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25 MOST SPECTACULAR ANIMALS

 OF ECUADOR

  1. Jaguar

  2. Mountain Lion

  3. 2 Amazon Dolphin species

  4. Spectacled Bear

  5. Galapagos Sea Lion

  6. 2 Tapir species

  7. Amazon Manatee

  8. White-tailed Deer

  9. Vicuña

  10. Andean Fox

  11. Howler Monkey

  12. Andes Condor

  13. King Vulture

 

  1. Scarlet Macaw

  2. Brown Pelican

  3. Frigate bird

  4. Cock of the Rock

  5. Galapagos Tortoise

  6. American Crocodile

  7. 3 Caiman species

  8. Anaconda

  9. 3 Iguana Species

  10. Paixe

  11. Amazon catfish

  12. Pirana

 

ECUADOR's JUNGLES, ARE THE WORLD's RICHEST RAINFORESTS; In fact, Ecuador is the world's smallest megadiverse country and has the world's greatest biodiversity per hectare. This diversity is the result of several factors:

  1. It is one of the only 10 continental countries on the equator, most of which are characterized by wet tropical conditions;

  2. Being on the equator, most rainforests have relatively little seasonal variety, allowing more species to survive than in regions with more seasonal fluctuation in precipitation and temperatures;

  3. The Andes divides the country in three zones, each with different sets of species;

  4. The coastal region of Ecuador is in the transition from the world's wettest region in the world, the Choco in Colombia and the southern Andean deserts that start in Peru with countless endemic species.

However, even though having the greatest number of animal species, South America - including Ecuador - has no terrestrial macrofauna, like Africa and Asia. The largest predator is the Jaguar and the largest hoofed animal is the Lowland Tapir, a mid-sized ungulate.

 

On the other hand, with regard to birds and reptiles, Ecuador holds its ground with the world's largest flying bird, the Andes Condor and the giant tortoises of Galapagos. On this page we list the 25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador, most of which with high resolution photographs, which you can see at full size by clicking on the pictures.

 

Dear visitor, our website gives you info about our National Parks Tours, Cuyabeno Loop, as well as our Cuyabeno  and Cofan Lodges in the Amazon.   For those who want to combine the Exuberant Nature of Ecuador with the Famous culture of Peru, we even have a 7 days Highlights of Peru extension! Here you can find our Prices. Our website has hundreds of high-resolution pictures of National Parks and monuments of Ecuador, with thumbnails that open by clicking on them. If you love our pictures or find our info useful you can help others finding our pages too you can share them from the mobile menu bar with a

 

MAMMALS

Our mammal list for Ecuador has 287 species, the most abundant group being bats, that you can see everywhere, followed by the rodents. This is the complete list of mammals of Ecuador.

 

Monkeys

21 species of monkeys are known from Ecuador with 10 occurring in the Amazon of Ecuador: The Pygmy marmoset, Cebuella pygmaea, is the world's second tiniest monkey.  The Black Mantle Tamarin, Saguinus nigricollis, the Spix's Night Monkey, Aotus vociferans, the Coppery Titi Monkey, Callicebus cupreus, Yellow-handed Titi Monkey, Callicebus lucifer, the Collared Titi Monkey, Callicebus torquatus, the Monk Saki, Pithecia monachus, the Common Squirrel Monkey, Saimiri sciureus, the White-fronted Capuchin Monkey, Cebus albifrons, Long-haired spider monkey Ateles belzebuth, the Red Howler Monkey, Alouatta seniculus and the Brown Woolly Monkey, Lagothrix lagotricha, many of which can be seen regularly. Monkeys are rarely found above 1000masl.

 

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Brown Woolley Monkey.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Ecuadorian Capuchin Monkeys are common in Cuyabeno.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Yellow Handed Titi Monkey is a common Jungle Animal at Cuyabeno

Brown Woolly Monkey, Lagothrix lagotricha. Below: Yellow-handed Titi Monkey, Ateles belzebuth,

 

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Lowland Tapirs, Tapirus terrestris, love water.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Capybaras, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, as Amazon jungle animals

Lowland Tapirs, Tapirus terrestris, are terrestrial lowland jungle animals but they also are very happy in the water. Highly appreciated for their meat, they are hunted heavily hunted anywhere outside the reserves. One rarely sees one in Cuyabeno and Yasuni National Park, but they are there. Higher up along the Andes occurs the Woolley Tapir, Tapirus Pinchaque, which however is rarely seen.

 

Capybaras, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, are the largest rodents on earth. They live along the banks of rivers and can be frequently seen in Cuyabeno and Yasuni. Of course there are many other species of rodents, and often one can see porcupines.

 

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: White-lipped Peccaries can have herds of several hundred animals.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: the Virginia Deer is common throughout Ecuador.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: The Andean Red Brocket Deer,  Mazama rufina.

