The Andes are a range of mountains that spread over 4,300 miles along the West coast of South America and divide seven countries. Those are Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. The Andes are the widest chain of mountains in the world that include many of the tallest peaks in the Western Hemisphere. The Andes are also relatively narrow.
The climate throughout the Andes varies and depends on latitude, altitude, precipitation, and patterns. The Andes are separated into three regions: the Northern Andes, the Central Andes, and the Southern Andes. Within each of these regions, there is much diversity in climate, weather, and habitats. The northern Andes of Venezuela and Colombia are quite warm and wet, and include habitats such as cloud forests and tropical forests.
The Central Andes, that stretch through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, mostly experience more seasonal variation than the Northern region. Habitats in this region fluctuate between a dry and a wet season. The Southern Andes of Chile and Argentina are separated into two distinct zones, known as the Dry Andes and the Wet Andes.
In the Andes about 3,700 species of animals can be found, including 500 species of mammals, 1,600 species of birds, 500 species of reptiles, and 300 species of fishes, and more than 100 species of amphibians.
High mountains are a dreary habitat for wild life, so mammals living there have thick woolly fur. Mountain sheep and goats are very sure-footed to allow them to climb the uneven, rocky slopes. The bighorn sheep, mountain goats, brown bears, black bears, mountain lions, and antelopes are the known wild lives in North America (Canada, USA).
The alpaca is a species of even-toed hoofed mammal and belongs to the camel family. They are native to South America and are kept in herds in the high altitude plateaus in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Northern Chile. These species are grazers and feed on hay and grass.
The Andean condor can be found throughout the Andes, it is far less common in the mountain ranges of Venezuela and Columbia. Andean Condors inhabit grasslands, alpine habitats up to 17,000 feet. It likes open habitats where it can find carrion as it soars above.
The short-tailed chinchilla and the long-tailed chinchilla are some other species of wild lives around these Andes region. Being heavily tortured for their fur, they recently became endangered species, because their count has been declined drastically. Short-tailed chinchillas are currently known as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
The Andean mountain cat is a tiny cat which inhabits in the high regions of the central Andes. The Andean mountain cat is also an endangered species, and with less than 2,000 numbers left they are remaining in the wild as one of the rarest animals.
The Titicaca water frog is an endangered frog which is endemic to Lake Titicaca. Titicaca water frogs were once common, and they have now declined in number due to hunting, pollution, and predation by trout that has been introduced to the lake.
The Andean goose is a large shield goose with black and white plumage, a pink bill, and orange legs and feet. The Andean goose inhabits elevations of the Andes above 9,000 feet in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.
The spectacled bear is only native species of the bear of South America. It lives in the forested areas of the Andes mountain chain including Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. Spectacled bears have black fur, keen eyesight, and distinctive golden-colored rings of fur framing their eyes.