The Amazon rainforest is one of the most exotic & biologically diverse regions on Earth, and is home to the most spectacular Amazon rainforest animals you can imagine. Legendary for the sheer vastness of its size, its 1.4 billion acres of tropical forest cover some 40% of the South American continent, making up just over half of the entire planet’s remaining tropical forest lands.
Given its enormity, then, it’s no surprise that the Amazon basin itself is home to some of the most diverse flora & fauna on the planet. In fact, there’s no other biome in the world as rich in plant & animal life as the Amazon basin. Roughly 1 out of every 10 known animal species can be found in the Amazon rainforest. For birds, that figure rises to 1 out of every 5.
Specifically, the Amazon rainforest is home to 427 mammals, 78 reptiles, over 400 amphibians, and some 1,300 birds. The most fascinating part? These are only the species we know. Biologists estimate that we are still yet to discover the vast majority of Amazon rainforest animals that call this utopic wildlife repository home. Recent research even shows that, on average, a new Amazonian species is discovered every 2 days.
Fortunately for nature lovers, the Amazonian territories of countries such as Ecuador, Bolivia & Peru have been kept largely unspoiled. Owing to the idyllic, undisturbed nature of these nation’s Amazonian habitats, travellers can expect to see some of the rarest & most spectacular Amazon rainforest animals imaginable. So, without further ado, here are the 7 Amazon rainforest animals our experts recommend you look out for during your Amazon jungle trek:
We’d be remiss to publish any guide to Amazonian rainforest animals without including a mention of ‘The Killer of Killers,’ as David Attenborough called them. It is the largest cat in the Americas and adult males can typically range up to 100kg in weight. Behaviorally speaking, the jaguar is comfortable on both water and land. It’s an apex-predator, and is typically a solitary, ambush-style hunter, possessing the most proportionately strong bite in the animal kingdom! These majestic creatures are very hard to find in the wild, but you might be able to spot one in remote parts of Madidi National Park if you’re lucky!
Contrary to popular belief, the poison dart frog may not actually be that poisonous. In fact, out of 170 species tested, only 3 have actually been proven to be lethal, of which the golden poison dart frog has the highest toxicity. This group of frogs is native to Central & South America, with their name coming from the Amerindians’ use of the frog’s toxic secretions to poison the tip of their blow-darts. The frogs are aposematic, meaning the vibrance & complexity of their body color correlates to their level of toxicity to act as a warning mechanism to potential predators. And luckily for trekkers, this’ll make them easier to spot on your Amazon jungle tour!
This carnivorous breed of otter is endemic to the Amazon basin. It is the largest member of the mustelidae (or weasel) family, with adult males capable of growing up to 5ft in length, with a 3ft long tail, as well as ranging up to 55lbs in weight. The giant river otter is a highly social creature, living in families of up to 8 otters. These families are typically dominated by a mated pairing but are highly cooperative as a group. Don’t let the social demeanor and cute exterior fool you, though, these animals are apex-predators, and have been observed to be highly aggressive and territorial with other otter groups. Jungle trekkers should expect to hear the giant river otter long before they see it, as this animal is famed for its distinct repertoire of vocalizations, capable of conveying a whole range of emotions from alarm or aggression to reassurance.
The Amazon river dolphin (aka the pink river dolphin, boto, bufeo, the list goes on…) is, in fact, a species of pink-toothed whale unique to the Amazon basin. It has baffled scientists for decades, and it still remains a mystery as to just how and when this mysterious pink species penetrated the Amazon basin. A highly intelligent animal, the pink river dolphin navigates the Amazonian waters through the use of biosonar from an organ referred to as a “melon.” River dolphins are also highly social creatures, so if you happen to come across one on your jungle travels don’t be afraid to say hello!
One of the most charismatic residents of the Amazon jungle, this boisterous bird is famed for its vivid, striking plumage. Its brightly colored feathers serve as a mating tool, with each bird’s plumage as unique as a fingerprint. But the Macaw is more than just a pretty face, it’s also one of the most intelligent birds on the planet. Not shy of public speaking, Macaws are renowned for their ability to mimic human speech, which has made them a popular choice of pet in Western societies. Highly social creatures, they are known to live in flocks of up to 30 birds. They also mate in a single pair for life, which is even more impressive when you consider the average lifespan of a macaw is typically 60 years. To spot one, Amazon trekkers need look no further than the jungle canopy.
This barrel-shaped mammal is the largest rodent in the world. Fully mature adults can reach lengths of up to 4ft while also weighing around 140lbs. Capybaras are highly social creatures and typically move in groups of between 20-30 members, although some groups of up to 100 have been observed in the wild. A herbivorous animal, Capybaras can typically be found around bodies of water, where they feed on shrubs and other aquatic plants. And not to be crude, but the Capybara is also autocoprophagous, meaning they eat their own feces in order to aid digestion and enhance vitamin & protein intake. But hey, to each their own.
The world’s largest, heaviest & most powerful snake is also probably the most famous. With specimens in the wild capable of reaching 18ft in length and a whopping 170lbs in weight, the green anaconda may seem slow & sluggish on land, however it is in the water that the snake comes into its own. Growing throughout its lifetime and needing 40lbs of food a day, the Anaconda typically hunts by floating beneath the surface of the water with their snout above the surface. When prey passes by or stops to drink, the anaconda will strike and coil its body around its prey until suffocated. With that said, it’s a matter of personal opinion whether running into one of these behemoths on your jungle trek would be a good or a bad thing.
So if you think you’re about ready to take on your own Amazon jungle trek, we recommend heading over to the tour comparison site www.findlocaltrips.com to find the Amazon tour or trek perfect for you. Happy traveling!