Animals and Plants
Animals and plants in Uruguay
Uruguay’s landscapes are the pampas and the coast. Plants and animals that occur here are adapted to these two habitats.
What animals are there in Uruguay?
In the pampas the biodiversity is not that great, so there are few animal species. Some have also been ousted because cattle, sheep and horses are kept in the pampas. Typical inhabitants of the pampas are actually the pampas deer and rheas, who like to form herds together with guanacos and vicuñas.
Pampas foxes also roam around. The big cats of the country include the colocolo, the long-tailed cat and the small-spotted cat, in the northwest also the ocelot. They are all one of the smaller big cats. Rodents of the pampas are capybaras and guinea pigs. Armadillos are also common, with anteaters living in the north. The Argentine Horned Frog stands out among the amphibians: With its big mouth it tries to eat everything that comes in front of it.
Birds that feel good in the pampas are the pampas chicken and the owl rabbit. What is special about him are his long legs. He lives in caves in the ground. Typical birds of Uruguay are also railing birds such as the Ypecaharalle and the Cayennerall. The national bird is the bronze lapwing, called Tero here.
Other animals live on the coasts. Uruguay has the largest colony of sea lions and fur seals in South America on Isla de Lobos (“Seal Island”). Both are species of seals. Magellanic penguins can also be found on the coast.
What is growing there in Uruguay?
In the pampas there are mainly grasses and only a few trees. One of these is the ombu tree. The cattle herders (gauchos) like to camp under him because his broad crown provides shade, but also offers protection in the rain. You can also recognize the ombu tree by its very thick trunk. Incidentally, it is so soft that you can cut it with a knife. However, it is not advisable because the sap is poisonous.
Otherwise, ferns and grasses grow here, including pampas grass. We sometimes see it as an ornamental plant. It is easy to recognize by its large silver-gray panicles.
In the west of Uruguay there are also palm trees, namely the tall Yatay palms. There are also palm trees in the east, but here there are Butia odorata palm trees. Both species grow in groups. Other palms are more likely to occur individually.
Pine and eucalyptus trees, which originally did not exist here, have been planted on the coast to protect them from blowing sand.
The flowers of the coral tree have been declared the national flower of Uruguay. It is also popular to plant on streets and in gardens.
The economy of Uruguay
Uruguay’s economy is based on agriculture and especially on livestock. Cattle and sheep are kept in the vast pampas. There are eleven million cattle here! Beef, leather and dairy products are then also important products for export, i.e. for sale to other countries. Uruguay is the world’s sixth largest exporter of beef.
More fields, less pastures
The importance of sheep’s wool has decreased, so soybeans are increasingly being grown and sold. The small country is after all the eighth largest soybean producer. Rice, wheat and wood are also exported. Overall, the pasture area has decreased, while arable land has increased. The goods are shipped from the port in Montevideo.
There are hardly any natural resources
The country is poor in natural resources. Only sand, granite, marble and gold are mined to a small extent. There are factories mainly for paper, plastic, food processing, clothing and cement. Industry contributes almost a quarter (24 percent) to the entire economy.
The area of services is more important. This includes not only the entire trade and gastronomy, banks and electricity providers, but also tourism. And that has been increasing for years. Almost 4 million tourists come every year, most of them from Argentina and Brazil, but more and more people from Europe want to get to know Uruguay.
Uruguay, along with Costa Rica, is the country in Latin America where social equality is greatest. That is, the difference between rich and poor is not as great as in other countries.