amazon rainforest animals

Most of the people who seek to travel to the Peruvian Amazon do so to see the wonderful animals of Peru. The Amazon rainforest animals certainly set the trend when it comes to popular tours of America. The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon, has great biodiversity. But the Amazon region of our country is recognized for its large number of climates, natural settings, and exotic specimens.

Keep in mind that many of these animals are possible to see if you enter the different reserves or national parks. But, how many animals are in the Amazon rainforest? It is one of the most biodiverse areas on the entire planet, so you can expect more than 100,000 species of invertebrates, 3,000 species of fish, 380 species of reptiles, and more than 400 amphibians. Not mentioning more than 400 mammal species and 1,300 species of birds. Therefore, together with Machu Travel Peru, We invite you to meet the most amazing of these species in the following article.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) cataloged the state of earth species in 7, going from more grave to least:

Extinct(EX)The end of the species around the world, both in wild and/or known areas and in places of captivity.
Extinct in the wild(EW)Species that are extinct in their wildlife. A few survive in captivity areas.
Critically endangered(CR)These species are afront a high level of extinction around the world (Without area distinctions) soon.
Endangered(EN)Definitely, these species will be extinct in a particular zone or region. Due to foreign species, habitat loss, or poaching.
Vulnerable(VU)This means that the species here are at a high level of extinction in their wildlife. Unless the factors that threaten their reproduction and survival improve.
Near-threatened species(NT)These species can be endangered soon.
Least-concern species(LC)Species that are not in danger of extinction now or soon.

Know more about these 25 fascinating Amazon rainforest animals!

Amazon rainforest mammals

amazon rainforest animals mammals

The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon, is a true nature paradise for thousands of species. There, without human presence, the stealthy jaguar, the boisterous macaw, or the imposing black caiman can live free, developing their tasks within the natural food chain, without any alteration by external factors. This is not to mention the more than 400 species of mammals that inhabit the area. And, coincidentally, the Peruvian Amazon hosts the majority of them. Therefore, a trip to Peru without seeing these amazing animals would be a serious mistake.

1. Jaguar (Otorongo)

jaguar amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themTambopata Research Center (Tambopata National Reserve)
ConditionSuper Predator (Predator that hunts other predators)
Extinction StatusNear threatened species (NT)

The jaguar or Otorongo (A local Peruvian name) is one of the most characteristic Amazon animal in South America. It is the largest wild feline in all of South America and the third in the world (Just behind the lion and the tiger). Not many travelers are lucky enough to spot this iconic jungle animal because they are solitary, stealthy predators that hunt at night and sleep during the day over the treetops or on the banks of rivers. With a muscled body, broad head, and heavy bite, the Jaguar are good swimmers, excellent climbers of trees, and exceptional jumpers, and they often feed on tapirs, capybaras (ronsocos), peccaries, deer, anacondas, and even other black caimans.

Usually, you will have to go far into the Amazon to have a chance to photograph a jaguar. The Tambopata Research Center is one of the places where you will have the best chance of seeing it. It is one of the few lodges located at the Tambopata National Reserve that offers the opportunity to spot the jaguar in its natural habitat.

2. Giant river otter

giant river otter amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themManu and Pacaya-Samiria National Park.
ConditionCarnivorous. Diet of fish, crabs, small caimans, and anacondas. Its predators are humans, jaguars, black caiman, and anacondas.
Extinction StatusEndangered species (EN)

Giant river otters are one of those Amazon rainforest animals that you don’t want to miss seeing. They are recognized for being the largest otters on earth. They can measure up to about 1.7 meters (5.6 feet). Otters find a home through the different lakes and banks of slow Amazon rivers (It is due to the safe growth of the youngest) and live in large families of 4 to 10 members (herd) to protect themselves from jaguars, or black caimans. These giant otters feed fish, crabs, and even small caimans, and anacondas.

Giant river otters are quite loud and vocal. Getting to distinguish up to about 22 different sounds to communicate. With the great biodiversity in Peru, it is not surprising to see these cute animals raise their heads above the level of the river or rest on dry logs in the middle of the rivers. They swim with their webbed feet, strong tails, and thick fur. Unfortunately, these animals were hunted excessively by their fur in past years, and now they are an endangered species.

