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Flora & Fauna
As a tropical country with diverse geography, Venezuela has a varied and abundant flora and fauna. German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt and French botanist Aimé Bonpland were amongst the first explorers dedicated to study and recording local species. Although there have been since a number of scientific explorations, the picture is still very incomplete.
Flora: Generally speaking, Venezuela’s flora is stratified by thermal zones, so some particular plants are confined to certain altitudes and cannot be founded elsewhere. There’s quite a diversity enclosed between sea-level up to 5,000 m. from rainforest at the bottom end up to boggy highland meadows.
The “flor de mayo” (Cattleya Mossiae), one of several 3,000 species of Venezuelan orchids, is the national flower. The “araguaney”, known in England as the "trumpet tree", is the national tree, and it is spectacular at the end of the dry season, from April to June, when it is covered with bright yellow blossoms.
Fauna: : Amongst the most important Venezuelan species we find iguanas, Caribbean manatees, and a paradise of other exotic species. In birds, there are almost 1,400 different species, and Venezuela has a number of excellent bird-watching areas: Los Llanos, Morrocoy National Park and Henri Pittier National Park, among the best ones. Birds commonly associated with tropical forests, such as macaws, parrots, toucans, ibises, herons, pelicans and flamingos, share areas with hummingbirds, condors, gavials, and oilbirds, as well as a number of singing species like blue jays, orioles and cardinals. The “turpial”, an oriole noted for its magnificent yellow, black and white plumage and melodic birdsong, is the national bird.
Noble woods as ebony, rosewood and mahogany, and wonderful and scented flowers such as lilies and orchids are abundant in the rainforest and the more diversified cloudforest. The espeletia (frailejón), a plant with long cream-green leaves arranged in a rosette pattern, can be found in the páramos (tropical moors), and it blooms between August and December. The flora of the tepuis is the most unusual, because of its isolation from the savannah and from other tepuis, which makes that almost every tepuy has its own endemic flora.
There are some 250 mammal species recorded in Venezuela. The king of the local forests is the jaguar, the largest cat of the 'New World'. The capybara (“chigüire”), the world's largest rodent, sloths (“perezas”), armadillos, anteaters, tapirs, pumas, ocelots and peccaries (“báquiros”) can be seen as well.
Cayman, spectacled “babas” and huge “caimán del Orinoco” as well as the famous anaconda, the world's longest snake and the iguana are the reptiles you are to discover in Venezuela. And all the multicolored fish, starfish, sea urchins, sea anemones and corals you have seen in numerous TV documentaries are all here, and thriving.