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29 Cute Animals That Are Native To Latin America

1. The three-toed sloth Damocean / Getty Images These mammals are so slow that algae grows on them, giving their fur coat a greenish tint that actually acts as camouflage in the trees. They spend almost all their time in trees, from eating to mating to sleeping. Oh, and they snooze for approximately 15 to…

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29 Cute Animals That Are Native To Latin America

1.

The three-toed sloth


Damocean / Getty Images

These mammals are so slow that algae grows on them, giving their fur coat a greenish tint that actually acts as camouflage in the trees. They spend almost all their time in trees, from eating to mating to sleeping. Oh, and they snooze for approximately 15 to 20 hours every day, which is goals, tbh.

2.

The Brazilian tapir (aka the South American tapir)


Artush / Getty Images

Tapirs are an ancient species that have existed for millions of years, although you might have never seen one before! They are most closely related to horses and rhinos. In addition to detecting odors, their mini-trunks can be used as a snorkel when under water and for grabbing leaves and fruits to eat. Baby tapirs always have striped-and-spotted coats (d’awwww) for camouflage.

3.

The margay


Artush / Getty Images

The margay, also known as a tiger cat, is a solitary and nocturnal animal. Not much is known about it other than it lives in dense forests. It looks an awfully lot like an ocelot (also native to Latin America) but has a longer tail and fuller face. Also, it would really prefer if you didn’t call it “kitty”, it is a real wild cat, thank you very much.

4.

The burrowing owl


Stockimages_at / Getty Images

They are the only small owl species to perch on the ground. Rather than fly away, they often run or flatten themselves against the ground when startled. Unlike most other owls, burrowing owls are diurnal, or most active during the day. You’ll know right away when you see one because of their large, cartoonish eyes.

5.

The capybara


Elodie Gaillard / Getty Images

The capybara, aka the chillest animal ever, just gets along with other animals really well. You’ll often see it giving birds a ride on its back, because hey, why not. In case you’re wondering, the capybara is a rodent, closely related to cavies and guinea pigs.

6.

The pigmy marmoset


Gaschwald / Getty Images

It’s one of the smallest monkeys in the world — it can easily fit into a human’s hand and weighs as much as a baseball. But don’t go around trying to scoop one up in your hand — they have really sharp claws (which come in handy for climbing trees)! Unlike like other primate species, they don’t have opposable thumbs.

7.

The guanaco


Encrier / Getty Images

The guanaco is a member of the camel family, just without the humps. Think of them as the wild cousins of the llama and alpaca. FYI, they spit when annoyed…so probably don’t get in a guanaco’s face.

8.

The spectacled bear (aka the Andean bear)


Chameleon335 / Getty Images

The spectacled bear is the only surviving species of bear native to South America. Their name comes from the light colored fur that encircle their eyes, which gives them the appearance of wearing glasses (they’re bears of culture, you see). Because they live in a tropical climate, they don’t hibernate like other bears.

9.

The agouti


Yana_n / Getty Images

The agouti is a rodent that looks like large guinea pig with a teeny, tiny lil’ tail. Its oily hair is more slicked back than Danny Zuko’s from Grease, and it’s one of the only animals that can crack open the hard outer shell of a Brazil nut.

10.

The Andean flamingo


Smallcoot / Getty Images

The Andean flamingo is not like other flamingos, it’s a cool flamingo (although, arguably all flamingos are pretty cool). It has a black triangle on its rear that separates it from other species. Sadly, it’s also the rarest species of flamingo, which means it is endangered. In addition to the Andean flamingo, you can also find the Chilean and puna flamingos in Latin America.

11.

The southern tamandua


Pablo_rodriguez_merkel / Getty Images

Here’s how I’ll describe the tamandua — looks like a very cute anteater, eats like an anteater, but unlike an anteater, it lives in trees. Tamanduas are actually super awkward on the ground — they have to walk on the outside of their feet to avoid hurting themselves with their own claws. (I imagine every tamandua will sob at the movie Edward Scissorhands.) Fun fact: the underside of their tails is fur-less; this allows them to grip tree branches more securely as they move through the trees.

12.

The golden lion tamarin


Enjoylife2 / Getty Images

Also called the golden marmoset, these smol but majestic monkeys look like miniature lions with their thick manes. Golden lion tamarins are very family oriented — males help to raise their offspring, and often carry the babies on their backs in between feedings (D’AWWWWW). Fun fact: tamarin young are usually twins. Not so fun fact: golden lion tamarins were critically endangered — in the 1970s, there were as few as 200 golden lion tamarins in the wild. Thanks to conservation efforts, they were upgraded from critically endangered to endangered in 2003.

13.

The toco toucan


Kynny / Getty Images

When you think of a well-known bird, the toco toucan definitely fits the bill (lol, please don’t hate me). Even if you’ve never seen a toucan IRL, you’ve definitely spotted one on a box of Fruit Loops. People are still not sure why toucans have such large and colorful bills, but it’s certainly useful for reaching food. These birds are smart, playful, and just a darn joy to look at.

14.

The southern three-banded armadillo


Ivan Kuzmin / Getty Images

This is the only species of armadillo that can curl up into a complete ball (which protects them from predators and thorny vegetation). I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy was the inspiration behind the Pokemon Sandshrew.

15.