3. Red howler monkey

red howler monkey amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themPacaya Samiria National Park and all north of South America. Near Puerto Maldonado (South of Peru), there are refuges where you can see these animals, too.
ConditionVegetarians. Its predators are humans, jaguars, and anacondas.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

Anyone who steps into the Peruvian jungle can be sure that he will hear the red howler monkeys. Their screams can be distinguished from up to 5 kilometers away (3 miles). These animals are monkeys of orange-red fur with bare faces and free of hair. Its diet consists of leaves, fruits, and flowers mainly. These diurnal monkeys usually live in large families of 6 to 16 members and live on the tops of medium and high trees. There are great possibilities and opportunities to spot these monkeys in any of the best refuges in Puerto Maldonado. But if you want more opportunities, you will have to go a little deeper into the Amazon. Keep your sight on the treetops to photograph this charming animal!

4. Capybara (Ronsoco)

capybara amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themManu and Pacaya Samiria National Park. Also all east of the Amazon region in South America.
ConditionVegetarians. Its predators are humans, black caimans, jaguars, and even anacondas.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

One of the most charming rodents in the Peruvian jungle. The capybara is also known as Ronsoco, and they are quite docile rodents with barrel-shaped bodies, and small heads, with reddish-brown fur. They tend to reside in the lushest and most heavily wooded areas of South America. During the day, Ronsocos can stay in a hole or under the water, sticking its head out every five minutes. At night, they often sleep on the grass, outdoors. However, they tend to choose regions of freshwater bodies and go out in the middle of the twilight to feed themselves.

The Capybaras are known to be good swimmers and can go without breathing for a long time underwater. Usually, they can live in couples or groups of 6 to 20 members. However, there is a register of solitary members wandering. Their diet consists of grass and aquatic plants. Also, they are considered the largest rodents on the globe. They can grow to be about 1.2 meters or 4 feet long and up to 2 feet or 60 centimeters high! One of the best things to do in Iquitos.

5. Black-capped squirrel monkey

black capped squirrel monkey amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themManu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve.
ConditionVegetarians and insectivorous. Its predators are humans, jaguars, harpy eagles, and even anacondas.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

The black-capped squirrel monkey is one of those Amazon animals that you will want to photograph in its natural habitat. It can be seen in many regions of the Bolivian, Brazilian, Ecuador, and Peruvian Amazon. With a white face, brown snout, and a lock of black hair, these monkeys often stain their hands with their urine to demarcate their territory every time they climb trees. They are sociable and tend to live in matriarchal hierarchies, where women dominate groups of up to 75 monkeys and live halfway up trees, not so high to be viewed by harpy eagles but not so low to be within reach of the Jaguar.

These monkeys receive the appellative of Squirrel for their agility to climb the trees, far from other species of monkeys, they use their tails to balance and not to climb. Also, the squirrel monkey has a great vision to locate fruits and insects, the main ingredients of its diet. Even, some specialists affirm that this monkey is intelligent because they have the highest brain mass compared to its body all monkeys types. A specimen that is worth seeing within the different Amazonian routes.

6. Collared anteater

collared anteater amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themPacaya Samiria National Reserve and Manu National Park.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

Many anteater specimens call the American continent home. But the species of the collared anteater is unique in all of South America. These Amazon rainforest animals have elongated bald faces, pointed ears, and melon-colored fur with a large patch resembling a vest across their back. Collared Anteater is solitary and often has an active life at night and sleeps during the day. It should be mentioned that they are way smaller than the well-known giant anteaters.

They have the ability and facility to climb trees and thus look for termites or ants near streams and rivers in humid and dry forests, tropical jungles, savannahs, and mountains. They have tongues that can be up to forty centimeters long (about 15 inches). Also, Collared anteaters have a diet of a wide variety of insects.

7. Sloth

sloth amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themPacaya Samiria and Tambopata National Reserve.
ConditionVegetarians can eat some small reptilians, insects, and birds. Its predators are humans, harpy eagles, jaguars, anacondas, and even some caimans.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

The sloths are some of the most recognized animals in the world. Most likely, you have seen it in a photograph on the internet. They are called “Perezosos” which is translated to “lazy” in the Spanish language. These kinds of animals are extremely slow, but this characteristic benefits them because the predators usually pay attention to those animals who move very fast and make noise. Even, the digestion of one meal can take 2 weeks to be processed, approx. Both 2-toed and 3-toed sloths live in the Amazon regions.

