The Amazon rainforest is known worldwide as the largest tropical rainforest. It covers around 40% of South America continent and is spread across a large part of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and many other regions of South America. The Amazon rainforest is home to a number of wildlife not found anywhere else in the world and is renowned for its biodiversity of flora and fauna. The statistics say it all – 1 in 10 species identified in the world live in the Amazon rainforest. There are around 2.5 million insect species, thousands of plant species, and more than 2000 birds and mammals inhabiting the Amazon rainforest region. Many of the Amazon rainforest animals are rare and found solely in the Amazonian jungle. Let us look at the varied wildlife found in the depths of the Amazon rainforest.
Amazon Rainforest Animals
The Amazon rainforest is well-known for its biodiversity and hosts a number of reptiles, birds, mammals, and amphibians. Some of the Amazon rainforest animals can be found on the trees, some can be found in the river, and some inhabit the forest land. Moreover, scientists have discovered a number of new species and we can find an interesting variety of birds, monkeys, frogs, snakes, and the cat family. We may even come across some animals which we haven’t heard of before! The following rainforest animals list consists of some of the most interesting and unique creatures found in the Amazonian basin.
First, let’s look at some of the well-known mammals found in the Amazon rainforest. The most common mammals found in the Amazonian jungles are species of monkeys, many members of the feline family, sloths, anteaters, as well as mammals living in water bodies like dolphins and otters.
The Capybaras belong to the rodent family and resemble guinea pigs. Capybaras are quite big in size, in fact, they are the largest rodents in the world. The females are usually bigger than males. They are aquatic animals and spend a lot of their time in the water. They are usually found near lakes, rivers, and other swampy areas. The Capybaras are grass eaters and an adult Capybara can eat up to 8 pounds of grass per day. Capybaras live in groups like many other mammals and are social beings. Capybaras are unique species in the list of Amazon rainforest animals and are a lovely sight to behold for the rodent lovers!
Amazon River Dolphin
Amazon is well-known for this gorgeous looking mammal which looks nothing like its ocean counterpart! The Amazon River Dolphin, also known as Boto, is pale pink in color. Its snout is beak-shaped and its elongated neck allows it to watch left and right. The distinct color of the Amazon River Dolphin is due to the capillaries present near the surface of the skin. Moreover, it can grow as big as a human and feeds on fish, crabs, and other small creatures. Due to its remarkable appearance, the Amazon River Dolphin is considered a magical creature and so it is not hunted by the locals. However, this Amazonian creature has been affected by the pollution of the water bodies.
This variety of sloth gorges on bugs, ants, and other insects, thereby earning the name of anteater. This species of anteater is bigger than others and can grow up to around seven feet. These creatures are insectivorous and have elongated mouth and tongue in order to find and consume insects easily. Giant anteaters generally prefer staying on the forest floor in search of their food and do not reside on trees unlike other members of their species.
Golden Lion Tamarin
The Amazon rainforest animals have quite unique names as this next animal on our list suggests. The Golden Lion Tamarin is a species of monkey found in the Amazon rainforest. It derives its name due to its distinct appearance. This monkey has a mane of golden hair surrounding its face. These monkeys live on trees and use the tree holes to sleep at night. The females generally give birth to twins and the male nurture and protect their young ones by carrying them on their backs. These creatures have their own signal comprised of songs and sounds to indicate their presence to one another.
The Jaguar is the most famous of the cat family found in the Amazon. It is the third biggest in its family after lions and tigers. The jaguars are an incredible species and have quite some amazing qualities. The spots on the jaguar are rose-shaped which makes it easy to identify from other members of the feline species. The jaguar is a deadly predator and can crush the skull of an animal with its bite! Jaguars typically climb on trees to hunt for their prey. Jaguars usually hunt alone and use the height of the trees to narrow down their targets and attack them. Jaguar is a remarkable species in the rainforest animals list.
Now, let’s move on to the variety of birds that are found in the Amazonian basin. Many of the majestic birds that we see in the zoos are native to the Amazon rainforest. A variety of birds like macaws, vultures, eagles, and toucans are found in the Amazon rainforest. These birds are currently in danger as they are captured for illegal pet trading and poaching.
Macaws are a majestic species of parrot and are known for their colorful plumage. These birds are native to South America and can be seen flying across the Amazonian jungle in groups of 15-30. Macaws mate for life. They have extremely strong beaks which they use to crack open nuts and seeds. Hyacinth Macaw is a species of parrot found in Amazon. They are known to be the largest parrots in the world and are named so after their blue feathers. The Hyacinth macaws are one of the endangered species of animals as they are captured illegally for commercial purposes.
