When you think of Brazil’s national symbols you might think of the rainforest, Carnival, soccer, and amazing animals. If you are looking for Brazil’s National Animal, you might think it is the jaguar. In this post we are taking a trip to explore the national symbols of Brazil. I’ll save the cultural icons for another post. (To integrate this tour of the world into your secular homeschool curriculum you can check my curriculum reviews here.)
Brazil’s National Animal: The Jaguar
The jaguar, or Brazilian panther, is NOT actually the national animal of Brazil. There is no official designation for a national animal, but many people will associate the jaguar as Brazil’s national animal. (Scroll down for FREE coloring sheets featuring the jaguar)
The jaguar is sleek, intelligent and at the very top of the food chain in the Brazilian ecosystems. They are found in the rainforests, savannas and grasslands but prefer to be near water. Jaguars are among the world’s threatened animals due to deforestation, illegal hunting, and loss of food sources.
What Other Animals are Well-Known in Brazil?
Although most people consider the the jaguar to be Brazil’s national animal, there are several others that could qualify for the distinction. These include the maned wolf, the giant river otter, the Brazilian tapir, and the giant anteater.
Brazil is also home to approximately 75 species of monkeys and over 1800 species of birds! In fact, Brazil is only second to Colombia in its bird diversity.
Capybaras are perhaps the most common wildlife in Brazil. These funny creatures are members of the rodent family. Fun fact – their teeth never stop growing! They are strong swimmers and love the water. Their natural predators include that unofficial national animal of Brazil – the jaguar.
What are the other National Symbols of Brazil?
Brazil’s other national symbols include the National Anthem, the Coat of Arms, the National Bird, the National Flower, and the National Tree. When you have a country as diverse as Brazil you need a lot of symbols!
What is Brazil’s National Bird?
The national bird of Brazil is the Rufous-Bellied Thrush. This little songbird might seem an odd choice when there are so many other contenders that are larger and more vibrant. As mentioned above, Brazil is home to over 1800 species of birds.
The Rufous-Bellied Thrush is one of the most common birds in the region, and perhaps that is why Brazil chose it as the country’s national bird in 2002. This little one sings in the afternoons until early in the morning and represents the spirit of the common person in Brazil.
What is the National Flower of Brazil?
Brazil’s national flower is the Cattleya Orchid. The scientific name is cattleya labiata. Like its animals, Brazil is world-famous for its diverse flowers. The Cattleya Orchid flower is 5-6 cm across and it contains yellow, pink-purple and even vibrant splashes of a deeper purple.
The national flower of Brazil can be cultivated indoors as a houseplant but should be kept out of cold temperatures. I will leave further growing instructions to the experts.
What is Brazil’s National Tree?
Pau Brasil is the national tree of Brazil. This is commonly known as Pau or Brazilwood. This tree is a member of the legume family. Historically, the red sap from Brazil’s National Tree was used as a dye for cloth. Today, however, the Brazilwood is highly sought after for its timber. This timber can even be used as strings in violins and cellos.
What is Brazil’s National Anthem?
Francisco Manuel da Silva wrote the Brazilian National Anthem, or Hino Nacional Brasileiro in Portuguese, in 1831. The national anthem of Brazil consists of 2 stanzas. There is even a national law that dictates when both stanzas must be utilized. If only the instrumental version is played, you only need to play one time through. However, if voice is added, then both stanzas must be sung.
What Does Brazil’s Coat of Arms Represent?
Brazil’s National Coat of Arms consists of several national symbols of Brazil to represent crops, territories and mottoes. (Brazil’s national animal, the jaguar, is missing however.)
Brazil’s coat of arms was created in 1889. At that time coffee and tobacco were important crops and they receive a place of honor on Brazil’s national symbol. In the center you can see a shield and the Southern Cross. The 26 stars represent the states of Brazil.
The blue ribbon contains the date of proclamation and the words República Federativa do Brasil – or Federative Republic of Brazil.
Brazil has a rich and independent culture which is mirrored in its national symbols. If you’d like to learn about other countries’ national symbols, follow along as I’ll make this into a series around the world. If you have specific questions about Brazil pop them in the comments. I’ll do my best to find you an answer.