See the Diversity of Nicaragua's Wildlife

July 23, 2012
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Although the country of Nicaragua may not be as high-profile as its neighbors in Latin America, this land boasts some of the most diverse wildlife on the planet, making it an animal lover's paradise. If you're looking for a country where you can glimpse sea turtles on the beach one minute and spot monkeys in the jungle the next, Nicaragua is the place for you.

As far as land creatures go, it might be a shorter list to talk about what Nicaragua doesn't have to offer. The country is home to a wide variety of felines, most notably the jaguar. However, visitors will have a chance to see cougars, pumas, ocelots, margays and other feline species at the country's numerous nature reserves and wildlife refuges.

A number of unusual mammals also make up Nicaragua's land creatures. Both three-toed and two-toed sloths hang from trees in the jungle, and you'll be able to see both anteaters and armadillos. Of course, the aforementioned monkeys are typically the most popular mammals to see, and there's no shortage of primates throughout the country. Howler monkeys, spider monkeys and white-headed capuchins are just some of the species you can spot.

One somewhat underrated aspect of Nicaragua's ecosystem is its marine life. Nicaragua offers travelers the chance to see some of the rarer aquatic species in the world. One of these is the bull shark, which is also sometimes known as a Nicaraguan shark. Unlike most other members of the shark family, the bull shark can survive and even thrive in freshwater habitats. The country's famous Lake Nicaragua contains these unique creatures, and their appearance in a freshwater environment initially puzzled researchers for quite some time.

Another species you can see in Lake Nicaragua is the sawfish. This animal's name pretty much tells the entire story — its elongated nose has small razors on the side just like a saw. This endangered species is one of the rarest animals in the world, and Nicaragua is one of the only places to see it.

Nicaragua is also a birdwatcher's paradise. In fact, researchers are still discovering new species of birds as the country becomes more developed and the land is explored. There are quite a few exotic birds you'll be able to see, including toucans, parrots and macaws. See if you can spot the Guardabarranco — also known as the turquoise-browed motmot — during a naturalist-guided excursion at the Montibelli Reserve. This colorful bird is the national symbol of the country.

What Nicaraguan creature are you most excited to see on International Expeditions’ Nicaragua tour?