21 Incredible Animals That Live in the Amazon Rainforest

During the last decade or so, the information from Brazil has been filled with heartbreaking stories about deforestation, water pollution, and ever-increasing threats to Amazon rainforest animals. 

What’s much less well-known is the truth that the Amazon Basin– one of many world’s largest and most biodiverse repositories of plant and animal life– stretches throughout South America, masking 4.6 million sq. miles (or roughly 40% of the continent).

Although the Brazilian Amazon has been suffering from a seemingly infinite stream of environmental points, the rainforests of Ecuador and Peru stay comparatively unspoiled. 

The Yasuni National Park space, which protects many of the Ecuadorian Amazon basin, accommodates 150 amphibian and 121 reptile species, which is greater than all the species discovered within the U.S. and Canada mixed.

Ecuador’s Amazon animals additionally embody over 300 species of fish (together with three piranha species) and 70,000 insect species per acre of rainforest.

The Amazon rainforest covers roughly 60% of Peru, which is the biggest extension in any nation after Brazil.

Peru has the biggest variety of birds and the third largest variety of mammals on the earth. That is largely as a result of wealthy biodiversity discovered inside the Peruvian Amazon area. 

So what animals are you able to presumably anticipate to see throughout an Amazon Rainforest journey?

Right here’s a have a look at our favourite animals of the Amazon Rainforest, together with mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians! 

Sunset on the Amazon River, Peru
Sundown on the Amazon River in Peru by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett


  1. Amazon River Dolphin
  2. Capybara
  3. Big Armadillo
  4. Big River Otter
  5. Jaguar
  6. Jaguarundi
  7. Lophostoma Yasuni Bat
  8. Ocelot
  9. Puma
  10. Pygmy Marmoset
  11. South American Tapir
  12. Squirrel Monkey
  13. Hyacinth Macaw
  14. Hoatzin
  15. King Vulture
  16. Spectacled Owl
  17. Toco Toucan
  18. Black Caiman
  19. Inexperienced Anaconda
  20. Poison Dart Frogs
  21. South American River Turtle


Amazon Pink River Dolphin
Amazon Pink River Dolphin through Canva

1. Amazon Pink River Dolphin

The Amazon Pink River Dolphin appears to be like remarkably completely different from its extra acquainted, ocean-faring cousin.

Its physique is pale pink, with an elongated neck that may be moved left and proper, an extended snout harking back to a beak, a rounded head, and a smaller dorsal fin.

It feeds on small fish, crabs, and turtles. Like many different aquatic animals within the Amazon, the Dolphin is threatened by air pollution and numerous growth tasks which prohibit the river’s pure stream.

The Pink River Dolphins have historically been spared from tribal searching as a result of they have been believed to be magical creatures.

However lately Dolphins are sometimes struck by fishermen’s boats or get tangled of their nets. 

Capybara family - Amazon Mammals
Capybara household through Canva

2. Capybara

The Capybara is the biggest rodent on the earth, measuring as much as 4 ft in size and weighing as much as 140 kilos, with females barely bigger than males.

Their title derives from Tupi, a language from the individuals who inhabited Coastal Brazil, and means “grass-eater.” It’s because totally grown Capybara can eat as much as 8 kilos of grass per day.

They actually like water, and are generally present in swampy areas, or close to lakes and rivers.

They’re additionally very sociable, dwelling in teams of 10 to 30 people.

In the course of the dry season, completely different Capybara teams be a part of collectively for cover: It’s not unusual to see over 100 people without delay!   

Giant Armadillo - Nocturnal Amazon Animals
Big Armadillo by Smithsonian’s Nationwide Zoo (Peruvian Amazon Biodiversity Challenge)

3. Big Armadillo

Armadillos are peculiar-looking creatures, with their armor-plate casing made from bone and horn. Many species of armadillo might be present in North America.

However the largest one, the Big Armadillo, is just discovered within the Amazon, the place it could possibly attain as much as 5 ft lengthy and weigh as much as 120 kilos.

The Armadillo’s casing can be utilized for offense in addition to protection, they usually additionally possess lengthy entrance claws and between 80 and 100 enamel (greater than another mammal).

They’re nocturnal animals and reside in a posh system of burrows. Sadly, searching and the black-market commerce are endangering the Big Armadillo’s survival.