Other native hoofed animals of Ecuador, include both species of peccaries, Collared Peccary, Tayassu tajacu, and the White-lipped Peccary, T. pecari., as well as several species of deer such as White Tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, and the Brocket Deer, Manzama americana.

 

ANIMALS OF THE ANDES

While the Andes has far less species than the Amazon, the species composition is very different. Below you will see a few species that are typical for the Andes.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Vicuñas have been successfully introduced at the Chimborazo wildlife reserve.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: The Andean Fox is a canine species somewhere between a fox and a coyote.

Since the 1970s, three camelid species have been introduced: the wild Vicuña and the domestic Llama and Alpaca. As many as 6000+ vicuñas live at the paramos surrounding the Chimborazo and their range continues to expand.

The Andean Fox is a canine species somewhere between a fox and a coyote.

 

Predators

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: rarely seen Amazon Jungle Animal is the Jaguar25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: The Ocelot is a common Amazon cat25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Animals of the Amazon Rainforest, Ringtailed Coati.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Giant Otter at the Amazon Rainforest

Most predators live in the lowlands and quite a few of them actually like water or at least tolerate it. Some of the predators include: Both the Jaguar, Panthera onca, and the Ocelot, Leopardus pardalis, like water rich forests; Jaguars are known to actually like swimming. These, and several other species of cats are present in Cuyabeno and Yasuní. Particularly at night, you can see them sneaking across low hanging branches, when you go looking for crocodiles. With a bit of luck, all of a sudden the eyes of a big cat are caught in your flashlight. Both Jaguars, Panthera onca, and Pumas or Mountain Lions, Puma concolor, - which also live in both parks - avoid people and are rarely seen, even by the indigenous people.

 

The South American coati, or ring-tailed coati, Nasua nasua, is a common predator in the Amazon region. Both the Giant Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis, and the Neotropical Otter, Lutra longicaudis, belong naturally in the eastern lowlands. They do occur however in the major reserves of Ecuador's Amazon region.

 

Besides Mountain Lions, the largest predators are the Spectacles Bear and the Andean Fox.

 

Dolphins

In the a water-drenched Amazon Region, two species of dolphins live in the rivers:

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Pink Dolphin at the Amazon River in Cuyabeno25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Tucuxi in the Cuyabeno Lake

The Pink Amazon Dolphin, Inia geoffrensis, can be recognized by its hump-shaped dorsal fin and the more pronounced hump on its head and longer snout. Particularly the males may be pink, but in the Amazon of Ecuador they are mostly gray. The Pink Amazon Dolphin can turn its head 90 degrees each way. Dolphins can be seen almost daily at the Cuyabeno Great Lake, darting around the canoe and sometimes swimming with the swimmers. When the water level is high, dolphins even enter the flooded forest in pursuit of fishes that feed on nuts and seeds from the flooded forest floor.

 

The Gray Amazon Dolphin or Tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis, can be recognized by its shark-like triangular dorsal fin. Its belly is lighter and varies from light grey to pinkish. It has a closely related relative in the coastal waters of South America, but that species does not swim as deeply into the Amazon region as the Tucuxi. More so than the Pink Amazon Dolphin, Tucuxis tend to jump out of the water.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Amazon manitees are often seen in the Cuyabeno Lake

The Amazonian Manatee, Trichechus inunguis, is a species of manatee that lives in the freshwaters rivers and lakes of the Amazon basin and supposedly never leaves for the sea. It is found in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Venezuela. It is closely related to the West Indian Manatee, that also ventures up the Amazon River, but never as deeply inland as the Amazonian Manatee. They are regular visitors of Cuyabeno.

 

Bats

With so many insects to feast on, it is obvious that there are lots of bats in the Cuyabeno Nature Reserve:

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Bats are very common animals of the Amazon jungle25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Amazon jungle bat25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Hairy bat in the jungle25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Bats may have ugly faces in the Amazon Jungle

There are numerous species of bats in the jungle. Of course, at night you can see them fly in great numbers in the sky. But in daytime too, you can see quite a few of them. Some species hang from low braches above the water, and when you pass by them, they may flya off their resting places and you get to see them from quite nearby. These pictures have been taken by biologists during a bat field study.

 

BIRDS

More than 1650 species of birds have been recorded for Ecuador, making it the most bird diverse country in the world by size.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Scarlet Macaw, Ara macao, in the Amazon Jungle25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Brown Pelicans at the Pacific coast.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Kelp Gull at the Pacific coast.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Chestnut-fronted Macaw of the lowland forests.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Snowy Egrets breed in the mangroves.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Blue and Yellow Macaw of the swamps of the Amazon region.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Blue-footed Boobies breed on Galapagos and Isla de la Plata.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Cock of the Rock are birds of the Andes flanks.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Common Potoo is a member of the night swallow family25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Hoatzins are very common at the Cuyabeno Lake.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Mealy Parrot in Cuyabeno.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Muscovy Duck, female.