The King Vultures are seen in both Central and South American regions and are known for their beautiful appearance. The King, as per the name, is adapted from an ancient Mayan tale. According to the story, these vultures used to be the messengers between God and living beings. They usually have a white body with black feathers and tail. Their throats, neck, and beak are in shades of red, orange, and yellow with specks of purple and red on their heads. As typical of their species, these vultures are scavengers and help maintain the ecosystem in the Amazonian jungle.
The next species to make it to the list of Amazon rainforest animals is a Spectacled Owl. These are the only species of owl found in the Amazon rainforest. They are medium-sized creatures and have a circular head. Owls are named after the tuft of feathers surrounding their eyes which resembles spectacles. They have black feathers with specks of white around their eyes and cheeks. They mainly live in the dense Amazon rainforest and are very active at night. These creatures lead a solitary life and hunt for their prey at night by perching on the tree and swiftly diving at the sight of their target.
The Toco Toucans are the largest of the Toucan species in the Amazon rainforest. It is the most well-known of the seven Toucan species found in Central and South America. Their throat and face are white and the rest of the body is covered in black plumage. The characteristic feature of the Toco Toucan is its peculiar, oversized beak. Moreover, the yellow-orange colored beak is between 6 to 9 inches long. The Toco Toucans mostly fly in groups. They have an omnivorous diet and feed on plants, fruits, reptiles, eggs, and small birds. The Toucans are one of the main attractions at the zoo. Therefore, they are captured and sold for trade.
Lastly, we move forward to explore some of the reptilian species found in the Amazon rainforest. A large number of reptiles found in the Amazonian jungles are dangerous predators. Some are venomous and prey on large mammals while some are non-venomous and prey on smaller animals.
Black Caiman is a species of crocodile and one of the largest reptiles found in the Amazon rainforest. It is one of the deadliest predators found in lakes and rivers and can go up to a length of 16 feet. Their scales are dark in color and thus, they are aptly named Black Caiman. These creatures prey on land as well as water-dwelling creatures. In some instances, they even prey on old and weak Caimans. This makes them quite a dangerous and effective predator.
The world-famous anacondas are found in the Amazon rainforest as well. Anacondas are a really long snake species. Anacondas can grow as long as 30 feet and keep on growing throughout their entire life. The female anacondas are slightly larger compared to their male counterparts. A common species of Anaconda found in the Amazonian jungle is a Green Anaconda. It can grow up to 15-16 feet long. These reptiles are non-venomous and hunt on the prey by wrapping themselves around the prey and suffocating them. Anacondas prey on animals as large as capybaras, pumas, and other mammals. However, there is no known case of Green anacondas preying on human beings. Anacondas spend most time around water bodies and hence are also called the Water Boa.
Poison Dart Frogs
The Poison Dart Frogs are found in Central and South America and are known to be extremely poisonous. Their bodies are vividly colored with shades of blue, yellow, and orange. Their bright bodies warn the other creatures of their deadly preying habits. The poison of these frogs was used by the natives to coat their spades and weapons for hunting. Thus, they were named Poison Dart Frogs. These species are in danger due to illegal trade practices.
The basilisk lizard was named Jesus lizards by the common folk. The Jesus lizard was named so due to its ability to walk on water. Due to its webbed feet, it can run on the surface of the water at a speed of 5 miles per hour. This makes for an effective escape when running away from the predators. The unique characteristic of this lizard gives it a spot on the list of Amazon rainforest animals.
The glass frog is another species of frog found in the Amazon rainforest. They have translucent skin which can be an effective camouflage against predators. The glass frog’s skin is so translucent that one can see its internal organs like the stomach, liver, and heart.
These are some of the most diverse and interesting Amazon rainforest animals. Further, there are thousands of species of Amazon rainforest animals and plants which are worth knowing for the lovers of flora and fauna. The Amazon rainforest is the home to many other unique creatures such as the Harpy Eagle, the Peanut Head Bug, the Kinkajou, the Giant Armadillo, the Giant River Otter, the Ocelot, the Puma, the South American Tapir, the Squirrel Monkey, and the Pygmy Marmoset, to name a few. Some of these species are native to the Amazonian jungle and are not found elsewhere on the earth. Thus, it is very important that these animals are protected from the dangers of poaching and illicit trading.
Apart from poaching and the illegal pet trade, there are many other activities that endanger the lives of these animals. Moreover, deforestation, pollution, and forest fires can have devastating consequences on the animals and plants of the Amazon rainforest. The recent forest fire in the Amazon was one of the worst recorded in history. Countless plants and animals were killed and their habitats destroyed. Further, having such fire outbreak can be lethal and may lead to a decline in the numbers of animals.
Many of the animals in the Amazon rainforest are endangered species. Thus, it is our duty as humans to protect the diverse wildlife that makes up our ecosystem. We must act on preserving our wildlife before it is too late.