Some of the most prominent animals found in the Andes include alpacas, vicunas, rheas, chinchillas, Andean condors, cock-in-the-rocks, tree boas, poison dart frogs and sucker-mouth catfishes. As the longest cordillera system in the world that forms the principal mountains of the South American continent, the Andes chain is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna.
The Andes mountains encompass a massive area of approximately 595,618 sq. miles, traversing seven countries in South America, including Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. The uplands and lowlands of the mountain range are characterized by snow-covered summits, deep ravines, sheer bluffs and secluded vales. The Andes contain around 30,000 to 35,000 varieties of vascular plants with more than half of these species being strictly endemic to the area. The mountains of the Andes also house a wide array of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and freshwater fishes. Animals that roam the Andes mountains have special adaptations to survive the extreme and varied climates in the region.
Around 1,700 birds are sheltered in the Andes, 600 of which are native species. Among these include blue-billed curassows, yellow-eared parrots, black-breasted pufflegs and Andean condors, considered to be the largest birds of prey. Vicunas and chinchillas are raised and hunted in the Andes for the valuable wool they provide. Other animals that inhabit the mountains include wild guanacos, domesticated llamas, yellow-tailed woolly monkeys, mountain tapirs, spectacled bears, Magdalena river turtles and harlequin frogs. As of 2015, a large number of Andean animals are highly endangered.