There are many different animals that live in the rainforest, some of which you might never have heard of!
Here’s our top 20 animals you’ll find in the Amazon Rainforest, organised randomly but only here if they’re really interesting!
1. Maned Wolf
Many people would be surprised to find a wolf living in the Amazon rainforest as they think that wolves live up north where it’s cold! However, maned wolves aren’t normal wolves – they’re actually closer related to foxes! They’re quite small, only 2 feet tall at most, and look very similar to red foxes. The reason why they don’t look like other typical “big” wolves is down to their diet. As they’re omnivores, maned wolves will happily eat fruit as well as small animals like frogs and mice! They usually live in groups of between 3-8 wolves – but sometimes up to 12!
2. Giant Anteater
Everyone knows what an anteater looks like… …or maybe not?! The giant anteater is the biggest of the three types of anteaters which also includes tamandua and silky anteaters. Their long noses are perfect for searching out ants, their favorite food, under logs, or leaves that they can then catch with their tongues which are around 15cm long! These amazing creatures have many adaptations for this lifestyle. For example, their claws are strong enough to dig into the ground to find ants but not strong enough to cause any damage. Their sharp claws are also good for climbing trees! Another one of their adaptations is their extra-thick fur which helps them stay warm in rainforest temperatures which can range from 0°C up to 40°C.
3. Amazon Tree Boa
Many people know about boas, especially ball pythons, as they are popular pets. However, some people may have seen pictures of green tree boas but maybe didn’t realise that these are actually members of the boa family! Like all other snakes, they’re carnivores who eat small mammals like mice and birds. They don’t grow very big either – around 3-4 feet long at most! They’re also great climbers and can climb up trees to search for birds’ eggs.
4. Giant Otter
As well as the South American river dolphin, giant otters are one of the biggest members of the weasel family which you might not know about! Just like their name suggests, they’re big – around 5 feet long! However, despite their size, they only weigh around 110 lbs so they aren’t very heavy at all! Giant otters are great hunters and hunt fish and other small animals in groups. They’re actually quite sociable creatures too, often living in large groups of 30-40 giant otters! This is partly because it helps them to find food more easily but also because there’s safety in numbers from predators like caiman crocodiles!
5. Ring-tailed Coatimundi
The ring-tailed coatimundi is a type of coati which you might know better as they are quite popular pets! However, these amazing creatures aren’t actually related to raccoons at all – instead, they’re related to kinkajous and cacomistles. They live in groups of between 2-12 individuals with one very dominant male who will mate with all the females in his group. Males are actually quite small compared to females! These intelligent creatures are known for their facial markings which resemble rings around their faces, hence their name!
Capybaras are related to guinea pigs but are much, much bigger! They can grow up to around 4 feet tall and weigh over 100 lbs – that’s the same as a medium-sized dog! If you ever see one in real life you’ll be surprised by how big it actually is! Capybaras are herbivores who eat lots of grasses, aquatic plants, and fruit. They live in groups of 10 or less which usually consist of several males and females along with their babies. They’re found throughout South America – they even live near the Amazon River!
7. Emerald Tree Boa
Despite having similar names, green tree boas aren’t part of the boa family, like emerald tree boas are! Emerald tree boas have adapted to climbing trees which is why you can find them living in rainforest habitats. They’re around 8 feet long, just like green tree boas, but their size isn’t the only difference between them! Emerald tree boas are much more brightly colored with beautiful patterns on their scales whereas green tree boas are much less colorful.
8. Amazon River Dolphin
Amazon river dolphins are related to other types of dolphins such as killer whales and pilot whales. However, unlike these other dolphins, they live exclusively in freshwater rivers and tributaries throughout the Amazon Basin where there’s lots of aquatic vegetation for them to eat! These amazing creatures are very playful – they often play with driftwood and other objects that they find in the water. They’re also very sociable and live in groups of between 4-6 individuals.
9. Giant Armadillo
Giant armadillos are one of the biggest types of armadillos but all different types of armadillos have amazing features to help them survive! For example, their armor may seem quite tough but it actually has lots of tiny cracks that provide extra grip as they move through trees or underground burrows. Their claws are sharp too, perfect for digging into ant mounds! In addition to this, these creatures can close their ears which protects them from dirt falling inside while they dig!