The Sloths spend much of their time hanging from tree branches upside down. And if you get lucky, there is a great chance of spotting them during the different excursions. They live in the humid forests of Center and South America and often eat buds, young shoots, some insects, small reptilians, some birds, and rainforest leaves. Also, many jungle lodges offer excellent walks and excursions with guides. Within these, you can spot some of these charming animals.

8. Pink river dolphin (Boto)

Where to see themPacaya Samiria National Reserve.
ConditionCarnivorous. They don’t have predators. However, there are registers of anacondas attacking pink dolphins when they invade their territory.
Extinction StatusEndangered (EN)

The pink river dolphins call the Amazon River home, as well as its different tributaries. The pink river dolphin is one of those Amazon animals that you will want to know about. Some tours offer the unique opportunity to swim alongside them. It is quite common for babies to be born a dark grayish color, but as they grow old, they take on their distinctive pink color. Even its pink tones can increase according to its feelings, unbelievable! These dolphins have a small dorsal fin, large neck, round head, and a long and pointed mouth.

These swim in couples or groups of up to 4 members, unlike their gray cousins of the sea that go in numerous groups. Another difference with sea dolphins is the capacity to swim on their back and move their neck from left and right and vice versa. They can even swim backward with one fin and usually live throughout the Amazon River basin, its tributaries, and some streams. Their diet consists of fish, freshwater crabs, frogs, river turtles, and even piranhas.

There are a wide variety of legends and myths surrounding this enchanting dolphin. Among them, some mention how during the night, dolphins transform into beautiful young men. They are friendly with humans, unfortunately, this feature is costing them expensive because, many times, they can die when close to the propeller or motor of any boat. Besides the pollution from the gas and oil industry that passes their pipelines through their habitat.

Therefore, while there’s time, choose to stay in many jungle lodges or, you can even take a luxurious river cruise. In both, you will have the opportunity to see and photograph these enchanting animals. You can even enjoy swimming with them if you have the opportunity.

9. Puma

amazon rainforest animals puma
Where to see themManu and Pacaya Samiria National Parks and Tambopata National Reserve.
ConditionSuper Predator (Predator that hunts other predators)
Extinction StatusNear threatened species (NT)

The puma is one of those Amazon rainforest animals that you do not know if they continue to be a legend or a reality. It has both a graceful and fierce figure and posture. These jungle cats are a real sight to behold if you are lucky enough to spot them. The probability of encountering one of these cats is quite low, even if you plan to go deep into the jungle because they usually inhabit the high jungle and humid mountains, while its big cousin, Jaguar or Otorongo, lives in the low jungle zones.

Therefore, Puma is the second-largest wild feline in all of South America, just after the jaguar. With brown fur, strong legs, muscular hind legs to jump more than 20 feet, a big head, a strong jaw, and sharp teeth, pumas are located on the top of the food chain. Often, they go solitary and haunt monkeys, birds, boars, armadillos, and capybaras. In addition, these animals can’t growl, as the majority of wild felines do. Instead, they can hiss, growl, and purr like any other domestic cat, but, be careful! Don’t make the mistake of confusing them.

The great mark of humans has caused that, even in moderately remote areas, it is a bit difficult to spot these majestic animals. One of the most incredible jungle predators to watch.

10. Bearded emperor tamarind

amazon rainforest animals bearded emperor tamarind
Where to see themManu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve.
ConditionOmnivores. They can eat some plants, fruits, insects, and small animals.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

The bearded emperor tamarind monkey is a charming animal notable for its white mustache. Both males and females wear this distinguished and fun mustache. This funny primate usually lives in communities of between 4 and 15 members. These bearded marmosets have gray fur with certain brown or yellow spots. They are often omnivores, so their diet consists of both plants and animals.

These charming monkeys grow to 10 inches tall with a large tail that extends up to 15 inches. While its weight does not frequently pass the pound. They run on all fours and can only see in two shades of color to better distinguish their predators. Some females can see in three colors. You will need luck if you want to see these elusive friends through your Peruvian Amazon trip.

