Abundant and beautiful, that is how flora and fauna in Chamela - Cuixmala is, where more than 1200 plant species have been registered, along with 72 mammal species (27 native or endemic), 270 bird species (36 proper of the zone), 66 of reptiles (32 endemic) and 19 amphibious (10 native), besides a great number of invertebrates.
most of the species are endemic. Regarding the trees,
the most colourful one is the Guaiacum
, also know as 'Lignum
vitae' which flowers during the dry season shading the landscape
with its yellow buds. Other emblematic species are the calabash
trees (Crescentia alata
) which produces some green gourd
fruits with hard skins, and the Red Bloodwood (Caesalpinia eriostachys
recognisable for the cracks in its bark.
Chamela - Cuixmala is the habitat of over 400 animal
species (resident or migratory
), and many are in a threatened
situation. The birds have the flashiest and most numerous populations
within the Reserve.
The white ibis (Eudocimus albus
), the pink spoonbill (Ajaia
), the American stork (Mycteria americana
chachalaca (Ortalis poliocephala
), the red-hooded woodpecker
), the coa or yellow trogon (Trogon
citreolus) and the laughing falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans
fly freely in here.
The forest of Chamela - Cuixmala welcomes migratory birds escaping
from the cold winter of the United States and Canada. Besides, it
offers protection to the Lilac-crowned Amazon
, endemic in Mexico, the yellow-headed parrot (Amazona
oratrix), on the brink of extinction, and the Forpus cyanopygius
The tiny Spectacled or Mexican parrotlet (Forpus cyanopygius
the smallest in the country, endemic and on the brink of extinction
Other animals that can be watched in the mornings are the coatimundi
); the collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu
and the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus
Grayish Mouse Opossum (Marmosa canescens
), the smallest
of Mexican marsupials; the Pygmy Spotted Skunk (Spilogale pygmaea
original from Mexico, and the ghost bat (Diclidurus albus), show
up on the nights amongst many others.
Amongst the main endangered species we have the following:
- American crocodile (Crocodilus acutus): it is the largest reptile in Mexico with its five metres of length. It is hunted for its valuable skin, which is in great demand for the confection of leatherworks, and this circumstance added to the destruction of its habitat have put it on the brink of extinction.
- Mexican beaded lizard, (Heloderma horridum): it is one of two venomous lizards existing in the world and it lives in this forest; the other one, the gila monster, can be found in the United States.
The venomous lizard is 80 centimetres long and can be easily mistaken by an iguana. It has daytime and nighttime habits alike, and it attacks when feeling threatened only.
It is also known as the enchaquirado or stringed for its black and yellow skin. It is endangered due to the greed of some collectors.
- Jaguar (Panthera onca): it is the largest feline in America; though unfortunately, it is on the brink of extinction due to illegal hunting on a large scale, and to the destruction of its habitat.
- Sea turtles: different species can be watched in here, such as the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), the carey (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the Olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). Pursued for years by poachers, they have found on the shores of this Reserve a safe place to lay their eggs in.
Other species endangered due to the presence of poachers are the white tailed
deer (Odocoileus virginianus
), the peccary (Tayassu
), the puma (Puma concolor
), the iguana (Iguana
) and the boa (Boa constrictor