Its inhabitants numbers have reportedly decreased by 50% during the last 30 years.  

Giant River Otters in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest
Big River Otters in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest through Canva

4. Big River Otter

Otters are frequent worldwide, however the Big River Otter is endemic to the Amazon basin.

Its physique can attain as much as round 5 ft in size (plus a 3-foot tail), and it has webbed arms and ft which are excellent for swimming and searching within the Amazon River, one of many longest rivers in the world.

It’s typically seen feasting of fish and different small prey in oxbow lakes, that are created by slow-flowing rivers altering course, and in different slow-flowing rivers and swamps.

Looking, water air pollution and habitat loss are the principle causes of their lowering inhabitants numbers. 

photo by by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Creative Commons
Standing_jaguar by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

5. Jaguar

That is the massive cat par excellence of South America, and the Amazon rainforest is likely one of the Jaguar’s final remaining strongholds.

Jaguar numbers are lowering quick due to unlawful searching and lack of habitat. It’s estimated that solely round 6000 people survive within the Peruvian Amazon.

These massive cats are glorious at climbing, swimming, and searching within the timber.

In consequence, you might hear them within the jungle, however it’s very troublesome to see them via the dense cover.

Jaguarundi - Cats in the Amazon Rainforest
Jaguarundi through Canva

6. Jaguarundi

The Jaguarundi (a.okay.a. Eyra cat) is likely one of the smaller wild cats within the Amazon Rainforest. They’ve brief legs, an extended physique, and a fair longer tail. 

Additionally they have brief, rounded ears and a uniformly coloured coat, which might be both brownish-gray or chestnut crimson.

They usually measure between 21 and 30 inches, with a tail nearly so long as their physique, and weigh between seven and 20 kilos.

Jaguarundis are primarily solitary and lively throughout the day, not like most felines.

Their eating regimen contains small felines, reptiles and ground-feeding birds, as Jaguarundis hunt extra on the bottom than in timber. 

Pygmy round-eared bat (Lophostoma brasiliense) from Brazil. Desmodus, CC BY 4.0 through Wikimedia Commons

7. Lophostoma Yasuni Bat

There are a whole bunch of Bat species within the Amazon, and the Lophostoma Yasuni Bat is unquestionably one of the crucial peculiar-looking ones.

It’s named after Yasuni Nationwide Park, the place it’s endemic. With its protruding ears (which may attain as much as a 3rd of the size of the physique) and proboscis, it appears to be like like a fantasy creature midway between a Gremlin and a Fennec Fox.

Like most different Bats, it eats bugs. It wasn’t found till 2004, so little or no is understood about it, however scientists recommend it’s possible threatened by habitat loss. 

Ocelot - Cats in the Rainforest
Ocelot through Canva

8. Ocelot

It has been estimated that there are round 150 Ocelots per 62 sq. miles inside Yasunì Nationwide Park– a exceptional density, given the shortage of different massive cats.

The Ocelot is Latin America’s third largest cat, behind the Jaguar and Puma.

They’re often lively at evening, after they’re out searching birds, fish or small mammals, and spend the day resting in timber.

Ocelots look a bit like massive home cats, they usually have golden fur lined in spots. For that reason, they’re often known as the “dwarf leopard.”

Puma at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park - Big Cats in the Rainforest
Puma at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

9. Puma

The Puma is the second largest cat within the Americas, after the Jaguar. Their habitat vary is the biggest of any wild carnivore within the Western Hemisphere.

They’re discovered as far north as Yukon, and as far south because the Andes. Pumas are solitary by nature and principally hunt at evening.

Their prey within the Amazon contains monkeys, birds, wild pigs, armadillos, and capybara.

Pumas are extra intently associated to smaller felines like the home cat, with whom they share behaviors corresponding to purring and the shortcoming to roar.

As soon as frequent, Pumas are more and more threatened due to lack of habitat and persecution from locals over worry of livestock assaults.

Pygmy Marmosets - Mammals in the Amazon Rainforest
Pygmy Marmosets through Canva

10. Pygmy Marmoset

There are roughly 150 species of monkeys discovered within the Amazon.

