Being the animal aficionado that I am, I have come to realize that the diversity of animals in Colombia is just as great as the diversity of food, accents, landscapes and regional apparel. Today, I am going to start the first in a series of posts about traditional and typical animals in different regions of Colombia. Today’s post will focus on some of the animals commonly see on the Caribbean Coast.
Perhaps the animal that most signifies the Caribbean Coast for me is the iguana. It is an animal that you are bound to come across if you are spending time on the Caribbean Coast. In Barranquilla, you will see iguanas crossing the street in areas with lots of trees, basking in the sun on sidewalks, or just hanging out in the trees waiting on ripe mangos to fall. One of the best places to observe wild beautiful iguanas in their natural habitat is in la Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino in Santa Marta. While la Quinta is a historical site in the city, it is also home to a host of wild iguanas who have a particularly impressive size and colouring. You can see them perched on all the limbs of the massive trees that are spread out across the area.
Cotton Top Tamarin
This very small monkey is only found along the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. Getting its name from the white patch of fur on it head, the Cotton Top Tamarin monkey is endanger of extinction, and there are many conservation movements popping up both within and outside of Colombia to try and save this unique monkey. Some of the places the Cotton Top Tamarin is found are Parque Tayrona, outside Santa Marta, and Parque Nacional Paramillio in the department of Antioquia.
I first realized Giant Anteaters inhabited the Caribbean Coast of Colombia when I noticed the Giant Anteater crossing signs (similar to duck and geese crossing signs) that are found along the highway between Barranquilla and Cartagena. Closely related to sloths, the Giant Anteater is found in several parts of Central and South America and, while shy sometimes, is a beautiful animal to observe in its natural habitat. Majestic and elegant, the Giant Anteater can only be observed on the Atlantic and Caribbean Coasts of Colombia, as it has been wiped out from most habitats in the Andes Mountain Range.
An extremely common animal on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia and in North-western South America, the Red-footed Tortoise is a relatively small species of tortoise. Named for its red feet, this tortoise is vulnerable due to its popularity as an exotic pet in many countries. However, in Colombia, it is still possible to observe Red-footed Tortoises in places that are relatively warm or hot for most of the year such as non-forested areas of the Colombian departments of Atlántico, Bolívar, Magdalena, and la Guajira.
Happy fauna sighting,
Paige M Poole