Street Life in Ecuador (Part 2): The Critter Edition

In response to last week’s WordPress Photo Challenge (one that focuses on street life), I decided to do a two-part series that will feature creatures rather than people, to highlight the critters that make the streets of Ecuador so special.  Last week, Part 1 shared a series of canine photos, while today, Part 2 will offer images of the many other animals seen on the streets of this creature-crazy country.

Sometimes I’m still amazed to see farm animals roaming the roads of my own neighborhood—one that is decidedly suburban.

So–sit back, relax, and enjoy this journey in critter pics.


I may have fewer feline images than I did canine photos last week, but, I promise, that cats are almost as common in Ecuador as dogs.

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One of our neighbors stakes her bovine friends in grassy areas just down the block and walks them on the street as if they were dogs.




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However, cows aren’t the only farm animals who live in our neighborhood and walk the streets of Ecuador’s cities and towns.  Horses and donkeys are even more common.

I love the horse in our hood, the one below who poses for pictures in front of graffiti–a great juxtaposition of rural and urban just down the block from our home in Totoracocha.

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I don’t have as many sheep images, but we see lambs and their parents fairly often in Ecuador.

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I’ve interacted with more birds since moving to Ecuador than I had in my previous 5 decades.  They’re everywhere.

In the first photo below I’m returning an immature pigeon to his nest.  He was able to wing his way down but unable to fly high enough to get back.


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I don't know where Ariel found this chick he brought to me.

Call me the “Chick Whisperer.”

Llamas and Vicuña

We discovered the ultimate in Ecuadorian “street” critters when driving near Chimborazo, the highest peak in Ecuador.  There we saw wild llamas and their relative, the vicuña, grazing on alpine grasses. Notice in the photo below how close the vicuña came to the road.




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So which critters roam the streets where you live?  What is your favorite animal?

Note:  We have been at the beach, where we didn’t have internet.  Also, I will be teaching a five-day workshop next week and having house guests from the US after that.  So, while I WILL respond to comments on the posts I publish, I will not be able to visit as many blogs as I usually doPlease know I will be back as soon as my schedule allows.  In the meantime, thanks so much for stopping by.  And PLEASE leave me a comment below.  That way I will miss you less!

123 thoughts on “Street Life in Ecuador (Part 2): The Critter Edition

  1. Wow a culminating collection of crazy critters. Love the white cat and the cow with the heart on it’s brow. I grew up on a farm and raised pigeons, rabbits, chickens, guinneas, ducks and a variety of wild fowl, Canadian geese, mallards, pheasants and quail hatched from an incubator two hundred and fifty at a twenty-one day cycle. The quinnea and quail chicks were my favorite, so small, so gentle and sweet. I enjoyed most, your shots of the chickens and roosters. The variety of creatures in your neighborhood is amazing. Living next to the wood I see deer foraging and squirrels performing aerobic acrobatic acts. This very cold and snowy winter I afforded myself the pleasure of feeding the song birds. I counted among my winged visitors over twenty-six varieties; among which Cardinals, Blue Jays, Tit Mice, Juncos, Chicadees and one very regular Red-headed Woodpeckerwere my special treat. The Cardinals were the most patient of the lot; on several days when the leggy branches of the wood was flocked with a confection of snow I could count as many as eighteen beautiful bright red birds puffed up to conserve heat against the arctic blast waiting their turn. They decorated the copse like ornaments on a decorated tree.


    • Thank you, dear Robert! So glad you enjoyed the critter pics. Sounds like you have quite an assortment of creatures in your neck of the woods, as well. I especially LOVE your description of the cardinals. What a lovely image that conjures. Hope you are having an equally lovely week, my friend. Great to hear from you!


      • I am replying in this box because in the 12 years I have known Robert I did not know about all the birds on the farm on which he grew up. Interesting. And, interesting your photos of all the animals, each beautiful in its own way. I feel sorry for them wandering the streets and mixed in with all the vehicle exhaust, but then my experience of world cultures is limited, having gotten out of the U.S. only as far as Mexico and Canada — and in Mexico I was in the tourist areas. The only animals wandering around in our Delaware small town are dogs, cats with a penchant for lying in meatloaf position in the middle of the street, bunnies who live under the shed in my back yard, a squirrel that visits me on my porch and the robin who built her nest above my front door at my transom window. My favorite, as I have said, are the dogs.