11. Amazonian tapir (Sachavaca)

Where to see themManu National Park and Tumbes region.
ConditionVegetarians. Its predators are jaguars, pumas, and black caimans.
Extinction StatusVulnerable (VU)

In the middle of the rainforests and humid forests of Peru, you can find the Amazon tapir or Sachavaca (Peruvian local name). At first glance, this animal can be very similar to a species of wild boar or wild pig, or even an anteater. With an elongated snout, round ears, fat body, and short tail ending in a tuft of hair, these Amazon tapirs are the second-largest on Amazon, just behind Manatees. Their stands are 30 to 43 inches large and weigh more than 500 pounds. But the truth is that these animals are distant relatives of rhinos and horses.

They are usually somewhat lonely and are habitually more active at night. In addition, they are expert swimmers and if they feel threatened by predators, they often run toward rivers. It feeds mainly on vegetation that grows in or around rivers, shoots, fruits, and different herbs and leaves. Young tapirs are born with white stripes and spots that fade over time. Unfortunately, the deforestation of its habitat and poaching (for its meat) is their greatest threats to the Amazon in Peru.

12. Manatees

manatee amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themPacaya Samiria National Reserve.
Extinction StatusVulnerable (VU)

These sea cows (Its other appellative) inhabit the shallow water of Amazon basins, tropical zones, and coast water, with less frequency in the last one because there lives its predator, the orca. The manatees are one of the largest mammals in the Amazon region and Peru.

They can reach between 5.6 to 6 meters large and their weight range from 300 and 500 kilograms! Besides, they have a round and bulging body and a flat, horizontal, spatula-shaped rear fin. Its diet consists of riparian, mangrove, algae, and shallow seabed plants. They often swim alone, the females can be accompanied by their babies. These big mammals were heavily hunted in the past, but today, they are cataloged as protected species and their fishing is regulated.

Amazon rainforest birds


Undoubtedly, birds are the symbol of the biodiversity the Amazon has. With more than 1,300 species of birds that fly, feed, and reproduce through more than 7 million square kilometers, the largest tropical forest in the world is the perfect home of this kingdom and, even more, in Peru. Because the Andean country has the 80% of these bird species, which converts it into the second country with more bird diversity in the world! Therefore, the Bird Watching activity is developed in almost all Amazon regions of Peru. Dare to see the most representative Amazon rainforest animals of this kingdom below.

13. Macaw

macaw amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themIn all of South America. In Peru, at Puerto Maldonado south department, near Manu National Park.
ConditionVegetarian with a diet of seeds, fruits, and nuts of the native Amazonian palms. Its predators are jaguars and harpy eagles.
Extinction StatusEndangered (EN) -Majority of macaw species- and Extinct in the wild (EW) -Spix’s Macaw-.

The macaw is a classic symbol of the Amazon in Peru. Its feathers can vary in different colors. But red, yellow, green, and blue are usually the most common (Usually the red ones shared other colors like yellow and blue plumage). The macaws can grow up to 3 feet and live in monogamous couples and often travel or eat in flocks of 10 to 30 members.

They occupied all of Latin America’s regions, with a predominance in the tropical fortress of Central and South America. Their diet consists of seeds, fruits, and nuts of the native Amazonian palms. Among the different species, the scarlet macaw is one of the best known. Due to their distinguished colored, yellow, and blue feathers, you will see them everywhere.

Also, their chirp is well known in all of Amazon, even, some domestic macaws can reproduce human speech by imitation. It is very common to see these birds gathered in the clay licks, where they are supplied with salt and other minerals, many researchers affirm that they consume salt to counteract the toxins of vegetable food that eat previously. This allows many of the visitors to Puerto Maldonado and its surroundings to have the opportunity to see and photograph these wonderful birds.

If you are looking to enjoy bird-watching tours, you will be able to see these birds in their natural environment. Inside the Manu National Park, you will get some great chances to spot these animals.

