as humans start to encroach on the animal’s habitat. Most people killed by pumas are children.
  • Jaguar. Like the puma, it is unusual for a jaguar to attack and kill a human being, but it has happened. It is a big and muscular animal with a bite so powerful its teeth can pierce the shells of tortoises and the skulls of human beings.
  • Great White Shark. This shark is responsible for most human deaths by a shark. Humans are not the shark’s usual prey, and a bite may be investigatory. However, a grown Great White is so huge that even an investigatory bite can be fatal.
  • Venomous Snakes. Of the hundreds of snakes in Peru, about 33 are venomous. One of the most dangerous is the fer-de-lance, or Bothrops asper. It is a pit viper and is especially dangerous because it lives close to humans and is nervous and unpredictable. It has a habit of seeming to flee then doubling back and attacking. In 2019, another venomous snake was discovered in Bahuaja Sonene National Park and named Bothrops sonene.
Largest Jaguar - Jaguar Header

Jaguars have a bite so powerful their teeth can pierce the shells of tortoises and the skulls of human beings.

©Adalbert Dragon/

Endangered Animals In Peru

Though Peru is famous for protecting its unique wildlife, some animals are still threatened with going extinct. There are several factors that contribute to the lessening of some of the world’s most unique and exotic animals, including deforestation, climate change, and human activity.

Some of the endangered animals are include:

  • Amazon river dolphin. This mammal is endangered.
  • Amazonian manatee. This is the smallest of the three types of manatee that have not gone extinct and is vulnerable.
  • Peruvian night monkey. This little monkey is little studied but considered endangered.
  • Marine otter. The marine otter, unique because it lives almost exclusively in salt water, is endangered.
Amazon River Dolphin

The endangered Amazon River Dolphins can grow up to 9 feet and can also weigh as much as 440 pounds.


The Rarest Animal of Peru

While Peru has many threatened animals, the country’s rarest animal must be the Andean Condor. This bird can be found in the Peruvian Andes mountains. This particular condor is the largest bird that is not flightless when you factor in weight and total wingspan.

The Largest Predators of Peru

It may come as no surprise, but the largest predators of Peru are the elusive jaguars. They are extremely shy and make their way home in the densest of the Peruvian rainforests and jungles. Weighing up to 300 lbs. and with a bite that can pierce a human skull, this is one cat that you do not want to run into in the wild!

The Flag of Peru

The flag of Peru was adopted in it’s current design in 1950 and is comprised of three vertical bands of red and white with the red bookending the central white band. The flag is a symbol of peace, freedom, and social justice. However, the red bands also represent the blood of its patriots who defended their country against overwhelming adversity in several wars.

The state flag of Peru

The flag of Peru is comprised of three vertical bands of red and white with the red bookending the central white band.


Fish Found in Peru

Due to its privileged geographical position by the Amazon River and Amazon Rainforest, Peru has a rich marine biodiversity. In Peru, you’ll find fish in every shape, size, and color from the beautiful Cortez rainbow wrasse to the interesting-looking Payara.

Peru has rich marine biodiversity being close to the Amazon River and rainforests.


Peruvian Animals


The agouti is one of the only animals that can crack open Brazil nut pods!


The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!


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.

Amazonian Royal Flycatcher

They use their bright royal-looking crests during mating season


They are the heaviest snake in the world


First evolved 100 million years ago!


Has the longest tongue of any animal in relation to its body size!


One of the largest freshwater fish


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

Asian Lady Beetle

Asian lady beetles infest indoor spaces, but they do not reproduce indoors.


Has a curved, upturned beak!


There are over 1768 known species!


Largest terrestrial predator of the Cenozoic era

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.


Detects prey using echolocation!


There are 8 different species!

Bed Bugs

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!

Biscuit Beetle

The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Blackburnian Warbler

They are the only songbird in North America with an orange throat!

Blue Dragon Sea Slug

They inflict a painful, venomous sting

Blue Tanager (Blue-Grey Tanager)

They travel and forage in pairs or groups


Seabirds found across the South Pacific!

Brazilian Treehopper

“Mild-Mannered Minimonsters”

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors

Bush Dog

Bush dogs have webbed toes to help them swim.


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!

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.

Canada Warbler

These birds travel more than 3,000 miles during migration!

Carpenter Ant

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


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


May have been domesticated up to 10,000 years ago.


The larvae of a moth or butterfly!


There are nearly 3,000 different species!


There are about 3,000 documented species!


First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!


Natively found in the Andes Mountain range!


