Panama animals - Bush Dog
15 Amazing Panama Animals to See on Vacation
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With many biodiversity National parks throughout the country, Panama has a variety of animals for visitors to admire.

From La Amistada (on the western border with Costa Rica) in Darien National Park (bordered by Colombia in the east) the country is inhabited by more than 10,000 plant species and hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Do you prefer fertile land covered with dense rainforests, or tropical beaches Surrounded by a big blue ocean Panama has a lot of natural beauty to spare.

The coast of the country is dotted with islands such as the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, the Pearl Islands, and the San Blas Islands, with a rich marine life that can be seen along with spectacular scenic vistas.

Here’s a look at some of Panama’s most iconic wildlife that you can see in this unique land that serves as a crossroads between North and South America.

READ MORE: 20 Best Things to Do in Panama (For Nature Lovers)

Hummingbird on Secas Island, Panama by Bret Love and Mary Gabbett

Animals in Panama Travel Guide

  1. Red-eyed tree frog
  2. Bush Dog
  3. capybara
  4. Dolphins
  5. giant anteater
  6. green iguana
  7. Jaguar
  8. Jaguarundi
  9. Margay
  10. white-faced capuchin monkey
  11. Butterflies Morpho
  12. sea ​​turtles
  13. Sloths
  14. Tapirs
  15. whale sharks

READ MORE: 20 Best Places to Visit in Central America (For Nature Lovers)

Frogs in Panama - red-eyed tree frog
Red-eyed tree frog in Tortuguero, Costa Rica by Bret Love and Mary Gabbett


According to Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteThere are more than 200 different species of amphibians living in Panama.

But the red-eyed tree frog is one of our favorites, with its small green body and piercing red eyes that give it its name.

In Panama, these small amphibians can often be seen in tropical a tropical forest habitats usually resting behind large leaves during the day and becoming active at night.

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Local animals in Panama - Bush Dog
Bushdog in Panama via Canva


Outwardly, it looks more like a large weasel or a very small (about 13 pounds) bear. bush dog a relatively rare and unusual native animal of Panama.

They are very difficult to spot and usually prefer to hide in the rainforests.

They are very fond of water and eat reptiles and small mammals. They are sometimes known to prey on larger mammals as well (including capybaras).

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Wild capybaras in Panama's Sovereign National Park
Wild capybara in Souventi National Park, Panama via Canva


The massive capybara is an “unusually sized rodent” and one species can be found in Panama.

The Panamanian capybara has short brown fur and short limbs. But at an average of 60 pounds, they are slightly smaller than their cousins ​​in South America.

The capybara spends a lot of time around water and can often be seen near Chagres River.

READ MORE: 40 Amazing Animals of Costa Rica

Mammals of Panama - a flock of dolphins in Chiriqui Bay, Panama
A pod of dolphins in Chiriqui Bay, Panama by Bret Love and Mary Gabbett

4. Dolphins

Dolphins are some of the most intelligent creatures on Earth, and the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin is especially known for its playful interactions.

They are often seen off the coast of Panama, swimming in packs and jumping in the waves created by the boats.

In addition to the clicking sounds they use to communicate, Dolphins known for their speed, agility, and use of echolocation to find prey.

READ MORE: 30 cool and weird sea animals from around the world

Panama jungle animals - Giant anteater
Giant Anteater via Canva

5. GIANT anteater

Also known as Ant BearThe giant anteater is a large mammal that can weigh up to 90 pounds.

They have a long, narrow tongue and a long snout, and their sense of smell is 40 times stronger than that of humans.

These animals can be found in most of the Central and South Americabut in Panama they are most often seen in Darien National Park (Protected UNESCO World Heritage Site).

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Reptiles of Panama - Iguana in Islas Secas, Panama
The iguana who visited us every day at Islas Secas, Panama, Bret Love and Mary Gabbett


The green iguana is one of the many reptiles in Panama that can be seen most often.

These ancient-looking lizards love rainforests where they feed on plants and fruits.

If you get a chance, visit the Isla Iguana Wildlife Sanctuary, a 58-hectare island reserve located about three miles off the east coast of the Azuero Peninsula.

This is a great place to find them as well as thousands birds and a thriving coral reef system.

READ MORE: 30 amazing animals of the Galapagos Islands

Jaguars in Panama
Jaguar in Panama via Canva

7. Jaguar

Panama is home to several impressive cat species, but the most formidable of them all is the jaguar.

