Mammals are a group of animals with backbones, bodies covered by hair, nurse their young with milk, and have a unique jaw articulation. Mammals are also the group of animals to which humans belong.
Belize has approximately 145 Mammal Species living within its boundaries. Mammals exist within all the different habitats of Belize, from the manatee and dolphins of the coastal zone, to the 5 different species of wildcat which live deep within the rainforests of the Maya Mountains.
The Rainforest Mammals of Belize tend to be very secretive and mostly nocturnal. This makes them extremely difficult to see. They usually see, hear, smell, or feel you long before you them. Rainforest mammals do not stand out in the open for easy viewing, but instead climb through the canopy or scurry over the forest floor well ahead of you. That is one reason the Belize Zoo is such a special place. Here you can see many of the rainforest species of Belize easily.
A visit to The Zoo is the best way to get an introduction to the animals of Belize, and to understand why it is important to protect the habitats that sustain them. We hope this website will be the next best thing to visiting us in person.
The Birds of Belize
Birds are a group of animals that have a backbone similar to mammals and Reptiles. They are warm blooded like mammals, but do not have hair on their bodies. Instead, they are clothed with feathers. All birds also lay eggs, and most incubate the eggs by using body warmth.
By one recent account, Belize supports 543 species of Birds. Birds thrive in all of Belize's habitats. Wading birds congregate along the coastline and inner lagoons. The grasslands and savannas provide seeds for the many finches, and nesting trees for the giant jabiru Stork. And the tropical forests There is an astonishing diversity of bird species.
Watching Birds in The Tropical Forests of Belize. Can tend to be very frustrating at times, and extremely rewarding at others. The thick vegetation of tropical forests, and the typical behavior of quick, seemingly random movements of many forest birds, make them often difficult to see. Many birds also live in the upper canopy of the forest, making it a strain to be constantly looking upward. But early morning and late afternoon are excellent times to bird watch, as most bird species are feeding or moving to new locations during these times.
The Belize Zoo has always had a strong. Collection of bird species, from parrots and macaws, to vultures and hawks, to wading birds, including the endangered Jabiru Stork. But besides the caged birds, the habitat around the zoo supports a variety of "free" birds thriving within the savanna habitat.
Reptiles of Belize
Amphibians and reptiles are backboned animals. Amphibians lack any covering of their skin fur, feathers or scales. Amphibians include the salamanders and frogs. Reptiles are covered by scales. They lay shelled eggs similar to birds, or keep the eggs inside their bodies till they hatch. Reptiles are grouped into turtles, crocodiles, and snakes and lizards. The total number of reptiles and amphibians in Belize is unknown. New species for the country appear at regular intervals. To date, 139 species have been identified. The reason the total number of species is so tentative, is because of the habitats that retiles and amphibians are found.
Amphibains have smooth, thin skin and require water to keep their bodies moist. They can be found under rocks, alongside streams, in swamps and marshes places which are not the most comfortable for humans. retiles, with their scaley skin, are not restricted to wet habitats. Snakes and lizards can be found in any habitat, from the soil and leaf litter of the forest floor, to the upper canopy of the rainforest, to the mangrove forests of the coastline and Cayes of Belize.
The Belize Zoo supports a small display of the more common snakes of Belize including the most dangerous of Belizean snakes, the Fer- de -lance. The Zoo also makes frequent use of the harmless Boa Constrictor in its many environmental education programs. Humans tend to have an irrational fear of snakes, while in reality, poisonous snakes are not frequently sighted. they tend to be secretive and nocturnal. The Belize Zoo education programs tend to focus on the positive aspects of snakes they help to keep the population of far more prolific creatures which are harmful to humans, the rats, mice and insects of the tropics.