The 25 Most Common Native Animals of Peru

David Holt
The 25 Most Common Native Animals of Peru

Between the Native animals of Peru more representative can be found various species of endemic mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. Among them the condor of the Andes, the llama, the alpaca, the guanaco, among others..

Although there is a great variety of species, the most important native animals of Peru are the South American camelids. Within this family of mammals, are the llamas and alpacas.

Peru has three distinctive regions: the coastal desert, the Andes mountain range, and the Amazon rainforest. Each of these regions has a wide range of climates and temperatures, which makes it possible for a diverse fauna to be present within its territory..

The Peruvian coast is located on the Pacific Ocean and its habitat includes sandy beaches and deserts. Marine catfish or black swordfish can be found in the warm waters to the north..

On the other hand, the cold waters of the south are home to the flounder and cheetah fish. Some mammals such as sea lions are common in coastal areas.

In the Peruvian Andes and surrounding areas, it is common to find llamas and alpacas, easily recognizing them by their size. The alpaca is an important supplier of wool for the manufacture of clothing in the Peruvian highlands. Some large birds of prey such as the Condor de los Andes also live in this region..

The Peruvian forest is home to numerous species of reptiles, mammals, fish, and insects. There are hundreds of species that can only be found in the Peruvian Amazon and that are protected within natural reserves (Society, 2015).

Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, with more than 1,730 species of birds and 4,200 species of butterflies, surpassing the set of species in North America and Europe (Peru Wildlife, n.d.). You may also be interested in seeing 20 endangered animals in Peru.

List of the most outstanding native animals of Peru


1- Condor of the Andes

This bird belongs to the carrion bird family of America. It can be seen flying majestically in the Colca and Cotahuasi canyons in the Arequipa province. It is the largest flying bird in the world, with more than 1 meter high and 3.8 meters wingspan, weighing between 11 and 15 kilograms.

During its youth it is brown in color. Once they reach two years of age, their plumage turns black with white feathers that surround their neck and part of the wings. Males have a showy red crest on their heads.

2- Peruvian rupee

Known as the "cock of the rocks" or "Tunki", this bird can be found in the Amazon rainforest, on the eastern side of the Andes at more than 2,500 meters high, on cliffs and near rivers. It is known for being the national bird of Peru and for always being in places that are difficult to access..

It is a medium-sized bird, with a height of approximately 30 cm. Males have bright red or orange plumage, with a prominent fanned crest. The tail and wings of a bird are black. In the case of females, the plumage is brown, which allows them to blend in with the rocks.

3- Humboldt penguin

This bird owes its name to the Humboldt or Peruvian Current, an area in which it lives along the coasts of Peru and Chile. Its main characteristics are its measurements (between 56 and 72 cm in length and 3-5 kg) and its huge peak of almost 10 cm.

It is in a vulnerable state, the population in Peru having declined significantly in recent decades.

4- Peruvian pelican

Pelecanus thagus lives on the coasts of Chile and Peru, where it resides mainly in Piura. It is a bird of enormous dimensions, being able to reach 2.28 m when its wings open. It feeds mainly on fish, which it catches thanks to its unique yellow beak.


5- Peruvian hairless dog

This canine breed is native to Peru and its existence dates back to pre-Inca times. It has been represented by potters from different civilizations whose existence dates back to 300 BC. Today it can be found near the Peruvian coast.

For the Incas, this dog was associated with the nobility. Due to its vast history, the Peruvian Congress declared it a patrimony of the nation in 2001.

6- Vizcacha

This rodent inhabits the Andes and can be seen in the Colca Canyon and Macchu Picchu. Its size is small and it is endemic to Peru, which means that it cannot be found in other regions of the world. Its coat is usually gray and its tail is long with some hairs on the tip..

7- Puma

The cougar is a large feline native to America. It is part of the Andean trilogy of the three worlds (sky, earth and subsoil). It is one of the sacred animals that represents these elements together with the condor and the snake..

An adult cougar has a height from floor to shoulders of 60 to 90 centimeters and a length of 2.4 meters from nose to tail. This feline can weigh between 50 and 100 kilograms, feeding on any animal it can catch (insects, mammals and birds). Rarely lives more than 14 years.

8- Spectacled bear

The spectacled bear or Andean bear lives in the Andean and Amazon rainforest, at an altitude of 500 to 2,700 meters, mainly within the Peruvian territory. It is a medium-sized bear, less than two meters tall.

Its weight can reach 200 kilograms and its fur is black, except around its eyes, where you can see some white lines.

9- Jaguar

The jaguar or otorongo is the largest feline in America, reaching 2.9 meters in length from head to tail and weighing more than 100 kilograms. The jaguar has a behavior similar to that of the tiger, for this reason it enjoys swimming and is a solitary hunter.

The jaguar has the strongest bite of all felines, being able to directly pierce the temporal bone of the skull of any animal or the shell of a large tortoise. It is a hunter of large prey such as deer, tapirs, crocodiles and large snakes, such as the anaconda.

