No one can deny the beauty, grace, and power of a big feline such as the “Balam” or Jaguar, Panthera onca, King of the Maya Jungle. His natural territory used to cover this region but such is no longer the case. It is a good thing you will not encounter him in your nature walks at our Nature Reserve. Thus, nature lovers can enjoy close contact with other Yucatan mammals at Hacienda Chichen private Maya Jungle Reserve. In this article you will find brief info and photos of some wonderful animal residents protected in our property. We hope you will enjoy observing their beauty and the lushness of their environment and find in your heart a vital desire to protect them as much as all living expressions in Mother Nature.
One of the most gentle and shy mammals in Yucatan, and at our Maya Jungle Nature Reserve, is the White-tail Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, this deer in Yucatan is a bit smaller than those found in USA and the rest of Mexico. Graceful and lively, the “Ceh” as it is called in Maya, has diurnal habits and can be spotted at dawn and twilight hours grazing on different herbs, shrubs, and fruits, or near “aguadas and sartinejas” water spots. In Yucatan, these mammals are hunted specially by farmers as an important protein source to rural families. Our reserve brings safety and protection to pregnant females and their offspring, and occasionally a few solitary adult male animals.
Northern tamandua is an ant eater mammal that can reach over 5 ft. and weight eight or more pounds. Their snout is long and thin with no teeth but a very long, retractile, and sticky. These shy solitary nocturnal mammals have a light yellow grayish white fur, strong big claws, fur, strong long tail that helps stabilize them as they go from branch to branch searching for a colony of termites, ants, and insects that hide or live inside tree bark and trunks. The mammal Tamandua mexicana is known by Maya people as “Ahchab” and was hunted massively but now it is protected to restore its wild population to continue controlling the insect species density in Yucatan and Mexico. These animals are shy, solitary and active during twilight and at night the ant-eaters distribute their time strolling the ground and tree branches in deciduous forests.
Kinkajou, Potos flavus, in many ways are the most charming mammals to observe in Yucatan, they love jumping through tree branches at dusk in search of ripe avocados and mamey fruits. Nocturnal, lively, and very likable, Kinkajous can be domesticated as pets but we prefer to enjoy them in their natural wild habitat. Maya people call them “Ak’ab ma’x” or “mico” the Spanish name for Kinkajou. Their body moves with grace atop fruit trees and royal palms in search of foods or insects. They are great seed dispensers and pollinators. Their long tail makes them look like monkeys but watch their face!
White-nosed coati, Nasua narica, known tothe Maya as “Chiic.” Charming small mammalscan reach the size of a common domestic catdistinguished for its very long tail, carry erect most of the time. These mammals’ have longpointy snouts; their fur has a cinnamon colorwith yellowish undertones. Coatis have trulydefined facial marking with white rings circling the eyes. A ground dweller active during thedaytime; males are solitary, females and cubstravel together in groups of six or more. Lovesfallen trunks to dig its burrows. An omnivorousmammal, the coati feeds on fruit, seeds, smallmammals, birds, eggs and even insects. Livesin various regions in Yucatan and at our MayaJungle Reserve is often found in our low bushareas, in “rejoyadas” and around the cenotes.
“Chulul” is the Maya name for a Margay, Leopardus wiedii, a small wild cat that is a joy to observe in the wild dense tree tops; at maturity weights an average of ten pounds. Long, slender body, short dense spotted fur, small face and big eyes, the Margay is the only feline to live in the Maya Jungle Reserve in Chichen Itza, a private wildlife reserve in Yucatan that the Hacienda Chichen protects, the species is in danger of extinction and its population severely decreased by illegal hunting and reduction of its habitat. Considered a rare species by Mexican law this lively nocturnal feline hides in deciduous disturbed areas at the crown of tall trees. Resting on branches during the day, Margays mark their territory and feed on small animals.
Long-tail weasel, Mustela frenata, known to the Maya as “Sabin.” A charming small mammal with a slim long body and shinny red brown fur a top and bright yellow fur under. Their faces have a long pointy snout, and two white lines of fur that create a mask effect from snout to chin. A nocturnal ground dweller active during the daytime as well, may climb trees nimbly to catch its pray. Eats fowl, rodents and reptiles. In the wild, the weasels’ charming, intelligent, and personality is a joy to watch. Adapts well in various regions, in Yucatan within our Maya Jungle Reserve, weasels are found in low bush areas, in “rejoyadas,” and around the cenotes. Known as slippery chiefs, weasels’ quick ways have earned them many representations in our cartoon prototypes of devious charming thieves.
“Pai och” is the name in Maya for the Striped hog nosed skunk, Conepatus semiestriatus. He can be seen in low deciduous tropical forest and grass areas. Considered a rare species by Mexican law this little fellow is never hunted. A ground dweller with nocturnal habits, hardly ever found during the day; likes to feed mainly with insects although can eat fruits and lizards. A thick black hairy fur with striking white stripes that run from the nose to the sides of the body ending in its fuzzy lush hairy tail; has a long neck and a long snout. Paws with five toes and big sharp nails; it moves in diagonal ways when it gallops or runs. We advise you not to disturbed them to avoid their fetid potent odor.
Nine-banded armadillo, Dasypus novemcintus, is a shy nocturnal small mammal named “Uech” by the Mayas. A likeable chubby fellow with a strong ossified armor that has nine flexible bands and shields that cover the entire upper body. In Yucatan the armadillo can be found with brown or a dark gray color skin an armor. Moving slow and digging hard, the armadillo is more gentle and likeable that an aggressive wild animal. Feeds mainly on insects, butterflies, termites, beetles, etc. Hunted for its delicious tender meat by the Maya farmers as well as for its armor to create crafts, armadillo population has decreased rapidly in Yucatan.
Yucatan yellow bat, Rhogeessa aeneus, Family Vespertiliondae, a small insectivorous bat endemic to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Bats are the only mammals naturally capable of true sustained flight. Bats forelimps form webbed wings and their spread-out digits are long and covered with a thin membrane or patafium, which bats flap to fly. Bats perform vital ecological roles. Bats in Maya mythology have an important role as they transcend from the underworld (caves) to the celestial realm. All bats are protected at Hacienda Chichen where other bat species are found: Mexican Long-tongued, Lesser dog-like bat, and more.