14. Cock of the rock

cock of the rocks amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themManu National Park.
ConditionOmnivores. Reptiles, insects, fruits, small mouses, and amphibians.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

Considered the national bird of Peru, the Andean cock-of-the-rock is one of the most spectacular forest birds. Infamous for the various wildlife documentaries. It is one of those must-see species for the biggest bird watchers and nature lovers. Males have a deep orange color and black and gray wings with a striking orange crest to courtship and mating dances and songs to attract the attraction of females, it’s known that the males are polygamous and leave the raising of the chicks to females.

On the other hand, the females are opaque brown and gray. Their diet consists of fruits, insects, reptiles, small mouses, and amphibians. This beautiful specimen can also be found in some regions of the Andes and cloud forests of the Amazon. Also, these cocks receive the appellative “Of the Rock” because they often live on ledges of some jungle rocks. So, make sure to check for this species within the different bird-watching tours.

15. Harpy eagle

harpy eagle amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themManu National Park and Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
Extinction StatusNear threatened species (NT)

It is one of the most incredible Amazon animals to see. These giant eagles can weigh up to 20 pounds (male) and up 25 pounds (Female) and be wider than average human beings. With an intense eye, sharp beak, and claws larger than a Grizzly bear has, the harpy eagle eat monkeys, sloths, opossums, and even deer.

It is considered the king of the jungle canopy since it usually dominates this entire area of the jungle and usually lives in couples. They have a gray head, a white belly, and a complex pattern of white, gray, and black feathers on their wings. It is one of the largest eagles in the South American regions, reaching 6.5 feet of large (with outstretched wings). And its habitat is the eastern rainforest of the Amazon in Peru.

16. Toucan

toucan amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themManu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve.
ConditionOviparous. They eat insects, fruits, small reptilians, other small birds, and their eggs.
Extinction StatusEndangered (EN)

Large, different-colored beaks are one of the most notable characteristics of toucans. These are large and can reach from 6 to 9 inches. There are 7 different types of this Amazon rainforest animals. It has black plumage and its chest can be white, yellow, or blue with an orange stripe near its eyes. Also, their body measures until 20 inches. These are quite common in the Tambopata region of Peru, where you can see many species of toucans.

They are sociable (usually, you can see them flying at sunset in groups) and oviparous birds and their diet consists of insects, fruits, small reptilians, other small birds, and their eggs. It is very easy to recognize due to its large and characteristic beaks. It is a relatively small bird, but it does not prevent it from standing out among other birds. Toucans live in the south of Mexico, the Center of America, and the north of South America. Unfortunately, these animals are endangered because they are heavily hunted and sold as pets.

17. Paradise tanager

amazon rainforest animals paradise tanager
Where to see themManu National Park, Pacaya Samiria, and Tambopata National Reserve.
ConditionOviparous. They eat insects, berries, and fruits.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

This bird of different colors lives in the east Amazonian lands of Peru and Ecuador, south of Colombia and Venezuela, west of Brazil, and north of Bolivia. Its head has a bright green color while its belly is a deep blue color, and dark fur is in the rest of its body. And both the females and the males are just as colorful, they can measure between 13.5 to 15 centimeters and weigh up to 20.5 grams.

It is a bird that usually stands out in its natural habitat and nests high in the canopy of the jungle. This bird lives far from predators that might be looking for its eggs. Although occasionally to forage it moves between the perches in the middle of the trees. It can also be seen flying in mixed-species flocks between 4 and 20 members and their diet consists of fruits, berries, and insects. They don’t have many jungle predators, except the majestic harpy eagle.

18. Potoo bird

amazon rainforest animals potoo bird
Where to see themManu National Park, Pacaya Samiria, and Tambopata National Reserve.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

The potoo bird is a unique Amazon bird. This particular friend has brown and pale fur, to resemble and camouflage with the trunk or tree branch where they usually spend the day. With small beaks but wide mouths, the Potoo birds are nocturnal and take advantage of the darkness to hunt moths, beetles, and other insects. Its measure range from 33 to 38 centimeters and often live on the tips of trees and their branches, in almost all South American Amazon zone. Usually, they are solitaries and emit torn songs, even terrifying at night.