The South American sea lion


Makingsauce / Getty Images

There’s only one word to describe South American sea lions — thicc. They have big necks and heads as well as an upturned nose. The males are approximately nine feet long and weigh close to 800 pounds. They’re especially cute when taking a leisurely nap.

16.

The Patagonian mara


Foto4440 / Getty Images

At first glance, you might mistake one of these herbivorous rodents for a jackrabbit. But this four-legged friend actually goes by Patagonian mara, Patagonian cavy, Patagonian hare, or dillaby. Patagonia maras travel in mated pairs, so you could say they’re never lonely.

17.

The macaw


redchanka / Getty Images

Macaws are giant, colorful members of the parrot family (pictured above is the hyacinth macaw, the largest of all parrots, with a wingspan of more than four feet). They’re incredibly smart and certain species can mimic human speech. These romantic birds actually mate for life. They not only breed with, but also share food with their mates and enjoy mutual grooming. And that’s all you can really ask for in an S.O.!

18.

The tapeti (aka the Brazilian cottontail)


Leomercon / Getty Images

The tapeti is a small- to medium-sized rabbit that lives anywhere between southern Mexico to northern Argentina. There’s not much more to say about them other than they’re freakin’ adorable.

19.

The llama


Uwe-bergwitz / Getty Images

If you’ve been in love with llamas since The Emperor’s New Groove, you’re not alone. This domesticated camelid doesn’t have humps, but it does have a lot of attitude (as you can see from the picture above). While normally it’s chill with being a pack animal, helping to move heavy loads across long distances, if you overload a llama, it’ll simply refuse to move. They’ll lie down on the ground and might spit, hiss, or even kick at their owners until their burden is lessened. ?

20.

The kinkajou


Kevin Wells / Getty Images

Kinkajous look nothing like Winnie the Pooh but it’s nicknamed honey bear because — you guessed it — it loves honey. This cutie is not related to bears or monkeys — it’s actually related to the raccoon (betcha didn’t see that plot twist coming). In Belize, kinkajous are called “night walkers” because they’re nocturnal.

21.

The red brocket


Flavio Vallenari / Getty Images

“Bambi, is that you?” — You, when you see a red brocket. In fact, red brockets live in South America, ranging from southern Mexico to northern Argentina (whereas Bambi is probably from Canada). They’re a very elusive animal so we don’t have a lot of information about them, but one thing’s for sure — they’re extremely cute!

22.

The Panamanian golden frog


Poetrygirl128 / Getty Images

Its signature golden hue is essentially telling predators, “Don’t come at me, I’m VERY poisonous!!!” They’re the most toxic Atelopus species — the skin of a single individual contains enough toxin to kill 1,200 mice. These attractive (but deadly) frogs get their toxins from the insects they eat in the wild. Therefore, as tempting as it is to pet them, definitely don’t do it. Sadly, they are critically endangered so the chances of even finding one in the wild is very slim.

23.

The peccary


Juan_algar / Getty Images

If you were to call a peccary a pig, I imagine it’d be quite upset with you. That’s because they’re an entirely different species. The peccary would also like you to know that it is quite smart. Experts say their intelligence can be compared with that of a dog, dolphin, or elephant.

24.

The blue-footed booby


USO / Getty Images

I firmly believe Happy Feet should have starred blue-footed boobies instead of penguins. Their stunning blue feet is even used in mating rituals, where male birds essentially show off their feet in a dance. The bluer the feet, the more attractive the mate.

25.

The alpaca


Guenterguni / Getty Images

These domesticated relatives of the wild vicuna are covered in an incredibly soft fleece that is virtually free of guard hair and occurs in a variety of colors. That’s why alpaca hair is a popular material for high-end apparel — it’s extremely fine and luxurious. Alpacas are gentle souls — they’re way less likely to spit in your face compared to guanacos or llamas.

26.

The coati


Filippo Carlot / Getty Images

The coati looks a bit like a raccoon and is, in fact, related to the raccoon. Unlike its nocturnal relative, the coati enjoys its fun in the sun. It loves to eat so you’ll probably find it snacking on some insects, fruit, rodents, lizards, or small snakes.

27.

The long-tailed chinchilla


Janugio / Getty Images

Long-tailed chinchillas are the softest lil’ fur balls you’ll ever see. In fact, their fur is so dense that up to 60 hairs can grow out of one follicle. This thick coat keeps them warm in the high elevations of the Andes. Unfortunately, wild chinchillas are now endangered due to hunting — they are sought after for their fur pelts. They also suffer from extreme habitat loss and habitat quality reduction.

28.

The axolotl (aka Mexican walking fish)


Argument / Getty Images

The axolotl is a very special salamander that retains its larval features throughout its adult life (so it vaguely resembles a tadpole). You could say it literally has a baby face! Unlike other salamanders, they live permanently under water. In *very* rare instances, an axolotl will reach full maturity and go on land. Unfortunately, axolotls are critically endangered and can only be found in Lake Xochimilco near Mexico City.

29.

The spider monkey


Webguzs / Getty Images

These lanky and agile monkeys don’t have thumbs, but they do have long arms, fingers, and tails to help them swing easily from tree to tree. You’ll often find them dangling off branches, holding on only with their tails (which gives them a spider-like appearance).

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DOW JONES, A NEWS CORP COMPANY

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