While it is tough to pick the top mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish from hundred of species in Guyana, many nature enthusiasts come with an essential checklist in hand. Here are some of the top picks of unique, endemic or merely interesting creatures from the animals kingdom that you are likely to encounter if you seek them out during the optimal times of the year.
The forests of Guyana are known as the best place to spot wildlife. Some of the most popular mammals that will excite the wildlife enthusiasts are jaguars, pumas, manatees, white-faced saki monkeys, sloths, capuchins, tapirs, bats, ocelots, spider monkeys, capybaras, giant anteaters, giant river otters, tamanduas, coatis, red howler monkeys, deer and porcupines.
Experts like the Guyana Amazon Tropical Birding Society contend that there are more than 910 bird species in Guyana. Others like the Smithsonian Institute cite 820 plus species. We feel the quality of the birding is what is most important. Many rare and endemic species can more easily be seen here in Guyana than other neighbouring countries. These include species like the Rio Branco Antbird, Hoary-throated Spinetail, Crested Doradito, Bearded Tachuri, Red Siskin, Sun Parakeet, Harpy Eagle and Crested Eagle. The Cock-of-the-rock, toucan, Screaming Piha and the Hoatzin – Guyana’s national bird – often top the list of birdwatchers as well. The accessibility is epitomised by Georgetown where there are more than 200 species alone. It is no wonder that Guyana is considered by hardcore birders as one of the best birdwatching destinations in the world. Read more here.
Known as the ‘Land of Many Waters’, Guyana has over 900 species of fish. This includes arawana, basha, himara, lukanani, pacu, payara, piranha, tiger fish, the famous vampire fish, and the prehistoric zip fish. The world’s largest scaled freshwater fish, the arapaima, is definitely at the top of both the wildlife lover and sport fisher’s list. The Rupununi, and Rewa Rivers are home to oxbow lakes and ponds which house a healthy population of these ‘giants’, which are known to come up for air every 10-20 minutes. Some of the more popular rivers to spot other fish species are the Essequibo, Abary, Mahaica, Apoteri and Burro Burro Rivers. Information on sport fishing can be found here.
Reptiles & Amphibians
Guyana has a unique herpetofauna with more than 324 species in total. Of these the caimans, golden frogs, cane toads, anaconda, and the turtles get the most attention from wildlife enthusiasts. Turtle species sought out include the elusive giant river Turtle, found in the interior and the hawksbill, green, leatherback and Olive Ridley turtles along the coast amid Shell Beach Protected Area. There’s a lot more to see though. Guyana is home to 137 species of frogs and toads, 11 caecilians, 4 crocodilians, 4 amphisbaenians, 56 lizards, 97 snakes, and a total of 15 turtles.