What Type Of Animals Live In Belize?
The Most Unusual, Beautiful Animals in Belize
If you’re an animal lover, you can’t miss a trip to Belize. This small, ecologically diverse country is home to some of the most captivating animals on earth. Here are the furred and feathered beasts you should try to see in Belize.
Jaguars, Ocelots and Other Big Cats
Belize is home to all five of Central America’s big cats including the rare, elusive jaguar. The jaguar was sacred to the ancient Maya who once populated Belize, and the tradition continues today. Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary is the world’s first jaguar sanctuary, and it’s a wonderful place to see all types of wildlife. You can camp in the sanctuary or spend a day touring the scenic, well-marked trails.
You can also mingle with jaguars at the Belize Zoo, which is a sanctuary for abused, abandoned and orphaned wildlife.
Scarlet Macaws, Toucans and Other Colorful Birds
Belize has become a must-see destination for birders. Some birders have recorded thousands of bird sightings after just a few days in Belize. In addition to many dedicated sanctuaries, there are a number of small, locally run conservation projects in Belize.
One example is Red Bank Village in the Toledo District, where scarlet macaws have found a safe haven from poachers. In return for protecting the macaws, the village benefits from eco-tourism. You can visit the birds’ favorite nesting and feeding sites along the river. You can also see scarlet macaws in Chiquibul National Park.
The keel-billed toucan is the national bird of Belize. You can see this large, brilliantly colored and intelligent bird in all the forests of Belize.
Howler Monkeys give their name to Monkey River and Monkey River Village. They’re another species that has benefited from community conservation efforts. You can see these highly vocal, playful critters swinging through the trees along the Monkey River. You can see them up close at the Community Baboon Sanctuary in Bermudian Landing.
Baird’s Tapir or Mountain Tapir
The mountain tapir, also known as the mountain cow or Baird’s tapir, is an amazing conservation success story. Decades ago, people reviled the odd-looking, wild ruminant. Over time, however, Belizeans came to appreciate the quirky charm of this beast so much that they named it their national mammal.
Some conservationists say the turnaround was caused by outreach efforts like those for April the Tapir. A longtime resident of the Belize Zoo, April was a wonderful ambassador for her species. Today, Belizeans cherish their mountain cows. The aptly named Tapir Mountain Nature Preserve is a good place to see them.
Gibnut or Royal Rat
The gibnut, or paca, is a nocturnal forest rodent whose meat is considered a delicacy. For this reason, the paca has been hunted to extinction in some parts of Central and South America, but it thrives in Belize. You can see gibnuts at any of Belize’s wildlife sanctuaries or preserves.
Get Wild in Belize
Belize has made a strong commitment to preserving its many beautiful, unique animals. You’re certain to have a wild time when you visit.