Ecuadorian Wildlife Overview
Below is an overview of some of the remarkable wildlife found in Ecuador. Although not an all inclusive list, we’ll include lots from Land, Sea and Air you won’t want to miss. And grabbing a Gringo Taxi will help you get there. We can’t promise you’ll see anything specific on your way to the hotel or Airport, but here are some of the potentially amazing things to see in Ecuador.
The Culpeo Zorro in known by a variety of names such as, Andean Zorro, Andean Fox, Paramo Wolf, Andean Wolf, and Culpeo Fox.
The word Culpeo was considered to be a “True Dog”. Basically this is a Dog Breed that is closely related to Wolves or Jackals moreso than to the Fox family. While the word Zorro translates to Fox, as just mentioned this is not a real Fox.
The range of the Culpeo zorro can vary from sea level along the western coast to elevations exceeding 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) in the high Andes. At 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) and above they thrive. Making the Cotopaxi Volcano an ideal location for them. Here’s a list of Countires you can spot them in
The Andean jaguars are considered a more rare and unique adaptation to the local environment, throughout their evolution they have managed to thrive in the diverse landscapes of the Andes, including areas around the Cotopaxi volcano.
These big cats are mainly found in dense tropical forests, making their presence at high-altitude around the Cotopaxi Volcano an unexpected and truely fascinating find.
Often found with a darker coloration than their lowland counterparts. The darker coloration helps them absorb more sunlight at higher altitude. Unfortunately spotting a jaguar in the Cotopaxi region is rare, but should you, it will be a thrilling experience.
Poison Dart Frogs
Poison dart frogs can be found on the western Andean slopes. Best estimates say there are at least 30 different species within the country.
We’re talking frogs! I know! Here’s how to spot them. They are known for their striking and vivid colors, from bright reds, to blues, and yellows. These colors sever as a warning to predators.
The primary use of their toxic secretions is to poison the tips of blowdarts for hunting by the indigenous people of Ecuador. Not all of the species are equally toxic, and many often lose their toxicity in captivity as their diet changes.
Other Wonders You May Spot
Other wonders include Harpy Eagles, which reign supreme in the jungle canopy, and are among the largest and most majestic eagles worldwide.
Then there are the playful and social Giant River Otters
True Andean Treasures
Each of The Andean spectacled bear is easily distinguishable by the unique facial markings. The bears name comes from the markings that often resemble eyeglasses or “spectacles”.
Andean spectacled bears are relatively small compared to other bear species. They are also the only native bear found in South America, and specially adapted to high-altitude environments from Venezuela in the north to Bolivia in the south.
Not to worry though, these bears are mainly nocturnal and are primarily herbivorous, with a diet consisting mainly of plant materials. And oddly enough you may spot one in a tree. These bears have an oustanding ability to climb them looking for food or to escape danger.
With a wingspan of 10-12 feet, their winspan is the largest of any known, currently living land bird.
These are also the Peruvian National bird. Found in parts of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.
Unfortunately the Andean condor is classified as “Near Threatened” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Spotting one in the wild shoud be considered a moment to remember. The Bird is often considered a symbol of power, freedom, and endurance.
Other Ecuadorian Marvels
The list can go on and on. And while some of the following not everyone will see, we felt it important to share what those people would be missing.
Examples would be the Galápagos Giant Tortoises, Blue-Footed Boobies, Marine Iguanas. That’s right Marine Iguanas, they dive to feed on algae.
Other’s on the list include Humpback Whales, Green Sea Turtles, Blue-Footed Pelicans and even Glass Frogs.