Bolivia is a landlocked country at high altitude, which
somewhat limits the wildlife in the country. Despite this, the country has numerous
areas at lower elevations so the wildlife is more diverse than one would initially
believe. This diversity is very limited area to area; at elevation there tends to
be one set of animals, while at lower elevations many of those plants and animals
are absent, but a new set exists.
The mammalian life in Bolivia is well adjusted to the altitude
as most of the wildlife is native to the Andes, or at least fits in with the alpine
nation. A couple of the continent's most iconic animals are native to Bolivia
including the llama, alpaca, vicuna (a camel species), cougars (puma), wolves, foxes,
and deer. Smaller mammals and rodents also like the high altitude as the chinchilla
(a local rodent), opossums, rats, squirrels, mice, rabbits, and bats are common.
The tapir, sloth, armadillo, anteaters, and porcupine can sometimes also be found
at lower elevations.
Unlike the native mammalian life, Bolivia's sea life is almost non-existent.
The country has no ocean access so their sea life is limited to the animals in their
lakes and rivers. In the cold waters these animals are again very limited, but include
some species of catfish, pike, and a few other freshwater fish.
However, the bird life is fairly significant as numerous birds love the alpine conditions
as Bolivia has no shortage of birds, especially large birds.
Condors, eagles, egrets, and the Andean flamingo are all common in Bolivia; the
flamingos especially love the salt flats. Owls, partridges, coots, geese, finches,
woodpeckers, and other birds can also be found in the lower forests.
The reptilian, amphibian, and insect life in Bolivia are
somewhat limited, but definitely present, especially at lower elevations. Many of
these animals are spiders, including the tarantula, and snakes, including the rattlesnake.
Few insects can survive at high elevations, however flies, mosquitos, butterflies,
and other insects can be found at lower elevations.
When it comes to native plant life, South America
is home to many famous edible plants and these plants quickly spread throughout
Bolivia, South America, and beyond. The pineapple is from
the region where Brazil and Uruguay
meet while potatoes and tobacco originated in the Andes Mountains; in fact some
believe the potato is from the Lake Titicaca region. A few others, including cacao
trees (used to make chocolate), peanuts, and tomatoes are also from South America,
although their actual origin is unknown. Peppers, both sweet and hot peppers are
from Central America or northern South America while vanilla, avocado, papaya, and
corn (maize) are likely from Central America itself. No matter each food's origin,
what is known is that these foods spread throughout the continent and to the country
of Bolivia with the help of pre-historic people, animals, and winds. These people
have had these foods for nearly as long as people have inhabited the region and
each makes an important part of the people's diet and culture now and for thousands
of years into the past.
In addition to these famous fruit bearing plants, Bolivia
has a wide variety of trees and other plants. Numerous sturdy reeds are found in
Lake Titicaca and used to make boats; quinoa, rubber trees, and many hard woods
are also common in the country.