These majestic cats are known for their distinctive spots, swimming prowess, and stalking many different kinds of prey along the water.

Unfortunately, the jaguar population in Panama and throughout Central America is currently declining due to human interference. deforestationand other questions.

READ MORE: 20 Endangered African Animals You Can See on Safari

Jaguarundi via Canva


One of the most unusual cat species in Panama, the jaguarundi can be found in both arid and tropical forests.

They are considerably smaller and thinner than jaguars, measuring up to 30 inches in length (excluding the tail) and weighing less than 20 pounds.

They have solid fur that can be black, brown, or red.

These cats are commonly found near the water, feeding on various types of small mammals in Panama.

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Wildlife of Panama - Margai
Margay in Panama via Canva

9. Margay

Margays are smaller than other wild cats in Panama, measuring between 19 and 30 inches in length and weighing less than 10 pounds.

These beautiful spotted cats are best known for their impressive tree climbing skills. They can even climb down trees head first, unlike many other cats.

Although they are mostly nocturnal, daytime sightings of margays in Panama are not uncommon.

READ MORE: 30 species of arctic animals

White-faced Capuchin Monkey Bret Love and Mary Gabbett


There are 8 different types monkey in Panama, from two species of howler monkeys and spider monkeys to Jeffrey’s tamarin and many more.

The white-headed capuchin is a small but vigorous monkey with a white face and head and is probably the most common monkey species in Panama.

They are known for their climbing skills and territorial nature, while squirrel monkeys are known for their speed and Panamanian night monkeys are easily identified by their large eyes.

READ MORE: 21 animals found in the Amazon rainforest

Insects in Panama - Blue Morpho
Blue Morpho at Aruba Butterfly Farm by Bret Love and Mary Gabbett


The bright blue iridescent wings are reminiscent of the beloved Morpho butterfly, another species often found in Panama.

During the day, blue morphos can be seen flying through the air, drinking fruit juice and tree sap, and sampling the air with their antennae.

In fact, there are more than two dozen subspecies of Morpho butterflies, each boasting a dazzling array of color patterns on their wings.

READ MORE: 12 Beautiful Birds in the Amazon Rainforest

Sea Turtle Nest, Rosalie Bay Resort
Cephalopod sea turtles camouflaging their nest in Dominica by Bret Love and Mary Gabbett


Panama is a popular destination for several world sea ​​turtle variety.

Coiba National Parkwhich is located south of mainland Panama, is visited by four species of sea turtles, including leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill and green sea turtles.

The sparsely populated beaches of Isla Coiba (the site of a terrible political prison during the years of Manuel Noriega’s rule) are a favorite place for sea turtles to lay their eggs before returning to the water.

READ MORE: 40 Animal Species of Alaska

Mammals in Panama - Pygmy three-toed sloth
Pygmy three-toed sloth in Panama via Canva

13. LAZY

Sloths are divided into two different families – two-toed and three-toed.

The pygmy 3-toed sloth (one of several species found in Panama) lives on the island of Escudo de Veraguas, which is located north of mainland Panama.

The pygmy sloth is unique in its preferred habitat in mangrove forests. But, like other types of sloths, they are helpless on the ground and amazingly adept at swimming!

READ MORE: 30 Amazing Antarctic Animals

Strange animals, Baird's tapir
Baird’s tapir, photo by Bret Love and Mary Gabbett


Looks like a weird mix pigdonkey and rhinocerostapir can be found in numerous national parks and reserves in Panama.

They can often be found resting in forests near ponds and mud.

They use their short trunks to grab onto food, fresh fruit among their favorite foods.

READ MORE: 20 Best Caribbean Islands to Visit (If You Love Nature and Hate Crowds)

Swimming with whale sharks in Cancun, Mexico
Swimming with whale sharks in Cancun, Mexico


With a length of up to 45 feet and a weight of about 40,000 pounds, Whale Sharks are by far the largest fish species in the world.

Whale sharks live up to 70 years and are known for their large mouths, which are used to filter out small fish and plankton.

Coiba National Park is one of the few places in Panama where visitors can hope to see (or swim with) these gentle giants during peak season, which runs from June to September. Anika Chaturvedi Featured Image by Bush Dogs via Canva

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