Yucatán Wildlife & Marine Life
There is amazing Yucatán wildlife when you get away from the busy tourist areas of Cancun and the Riviera May. One of the best Yucatán wildlife habitats is the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. This reserve is vast; it spreads over more than 1.3 million acres, and embraces diverse landscapes – from lowland rainforests and wetlands, to lagoons, coral reefs, and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second largest barrier reef in the world). In the Yucatán Peninsula there are also birdwatching retreats, bird refuge gardens and private jungle reserves, home to some fascinating creatures. There are great birdwatching eco-adventures, and birdwatching and nature tours, in the Yucatán Peninsula as well as whale watching opportunities.
Yucatán wildlife statistics published by the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve include identification in the reserve of 379 species of bird, 115 species of mammals, 276 species of crustaceans, 318 species of butterflies, 90 species of native bees, 47 species of dragonflies, 310 species of mosquitoes, and hundreds of species of fish.
Creatures you can see in the Yucatán Peninsula include howler monkeys, spider monkeys, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, margay, tapirs, nine-banded armadillos, and crocodiles. There are black spiney-tailed iguanas, geckos, red-eared slider turtles and snakes (coral, blunt-headed tree snake, Smidt’s striped, Blanchard’s milk, red coffee. Also found is the coati, anteater, striped hog nosed skunk, kinkajou and weasel, as well as the white tailed deer and Yucatan yellow bat.
The Yucatán Peninsula is a birding paradise. Birds include the Jabiru stork (rare), pink flamingos, collared aracari and keel-billed toucans. There are some beautiful colour birds – the scarlet tanager, the barn swallow, the Yucatan Amazon parrot, blue crowned motmot, social flycatcher, the male yellow throated euphonia, green jay, and the oriole birds (hooded oriole, yellow backed and orchard oriole in particular). There are also several species of falcons, hummingbirds, owls, warblers and woodpeckers. To find out more about birds in the region generally, go to the Caribbean Birdwatching & Birds page in the Caribbean Leisure Activities section.
Yucatán Marine Life
With the best diving sites located around Isla Mujeres (off Cancun), Cozumel and Tulum, you can expect a great variety of marine life including regular visitors such as rays, turtles and barracuda. Also in the Yucatán waters you will see whale shark, nurse shark, princess parrotfish, trumpetfish, butterflyfish, the seahorse, manatees, four species of marine turtles, splendid toadfish, spiny lobsters, grunts and snappers. In dive sites and reefs off the Riviera Maya you will see angelfish, snappers, electric rays, spiny lobsters, turtles, barracuda, jacks, stingrays, and green and spotted moray eels. This is just the tip of the Yucatán marine life iceberg… there is much more to see underwater than listed here.
Caribbean wildlife books
If Caribbean wildlife in general, as well as Yucatán wildlife, Cancun and the Riviera Maya wildlife, is of interest to you, you will probably enjoy our Caribbean Book Reviews section as we have reviewed several Caribbean wildlife books.
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Images on this Mexico Yucatan Wildlife & Marine Life Cancun page are copyright of www.linda-jackson.co.uk, Rio Secreto (caves), Cancun Visitors & Convention Bureau (underwater sculpture museum)