The Pygmy Marmoset is likely one of the world’s tiniest primate species, and the smallest one discovered within the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Amazon.

It weighs simply over 3.5 oz, and its top is between 4.5 and 6 inches.

They reside in troops that common round 6 people, and they are often discovered on timber close to swamps or streams, feeding primarily on tree sap, bugs, small fruit and nectar.

Pygmy Marmosets are very small and shy, and thus viewings are extraordinarily troublesome.

Amazon Tapir
South American Tapir through Canva

11. South American Tapir

There are 4 Latin American species of Tapir, all of that are categorized as susceptible or endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The South American Tapir is the biggest land mammal within the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon, however it ranks among the many Jaguar’s favourite prey.

They’ll develop as much as 6.5 ft lengthy and weigh as much as 550 kilos, but they transfer rapidly on land and are additionally glorious swimmers.

Deforestation and searching are the principle threats to the Tapir’s survival.

Squirrel Monkey in Pacaya-Samiria Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon
Squirrel Monkey in Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, Peruvian Amazon by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

12. Squirrel Monkey

Usually seen all through the Amazon Basin, these monkeys are referred to as “Squirrel” as a result of they’re small and agile and spend most of their life in timber, feeding totally on fruits and bugs.

Nevertheless, not like most different New World monkeys, they will’t use their tail for climbing. On common, Squirrel Monkeys vary between 9.8 and 14 inches in top and weigh 1.7 to 2.4 kilos.

They’ve brief, brown-grey fur on their head and shoulders, and yellow-ochre fur on their again and extremities.

The fur on their face is black and white, making them vaguely resemble a skeleton.

For that reason, the German title for Squirrel Monkeys is Totenkopfaffen, that means “Loss of life’s Head Monkey.”


Hyacinth Macaw Amazon Rainforest
Hyacinth Macaw within the Amazon Rainforest through Canva

13. Hyacinth Macaw

The Hyacinth Macaw is the biggest parrot on the earth by size, measuring 3.3 ft from the tip of its tail to the highest of its head.

Hyacinth refers back to the coloration of its feathers, that are blue on the whole physique with some yellow coloring round its head and feathers.

Together with the Scarlet and Blue-Throated Macaw, Hyacinth Macaws can typically be seen hovering within the skies of the Amazon Rainforest.

\Their diets primarily include fruit and nuts from native Amazonian palms, which they break with their hooked beaks (that are sturdy sufficient to interrupt coconuts!).

They use their tongue to achieve into the shell of nuts, and their talons to hold onto timber. Sadly, Hyacinth Macaws are endangered: Their important risk is the unlawful pet commerce.

Hoatzin Bird, a.k.a. the Punk Rock Bird
Hoatzin Hen, a.okay.a. the Punk Rock Hen within the Peruvian Amazon by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

14. Hoatzin

Also called the Canje Pheasant (or, extra generally, the “punk-rock chicken” because of its mohawk-like crest), Hoatzin are genetically enigmatic.

There’s been some intense scientific debate lately about their evolutionary connections to different species.

The pheasant-sized chicken, whose chicks possess claws on two of their wing digits, can also be colloquially referred to as the Stinkbird as a result of manure-like odor brought on by its distinctive digestive system.

The noises they make are simply as odd, together with a weird number of groans, croaks, hisses, and grunts which are typically related to its physique actions.

King Vulture - Birds in the Amazon Rainforest
King Vulture through Canva

15. King Vulture

Frequent all through Central and South America, King Vultures are arguably among the many most lovely birds of the Amazon Rainforest.

They measure between 26 and 32 inches, with a 4–7-foot wingspan. After the Condor, they’re the biggest of all of the New World vultures.

It’s believed that the “King” of their title derived from an outdated Mayan legend that noticed King Vultures as messengers between the dwelling and the gods.

Their physique is especially white, with lengthy black feathers on their wings and tails.

They don’t have any feathers on their head and neck, however their pores and skin is vividly coloured in crimson and purple shades on the top, orange on the neck, and yellow on the throat.

Like all vultures, they’re scavengers serving to to maintain the ecosystem clear of carrion. 

Amazon Owl - Spectacled Owl
Spectacled Owl through Canva

16. Spectacled Owl

The Spectacled Owl is the one owl species discovered within the Amazon rainforest. It’s medium-sized, measuring roughly 18-20 inches in top.

