Top Animals to Spot in the Amazon
Did you know that the Amazon Jungle covers nearly 1.7 billion acres of land in South America? The Amazon Rainforest is home to some of the most diverse species of marvelous plants and animals in existence. The natural terrain certainly makes for an unforgettable sight, but the rare wildlife you’ll spot on a tour through the jungle is on a different level of spectacular. Between rainforest and river animals, you’ll encounter dozens of creatures as you journey through the Amazon Basin.
Here are some of the animals you’ll see on your trip through the Amazon:
According to the Rainforest Alliance, the green anaconda is the one of the largest snakes in the world. It can grow up to 30 feet in length, 12 inches in diameter and weigh over 550 pounds! This species of snake has a dark, olive and brown color with black spots running down its back, as well as small yellow spots running down the center of its sides. You’ll generally find these non-venomous snakes in the water, such as slow-moving rivers or swamps, but they occasionally hang out in the trees hunting prey from afar.
Slow-moving, sly-looking sloths can be found in the rainforest trees of Central and South America, according to the Space Radiation Lab at the California Institute of Technology. Some even stay in the exact same tree for up to 30 years! These mammals are about the size of a small dog, have short, flat heads and two or three toes on each paw, depending on their species. These nocturnal creatures curl up to sleep to camouflage themselves from the enemies, like the Jaguar.
Speaking of the Jaguar, there’s a reason sloths should disguise themselves from this intimidating creature. National Geographic says it’s the largest of all of the big cats found in South America! It’s only found in remote regions of South and Central America, the Amazon Basin being one of them. These cats generally weigh 100 to 250 pounds and measure 5 to 6 feet from head to bottom, and their tails measure 27.5 to 36 inches. Jaguars tend to live alone, and mark their territory by clawing trees and leaving behind their waste around a lengthy perimeter. When it’s time to eat, you can find the Jaguar hunting prey below from the trees, or in the rivers hunting for fish, turtles or caimans.
Giant River Otter
This otter can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh 75 pounds, making it one of the world’s largest species of weasel. It’s also rare, as it’s only found in the Amazon, Orinoco and La Plata river systems. This species lives in large family groups, that create a habitat under river backs and fallen logs, which they then aggressively defended when they feel threatened.
Another beautiful bird you’ll find in the Amazon is the Macaw, the large, multi-colored member of the parrot family. It’s found in canopies in Central and South America, likely in flocks of 10 or 20. Much like the Toucan, if you don’t see the Macaw, you’ll still hear it – It screams and squawks to mark territory and communicate with the other birds. This species is very intelligent, as some can also mock human speech. So, if you do end up running into this bright bird, be sure to say something polite!
Pink River Dolphin
As if dolphins weren’t already majestic enough, you’ll find pink river dolphins in the Amazon. Botos, also known as Amazon pink river dolphins, can be pink or gray. Scientists are still unsure of how many species and subspecies of boto exist, but there’s one thing they do know – there are certainly a large amount of them living in the northern part of the Amazon River.
Among some of the most beautiful Amazon animals are the birds, especially the Toucan. Their large, bright yellow-orange bills are nearly the size of their black body! The Toucan generally nestles itself up in the tree cavities, so you’ll want to take a tour with an expert guide who knows exactly where to go for the perfect view. If you don’t have a chance to spot this bird, don’t worry – you’ll still likely hear the clacking of their beaks, followed by a loud, barking croaking sound – which is a thrilling experience of its own.