Torres del Paine National Park Fauna
There are 25 species of mammal in and around Torres del Paine National Park. Here we describe 6 of the those you will most likely spot during your travels.
English Name / Chilean Name
Puma / Puma
The Puma, related to the Cougar family, is the largest wild, feline to inhabit the American continent and is found in more places than any other native, American mammal. Chile is considered to be home to the largest Puma’s with a typical body length of between 103cm to 197cm, not including its tail, and that alone can measure another 52cm to 82cm. With regards to its weight, usually a grown adult will be between 25kg to 55kg.
Many Puma’s live in Torres del Paine, where they are able to prey on the plentiful supply of Guanaco’s roaming within the Park. They are very shy and difficult to spot due to their excellent camouflage, but usually eat their kill just before the dawn.
Grey Foxes / Zorro Gris
The Torres del Paine Grey Fox is small and has an overall, general greyish-coloured fur, with areas of yellowish markings, edged in white closer to its head and on its legs. The ears are typically large, and the tail is long with a bushy fur. It is native to the Southern Cone of South America living mainly in the areas either side of the Andes, therefore, Chile and Argentina, but reaching as far north as Bolivia and Uruguay. Typically, the Grey fox will eat Mammals, birds, bird eggs, arthropods, reptiles, fruit and carcass. In Torres del Paine its favourite habitat is usually around the Laguna Azul, and the lakes Nordenskjöld, and Sarmiento. In some parts of the Park they have become “domesticated” due to tourists feeding them.
Fox / Zorro Culpeo
Known as the “Red Fox” because of the colour of its reddish fur on its head and legs, this fox lives anywhere it can burrow. This means near bushes, steppe, banks of streams and low, dense shrub vegetation. It can be often spotted around the Lago Grey area, Pehoé camping and close to the Conaf Park Administration. It will usually hunt for mammals, birds eggs, but even sheep.
Skunks / Chingue - Zorrillo
The Skunk, also known as the South American Skunk, is a solitary, nocturnal animal that lives in caves that it digs out or occupies from another animal. It is small and stocky in appearance with a long snout designed to enable it feed on beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets, but will also eat small rodents and animal carcass. It is omnivorous and measures around 70cm in length. When under attack it will emit a pungent scent as a defence mechanism to repel the attacker, therefore do not get too close to this animal! Easy to identify by its small size, black fur and white strip down its back from head to tail. Usually found around the Laguna Amarga entrance to the Park as well as the Laguna Azul and Lake Sarmiento areas.
The name huemul is from the Mapudungun wümul.
The Huemul is related to the cervidae species, he lives in the Andes and is illustrated as part of Chile’s national coat of arms. It is very shy, usually avoiding areas of population and humans. It is also, unfortunately on the extinction danger list. However, it is a resident of Torres del Paine, where it is protected. The mammal can be seen, if you are fortunate, in the western sector of the Park, but its excellent camouflage of brown makes it blend seamlessly into the natural background vegetation.
Guanaco / Guanaco
The Guanaco is an herbivorous mammal native to South America, belonging to the Camelid family group (Camel). Often reaching heights of up to 2m, they roam around Torres del Paine in large herds and are easy to see. They have a brown and reddish fur and white under belly. One of their surprising characteristics is the fact that they cab run fast, up to 60kl per hour – very handy to get away from a Puma, but not always.
You will see them in many areas, but especially around the Laguna Amarga, Laguna Azul and near the Sarmiento Lake.