The Yucatan Peninsula is mostly known for its beach resorts, Mayan culture and archeological sites. What is not as commonly discussed is the diverse and colorful fauna of the region.
Located next to the Caribbean Sea, the Yucatan has an endless list marine life. With a countless number of freshwater cenotes, rivers and beautiful oceans unique to the region,it is the perfect place to see a wide range of fish and marine mammals, the two main stars being whale sharks and sea turtles.
There is only one type of whale shark but there are five different types of sea turtles that frequent the white sand beaches of the Yucatan.
Mexico is known for its beautiful butterflies, especially for the thousands of Monarch butterflies that migrate to the country every year. However, the lesser-known and more brilliant in color, Morpho Butterflies are the ones that feed off fruit nectar and dew in the tropical regions of Mexico, making them the most commonly seen in the Mexico Caribbean.
Those that have visited the various Mayan archeological sites that pepper the region have probably seen Iguana. Nevertheless, in the Yucatan, the Iguanas have about eight or more local cousins that like to occasionally make a presence. Two of the most commonly seen are the Green Iguana and the Black Beaded Lizzard Monkeys.
Another creature found in the Yucatan Jungle is the monkey. The Howler Monkey and the Spider Monkey are the two types of monkeys that swing from tree to tree in the region. Three of the most impressive are: The Cozumel Thrasher, The Orange Oriel and the Tucan. There is more to the mammal world than monkeys.
There are other mammals in the area that are as endearing. To name a few: the coatimundi and the kinkajou. The coatimundis, or coati for short, are brown-reddish in color with a long white snout. One of their favorite snacks are grapes but feeding the animals in discouraged as this could disrupt the natural cycle and diet of the animals in the region.
The kinkajou is a nocturnal animal, making it harder to spot. The most unique quality of the kinkajou is its five inch extrudable tongue used for extracting nectar from flowers and collecting fruit.
From jaguars to smooth geckos to brightly colored caterpillars, the list of animal life in the Yucatan Peninsula could go on and on. What is important to remember is that most of these animals are unique to this specific region of Mexico, Central America and sometimes South America, only a small portion of the planet.
Conservation and education of nature and the wildlife habitat is not only important to the region but across the globe.