It has a rounded head and no ear tufts, and a dark-feathered face with markings resembling spectacles made from white eyebrows and different white streaks on the cheeks.

The favourite habitat of Spectacled Owls is thick, main rainforest, however they generally transfer to sparser woodlands when searching.

They’re solitary birds, most lively throughout the evening. They hunt very successfully by swooping down from their roost to catch their prey.

Any form of rodent or small mammal can probably fall prey to the Spectacled Owl… even Sloths!

Toco Toucan Amazon Rainforest
Toco Toucan within the Amazon Rainforest through Canva

17. Toco Toucan

The Toco Toucan is the biggest and greatest recognized of the seven Toucan species discovered within the Amazon.

Their plumage is especially black on the physique and white on the face and throat, with a yellow and blue ring of pores and skin across the eyes.

Essentially the most hanging characteristic is their outsized invoice, which is orange-yellow in coloration and measures between 6 and 9 inches.

Because the complete size of the species is about 20 inches, they give the impression of being awkward when flying. However their invoice is definitely fairly mild, because it’s hole.

Toucans are sociable birds and are sometimes seen flying in small teams, particularly at sundown.

They’re omnivores, utilizing their invoice to achieve for bugs, fruit, small reptiles, in addition to different birds and their eggs.


Amazon reptiles - Black Caiman
Black Caiman through Canva

18. Black Caiman

The Black Caiman is the biggest of the Amazon reptiles, and likewise one of many largest and handiest predators.

They’ve darkish, scaly pores and skin, develop as much as 10–14 ft in size, and generally exceed 800 kilos in weight.

They hunt just about any form of land-based or river-dwelling animal. They’ve even been recognized to eat outdated or weak Caimans!

There have additionally been reported assaults on Pumas and Jaguars, however they’re very uncommon and the species often keep away from each other as a lot as doable.

The Spectacled Caiman can also be discovered within the Amazon rainforest area, however it’s a lot smaller.

Green Anaconda in Amazon Forest
Inexperienced Anaconda in Amazon Forest through Canva

19. Inexperienced Anaconda

Discovered within the northern a part of South America (together with the Amazon), the Inexperienced Anaconda is the heaviest and one of many longest recognized snake species.

It often measures about 15-16 ft lengthy, with weight ranging between 60 and 150 kilos.

The Reticulated Python of Southeast Asia is barely longer, however the Inexperienced Anaconda is mostly extra sturdy.

They’re non-venomous snakes, killing their prey by suffocation earlier than swallowing it entire.

They’ll kill massive animals corresponding to Capybara, Tapirs, and even Jaguars, however there’s little proof of assaults on people.

Anacondas spend most of their time close to water: For that reason, they’re additionally generally referred to as “Water Boa.”

Poison Dart Frog in Amazon Forest
Poison Dart Frog in Peruvian Amazon by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

20. Poison Dart Frogs

These strikingly colourful frogs are generally discovered within the rainforests of Central and South America.

Their vivid yellow and blue markings are nature’s manner of warning different species that these tiny amphibians– which measure simply 1-2 inches lengthy– are very, very toxic!

Their title is taken from the truth that native South American individuals used to seize these frogs with a purpose to dip their arrows and spears of their poisonous secretions.

They’re now underneath rising risk, principally because of poaching for the unlawful pet commerce.

Arrau Turtle -Amazon Rainforest turtle
Arrau Turtle & Capybara resting on Amazon Riverbank through Canva

21. South American River Turtle/Arrau Turtle

The South American River Turtle, often known as the Arrau Turtle, is the biggest freshwater turtle within the Amazon.

It will probably develop as much as 200 kilos and measure round 3.5 ft lengthy. They’re principally vegetarian and play an necessary function in sustaining a wholesome riverine ecosystem.

They’re scavengers, so that they maintain the rivers clear by eradicating lifeless leaves, fish, and different natural supplies.

The presence of River Turtles within the Amazon is taken into account an indication of the ecological well-being of a given space of the river.

Nevertheless, they’re now underneath risk due to searching, egg assortment, habitat loss, and air pollution.  -by Margherita Ragg courtesy Inexperienced Journey Media

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