        Sorry to be so late on this; blogged down and trying to catch up.

        Fascinating. Thanks Kathy.


      • Oh, I’m so happy you enjoyed this post, despite having to see the farm animals amidst the business of city life. I had no idea that you hadn’t traveled a lot. You have always struck me as someone who had such a great grasp on world issues, I just imagined you’d been tons of places. I bet it’s the reading. Thanks for stopping by, my friend.


      • Replying to what you said, Kathy, about my suspected grasp on world issues, yup, it’s the reading. That, and I think my living in Southern California (L.A.) for most of my adult life — meeting people from all over the world, from some of the more remote corners, too, such as the woman from Fiji who told me that when she was a kid they used to go over and pick pears from the king’s tree.


  2. oh what a delightful walk about this way. All these critters make me even more eager to come for a visit. So much colour and life. Enjoy your course. You’ll be a superb workshop leader. I just know it.


  3. Fabulous pictures!!! I am partial to the vicunas and llamas. 🙂 In my backyard I have deer, pheasant, bunnies, squirrels, tons of birds and the occasional turkey sprinkled in for good measure. Sometimes a cat wanders through and a stray dog. My wildlife is a bit different!


    • I think it would be so cool to have deer in your yard. My grandmother had a summer home for decades. There she kept a salt lick that they visited daily. So happy you enjoyed the photos, my happy friend! Thanks so much for stopping by! Your comments make ME happy! Thank you!


  4. aaww – what beautiful anipals and pictures. That is so awesome. But, do you know what I didn’t see… piggies! Do I need to come for a visit? Snorts. XOXO – Bacon


  5. Hey right now that spring has finally sprung, wild animals are everywhere. Turkeys, the groundhogs that eat my garden, the bunny has been hopping about.

    The colorful creatures of your hood allows you to realize the rural is not far and that life lived with animals was once a daily way of living!

    Enjoy your workshop and your visitor !


    • Thank you, dear Jeff. Glad you enjoyed the photos. Thank God you are finally seeing some spring and the critters that go with it. Hope you mom is doing okay, also. I love hearing from you! Hugs from Ecuador, my friend!


  6. Oh, you gave me such a smile this morning! Great pictures! I’m enjoying watching the birds come back to Beaver Island right now. Nothing too unusual yet, but every robin is a blessing. A raccoon came calling the other day…Clover dispatched it before it realized this was not friendly territory. One lone chipmunk has been pretty active outside the window above my desk. The dogs don’t like it, either, but can’t get through the deep snow to make chase! Have a great week!


    • Cindy, you know I couldn’t believe all of snow you all still have on ground! However, I’m glad you are beginning to see a bit of spring and the few critters that accompany her arrival! Gosh, you deserve it, especially this year. Glad you enjoyed the photos, my friend. Thanks so much for stopping by!


  7. This was a great response to the Challenge. I loved that horse all dressed out. But the entire post was charming!
    Here cats and, at night, possum roam this country road. But our biggest and most frequent critters are deer!! They are thick here! The deer hunters rent the farmland during season and try to thin them out. Of course we don’t like that but there’s no other way to control their population. The farms provide a lot of food for them and they stay robust and healthy, and continue to multiply.
    I absolutely love them when I see a herd out back roaming around. So beautiful. Absolute opposite emotion when someone hits one, like I did last year! Posted a couple pics of them on my last post, which is about my “street life” in the country. There’s always a trade-off, isn’t there?
    Enjoy your busy life and you’re time away from blogging. See you when you return!


    • So wonderful to hear from you this morning, Alexandria! I love hearing about your deer, and I enjoy the distinction between urban and rural street life. One of things that amuses me about Ecuador is that sometimes these worlds collide. Thank you SO much for stopping by this morning!


  8. Hmm…I was wondering about you most volcanic eruption there….how did you do with that? Will await a post about that event…but did like this one on your neighborhood animals. 🙂


    • Actually, the most recent eruption didn’t send ash in our direction. The winds spared us this time. However, the ones a couple of months ago sent a thick layer of it our way several days in a row. Perhaps, I will write about that. Glad you enjoyed this one, too, Charlie!


