Belize Wildlife Tours
The home to only 380,000 residents, the small country of Belize is located on Central America’s East coast. Formerly, British Honduras, its rich history makes it an interesting melting pot of cultures and languages, and Mayan archaeological sites. Belize is home to more than 145 species of mammals, 580 species of birds, 139 species of reptiles & amphibians, making it an incredibly biodiverse region with a huge selection of Belize wildlife tours to choose from!
While the official language is English, Belize also recognizes Creole, Spanish, Mayan languages, German, Chinese, and Garifuna as widely used languages in the country.
Animals you can see on a Belize wildlife tour:
If you’re traveling to Belize, then you probably already are interested in seeing manatees in their natural habitats. These gentle giants, often referred to as “sea cows” are lazy and love to be warm. The manatee spends its time in shallow, warm bays, canals, and estuaries. Their survival depends on staying in bodies of water no colder than 15.5 degrees Celcius. This often leads to them growing algae all over their bodies.
The manatee is surprisingly most closely related to elephants, not other sea mammals.
Where to visit to see a manatee:
Belize is home to the largest population of manatees in Central America. They are found in the shallow waters offshore from Belize City, Caye Caulker, and marine reserves throughout the country. It is estimated that only 1000 manatees are found in Belize, however, the government has strict protection, which has contributed to growing numbers.
Consider an ocean wildlife tour with SEE Turtles which includes an opportunity to participate in expert-guided manatee surveys!
The ocelot is regarded as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, with more than 40,000 members. While the population numbers are stable, ocelots are increasingly threatened by loss of habitat, as well as poachers in illegal trade. The ocelot is a small wild cat with black stripes and spots that prefers solitude and is most active at night.
A distinct behavior of the ocelot is scent-marking, where it sprays urine on its territory. They are carnivorous cats choosing rabbits, rodents, opossums, small birds, fish, reptiles, and other small animals as its main food source.
Where to visit to see ocelots:
The ocelot is the most commonly seen cat in Belize and is generally found at the Rio Bravo Conservation & Management Area and other national parks. You may also visit a local sanctuary such as the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, or the Belize Zoo.
You may consider joining a wildlife nature tour with Natural Habitat Adventures where you’ll visit a private conservation area, and much more!
If you’ve ever visited the jungle in Central or South America, you’ve likely heard the terrifying screech of the howler monkey. Howler monkeys are famous for their howl which travels nearly 5 kilometers in the rainforest! They are characterized by their short snouts, wide nostrils, and extremely long tails. The howler monkey’s tail can be close to five times the length of their body.
An interesting characteristic of the howler monkey is their prehensile tail. This means their tail is capable of manipulating objects, collecting food, and grasping tree limbs.
Where to visit to see howler monkeys:
Howler monkeys are most often found in the dense rainforests and jungles of southern Belize.
The tapir is most closely related to horses, zebras, rhinos, and donkeys, all of which are odd-toed ungulates. There are five species of tapirs, all of which are unfortunately listed as endangered or vulnerable on the IUCN red list. The five species include Baird’s tapir, Brazilian tapir, Malayan tapir, Kabomani tapir, and the Mountain Tapir. The species most often found in Belize is the endangered Baird’s Tapir. The biggest threat to their number includes hunting and deforestation.
The main characteristics of a tapir include its prehensile nose, pig-like body, and hoof-like feet.
Where to visit to see tapirs:
Tapirs are often found in forest rivers, however, your best bet is to visit a sanctuary since they are endangered in Belize.
The American crocodile and the Morelet’s crocodile are the two main species found in Belize. The American crocodile is the larger of the two, but is also the less aggressive. It is not considered dangerous to humans, but that does not mean you should try to interact with one! The Morelet’s crocodile is smaller and known to be more aggressive and dangerous to humans, and prefers freshwater to saltwater.
An interesting characteristic of the crocodile is their cerebral cortex. They are the only reptile that has one, which is responsible for pain, memory, communication, and learning.
Where to visit to see crocodiles:
Ambergris Caye, Turneffe, and San Pedro are all home to crocodiles. You may also see them on a wildlife tour in Belize if you are lucky!
While Belize is known for its colorful variety of tropical birds, one of the most unique is the keel-billed toucan. The keel-billed toucan is the national bird of Belize and is recognized by its large green, yellow, orange, red, and black bill. They use their huge bills to effectively feed on fruits found in the forests.
The keel-billed toucan is a social butterfly and is rarely seen alone. /this can make for an exciting bird-watching experience.
Where to visit to see keel-billed toucans:
Keel-billed toucans are found throughout Belize’s plentiful forests. The tend to nest in the holes of tree trunks.
See keel-billed toucans on a nature adventure tour in Belize.