Explore Venezuela:

Nature

Flora

In Venezuela, the variety of landscapes has allowed for the development of a very diverse flora. Such is the case of the espeletias, an autochthonous floral species of the Venezuelan Andes, the thorny flora of the dry coastal areas in Falcon, Sucre, Lara or Anzoategui, or the lush forests in the south the country. In general, four types of main vegetation can be mentioned: forests, shrubland, grassland, and primal vegetation (lichen and moss.)

An approximate calculation of the total Venezuelan flora could be near 30,000 species of plants with seeds; not to mention other plant groups, such as seaweeds, fungi, lichens, bryophytes, and ferns.

The main Venezuelan biomes can be divided into bushy areas, comprising evergreen forests, tropophilous, xerophilous forests, and mangroves; and non-bushy areas - more common in Venezuela, comprised by moors, savannas, dunes, and salty plains. The flora in the mountainous regions, especially in the Andes, is mainly characterized by the height, which goes from the xerophilous in the lower areas, with a predominance of cacti, giant cacti, and prickly pears; followed by the bayahondes, and above them shrubs and the big trees, until reaching the vegetation of the moors with its espeletias. From there on, just in the tundra, only lichens and moss can be found.

This vegetation is comprised by trees, such as wild cashew, bay laurel, sandbox tree, inga, pilger, cedar, and aublet, along with the families of the bignoniceae, euphorbiaceae myrtaceae, lauraceaes, and rubiaceous.

The flora of the Venezuelan coastal mountain range is characterized by savanna forests, xerophilous, mangroves, thicket, coconut palms, and sea grape. This type of vegetation is adapted to the type of prevailing climate, characterized by high temperatures, low rainfall, and high evaporation values, which promotes a situation of semi-dryness.

In the region of the Venezuelan plains, the riverine forests are developed along the rivers, and varies in width and extension, associated to the plain savannas, in the lower plain of the states of Apure and Barinas, and to the south of the state of Guarico. This biome requires a typical bi-seasonal climate, and very well defined rainy and dry seasons. Some of the most common species are the yellow mombin (Spondias lutea), the clammy cherry (Cordia collococa), inga (Inga spuria), mangrove (Alchornea castanifolia), the sea grape (Coccoloba caracasana,) and barna (Crataeva tapia).

The Venezuelan forest territory is abundant in terms of rain or absorbent vegetation. Abundant rains all year round are characteristic, and as a consequence the soil is very fertile. The jungles are also known as humid tropical jungles. This biome develops in high temperature and humid regions.

The main Venezuelan cities located between 1,000 and 2,000 meters above sea level have moderate temperatures between 10° and 20° C. Most of them are surrounded by rainy jungles and rainfall is mostly constant. This climatic characteristic favors tall vegetation, due to the humidity and the presence of fog. Due to this, ferns, moss, and others, as well as orchids and bromeliads, develop quite well in this environment. Most common trees are mountain cedar (Cedrell montana), as well as palm trees, mata palo (Loranthus leptostachyus), and tree fern.

Fauna

Venezuelan ecosystems determine the presence of a certain fauna, which, naturally, is very diverse and abundant throughout the whole country, with presence of mammals characteristics to the tropical region, among which the following stand out: ant bear, spectacled bear, sloth, armadillo, ocelot, jaguar, cougar, white-tailed deer, capybara, tapir, otter, and several species of small apes.

Venezuela is one of the countries with the largest variety of bird species, among which macaws, toucans, nightingales, troupials (the national bird), curassows, flamingoes, and a great variety of herons and parrots stand out. Reptiles are numerous and species such as the Orinoco alligator and other five different species of turtles and snakes, such as the anaconda, the boa constrictor or the rattlesnake can be found. The presence of vertebrates includes about 2,120 land species and continental species fish some 1,000 species.

In the Venezuelan coasts or very near them, parakeets, Rufous-vented Chachalaca, turtledoves, mallards and herons are abundant. The presence of reptiles is also abundant, since it is easy to find a great variety of sea and land turtles, such as the tortoise. There is also presence of snakes, among which we will mention the bushmaster, the rattlesnake, the coral, and other varieties of yellow beards.

Sea and aquatic fauna in Venezuela is characterized by the great variety of sardines and other fish and merchantable products such as tuna, cero mackerel, sergeant fish, atlantic bigeye, crab, clams, oysters, lobster, and others. It also worth mentioning, among the mammal cetaceans that swim in Venezuelan waters, the porpoises and the ever popular dolphins.

In the Venezuelan jungles, the variety of fauna is almost endless, since the ecosystem in the region is humid in some parts, and dry in others, and it's the perfect environment for thousands of species. The mountain paca, the gray brocket, the deer, the spectacled bear, the collared peccary, the ant bear, the ocelot, the common opossum, the spix's guan, the moor's rabbit, the speckled chachalaca, the yellow beard, the coral, and the liana snake, are just some of the species that live in the jungles.

The Venezuelan plains are characterized by the number of animals that can be seen, especially in the summer, since that is the season they gather around water points. Among the most characteristic species we could mention the capybara, the spectacled bear, the Cuban tree frog, the deer, the spectacled caiman, the collared peccary, the piranha, the peacock bass, the king vulture, the grey heron, the yellow-headed caracara, the hoatzin, and the wood stork.

 
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