Andes Mountains animals are well-adapted to the region that they call home. This region is one of the longest and highest mountain ranges on the planet, and it features a wide variety of ecosystems. Thanks to the diversity of the terrain, numerous animal species have been able to carve out their own niches over time, and they include approximately 600 different species of mammals alone.
Animals in the Andes Mountains
More than 600 species of reptiles also call the Andes home, and the bird species total more than 1,500. The Andes region is the world’s most important for amphibians, so they are in good supply as well, and nearly 400 species of fish populate the regional waters.
Some Andes Mountains animals have becomes symbols of the high-altitude region that they call home, which is among the most interesting facts about the Andes as well. These animals include the alpaca. Often used as pack animals, alpaca have provided Andes Mountains residents with both fur and meat for centuries on end, and they are essentially ubiquitous Andes Mountains creatures. You can even expect to spot one or more in one of the Andean cities, such as Cuzco. Other camelids also call the Andes Mountains home, and they closely resemble the alpaca. These other camelid species include llama, vicuna, and guanaco.
The Andean Condor is arguably the other animal species that is most often associated with the Andes Mountains. In fact, it has become the national symbol of Peru, Ecuador and other Andean nations. It is hard to miss these large birds when they fly by. They are the largest birds of their kind in the entire Western Hemisphere and can have a wingspan of up to ten and a half feet! Open grassland areas and alpine zones that reach as high as 16,000 feet are the preferred territories for these avian wonders.
As for the many other animal species that inhabit the Andes Mountains region, they include chinchillas, foxes, cougars, mountain tapirs and spectacled bears (a.k.a Andean bears). Where visitors decide to go in the region has a lot to do with the creatures that they can expect to see. Yellow-tailed woolly monkeys are only found in the Peruvian Andes, for example, and the Titicaca water frog is only found in Bolivia’s Lake Titicaca, as well as the rivers that flow out of this highest commercially navigable lake on the planet.
Top image: beckstei (flickr)