Venezuela is a federal presidential nation found in the northern region of the South American continent. It is officially known as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Caracas is both the capital and the largest city in the country. The official language is Spanish. The Mestizo is the predominant ethnic group, making up 51.6% of the total population. The country has been termed as one of the most corrupt in the world and also very hostile towards foreigners. The country lies in the areas which were initially covered by moist broad-leaf forests. There is a diverse collection of animals in Venezuela with the majority of them being endemic. In this article, I will discuss some of the endangered species of mammals in the country.
Brown Spider Monkey
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the Brown Spider Monkey as critically endangered. As the name suggests, the monkey is brown. It is mostly found in the Northwestern parts of Venezuela and, in some cases, neighboring Colombia. The forelimbs are slightly longer than the hind ones, and they have a long thin tail measuring up to 30 inches and hairless at the tip. The full body length excluding the tail is about 20 inches while their weight is about 20 pounds. The monkeys spend most of their lives in high trees and only descend to eat soil and drink water. They are mostly found in groups and travel by swinging on tree branches rather than walking on fours like many other primates. They are herbivores and frugivores and mainly use their senses of sight, taste, smell, and touch to find food. The average lifespan of the monkeys is 30 years but is higher for the monkeys in captivity.
The Pacarana is a slow moving large rodent weighing around 33 pounds and measuring 31 inches in length. The name pacarana is translated to mean "false Paca" due to the similarity of the Pacarana and the Paca. However, they do not belong to the same family. The rodent is nocturnal and is endemic to the tropical forests of the western Amazon River basin and the slopes of Andes Mountains. They are always found in family groups of four. The IUCN has classified the species as threatened.
Venezuelan Fsh-Eating Rat
The Venezuelan fish-eating rat is rodent species endemic to Guyana and Venezuela. The IUCN has listed it as vulnerable in their Red List of Threatened Species due to the declines in population sizes. The rat is semi-aquatic and feeds on aquatic invertebrates. It is mostly found in clear streams. The population is declining, and this has been attributed to the pollution of streams as well deforestation.
The Giant otter is a social carnivorous mammal which is found in South America. It lives in a group which is centered on a dominant breeding pair. They are territorial and diurnal although they have been observed to be very peaceful. It is the largest member of the Mustelid Family with a length of up to 5.6 feet from head to tail and weighing up to 70 pounds. There is evidence showing the existence of larger males in the past, but they are extinct due to excessive hunting. Reproduction takes place on river banks on dry seasons starting from July. There is role sharing and all members of the group including the nonproductive adults involved in catching fish for the young pups. They are apex predators and feed on fish.
Threats to the Mammals of Venezuela
Habitat loss is the leading threat to the existence of the Brown spider monkey and many of Venezuela's other native mammals. 98% of their natural habitats having been cleared for agricultural and industrial purposes. The Pacarana is threatened by habitat losses and hunting of it by humans for meat. Human activities such as deforestation and pollution is the leading threat to many of the mammals found in Venezuela