Category: Belize Zoo

The Tapirs of Belize

Upon first glance, tapirs are often mistaken for a small hippo, pig or anteater but their closest living relatives are actually horses and rhinos.  Many scientists consider tapirs living fossils because they have roamed the Earth for over 50 million years and haven’t evolved much.  The four living species of …

The Northern Tamandua

One of only four species of anteater found in the world, the northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) is found throughout southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. They can be identified through their distinct coloration, with tan fur and a black, vest-shaped marking over the back and sides. Northern tamanduas …

Jaguars: The Divine Cats of the Mayans

Before the arrival of Europeans to the Americas, the Mayan Empire stretched across Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and included great cities such as Tulum, Chichen Itza, and Belize’s own Caracol. At the height of their civilization, the ancient Mayans recognized several animals as sacred, but none more …

The Tree-Dwelling Margays of Belize

At little larger than the size of a house cat – and often mistaken for its larger, and more common, ocelot cousins – the margay is a rare site in the rainforests of Belize. Nocturnal, and spending most of their time in the trees of dense evergreen and deciduous forests, …

The Elusive Ocelot

One of the most recognizable of all the small cats of Central America, the ocelot – known also as the Painted Leopard, Field Tiger, or Dwarf Leopard – is one of the most common cats of Belize, yet also one of the hardest to spot. Nocturnal by nature and prone …

Jaguarundi: The Otter Cats of Belize

Looking like a cross between a house cat and a weasel is the jaguarundi (Herpailurus yaguarondi), one of the smallest – and least studied – of Belize’s wild cats. While big cats, such as  the jaguars and pumas,  often steal the spotlight from their smaller feline cousins, these often-overlooked cats …