Laos is a beautiful landlocked country located in Southeast Asia. It is filled with mountainous terrain and tropical rain forest, though illegal logging as well as legitimate development of land has greatly reduced the forest density in recent years. Rivers also play an important role in the Laotian ecosystem. This environment has produced a wide diversity of wildlife.
Some species found only in Laos include the Laotian rock rat, a rodent that resembles a dark colored rat with a bushy tail similar to a squirrel and Paulina's Limestone Rat
, which can be found around the entrances to limestone caves. The Annamite roundleaf bat as well as the Khaokhouay roundleaf bat, both microbats with very limited habitats, are also found exclusively in Laos. Roosevelt's muntjac, sometimes called Roosevelt's barking deer, can only be found with certainty in Laos, but it is possible the animal's range may extend into Vietnam as well.
Of course, there are also many animals found in Laos that are also found in other areas. Asian giant softshell turtles, reticulated pythons, Corbett's tigers, Javan rhinoceroses and pot-bellied pigs all live in the wild in Laos. Asian elephants have been domesticated in Laos and used for foresting but also exist in the wild. Saltwater crocodiles once inhabited most of the Mekong River but are now considered to be extinct in Laos and all other parts of Southeast Asia with the possible exception of Myanmar.
With its lush rain forests and isolated mountainous regions, new species are occasionally discovered in Laos. For instance, in 2005 the bare-faced bulbul, a rare small bird, was discovered there. Evidence of the saola, also known as the Vu Quang ox or Asian unicorn, has been found in Laos as far back as 1992, but no live specimen has ever been documented.