Thick tropical forest. Photo©Getty

Thick tropical forest. Photo©Getty

There are hundreds of animals and plants in Vietnam that are found nowhere else.

Because Vietnam is long and thin, it stretches over three climate zones.  This means across Vietnam there are many different kinds of plants and habitats for animals.   The whole country was originally heavily forested, with huge mangrove swamps along its coast and thick rainforest in other regions. The forests were gradually cleared for agriculture, and then were very damaged by many years of war. Much of the war damage is irreversible, but reforestation programs are helping the restoration of the landscape.

Morning on Ba Be Lake Vietnam

Morning on Ba Be Lake Vietnam

In the untouched primary natural forests high in the mountains,  wild rhododendrons, bamboo and orchids grow. The mangrove forests along the coast are breeding grounds for many kinds of fish and crustaceans, and feeding areas for many kinds of birds.

Mangroves are plants that thrive in both salt and fresh water. Photo©Getty

Mangroves are plants that thrive in both salt and fresh water. Photo©Getty

 

There are great differences in climate and vegetation across Vietnam, with mountains, hills, flatlands, rivers and coastal areas. Habitats include tropical evergreen forests, wetlands that include mangroves, peat swamps, coral reefs and lagoons where there are species that live in salt water and freshwater. All of these contributes to Vietnam's recognition for its rich biodiversity. Biodiversity means the number and variety of native animals and plants within an environment.

In Vietnam there are approximately 13,766 different kinds of plants, about 10% of them endemic, which means found nowhere else. There are about 550 different kinds of freshwater fish in Vietnam, and over 2000 kinds of marine fish species, a number of them found nowhere else. 

Spectacled langur. Photo©Getty Images

Spectacled langur. Photo©Getty Images

Many kinds of primate are found there, many of them different species of the arboreal monkey family langur, the endangered Tonkin snub-nosed monkey and the black-crested gibbon.  There are 16 kinds of marine mammal found in the waters of Vietnam.

Red-shanked douc. Photo©Getty Images

Red-shanked douc. Photo©Getty Images

Rare birds are being seen once again in the forests near the Lao border. Edwards’ pheasant, thought to be extinct in the wild, is one species found there. A coastal reserve has been established to protect these rare and endangered species. In the region near the borders with Laos and Cambodiasome new mammal species were found. In 1992, a species of large ox was found, only the fourth large land mammal to be discovered in the 20th century.  In 1994, a new species of muntjac deer was found in the same area.

Several species of animal in this diverse region are struggling because of loss of habitat. However, since the reunification of north and south Vietnam, an important part of the recovery from war has been conservation and restoration of habitat. Vietnam now has 28 national parks within which wildlife in 126 conservation areas are flourishing.

Among the many animals that are found in Vietnam, there are many endemic species, which means they are found nowhere else. Some of these are newly discovered, as scientists can now explore remote areas of the country.

A female Bar-bellied pitta. Photo©Getty

A female Bar-bellied pitta. Photo©Getty

Mammals that are endemic to Vietnam

Grey-shanked douc langur, Tonkin snub-nosed monkey; Delacour’s langur; Hantinh langur; Van Sung’s shrew; small-toothed mole; Annamite myotis; Vietnam leaf-nosed bat; silver-backed mousedeer; puhoat muntjac; Millet’s giant rat; Osgood’s rat.

Bird species that are endemic to Vietnam

Edward’s pheasant; Vietnamese pheasant; imperial pheasant; grey-crowned crocias; chestnut-eared laughing-thrush; collared laughing thrush; Vietnamese goldfinch.

Male Quang's tree frogs sing different songs to attract females.

Male Quang's tree frogs sing different songs to attract females.

There are 45 reptile species endemic to Vietnam, includingDalat dwarf snake; Vietnam water snake; Vietnam worm snake. Con Dao bow-fingered gecko; Boulenger’s scaly-legged gecko, Sokolov’s glass lizard, red-tailed ground skink.

There are 58 amphibian species endemic to Vietnam, including Appleby’s Asian toad; striped oriental frog, orange-bellied leaf-litter toad; Nahang Asian toad; yellow-spotted spadefoot toad; Quang’s tree frog; vampire flying frog.

Mekong Giant Catfish Photo©Getty

Mekong Giant Catfish Photo©Getty

Fish species endemic to Vietnam

There are 80 species of freshwater fish and 7 species of marine fish that are endemic to Vietnam. Freshwater species include the Vietnamese banded sumo loach, the Vietnamese cardinal minnow and the Mekong giant catfish.

Read more about animals and plants from Vietnam:

http://vietnamfactsforschool.weebly.com/animals.html

Read about some newly discovered animals in Vietnam:

Read kidcyber pages about some animals found in Vietnam as well as other places:

Thick forests along a river, Vietnam. Photo©Getty

Thick forests along a river, Vietnam. Photo©Getty