The Territory, Wild Animals and Plants of Nicaragua

Located in the center of the American continent, Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. Nicaragua is home to a very rich biodiversity, a truly amazing array of flora and fauna. There are forests of different types, subtropical dry forests, tropical rain forests, mangrove forests, wetlands, grassy savannas and tree savannas. On the Pacific side, there are mainly tropical dry forests and savannas. In the north, in the mountainous regions, there are cloud forests and pine forests. The two longest rivers in Central America run along the borders of Nicaragua. The Rio Coco (the longest at 680 km or 423 miles) runs along the northern border with Honduras and the Rio San Juan runs along the border with Costa Rica to the south. The Rio San Juan region has both tropical rainforests and tropical forests. There are also many kilometers of coastline and beaches.

The Pacific Basin is dotted with countless volcanoes, lagoons and lakes. The two large lakes are Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua and there are also 15 crater lakes. In the middle of Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America and 21st largest by area in the world, is the island of Ometepe formed by two volcanoes.

The climate (always warm) and the minimal altitudinal variation created an environment where diversity flourished. There are around 250 species of amphibians and reptiles, around 250 species of mammals, 700+ species of birds, 640+ species of fish, 350+ species of trees, 12,000+ species of plants (up to 600 orchids alone) and perhaps more than 250,000 types of insects. There are many as yet unknown creatures in the Nicaraguan wilderness.

Some notable species are the jaguar, puma, ocelot, tapir, deer, anteater, macaw, quetzal, harpy eagle and toucan. There are different types of monkeys, including spider, howler, and capuchin monkeys. There are also many types of lizards and snakes, including boas. Plus birds, bats, frogs, crabs, spiders and crocodiles. There are sea turtles on both coasts and one species of shark, the bull shark, which can tolerate the fresh water of Lake Nicaragua.