Animals in Peru

Below you can find a complete list of Peruvian animals. We currently track 152 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.

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. 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. It is the smallest camelid and stands less than five feet tall on average and weighs between 88 and 132 pounds.

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.

The Most Dangerous Animals In Peru Today

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.

Endangered Animals In Peru

Though Peru is famous for protecting its unique wildlife, some animals are still threatened with going extinct. These 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.

Peruvian Animals

Albatross

The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!

Alpaca

They can spit up to 10 feet.

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Anteater

Found throughout the Southern Hemisphere!

Arapaima

One of the largest freshwater fish

Armadillo

Can curl into a hard, protective ball!

Avocet

Has a curved, upturned beak!

Barb

There are over 2,000 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

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.

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!

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!

Eagle

Has exceptional eyesight!

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eel

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

Electric Eel

Can generate a 500 volt electric shock!

Emperor Tamarin

Has an elegant white moustache!

Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fallow deer

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

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.

Human

Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!

Humboldt Penguin

Found on the South American coast!

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!

Mallard

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.

Marine Toad

Produces a toxin used in arrow darts!

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

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!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Panther

Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

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.

Amazon River Dolphin (Pink Dolphin)

Also known as the 'Pink Dolphin'

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!

Scarlet Macaw

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

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

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!

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 Monkey

Found in the tropical jungles of South America!

Squirrel

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!

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tapir

Most closely related to horses and rhinos!

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.

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!

Uakari

Have a very short tail for their size!

Umbrellabird

Migrates up and down the mountains!

Vampire Bat

Have a heat sensor on the end of their nose!

Vulture

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Wasp

There are around 75,000 recognised species!

White-tail deer

White-tail deer are good swimmers

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Woodlouse

Actually a crustacean, not an insect!

Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

Woolly Monkey

Has a long, strong prehensile tail!

X-Ray Tetra

Yellow, black and white striped fins!

Peruvian Animals List

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.