Pumas are closely related to mountain lions and are one of the biggest members of the cat family in America. They’re found throughout North and South America but are much less common than other types of cat like jaguars. Pumas can adapt to lots of different habitats – they live in forests, grasslands, shrublands, and even mountains. Despite often being depicted as quite solitary creatures, pumas actually live in groups called ‘pumaparks’! These groups consist of around 5 individuals who all share responsibility for raising young together.
Macaws are some of the most colorful birds you’ll ever see! There are many different species that exist but they all share similar characteristics such as long tails and curved beaks. Their colors come from their diet which consists of lots of different fruits and nuts. As a result, macaws often use their curved beaks to break open hard seed cases! Macaws live in groups with individuals who are very close friends – they even greet each other every morning before beginning the day!
12. Toco Toucan
These birds are known for their extremely large beaks which you can find on both male and female toco toucans! However, it’s not just their beaks that make them stand out – they also have beautiful black and white plumage which contrasts with their bright yellow chest patches. These amazing creatures live in lowland forests and woodlands but often move to higher ground during the wet season when food is harder to find. They eat lots of fruit and insects like ants and termites. As you would expect from such a big bird, they can fly pretty well but tend to walk along the jungle floor searching for food instead.
Jaguars are one of the most fearsome predators in the Amazon rainforest – they often live alone and move around the forest using their excellent camouflage to hunt. Their coats are covered in black spots which resemble tree trunks making them hard to spot when they’re resting! Jaguars eat lots of different animals including deer, tapirs, and even caiman. Unlike most other big cats, jaguars actually hunt during the day rather than at night.
This means ‘without eyelids’ which is an amazing fact about these snakes! They actually have clear flaps that can protect their eyes while underwater but still allow them to see through! That’s how they manage to capture so many types of prey because not only can they eat animals like fish and birds, but also other types of snakes like the caiman and giant otter. These creatures spend a lot of time in water and sometimes even swim across rivers to find new territory!
15. Harpy Eagle
Harpy eagles are one of the most impressive hunters in the Amazon rainforest! They eat lots of different types of prey including mammals, monkeys, and coatis which they capture with their incredibly strong talons. However, these birds don’t always need to move around on the ground if they can reach their prey – for example, some prey is too small so instead, they fly down from trees to capture it!
These aquatic mammals are closely related to elephants but have adapted perfectly to live underwater! Their bodies are specially designed with their forelimbs being turned into flippers and they also have very streamlined tails to help them move quickly through the water. Manatees eat lots of different water plants including seagrasses, algae, and gerns which they scrape off rocks on riverbanks.
They’re sometimes called “Sea Cows”!
Chinchillas are closely related to guinea pigs but are actually more closely related to rabbits than rodents! You can find these cute, cuddly creatures deep in the mountain forests in Ecuador where they live in groups called herds. Living at such a high altitude can be tough for a small animal like a chinchilla because the air thins making it harder to breathe – their densities correspond with oxygen levels meaning that when it gets thin, they’ll move to a higher altitude! In the wild chinchillas eat different grasses and herbs that grow in rocky areas.
Tapirs are related to horses and rhinos but you’d never guess from their looks! They have a long snout with a flat mouth ideal for poking around in trees and bamboos searching for food. The tapir has a really short tail because it doesn’t use it much – instead, it prefers to walk on all four legs or swim across rivers when needed. Tapirs eat lots of fruit which means they’re important seed dispersers in the rainforest ecosystem.
Sloths are really interesting animals because they spend almost their entire lives upside down! Their long curved claws help them hang onto tree branches but also make climbing difficult because if they slip, they’ll fall to the floor. They eat lots of different leaves and twigs which means that sloths are important seed dispersers for all kinds of trees in the rainforest. Did you know that sloths even have algae growing on them?! This helps to camouflage it from predators!
Meerkats are closely related to the mongoose – these little mammals live in underground burrows called gangs where up to 20 meerkats can live at one time. The leader of each group is called a ‘gang leader’ and they often put themselves in danger to protect the others. Their greatest predator is the eagle owl, which can swoop down from above with their incredible silent wings – meerkats have huge ears that help them hear eagles before they’re attacked!
Here’s a great resource if you’re still interested in finding out more about these fascinating animals: