ANIMALS OF SOUTH AMERICA

Meet the animals that reside at Fort Rickey Children’s Discovery Zoo who originated in South America:

ALPACA

The rare and exotic alpaca is a creature of antiquity that is rapidly gaining popularity around the world. Highly prized for their luxurious coats, the alpaca has been considered a treasure of the Andes Mountains for over 6,000 years.

Alpacas are New World camelids and look like small llamas or long-necked camels with no humps, especially when recently sheared. They have shaggy necks and camel-like faces with thick lips, pronounced noses, and long ears. Their large, expressive eyes seem to exhibit both wisdom and childlike curiousity. Easily domesticated, alpacas are friendly, gentle and curious.

Mating season: All year
Gestation: 11.5 months
Litter Size: 1 baby


BOA CONSTRICTOR

Boa Constrictors, Constrictor constrictor, are one of the largest snakes in the world, along with the Reticulated Python and Anaconda. Boas are non-poisonous but just as deadly. They ambush their prey, which means that they will hide and wait for something yummy to go by and then do a surprise attack. They use their flicking tongue to pick up the scent. Just as their name suggests, they will coil their bodies around the prey and with each breath of the prey they will constrict, or squeeze, their coils just a little tighter until the animal can no longer breath.

These snakes live in hot, tropical places and can be found both on the ground and in trees.

Boas are said to be the most beautifully colored of all snakes

Mating season: April to August
Gestation: 100-120 days
Litter Size: 10-65 young


CAPYBARA

Native to South America, the capybara is the largest rodent in the world and inhabits savannas and dense forests and lives near bodies of water. Many escapees from captivity can also be found in similar watery habitats around the world and sightings are fairly common in Florida. The capybara is a highly social species and usually lives in groups of 10–20 individuals.

Adult capybaras can grow to 4.40ft in length, stand up to 24 inches tall and typically weigh 77 to 146 lb. Capybaras also have slightly webbed feet and vestigial tails.


COLOMBIAN BLACK SPIDER MONKEY

Spider monkeys, Ateles fusciceps robustus, get their name from their spider-like appearance, due to their disproportionately long limbs and long prehensile tail. They live and move agilely through the small branches of the high forest strata using their four limbs and tail to grasp.

They are entirely day active and live in groups of variable size. Where fruit trees are small and scattered, groups of only two to five animals are seen, but where food is more abundant they live in groups of up to 30. Spider monkeys are omnivores whose diet consists mainly of fruit (80%) but also includes leaves, nuts, seeds, bark, insects, and flowers.

Mating Season: All year round
Gestation: 226-232 days
Litter size: 1 baby


LLAMA

The llama is a South American relative of the camel, though the llama does not have a hump. These sturdy creatures are domestic animals used by the peoples of the Andes Mountains. Native peoples have used llamas as pack animals for centuries. Typically, they are saddled with loads of 50 to 75 pounds. Under such weight they can cover up to 20 miles (32 kilometers) in a single day. Pack trains of llamas, which can include several hundred animals, move large amounts of goods over even the very rough terrain of the Andes.

An overloaded llama will simply refuse to move. These animals often lie down on the ground and they may spit, hiss, or even kick at their owners until their burden is lessened.

Mating season: All year
Gestation: 350 days
Litter Size: 1 to 4 babies