The wildlife of Uruguay is limited due to the country's
landscape, which primarily consists of large grasslands. As few forests exist in
the country, the bird and mammal species are smaller in numbers than in some of
Uruguay's neighboring countries. Despite this, many of these animals still roam
into Uruguay from time to time, although they are rare.
Among the mammals, many can be found but are uncommon, such as opossums, deer, boars,
and jaguars. More common are rats, mice, squirrels, and other rodents, including
the capybaras, coypu, and the chinchilla.
The sea life is much more varied since the country has a significant amount of coastline
along the South Atlantic Ocean. These waters have the most impressive of Uruguay's
mammal species with sea lions, whales, and dolphins. The number of fish and shell
fish are much larger though. Sharks, grouper, barracuda, eels, shrimp, and many
others all call these waters home. Uruguay is also home
to many freshwater fish as trout, salmon, pike, catfish, and others live in the
country's lakes and rivers.
These waters also attract many birds that feed off the sea animals. Egrets, eagles,
pelicans, condors, pelicans, ducks, swans, and herons are all common along the coast.
The inland birds are again somewhat limited because of the lack of forests. Where
forests do exist there are additional birds in the country, including parakeets,
partridges, quails, crows, and owls.
The reptilian, amphibian, and insect life in Uruguay is
diverse, but the lack of forests and a great amount of space does limit the number
of species. Many of these animals are spiders, including the tarantula and black
widow, and snakes, including the viper. In or near some of the warmer water rivers
and lakes the amphibian population spikes a bit as a number of turtles, frogs, and
lizards are present. The number of insects is quite substantial, including flies,
mosquitos, beetles, moths, butterflies, ants, and more.
When it comes to native plant life, South America
is home to many famous edible plants and these plants quickly spread throughout
Uruguay, South America, and beyond. The pineapple is from
the region where Brazil and Uruguay meet while potatoes and
tobacco originated in the Andes Mountains. 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
Uruguay 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.
More than just the edible plants, Uruguay is home to many
other trees and plants. Pine trees, eucalyptus trees, carob trees, cedar trees,
quebracho tree, algarroba trees, poplar trees, willow trees, palm trees, myrtle
trees, rosemary trees, and cypress trees are all common.