A legend says that two children of a local native town, that suffered from a sudden pandemic outbreak, were abandoned by their mother at the top of a mountain, close to a creek with abundant fruit, food, and a stream (to save them from the outbreak). The children had a good time until the evening when they began to miss her mom. So, they spent all night finding their town and praying to the sky, wishing they were birds to fly and return to their mother. The Amazon spirit took pity on them and turned them into birds. So, they flew to its town, but no one lived there anymore, all had died. From this moment, the orphaned birds began to sing laments every night.

Amazon rainforest reptiles

amazon rainforest animals reptiles

With more than 380 species of reptiles. The Amazon is a true paradise for these animal types. Taking into account that the two biggest super-predators among Amazon animals are situated in this category; the giant anaconda and the imposing black caiman. Therefore, both species are the most demanded animals to see but, don’t worry, if you are visiting the Amazon jungle with a local tour guide, you just have to enjoy the trip without any worries.

19. Black Caiman

black caiman amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themManu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve.
ConditionSuper Predator (Predator that hunts other predators)
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

It is one of the most incredible and terrifying Amazon animals to see. It is the largest predator in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. The black caiman has dark scales that help it blend in with its surroundings, one elongated and straight snout, teeth that clench and grip, but do not tear, bony ridges over its eyes, and a thick tail to defend against attacks and swim faster. They usually live in slow-moving water areas like swamps, mangroves, rivers, and streams.

Most of the time it can only be seen with its eyes loitering above the water because they enjoy staying in the water (Up to 30 meters deep). This crocodile grows to about 15 feet or 4.5 meters long and is quite large among alligators. Their diet may consist of deer, capybaras, fish, small reptilians, mammals, specially tapirs, and other predators like jaguars and pumas (there is little record of these attacks) even humans (Of course, when one invades their territory) Nowadays, there are seven caiman types, the spectacled alligator is the most common and the black caiman the biggest. Usually, they are solitary, however, can live in couples, even groups of 4 members.

20. Green anaconda

anaconda amazon rainforest animals
Where to see themManu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve.
ConditionPredator. On the other hand, its predators can be jaguars and black caimans.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

Green anacondas are the second longest and heaviest snakes in the world. They can reach 7 meters in length and weigh up to 100 kilograms. It is considered a solitary snake, not poisonous, and an incredible swimmer. Their eyes and nose are over their heads, so they can spend a long time with their bodies underwater. They usually live in bogs, streams, and swamps of the rainforest, where they often hunt (they suffocate their prey and then swallow it whole) It is greenish and has circular spots in shades ranging from green to dark brown.

Their forked tongue helps them detect sudden changes in temperature and movement in the surrounding air. These water boas can be somewhat clumsy and slow on land. But swamps, marshes, and streams are best managed. They have a varied diet that ranges from birds and turtles to other larger mammals. They have a very slow metabolism, so they can go weeks without eating after swallowing a big prey.

21. Side-necked turtle

amazon rainforest animals side necked turtle
Where to see themManu National Park. Pacaya Samiria and Tambopata National Reserve.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

Side-necked turtles are known in Peru as Tortugas Charapa. They are called side-necked turtles, as they are unable to fit all of their heads into their shells. And to hide their heads, they must bend their necks to the sides, thus leaving a small part exposed. These species often lay their eggs hidden in the sand along rivers. Its diet consists of vegetation, fruits, and flowers, but also of a freshwater sponge that grows on the trunks of trees when they are flooded.

Regularly they live in groups of up to 10 members. They inhabit streams and rivers of temperate or warm waters, preferably in subtropical environments. These Amazon rainforest animals can weigh up to 100 kilograms and measure between 70 and 100 centimeters. And a curious fact is how butterflies usually drink the tears of these animals. It is a way to obtain salt and other minerals that may be lacking in their diets.

Amazon rainforest amphibians

amazon rainforest animals amphibians

The amphibian kingdom inside the Amazon rainforest is priceless. They help to maintain the Amazon food chain (Because they are hunters and prey, at the same time). With more than 400 amphibian species, these animals can be considered a fundamental pillar of the Amazon balance. Also, among them, there is the most poisonous animal in the world!