There are more than 2 000 known species!


Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Codling Moth

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

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.


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 Spider

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.


One of the only schooling Cichlids!


First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Dog Tick

Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals


First domesticated 5,000 years ago!


It's larvae are carnivorous!

Dubia Cockroach

The most popular species of feeder roach


Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight


Has exceptional eyesight!


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


There are nearly 2,000 different species!


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

Electric Eel

Despite its powerful shock, electric eels have terrible vision.

Elegant Tern

Have a lifespan of 20 years or more

Emerald Tree Boa

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

Emperor Tamarin

Has an elegant white moustache!

Eyelash Viper

While the eyelash viper can be a pet, be cautious – they are extremely venomous!


The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fallow deer

The fallow deer has more variation in its coat colors than most other deer.

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

Fiddler Crab

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


Sleeps on just one leg!


Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air

Fleckvieh Cattle

Besides being bred for milk and meat, these cattle were also used as draft oxen.


There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Squirrel

Can glide up to 90 meters!


There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Fly

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

Fulvous Whistling Duck

They build a ramp from their nest, which leads to a nearby water source


There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach


Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!


Males form large mating swarms at dusk


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.


Many grouper can change their sex, and it is always from female to male.

Guinea Pig

Natively found in the Andes Mountain range!


Also known as the Millionfish!

Gypsy Moth

One of the most invasive species in the world


Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!


Can reach speeds of over 50 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.


Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Argentine Horned Frog

Natively found in South America!


Has evolved over 50 million years!


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.


The fly has no teeth


Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!

Humboldt Penguin

Found on the South American coast!


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.


Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!


Uses visual signals to communicate!

IMG Boa Constrictor

The first IMG boa was born in a litter of anerythristic boas.


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


The largest feline on the American continent!

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies


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!


Has 10 pairs of eyes!

Lipstick Albino Boa

Lipstick albino boas are a designer morph that you'll only find from breeders.


The Livyatan had 1 to 1.2 foot long, interlocking teeth


There are around 5,000 different species!


Natively found in the Andes Mountain range!


Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.

Lone Star Tick

Only females have the ‘lone star’ marking


The largest species of parrot in the world!


Will only live in wet areas


With an appropriate tail wind, the mallard can travel hundreds of miles a day

Maned Wolf

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


Margays are one of the world’s most highly adapted cat species for climbing trees!

Marine Toad

Produces a toxin used in arrow darts!


There are 2,500 known species worldwide!


They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.


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


Some species have a poisonous bite!


Mockingbirds are incredible mimics that can learn hundreds of songs!


Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!


Known for their calm and peaceful nature!


Has characteristics of two or more breeds!


There are around 260 known species!


Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!

Morpho Butterfly

Collectors prize them for their bright wings


Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood


There are 250,000 different species!

Mountain Lion

Has no real natural predators!


Found on every continent on Earth!


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 stomach to digest food


Nematodes range in size from 1/10 of an inch to 28 feet long

Neon Tetra

Neon Tetras are very social and peaceful fish.

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.


Also known as the Painted Leopard!

Orange Tanager (Orange-Headed Tanager)

They inhabit the lowlands of the Amazon rainforest

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Oscar Fish

The Oscar fish has teeth in its throat!


They reuse nesting sites for 70 years!


There are 13 different species worldwide


The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees


Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!

Panthera atrox (American Lion)

Panthera atrox was about 25 percent larger than modern lions


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.


Parrotlets aren't the world's tiniest parrot — that would be the pygmy parrot of Australasia.

Peacock Bass

Peacock bass is known for their aggressive behavior and predatory instincts, making them a challenging target for sport fishermen.

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth

Peruvian Guinea Pig

The Peruvian guinea pig is well known for its long, soft tresses and edgy bangs.

Peruvian Inca Orchid

The Peruvian Inca Orchid is the national dog of Peru


Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pictus Catfish

Pictus catfish are social fish that should be kept in groups of 4 or more


They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.

Amazon River Dolphin (Pink Dolphin)

Also known as the 'Pink Dolphin'


Generally found in fast-flowing streams!

Pit Viper

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

Platinum Arowana

The male broods the eggs and baby fish in his mouth.

Poison Dart Frog

Inhabits the jungles of Central and South America!

Pompano Fish

They are bottom-feeders


There are 30 different species worldwide!

Praying Mantis

The mantis can turn its head 180 degrees.


Has longer back legs than front legs!


Purussaurus had a bite force that is higher than that of any creature that has ever lived


Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!