  9. I’ve never seen a vicuna before. They have such small heads in relation to the rest of their bodies. The proportions look all wrong!

    Around here, there are lots of chickens roaming around – and the occasional goat. Other than that, just cats and dogs. Enjoy your American visitors next week!


    • Yes, they do have tiny heads–sort of the like the camel or giraffe, but even more so. Had no idea you had lots of goats and chickens in your neck of the woods. That’s Portlandia for you! Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Glad the bank approved the short sale!


  10. My favorite animal is a deer, although I am also very fond of cats, chickadees, dragonflies, mourning doves and gulls. In the summer we like to go down to “our” beach and watch the gulls, herons, loons, swans, ducks, and cormorants going about their business.

    I’m in love with your llamas!


    • Yes, the llamas are sweet–though when we came upon some in the wild and our friend got too close, the mama llama spit on him. I had no ideas before that they spit.

      I’m a big fan of cats, by the way! And your beach sounds lovely.

      Thanks for stopping by today, my friend! It’s always wonderful to hear from you!


  11. Lovely photos once again, Kathryn! The cat in the second photo looks like my old friend Spudley… and the second cow is a stunning looking creature, if ever I saw one. And those Vicuña… how cute are they?


    • Thank you so much, Tom. I always look forward to your comments. I’m so happy you enjoyed the critter pics. I really enjoyed that cow photo, as well. What a sweet face.

      Hope your week is going well, my friend!


  12. I love cows. There’s something about those enormous brown eyes that tugs at my heart. However, that one cow, with the heart shape on its head…LOVE! Hope your beach vacation was wonderful and I hope the furniture class goes well! Love to you all the way down in Ecuador!


    • Thanks so much, Sista! I love your comments! I’m a fan of the cow, as well. The big brown eyes are to-die-for. Great to hear from you today. You know, I still can’t get over the neighbors walking the cows like dogs. Such a hoot!


  13. I am ready to move there – if only I could convince my spouse! We usually only have dogs, beavers, opossums, and cats on our streets. On the rare occasion a rabbit.


    • Oh, hope you will consider moving here. Ecuador is such a beautiful country! I love that you have beavers. That’s one animal I have not seen here yet. Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s wonderful to hear from you!


  14. I love the horses and donkeys, Kathy, and the llamas are really cool too. I’ve never even heard of a vicuña, so I learned about a new animal today, thanks to you! I guess I better go now; I need to go walk my cow! 🙂


    • So glad you enjoyed this, Tia! I, too, get a kick out of seeing the cows being walked. However, I fear they are also eaten. And, in fact, guinea pigs, are a common food in Ecuador.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  15. I’m fascinated. And that nobody is running them down makes Ecuador the best place for them to be. It looks so relaxing and easy over there. You certainly have a gift with that camera, by the way.


  16. Hey Chick whisperer, really loved the tour of critters!!! That cow with the heart design on its head, wow, how cool is that! Those kitties sure looked comfortable! Loved the llamas and the vicuna (never heard of them!) The roosters…Aw heck I loved every one of them!!! Very neat set!


  17. You live in a very crittery place! 🙂 I love all of these pictures, but I especially like the ones of you with the pigeon and the chick. We call my oldest daughter “the bird whisperer.” She’s rescued several birds that have gotten into stores she visiting. She can somehow calm them and pick them up. I hope your seminar goes well and that you have a lovely week, my busy friend! 🙂


    • Ah, I love that your daughter has a way with birds. The little boy who lives next door to us has a similar gift. In fact, he’s the one who brought that chick over to show us.

      Thanks for the wishes that all goes well with the workshop. Hope you all have a lovely weekend. I love hearing from you!


  18. I just loved this series of animal photos. It makes me happy. I’m especially enamored by the llama and vicuna photos Kathy. Are they wild in the mountains or do they belong to someone?

    That pigeon sure didn’t mind you handling him. I think the pigeons in NYC are a bit more aggressive. 🙂


    • Thanks so much, Jackie. Glad you enjoyed this one. Yes, the llamas and vicuna are wild. There are some folks who own some, but the ones pictured here were roaming freely. Interestingly, I had never even heard of vicuna before moving here. I guess they are a species unique to the high Andes.

