Wildlife in Nicaragua
As a beautiful diverse and still somewhat undeveloped country, one of Nicaragua’s biggest attractions is its wildlife. Filled with all kinds of interesting animals, birds, fish, insects and plants, an animal lover will find Nicaragua a virtual paradise. Of course, not all these delightful creatures are within easy access to the public. Much of Nicaragua’s wildlife live in wildlife reserves and have made their homes in rainforests, lakes, mountains and volcanoes.
However many nature lovers find that trekking or hiking or, if they are fortunate, game drives are all part of the adventure and are happy to participate in these activities in order to enjoy the wildlife in Nicaragua.
Perhaps the creature that Nicaragua is best known for is the sea turtle. Each year thousands of sea turtles make the journey from the sea to the beach where they spend the entire night digging and nest and laying their eggs before returning to the waters. The event is magical to watch – as are the hatchings of these precious little creatures. Unfortunately the sea turtle has become an endangered animal and so extensive efforts are being made to preserve these lovely creatures as much as possible.
Lake Nicaragua and the River San Juan have the distinction of being home to the only known fresh water sharks in the world. It is surmised that as the bull sharks slowly progressed up the river, they eventually adjusted until they were able to live in the freshwater of the Lake. The best way to see them is by snorkeling, swimming and scuba diving in the lake.
Birdwatchers will rejoice in the wide variety of beautiful birds that have made their home in Nicaragua. The Guardabarranco is the national bird of the country and features striking read and yellow plumage with green tail feathers. The bird feeds on small bugs, lizards and fruit. Nicaragua is also home to the chocoyos green parrot which lives within the Masaya volcano where it nests on rocky ledges. Both birds are well worth spotting. Other birds you can expect to see are macaws, parrots and toucans.
A stealthy hunter and creature of immense beauty, the jaguar is the largest wild cat to be found in Nicaragua. However, it is not the only kind. Nicaragua has several wild cat species, including the puma, the cougar, the jaguarondi, the margay and the ocelot. If you love cats, make sure you do your best to spot all these lovely felines.
If you’re looking for more unusual creatures, you will find several in Nicaragua. The two-toed sloth may not seem to move much at all if you spot them since it takes them six hours to travel just one mile. The Tamandua anteater is roughly four feet long and has massive claws that it uses to dig out termite and ant hills so that it can feed. Another peculiar creature is the Armadillo, which is a shelled creature that lives off insects.
If you are driving around Nicaragua on your own, watch out for road signs that warn against iguanas. These giant lizards often move onto the road at night to warm themselves on the tarmac. They not only create a road hazard, but can be quite vicious if approached on foot. If you do spot one, admire it from the safety of your car rather than getting out to examine it more closely.