The tail feathers of the male can be 1m long!


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.


Omnivores that eat anything!

Rat Snakes

Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.


Rattlesnakes may have evolved their rattle to warn bison away from them.

Red-Footed Tortoise

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

Redtail Catfish

One of three giant catfish species


Male rheas mate with up to a dozen females and single-handedly raise up to 80 chicks at once!

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!


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!

Roseate Spoonbill

The only Spoonbill in the western hemisphere!

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy duck breeding males have bright blue bills!

Saber-Toothed Tiger

Canines up to 7 inches long!

Sable Ferret

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


There are more than 700 different species!

Sand Crab

The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail

Scale-Crested Pygmy Tyrant

They raise their crests to ward off predators

Scarlet Macaw

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


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.

Sea Snake

The sea snake is incredibly venomous, even more than a cobra!”


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!


Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Short-Eared Owl

The short-eared owl is one of the most widespread owl species in the world, covering five continents.


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!

Silver Dollar

Closely related to the Piranha

Skink Lizard

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


Also known as the Polecat!


It's body temperature is between 30 - 34 degrees!


They glide around on one foot, which is aided by the slime they produce

Smokybrown Cockroach

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!

Spectacled Bear

Native to the Andes mountains of South America!

Spider Monkey

Belongs to the only family of primates in the world with full prehensile tails!

Spider Wasp

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


Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Squirrel Monkey

Lives in groups of up to 500 individuals!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!


They can’t sing like other birds.


The largest freshwater turtle known to have ever lived!

Summer Tanager

They remove bee stingers by rubbing them against a tree

Swainson’s Hawk

Their wings form a “V” shape when flying.


Populations have been affected by pollution!


Most closely related to horses and rhinos!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.

Teddy Guinea Pig

Teddy guinea pigs resemble teddy bears, hence their name.


Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!


Native to the freshwater streams of South America!


Some theropods had feathers and may have been ancestors of modern birds.


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

Tiger Beetle

The adult tiger beetle is one of the fastest land insects in the world

Titan Beetle

Their jaws can bite through a wooden pencil.


Can live until they are more than 150 years old!


There are more than 40 different species!

Tree Cricket

They make music with their wings

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!


Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.


Have a very short tail for their size!


Migrates up and down the mountains!

Unau (Linnaeus’s Two-Toed Sloth)

Its top speed is 0.17mph

Upland Sandpiper

They make jerky movements as they walk through the grass, searching for food.

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.


Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted


There are 30 different species worldwide!


There are around 75,000 recognised species!

Wattled Jacana

They are typically noisy birds but take on a soft tone with their young.

Whiptail Lizard

Many whiptail species reproduce asexually.

White Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

White-tail deer

White-tail deer are good swimmers

Whitetail Deer

Although deer are herbivores, they will sometimes eat mice and birds when they can catch them.

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.


This animal can roll up into a ball


There are 200 different species!

Woolly Monkey

Has a long, strong prehensile tail!


Doesn’t have eyes.

X-Ray Tetra

Yellow, black and white striped fins!

Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake

Sea snakes spend approximately 90% of their lives under water.

Peruvian Animals List

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About the Author

Heather Ross is a secondary English teacher and mother of 2 humans, 2 tuxedo cats, and a golden doodle. In between taking the kids to soccer practice and grading papers, she enjoys reading and writing about all the animals!

Animals in Peru FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What kinds of animals live in Peru?

There is an amazing variety of animals that live in Peru and more are being discovered. Recently discovered animals include two kinds of beetles, a type of spiny rat, a new kind of mouse, a type of flycatcher and a pygmy frog. This frog, Noble’s pygmy frog, is unique because it lays only two eggs and these eggs hatch into tiny frogs instead of tadpoles.

What is a common animal in Peru?

A common animal found in Peru is the capuchin monkey. It is a monkey that grows between 12 and 22 inches long, save its tail, and its tail is often as long as its body. It can weigh between 3 and 9 pounds and can live 25 years in the wild. The capuchin monkey lives in both the rainforest and the dry forests on the coast, and its success is probably due to the fact that it’s not particular about its habitat or its diet. It’s an omnivore and eats plant material as well as animals from spiders to lizards to birds all the way up to other primates.

What is the most dangerous animal in Peru?

The most dangerous animal in Peru is probably the fer-de-lance because of its aggressiveness, its proximity to human habitation, and the potency of its venom.

Is there Puma in Peru?

The puma is found in Peru. It’s the second-largest big cat in Peru behind the jaguar.