22. Poisonous dart frog

amazon rainforest animals poison dart frog
Where to see themManu National Park. Pacaya Samiria and Tambopata National Reserve.
ConditionInsectivorous. They have almost no predators.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

In the Amazon in general, you can find hundreds of species of amphibians and reptiles to know. But if we have to search for the most colorful amphibians in the whole jungle, the poison dart frog may be the winner of the position. These small but dangerous frogs are some of the most poisonous creatures in the jungle. And as a warning, you can appreciate the intricate color patterns on its body.

You will be able to appreciate yellow, blue, and even red tones. It is precisely their bright colors that warn potential predators of how poisonous they are. Its diet consists of insects and some larvae. In adulthood, they can reach 55 to 65 millimeters. The poisonous dart frogs are solitaries and, fortunately, the red species that inhabit Peru has the least concern (LC) level among the Red List of global endangered.

Amazon rainforest fish

amazon rainforest animals fish

The Amazon rainforest receives the name of the main river that is born in Peru and flows into the Atlantic Ocean (Brazilian north coast), crossing Colombia. Therefore, the Amazon River is the largest world watershed, it has more water than the Nile, the Yangtze, and the Mississippi rivers, all together! For this reason, no wonder when we say that more than 3,000 species of fish live in its water, many of them endemic. These Amazon animals are different and unique. Below, you will see the three most renowned of these.

23. Piranhas

amazon rainforest animals piranha
Where to see themManu National Park. Pacaya Samiria and Tambopata National Reserve.
ConditionCarnivorous. Sometimes they can be omnivorous, too.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

The piranhas are not as aggressive as you can imagine. These carnivorous Amazon animals are scavengers and feed on plants, fish, crustaceans, worms, and insects. Only in extreme cases of starvation (which are usually few) can enter a fierce attack program. Piranhas frequently go in groups of up to 20 members or more (to protect themselves) and live in fast water zones, nibbling on the dorsal fins of other larger fish.

However, there is a register that they can live in slower freshwater streams, lakes, and rivers, too. Its measure ranges between 15 and 25 centimeters, however, specimens of 34 centimeters have been found in recent years. They often attack when smelling blood in the water or feel hard vibrations in stagnant water (a sign of prey or young fish that does not know how to swim well yet). Its predators are black caimans, pink dolphins, and more big fish.

24. Electric eel

amazon rainforest animals electric eel
Where to see themManu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve.
Extinction StatusLeast Concern species (LC)

Believe it or not, these Amazon animals are not Eels, quite the contrary, these are fish (a particular type, knife fish). They don’t have scales, have a square mouth with little teeth, a large body (similar to true eel), and organs, near their abdomen that produce electricity. And this is their main defense system; with a discharge of up to 500 volts, they can paralyze their prey and stunt a human (Those who invade their space). The electric eel is nocturnal and has poor vision, therefore they use electricity, as a radar, to localize prey and move very fast.

They live in muddy bottoms of stagnant swamps, streams, and floodplains. But, rest assured, encountering them in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest is very rare. It measures up to 2 meters and a half large, and one specimen can weigh up to 20 kilograms. Its diet consists of invertebrates such as shrimp and crustaceans, other fish, and even small rats. The hatchlings eat eggs of the same mother (unhatched eggs)

25. Paiche

amazon rainforest animals paiche
Where to see themManu National Park. Pacaya Samiria and Tambopata National Reserve.
Extinction StatusStill unknown.

Paiche is the second-largest fish in the world, just behind the beluga sturgeon (the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea). These animals can measure up to 3 meters large and weigh up to 250 kilograms. Large and scaly bodies, strong dorsal fin, and a slightly upward-sloping mouth, to brief over the river level because they usually swim in poorly oxygenated water and need to take oxygen of the air (Therefore, the visitor will see only their mouth rising out of the water every 15 minutes)

They swim between tree bottoms and when the level of the water is down, they often bury themselves under the mud, leaving only their mouths exposed to breathe. Its diet consists of other fish, even birds that catch to jump over the river level. Paiche is solitary, however, it has been seen swimming in pairs sometimes.

In the ’70s, 80s, and 90s they were endangered by their meat, therefore, many refuges and conservation centers were created throughout all Amazon basins (where they frequently live). Nowadays, its population and its conservation status are unknown by the same International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN. The study about them is still developing.