 

REPTILES

Many reptiles also like a to snatch up insects, although some of them also like other animals of Ecuador for dinner, such as amphibians, birds and even peccaries and deer, as is the case of anacondas and Black Caiman:

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Fresh water turtles.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Striped Sharpnose Snake.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Schneider's Dwarf Caiman is one of the 3 species in Cuyabeno.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Green Iguana male at a rock in Guayaquil.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Turnip Tailed Gecko in Cuyabeno.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: A Green Turtle hatchling taking off to the sea.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Yellow-footed Tortoises are the only land tortoise of Ecuador's Amazon region.

 

AMPHIBIANS

Other groups of the animal kingdom also love taking it out on insects: the Amphibians:

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Tree frogs in the Amazon Jungle25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: big toad in the jungle of the Amazon.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Polka Dot Tree Frog on a leaf.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Some animals are very difficult to find in the Amazon Jungle25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Map Tree Frog staring at you.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: A giant toad of the jungle.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Dendropsophus sarayacuensis tree frog in Cuyabeno.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Cochrannella puyoensis.

 

Frogs and toads are extremely common in the Amazon Jungle as well as along the Andes flanks. In fact, most of the nightly concerts are sung by amphibians! Unless you know how and where to look for them, you rarely see them though. Some of those noisy critters are no more than one or two centimeters and they have perfect hiding colors. As soon as they notice you, they keep quiet, but the moment you are gone, they resume their song.

 

FISHES

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Sucker Mouth Catfish.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Peacock Bass of the Amazon.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Bristle-nose Catfish, Amazon.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Preñdadilla of the Andes.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Indians fishing the Amazon in Ecuador.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Amazon Piranha mouth with teath caught when visiting the Amazon in Ecuador.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Paiche, the Amazon's prehistoric mega fish.

While fishing is no longer allowed in the parks, other than by the Indians for personal use, there are a great number of fishes, including the infamous pirañas, as well as the gigantic Paiches and Amazon Catfish. The coastal ichteofauna is far less diverse and to some extent related to the marine ichteofauna.

 

ARTHROPODS

Of course the jungle is home to a fabulous variety of the most wonderful insects, big and small: colorful moths and butterflies, odd shaped beetles, dragonflies, etc. etc. After more than two decades in the reserve, we learned that for insects, every night is different. Some nights great numbers of very different species are attracted by lights, while other nights insects abound, but most of them only belonging to only a few species. 

 

During nightly excursions in the Amazon, the guides go looking for nocturnal insects on the ground. The Amazon has some really weird looking critters that you only can see at night with flashlights.

 

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Moth with tranparent wings in the Jungle25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Moths come at night to the Cuyabeno Lodge25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Yellow moth in the Jungle25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Hummingbird Moth at the tropical Jungle

Some evenings, insects come in great variety, while other evenings, only a few different species fly about. Particularly the moths that come after the lights of the lodge, are of great beauty and if you are lucky, you may see a few of these species of the "hummingbirds" of the insect world show off their incredibly rapid wing beats.

 

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Monster Caterpillar in the rainforest25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Social caterpillars25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Very hairy caterpillar25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Striped Caterpillar

Caterpillars appear in amazing shapes and colors and are always a thankful subject for photographers.

 

Of course their adult life forms are also well-represented. Many diurnal butterflies like to gather at specific places, supposedly to nourish themselves with minerals.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Yellow butterflies at salt lick along a river bank.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Morphs are common in the Amazon jungle.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Owl butterflies are difficult to spot.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Butterfly in the Amazon Jungle

 

Spiders and other Arthropods

And then of course there are spiders, in many sizes and colors:

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: A tarantella spider25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Blue Crabs are caught in Churute Mangrove Reserve.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Spider web.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Mangrove Root Crab hiding between the roots.

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Amazon fresh water crab.25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: Amazon whip spider Amblypygi are clawed spiders without scorpion tail or poison

At a distance of 3000 km from the sea, there are fresh water crabs in the Amazon. Are they there from ancient days when the Amazon was under the Atlantic Ocean, or did they adapt to fresh water and migrated upstream?

Whip spiders are closest related to the spiders, but are still quite different. They have no silk glands and are different from scorpions by lacking a poisonous tail. They are totally harmless to people.

 

25 most spectacular animals of Ecuador: The Andean Condor is the largest bird of South America.The Andean Condor is the largest flying bird in the world.

Click for a complete list of the birds of Ecuador.

 

For detailed information on climate and weather conditions read: climate of Cuenca, Ecuador; climate Galapagos Islands in Ecuador; climate in the Amazon of Ecuador and climate of Ecuador. If you want to learn more about the country, read Ecuador Facts. Click here to find out how you can get to see many of these fantastic wild animals on the list Ecuador, yourself.

 

 

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