10 Animals That Are In The Amazon Rainforest

Last updated on February 5th, 2022

Recently I got the opportunity to visit the Amazon rainforest with a group of conservationists and wildlife activists. It gave me a chance to see the habitat of several animals living in the Amazon rainforest from close proximity.

For example, I used to think that the Amazon rainforest is full of anacondas and the river is full of piranhas. But I was surprised to learn that it is also the home to the gentle anteaters, tapirs, and sloths.

Animals that are in the amazon rainforest:

  • Capybaras
  • Piranhas
  • Toucans
  • Sloths
  • Giant otters
  • Armadillos
  • Jaguars
  • Caimans
  • Tapirs
  • Macaws

1. Capybaras

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Capybaras are giant rodents. Formidable as it sounds, this creature is quite reclusive and prefers to stay in the swamps and the water bodies of the Amazon rainforest.

However, capybaras are excellent swimmers, and their partially webbed toes make it easier to swim in the water and move on damp land.

The capybara’s eyes and nose are also towards the top of its head, making it easier for the creature to hold its head above water and breathe as it swims.

2. Piranhas

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Piranhas are carnivorous fishes that constantly travel in schools and feed on fishes, mollusks, amphibians, lizards, and other small aquatic creatures.

Since piranhas are opportunistic feeders, there are very few animal matters that these fishes won’t eat. Piranhas also consume carrion flesh.

The average size of these fishes is fifteen to twenty-five centimeters long and they have sharp teeth.

The red-bellied and black piranha are both known for their aggressiveness towards humans making them very dangerous to be around.

3. Toucans

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These colorful birds are native to the Amazon rainforest and you can find nearly forty different types in the Amazon rainforest.

The toucans live in holes in the trees, and these birds usually live in pairs or small groups. The large and bright beaks easily distinguish these birds.

The toucan’s bill can range from yellow to green, red, white, blue, and even a combination of these colors.

The bird’s huge beak helps it open berries and fruits that are found in the Amazon rainforest.

Additionally, different types of fruits form the mainstay of the diet of toucans.

4. Sloths

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The three toes sloth is native to the Amazon rainforest. However, this arboreal mammal is found in South and Central America.

The sloths are easily distinguished by their elongated body, thick greenish-brown fur, flathead, and short snout. They are usually found hanging from the trees with the help of their claws.

Sloths are curious creatures, and they are among the slowest moving mammals on Earth.

A sloth can sleep nearly ten hours a day in the wild. Sloths are folivores, which means they eat only leaves, twigs, flowers, and buds.

5. Giant Otter

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The Amazon rainforest is the home to the world’s most giant otter. Some of these animals can grow as big as six feet in length.

These creatures are found in the river systems and tributaries of the Amazon and the Orinoco. Given the massive size of the otter, it requires large water bodies to survive.

A single otter can consume nearly nine pounds of fish in a day. If it is unable to get the requisite amount of fish, a giant otter can hunt and consume snakes, crustaceans, and other smaller creatures found in the larger river systems of the Amazon.

6. Armadillos

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There are several species of armadillos found across South America. But in the Amazon rainforest, you will find the giant armadillo.

Its armor-like casing made of bones and horn easily distinguishes the creature. The armadillos found in the Amazon rainforest can measure up to five feet in length and weigh up to one hundred and twenty pounds.

The armor or the armadillo is used as a defense mechanism and the creature can curl itself up into a ball when it senses danger. Its sharp front claws are used for offense and to attack when it feels threatened.

7. Jaguars

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Jaguars are the apex predators of the Amazon rainforest. They are often mistaken for leopards. But the markings on jaguars are in the form of rosettes with the spot in the middle.

Jaguars are primarily found in Brazil, but their habitat can extend from South-West USA to the northern parts of Argentina.

Jaguars prefer the wetlands and thickly forested regions where they can hunt for prey easily and blend in with the forest’s canopy.

8. Caimans

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Caimans are semi-aquatic reptiles that are found in the swamps and marshy lands in the Amazon rainforest whereas the crocodiles which belong to the same family of Alligatoridae can be found in the African swamps.

There are six distinct species of caimans of which only the spectacled caiman can live in saltwater. This means it has a more extensive habitat compared to the other five species.

The short legs of caimans make the creatures adept at swimming more than walking, which is why you will find them more in water than on land.

Caimans are apex predators that eat fish, small animals, and even capybaras.

9. Tapirs

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The tapir is a cousin of the rhinoceros and is a resident of the Amazonian rainforest. The tapir is easily distinguished by its short trunk, which it uses to find food.

Being a herbivore, a tapir will look for tree leaves and fruits found near watering holes.

Additionally, the creature is an excellent swimmer, and it often runs and jumps into a water body to escape from predators.

An interesting fact about tapirs is that it is an ancient creature and has not undergone much change or evolved in thousands of years.

10. Macaws

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Macaws are beautiful long-tailed parrots that are found in the Amazon rainforest. However, you will also see these colorful birds in the Central and South American rainforest.

A total of fourteen different macaws have been discovered in the region. You can find red, blue, yellow and even grey macaws.

The unique plumage of the bird is what makes it so special. Macaws are also quite loud and are the more prominent member of the parrot family.

Additionally, the wingspan of a Hyacinth Macaw can extend up to 3.5 feet.

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