10- Pink Dolphin

Also called the Amazon dolphin, the pink dolphin is the largest river dolphin in the world, reaching 2.5 meters in length and weighing approximately 100 kilograms. At the time of its birth its coloration is gray, but once it grows, its characteristic pinkish tone appears.

11- Guinea pig

The Cavia porcellus It is one of the most widespread rodents in the world due to its link with humans, which it is used for in numerous scientific investigations. Its origin is in the Andes, where it is already believed that it was domesticated by man 2500 years ago. It is characterized because it weighs about 1 kg and can live up to eight years.

12- South American sea lion

Otaria flavescens It lives around the entire coast of the South American continent, but it has very populated settlements in the Pacific at the height of Chile and Peru. This sea lion is brown in color and can weigh 300 kg. Feeds on fish, shellfish, and seabirds such as penguins.

South American camelids

13- Flame

Camelids are mammals that belong to the same family as camels. Among them is the llama, a species that can reach 1.8 meters in height and can weigh up to 200 kilograms.

These animals are usually used as pack animals and their meat is consumed dry in Peru (Cermal-Editions, 2014).

14- Alpaca

The alpaca is smaller than the llama, reaching a meter in height and an approximate weight of 70 kilograms. The fiber in its fur is of high quality and its meat is known to have a lower cholesterol level than any other meat in the world..

Peru is the largest alpaca breeder in the world, in charge of reproducing mainly the huacaya species (Martina Gerken, 2008).

15- Vicuña

Vicuñas can be easily seen northeast of the Nazca desert and north of Arequipa. They are the smallest known camelids, reaching 90 centimeters in height and weighing approximately 40 kilograms. They are easy to recognize by their woolly brown and white fur..

16- Guanaco

The guanaco is a wild camelid that can grow up to 1.1 meters tall. It is similar to the llama, however its fur is dense, short, and messy. It has a brown color with gray stripes and small pointed ears.


17- Anaconda

It is a snake from the constrictor family that can be found in the Peruvian tropical forest. It is the largest snake in the world, reaching 10 meters in length and an approximate weight of 250 kilograms.

It has a dark green color, slightly lighter on the belly and beige and black spots on the sides (Worldatlas, Worldatlas, 2016).

18- Escinco from Peru

The Peruvian skink is a rare reptile species that can only be found in the Peruvian Amazon forest. It is eight centimeters long without counting the tail. It feeds mainly on insects and hides in the ground from potential predators such as raccoons, foxes, cats and dogs..

19- Bocaracá

The Bocaracá snake or eyelash snake can be found in the tropical region of Peru. It can grow to over a meter in length and has powerful fangs and jaws. It has prominent eyelashes that help it navigate through dense jungle foliage near more humid areas..

20- Lima Gecko

The Lima gecko is at high risk of extinction. It is an endemic species in the province of Lima that has been affected in recent years by drastic climate changes. Its natural habitat is coastal deserts (Treasures, n.d.).


21- Piranha

The piranha is a small fish that can be found in the Amazon rainforest. It is normally between 15 and 25 centimeters long. Contrary to popular belief, piranhas rarely attack humans, for this reason it is easy to see the inhabitants of the Amazon rainforest bathing in the river without problems (Worldatlas, Worldatlas, 2017).

22- Striped Bride

The striped bridefish is a species of catfish that can be found in the upper Amazon River. It has an elongated body and its color is reddish brown with stripes. In its natural habitat it can be found behind pieces of wood.

23- Needle Stripe

This species of stingray can be found mainly on the Pacific coast to the south of Peru. Little is known of this species since the last time a report was issued on its holotype was in 1904.

24- Blue Tetra

The blue tetra is a species of characiform fish that can be found in the Amazon River. It is a small species commonly raised in fish tanks. If maximum length reaches 5.5 centimeters.

25- Paiche

Arapaima gigas It is the largest freshwater fish in South America and the second largest in the world after the Belgian sturgeon. It measures on average 3 meters long and can weigh up to 250 kg. In Peru it is easy to locate it in the Madre de Dios River, near the Amazon basin.


  1. Cermal-Editions. (2014). About PeruCERMAL-EDITIONS. Recovered from Typical animals of Peru:
  2. Martina Gerken, E. F. (2008). In E. F. Martina Gerken, South American Camelids Research (pp. 375-376). The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic.
  3. Peru Wildlife. (n.d.). Recovered from Mammals of Peru:
  4. Society, N. G. (2015). National Geographic Kids. Recovered from PERU:
  5. Treasures, L. N. (n.d.). Living National Treasures. Recovered from Peru:
  6. (2016, December 13). Worldatlas. Recovered from Native Reptiles of Peru:
  7. (2017, March 20). Worldatlas. Recovered from Native Fish Species of Peru:

Yet No Comments