From the harsh deserts of northern Mexico to the rocky mountains and the humid jungle of the south, Mexico has a climate that houses all kinds of varied species. While many of the native animals of Mexico are under threat of extinction, there are also plenty that continue to thrive. Here’s a list of the Top 10 Animals you must see during your trip to Mexico.
1. Sea Turtles
Ten of the eleven species of sea turtles that live in the world’s oceans come to Mexico each year in the summer months to lay their eggs. Watching the sea turtles crawl onto the beach to lay their eggs is a sight you’ll never forget. The leatherback sea turtle is considered to be the star of all the turtles in Mexico, as they can grow up to 2 meters (6.5ft) long and live for up to 100 years.
The best place to witness this turtle lay its eggs every day is in Colola, a beach located in Michoacan. Turtles also come to lay their eggs on the beaches between Jalisco and Chiapas and between Quintana Roo and Tamaulipas. It is guaranteed to be a moving experience that you will surely never forget.
Another way to observe the sea turtles is by swimming with them! You can book scuba diving and snorkeling tours, as well as watch the baby turtles on the beach, on TheBesty app. Download it on the AppStore or Google Play.
2. Spider Monkey
Spider monkeys are creatures with disproportionately long limbs and long prehensile tails, making them one of the largest New World monkeys and giving rise to their common name. They are native to many regions of Mexico that boast tropical rainforest and woodland. You’re quite likely to catch a glimpse of these adorable animals in the southern stretch of Mexico, from Chiapas to the Yucatán Peninsula, and as they tend to hang out in groups, they’re fairly easy to spot!
The ocelot is a graceful but elusive big cat that loves to sleep in trees during the day and come out to catch its prey at night. The ocelot looks similar to a jaguar, given that they have many of the same features, but is a lot smaller, measuring between 55 and 100 centimeters. Given that they were formerly in danger of extinction, the hunting of ocelots is prohibited throughout Mexico, and they are now much more present in the south of the country, as well as throughout northern South America. Some of the best locations to spot them in Mexico are in Veracruz, Quintana Roo, Yucatán or Tabasco.
Iguanas are native to the tropical areas of Mexico, so if you’re planning on going to Mexico for its incredible beaches, then you’re likely to come across one. The type of iguana most commonly found in Mexico is the Mexican Spiny-Tailed Iguana, also known as the Black Iguana. It is considered the fastest lizard on Earth, being able to reach an impressive speed of 35 km/h (22 mph). A couple of places you are guaranteed to see them are Sandos Cancun, Sandos Caracol, and Sandos Playacar.
The coati is from the same family as raccoons, they are a cute-looking animal with a long nose, distinctive markings, and a very long fluffy tail. They like to live in large groups of 5 to 20 individuals, almost always composed of females and young males. So if you see one, they will likely be followed by a dozen more. Although they are still found in large numbers all over Mexico, and your chance of seeing one is quite high, coatis are threatened by unregulated hunting and the destruction of their natural habitat.
6. Whale Shark
Whale sharks are the largest fish species in the world, weighing up to 12m (40ft) and weighing up to 21tons (47,000lb). You can find them in the calm waters of Holbox (Yucatan) and Isla Contoy (close to Cancun), and even swim alongside them! The best time of the year to see them is from June to August, and although it will be a once in a lifetime experience, note that you’ll be sharing your space with many other boats filled with tourists!
The United States is not the only place where you can find this magnificent and strong animal. Although there aren’t as many as there used to be, you can still see them in the northwest of Chihuahua, near Janos, as well as in Coahuila (Sierra de Arteaga) and Durango. The bison is the largest surviving terrestrial animal in North America, weighing approximately 900kg (2,000lbs).
8. Black Bear
Black Bears are very common creatures all over North America, and Mexico is no exception. In fact, in some parts of Mexico, you don’t even have to go searching for them, as they like to come close to civilization. That is the case in Monterrey, located in the northeast of Mexico. There, black bears like to come down from the urban park and reserve, Chipinque, to drink water during the hot summers. In the Chipinque park, you can also a hike or bike around the park with them.
The cacomistle, sometimes written cacomiztle or cacomixtle, is a native Mexican mammal that is similar in appearance to a monkey, cat and a raccoon all at the same time! These animals are most frequently spotted in the southeastern jungles but have also been seen in areas just south of Mexico City. They’re nocturnal and love to hang out in trees, jumping from branch to branch like a monkey.
10. White Shark
Australia and South Africa are famous for their cage-diving experiences with white sharks but travel to Isla Guadalupe located in the coast of Ensenada (Baja California), and you’ll get and even better sighting of the animal than any where else. The best season for cage-diving is January to June.
If you’re an animal lover, Mexico is definitely the right place to be, as it is home to incredible wildlife and a wide array of different animals. You’ll never run out of places to visit, sights to see and animal species to spot, so get booking and prepare to be blown away by the beauty of Mexico and it’s incredible animal kingdom.