Nicaragua Plants & Animals
The wonderful and abundant animals that live in Nicaragua are a strong draw for conservationists, bird-watchers and eco travelers. Most of these animals can be found in wildlife reserves encompassing large areas of rainforests, lakes, mountains, and volcanoes throughout the country. The Bosawás forest, for example, covers 1.8 million acres and is the second-largest rainforest in the Americas after the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil and is extremely rich in Biodiversity.
Perhaps the creature that Nicaragua is best known for is the sea turtle. Each year thousands of endangered Loggerhead or Olive Ridley sea turtles can be observed making the journey from the sea to the beach—where they spend one full night digging and laying their eggs—and back to the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean once again. Weeks later, observers can watch as thousands of turtle eggs hatch simultaneously along hundreds of miles of Pacific beach. Tiny, fragile turtle hatchlings can then be seen pouring out of the sand towards the same waters their mothers emerged from. Extensive efforts are being made by international conservation organizations to preserve the dwindling numbers as much as possible at places such as La Flor Wildlife Reserve.
Other endangered animals include the freshwater Nicaragua bull shark found in Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River (connecting the lake to the Caribbean Sea). Population levels of this shark have declined and one rarely catches a glimpse of the rare shark. To counter the troubling downward population trend, Nicaragua has recently banned freshwater fishing of the Nicaragua shark and sawfish.
The white-faced Capuchin Monkey has also been classified as endangered. The healthiest Capuchin Monkey troops in Central America can be found on Ometepe, the largest lake island in the world. The extremely low rate of development on the island has kept circumstances favorable for most of the animal species living there.
The vast majority of animal species in Nicaragua enjoy a comfortable existence in wide areas of unspoiled habitat. There are more than 700 species of birds in the great lakes region of Nicaragua alone. Some of those birds, such as the blue-backed parrot and the scarlet macaw live there permanently while others only come down to escape the colder climates from up north. Birds can be found throughout all Nicaragua. Lacking heavy industry, even the capital city Managua offers a breeding place for birds. With its many trees you can spot beautiful birds in the middle of the city any time of day. The countryside, however, does offer even better birding sites. Forests, rivers, marshland and rocky volcano slopes can be filled with spectacular birds. Bird watchers can enjoy easy access to several important wildlife reserves abundant with birds of so many brilliant colors, shapes and sizes.