      Hope you are having a great weekend, my friend.


  19. I don’t know if you took the pictures or Sara did, but the bird pictures, especially the roosters, are awesome. We see a lot of Geese around here, some deer, stray dogs and cats at times, tons of birds, ducks, lots of squirrels, and the occasional groundhog, raccoon, or fox.


    • Yes, YOU seem to have LOTS of wildlife around your home, and the photos of them is one of things I enjoy about your blog. Sara did take most of these photos, though a few are mine. Great to hear from you today. Thanks so much for stopping by!


  20. You did such an excellent job of capturing all the different animals wandering about your neighborhood. Some of them are wonderfully alluring, makes me just want to reach out and touch them. Fun!!

    I am so ready to come visit, with my camera!

    Many hugs from Dallas


    • Thanks, Val. It’s wonderful to wake up to your comment this morning. I must admit, however, that Sara took most of these shots. We are hoping you will come visit soon–and bring your CAMERA! Just let us know when. Hug to you, too, my friend!


  21. Sorry I’m coming around so late, but as you know, I’m still very under the weather; this cold has hardcore separation anxiety. I loved this post! Of course, as I was looking through National Geographic Kathy/Sara-style, I did find myself wondering if there are any zoos in Ecuador. It doesn’t seem necessary with the abundance of beautiful beasts out and about in everyday life. I particularly loved the cow gazing soulfully at the lens. If I were ever inclined to hug a cow, that would be the one. In fact, if I were the type that would consider dating a barnyard animal, I would ask that one out. Was that a goat marching amongst the sheep? I am a fan of goats. I agree with Mark Petruska — I was struck by how small the vicuna’s head is in relation to its body. That skull cannot pack a very big brain. Are they dumb at stumps?

    Here in NYC, aside from the many dogs I see with their masters walking (and scooping) on the street, there are plenty of pigeons and I never grow tired of pigeon gazing. I have a particular fondness for the ones that sunbathe outside my window at The Grind. I also have a tolerance of the rats when they’re “where they belong” scurrying on the subway tracks. Once they’re above ground, I get the willies. Another urban creature I always welcome seeing is the squirrel. Back in the day, my friend, Martini Max and I often ate lunch in Central Park; the park was very near our office. We once saw the most adorable squirrel sitting upright on its haunches, clearly begging for a bite of our hotdogs. Granted, that critter was a bushy tailed New York City scam artist, but we were delighted. Then, we both inhaled our hot dogs whole. We’re only partial suckers.


    • Great to wake up to your comment this morning, V! I must admit, that cow has a precious face, and the eyes are to-die-for. I have no idea about the intelligence of vicuna, but I have never heard that they are dumb. Who knows.

      I know you are a fan of the pigeons that perch out side the Grind and make it a bit more bearable. As you know, I think they’re pretty cool, as well. I’m a fan of squirrels, too. Who knew they could beg for hot dogs?!

      Hope you are having some good weather this weekend in Gotham City. God, surely the snow is over for the year.

      Hope you are feeling better. Sara is really sick with a cold now. It’s a bad one.


  22. Kathy, I remember living in Venezuela and chickens and roosters were everywhere. I love how they casually ambled down the street (though I wasn’t keen on waking to the rooster’s cries so early in the morning. But then, come to think of it, the streets of Key West are also littered with chickens and Hemingway cats. Here, aside from the usual cats and dogs, I see a lot of wild rabbits. Especially at dusk. I still get a kick out of encountering them. Sometimes in the playground I’ll see a whole family of rabbits. They stand perfectly still, hiding in plain sight. Then as you get closer, they scamper away. They’re so fast. Keep your photos coming. I just love them! Especially this series featuring animals. More, please!


    • Thank you, Monica! So happy you are enjoying this series! Yes, the chickens do the same here. Talk about free range!!!!!! Our next door neighbors have chickens and roosters in their tiny back yard. I have not seen them. Only heard them–and that rooster seems to have something wrong with his internal clock, as we hear him at ALL times of the day. It’s so weird! And I have not seen rabbits here. We had a lot in our yard in Pittsburgh.

