Unusual wildlife

Fascinating fauna in Chile's Nahuelbuta National Park

Small, shy frogs, foxes and deer are just some of the creatures that you can see in this beautiful but relatively unknown part of Chile.

Friday, September 16, 2011  
A rare sighting of two pudús together. (Photo: tim ellis/Flickr) A rare sighting of two pudús together. (Photo: tim ellis/Flickr)

Scientists have recently discovered an rare toad-like frog, thought by some to be extinct, in Chile's Nahuelbuta National Park. Located in southern Chile's Araucanía Region, the park is home to several unusual animal species.

This is Chile highlights some of the weird and wonderful fauna that can be found in the lush native forest zone.

Bullock's false toad: According to the Zoological Society of London's EDGE program, Bullock's false toad is the fifth most endangered animal species in the world. With a small stocky body measuring just three inches (3cm), this shy creature has only been spotted 10 times since if was first discovered in 1952. Endemic to the Nahuelbuta mountain range, Bullock's false toad has a long, thin legs and webbed toes although its fingers are not webbed. Its skin is brown and it has distinctive, raised glands on its back.

Puma: This large cat native to the Americas is highly territorial, leads a rather solitary life. Mostly nocturnal, pumas are usually sighted around sunset or at night and can be distinguished by their relatively small heads and plain coat which contains few markings. Usually measuring between 55 and 90 inches (140-230cm), Pumas have pale fur inside their ears and around the abdomen, with darker patches around the corners of the mouth and the tips of their ears and tails.

Pudú: A miniature deer species found in Chile and Argentina, the Southern Pudú has small antlers that bend back like a mountain goat's. Its fur is dark brown and it usually weighs between 14 and 30lb (6.4-13.4kg). Pudús generally eat leaves, grasses and wild fruits. Not much else is known about the timid deer species but experts believe they lead a nocturnal lifestyle.

Darwin’s Fox: Only found in the Nahuelbuta National Park and on the Chiloé Archipelago, the Darwin’s Fox is a particularly small creature, usually weighing no more than 11lb (5kg). It has a dark gray coat with white spots on its chest and red patches around its paws and ears.

Black woodpecker: The unmistakable black woodpecker has a large crest made up of several, long glossy feathers. The female of the species is completely black but the male has bright red feathers on the top of its head. Black woodpeckers have a loud, penetrating call that sounds something like a cackle. If you're trying to spot one, just look for the marks on tree branches left by their hammering beaks.