The isolation of the Yucatan Peninsula and its array of ecosystems results in an extraordinary variety of plant and animal life, including a number of species that are unique to the region. Whether you like watching birds, following the progress of sea turtles as they nest on the beach, swimming next to manta rays and schools of iridescent fish, or spying wildcats through your binoculars, you’ll have plenty of nature activities to do here.
This small wild cat native to Central and South America, is a solitary and nocturnal cat. It lives mainly in evergreen and deciduous forest, and can often be spotted in Merida’s dense vegetation.
Until the 90s, margays were hunted illegally for the wildlife trade, which resulted in a large population decrease. Since 2008, they have been listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because the population is thought to be declining due to loss of habitat following deforestation.
2. Yucatan Squirrel
This squirrel, much like its namesake suggests, is found in the Yucatan Peninsula and its adjacent areas. It is native to northern Belize, northeastern Guatemala, and southeast Mexico.
These squirrels live in dry deciduous forests, are most active during the day and prefer to rest at night, spending most of their time in trees. They are most active in the early morning, but may be seen sunning on a branch later in the day. Their nests are built in branches from leaves and twigs, and mostly consume soft fruits, nuts and seeds.
3. Central American Agouti
The Central American agouti is a species of agouti residing in Merida, Chiapas and the greater Yucatan Peninsula, through Central America, to northwestern Ecuador, Colombia and far western Venezuela.
Though some populations are reduced due to hunting and deforestation, large populations remain and it is not considered threatened.
Among Merida’s strong Mayan culture influence, ancient Mayan ruins and some of the best Mexican cooking classes in the country, the area’s animals are most visible on the range of nature-based tours and activities on offer.
We highly recommend exploring the array of cenotes within the town’s surroundings, and getting refreshed in the stunning crystal waters of the Yucatan’s most enticing natural wonders.