      Have a great weekend, my friend. Hugs to the sweet canines in your life–and to you, too, of course!


  23. I really do have to wonder, and ask, about cleaning up after the larger animals? What is the system for that? I hope there is one. LOL! THe fowl are really quite colorful, I noticed. And really, as much as it would be odd to have large animals as my walking companions, I know I’d be delighted. The photos are really charming! I hope you’re really enjoying your time with all your activities right now. And your guests are going to have such a good time! 🙂 Enjoy!


    • Ah, thank you, Debra. Great question about clean-up after the cows and horses. The fact of the matter is that we have cleaner streets here than anywhere in the world I have ever been–including much of the US. They pick of trash and sweep the streets 3 times a week.

      We are getting ready for things to get even busier. Starting tomorrow I’m teaching a workshop for five hours a day–for the next 5 days. Gonna be intense.

      Wonderful to hear from you today. Hope you have a great weekend, my friend!


  24. Wonderful. I liked the roosters. The cows also looked really healthy. Now, I want a cow to walk! Funny story–my kid is terrified of pigeons. He says it is the claw feet on any bird but pigeons put him over the age. Can I just tell you that being in Venice with him wasn’t fun The whole time we were there I was shooing away pigeons as he walked behind me. Needless to say we did not enjoy any outside dining.


    • Yes, I still get a chuckle out the cow walking. So sorry to hear that Cole has a pigeon phobia. That would be bad in almost any large urban area. Yikes! Hope you all have a great week! Thanks for stopping by. Wonderful to hear from you today!


  25. Hi Kathy

    Beautiful photographs. Even the plumage on the birds has a distinctive bright colour palette in Ecuador! What fascinating wildlife. The woven bracelets you have around your wrist in one of the shots are fabulous. The cows looked well fed and watered, I hope they are well behaved in the street! I wonder if the horses are used for riding along the street or are simply walked from one place to another? I saw some photos of Cuenca Heritage site and once again I see the draw of this location. The old walls look like they have had so much history happen around them.

    Spring is busy springing in our neck of the woods. Time to pull up a few weeds in the garden.




    • Oh, Lita, I’m so happy to hear from you! Yes, the animals are pretty well-behaved. And the horses are sometimes used for riding and sometimes for farm work. I have no idea what the one in our neighborhood does. I’ve only seen him staked and grazing.

      I’m going to have to see the photo you are referring to that has my bracelets. So glad you liked it.

      Just got home after teaching a 5 hour art class, a workshop on hand-painted furniture. It’s every day this week. I’m tired. Don’t even know if I will be able to blog this week. We’ll see.

      Hope your Monday went well. Happy spring and happy gardening, my friend. Hugs to you!!!!


  26. These are really good pics of animal street life 🙂 What a creative approach to the photo challenge. But my favorite would have to be the wild llamas. That just looks so cool.


    • Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed this approach to the challenge. I must confess, that we have lived in Ecuador for nearly a year now, and the llamas still delight me every time. Great to hear from you today! Hope you are doing well!


  27. Love the variety and seeing this slice of street life. I was surprised in London to see so many different types of animals. In the parks you can see many different types of birds and horses. But our usual animals I spy are pigeons, cats, and dogs. In the countryside there’s more variety, but I don’t have a car so I don’t get out there as much. Luckily there are many large parks so I can still be in “nature.” Hope you’re having an awesome time


  28. Your wildlife is so much more fascinating than ours. We have an abundance of gray squirrels, geese and various birds. I do really appreciate the cardinals and goldfinches though. They’re so pretty.


    • I bet your wildlife is every bit as interesting as ours–just not out walking down Main Street. I love birds, too. We have some amazing hummingbirds here. Happy Saturday, my friend, and thanks so much for stopping by!


  29. Great photos of your ‘pets’ (big smile!) We have a ton of wildlife here too, but more the usual ones ~ deer, rabbits, fish (in pond), blue heron (who likes believes the pond is his personal fishing hole), chipmunks, frogs, squirrels, the occasional wild turkey, osprey, hawks and even some cats & pups who stop by to get some petting b/c I’m a huge animal lover!


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