From the Atacama desert in the far north to Antarctica in the deep south: Chile´s nature is not only composed by a varied vegetation, but also by a wide range of endemic animal species. When wandering through the national parks, you might be lucky to stumble upon one of these animals, native to the country.
There are many endemic animals in Chile, species that draw attention among tourists, nature lovers and locals. But what does endemic exactly mean? The term is used to define species that are only located in a determined geographic region. In this case, Chile’s landscapes, varying from mountain ranges to coastlines and pampas to primeval forest. The variety of the indigenous species found in the numerous national parks around Chile attract every year millions of tourists, looking for some of the species listed here:
The pudú is considered the smallest deer in the world. It´s size is under the 40 centimeters, and its weight is around 19 and 26 pounds. The habitat of this herbivorous little animal comprises the Chilean temperate rainforest. They are solitary animals, but sometimes they roam in groups of three at much.
The zorrito de Darwin was discovered in 1834 by naturalist Charles Darwin. This fox can be found on Chiloé, the biggest island of Chile found in the Los Lagos region. It has a brown fur, and a characteristic reddish stripe over its tip-shaped ears. Its long snout is white, and it is the smallest of the Chilean foxes. The Zorrito de Darwin sizes around 80 centimeters, and weighs about 6 pounds. Its natural habitat is the forst of Chiloé, and the mountains found on the island.
The Chilean woodstar
This tiny bird is one of the smallest in the world, and the tiniest in Chile. Even smaller than most of the butterflies with whom it shares its habitat, the Chilean woodstar weighs barely 0.004 pounds. This particular bird lives in the northern valleys of Chile, and it has been classified as an endangered species, as its number has dramatically decreased.
The Chile Darwin´s frog
The Chile Darwin´s frog is the biggest amphibian in Chile, endemic to the central zone of the country (from Coquimbo to Puerto Montt). Its size is between 8 and 20 centimeters, and his weight can reach up to 6.6 pounds. During the first stage of its life, the Chilean frog is herbivorous, but once it’s grew up, it starts eating insects and little crustaceans. The water pollution has threatened this species with extinction.
Juan Fernández Tit-tyrant
Also known as Torito, this little bird is endemic to the Island Robinson Crusoe, in the Archipelago Juan Fernández. It is grey, with on its chest white and black lines. This bird lives in forestal areas, and is endangered due to the loss of its habitat, produced by the forest fires and the overgrazing in the area.
The Sapo Falso or Sapo Venusto is a colorful amphibian from Chile. It has a beautiful purple color, with shiny orange spots, and lives in the mountain ranges of Los Andes between the VII and the VIII region. A special feature of this frog, is the suction cup that it has in the snout, which allows it to stick to the rocks so the water current doesn’t drag it away.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.