Amazon Rainforest Insects

amazon-rainforest animals insects

Around 40,000 insect species can be found in a single hectare of Amazon forest, representing 90% of the total wildlife there. Just Amazing! For example, only in the Manu National Park (around 17,200 square meters), it can be found 1300 insect species, more than the 500 species located in all of Europe continent. But don’t worry, with so much variety, we have selected the 5 most striking insects in the entire Amazon, to learn a little more about them.

26. Leafcutter ant

amazon rainforest animals leafcutter ant
Where to see themManu National Park, and Tambopata National Reserve.
Extinction StatusStill unknown.

If on one of your walks through the jungle, you see giant leaves walking by themselves and crossing a path, don’t be scared, they are leaf-cutter ants carrying leaves on their backs that weigh five times their weight. These ants cut and ingest them and then grow fungi on the chewed leaves. In this way, these mushrooms are cultivated under poisonous plants, making them edible. In addition, these amazing ants can form mounds up to 30 meters wide, with small mounds around them (within a radius of 80 meters), in this way each group of these mounds can house more than 8 million ants.

27. Peanut head bug

amazon rainforest animals peanut head bug
Where to see themManu National Park, Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, and Bahuaj-Sonene National Reserve.
Extinction StatusStill unknown.

This is perhaps the strangest butterfly in terms of shape in the Amazon, it measures around 85 to 90 millimeters long, has a head (23-24 millimeters) that resembles a peanut, and false eyes at the end of its wings, which when extended, they resemble the eyes of a lizard. Apart from this mimicry with the eyes of a lizard, this butterfly has no other way of defending itself against its predators (it does not sting, it does not bite). However, in recent years, an unpleasant-smelling substance was discovered that it expels when attacked.

28. Goliath birdeater

amazon rainforest insects goliath birdeater
Where to see themManu National Park, and Bahuaj-Sonene National Reserve.
ConditionInsectivorous and sometimes carnivorous.
Extinction StatusStill unknown.

If you have a phobia of arachnids, the Goliath birdeater will be your worst nightmare and its large size shows the freedom and free disposition that this spider has had in growing in the middle of the Amazon. The Goliath birdeater measures around 28 – 30 cm. (If you fully extend your hand, you may realize that this spider is bigger than your outstretched palm!) Also, these can weigh around 100 to 155 grams, the females are the largest and most aggressive, solitary, only they come together when mating and when caring for their eggs. They have a hairy, yellowish-brown bodies, and their venom is deadly if immediate medical treatment is not obtained.

29. Blue morpho butterfly

amazon rainforest insects blue morpho butterfly
Where to see themManu National Park, Pacaya-Samiria and Tambopata National Reserve, and Bahuaj-Sonene National Reserve.
Extinction StatusVulnerable (VU)

This is the most beautiful butterfly in the Amazon, its wings are completely reflective blue and extended, and the butterfly can measure between 7.5 and 20 centimeters. Their life is incredibly short (115 days) and they are usually solitarily hovering close to the ground, only in the mating season do they go up to the tops of the forest in search of a partner. Some airplane pilots who cross the Amazon claim to have seen numerous colonies of these Blue Morpho butterflies grouped in a certain area of the forest, being a true spectacle for the aviators.

30. Urodid moth cocoon

amazon rainforest insects urodid moth cocoon
Where to see themManu National Park.
Extinction StatusStill unknown.

This fantastic butterfly with translucent wings and Amber detail resembles a ghost, they live in the depths of the forest, in shady parts. The open structured cocoon allows air to flow over the pupa, preventing mold and fungus growth. Then, when the pupa completes its development, the new butterfly slips through the tubular escape hatch at the bottom of the pupa, giving birth to a new ghost butterfly.


Obviously, there are a lot of Amazon Rainforest Animals to mention all within one list. But these are some of the most recognized specimens within the Peruvian Amazon. If you want to know more about our different tours in the Peruvian Amazon, you can consult with our qualified advisors. We recommend exploring the Tambopata and Manu regions, where within the different tours you can enjoy incredible bird and animal sightings. A once is a lifetime opportunity where you can enjoy and photograph large specimens of exotic animals. Machu Travel Peru hopes to have encouraged you a bit. If you want to know more about our tours, you can consult with our qualified advisors.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!