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The vegetation of Uruguay used to be mainly prairies consisting of tall prairie grass growing with rolling hills and valleys; however this landscape now competes with enclosed planted pastures. Only a small percentage of the land is covered in forests (about 3%) with most of the trees growing in narrow stretches along the rivers. The bluish-tinted prairies provide an extremely rich natural pasture, this is also where a small purple flower grows that give Uruguay the name Purple Land. Most of the valleys are covered in shrubs but Palm trees, Rosemary, myrtle, scarlet-flowered ceibo and mimosa are also found here. Indigenous hardwood trees include algarobo, guayabo, quebracho, urunday,willow, jaracanda and acacia. The main species are ombú - a scrubby treelike plant- and alder, however other species have been introduced to the country and now are quite common including: eucalyptus, pine, poplar,cypress, oak, cedar mulberry and magnolia.

Uruguay has several locations of national parks where you can see the variety of native animals on display. Large animals virtually don’t exist in the eastern regions and rarely do you see any in all of the country. However, other mammals you may encounter include:  armadillos, capibaras, three toed ant-eaters, wildcats, carpinchos, deer, otter, wild hogs, fox, and various other rodents.

In the river forests and the swamps a wide variety of birds live.  Some of the birdlife you may find in Uruguay include: swans, storks, cranes, white herons, hummingbirds, wild turkeys and parakeets. Reptilian life in Uruguay consists of lizards, tortoises, rattlesnakes and a viper snake called “vibora de la cruz”. In the pastures we find, next to the ñandu, patridges and the hornero which builds it nest often in telephone poles.

The aquatic life in Uruguay is also quite lively. Sport fishers from all over the world come to Uruguay to fish in Río Santa Lucía for the the criolla, a fish that can weigh up to 32 kilograms. A combination of salt and sweet water fish like sharks, rays, ansjovis and corvina can be found amongst the piranha, salmon, pejerrey, pacú, tararira and surubí (all family of the North American perch).

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