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Amazon Animal Adventure | What To Look Out For

The Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest on the planet. It produces 1/5 of the world’s oxygen and is home to almost half of all living species!
Despite its significance to so many, very little is known about the rainforest that spans 9 different countries including Brazil.

A large percentage of the animals found in the Amazon are endangered and found nowhere else in the wild, making a trip to the Amazon to catch a glimpse of them incredibly rewarding. There are some species that you’re almost guaranteed to see and many more that only the lucky few ever do. 
These are our pick of the animals you should be looking out for when visiting this incredible rainforest!

Amazon River Dolphin

Amazon pink dolphin with its mouth open

One of the more outer-worldly species you’ll find in the Amazon, the pink Amazon River Dolphin is actually quite a common sight. Their beady eyes, pink/grey skin and pointed little teeth make for quite a strange view. But one that is definitely worth seeking out while you’re in the Amazon. Jump on a river cruise and keep your eyes out for these speeding dolphins around your boat. For an almost guaranteed look at the dolphins head to one of the viewing docks where they are regularly fed.

The Monk Saki

Monk saki monkey looking at the camera from a tree in the amazon rainforest

One of the most difficult animals in the Amazon to spot, the monk saki, is a very still and hairy creature. Even when staring straight at one, you couldn’t be blamed for not seeing it. Easily confused for a burl on a branch or a termite mound in the trees, what gives the monkey away is its long bushy tail.

They’re often spotted in small groups of 3 or 4 resting halfway up the forest canopy. They feed on fruit and leaves and like many jungle animals, they are commonly spotted near the Amazon river. Not the most active of the rainforest primates the monk sake are like the cranky old men of the Amazon.


Jaguar with it's mouth open, lying on the bank of a river.

These jungle predators are well camouflaged and difficult to see in the dense rainforest canopy, but that doesn’t mean you wont see one. The best times to see the big cats is at dusk or dawn when they are most active.
Even if you don’t see a Jaguar you may hear one of its many calls echoing throughout the thick rainforest. 
Combating the stereotype that all cats hate water, Jaguars are most commonly seen by the water’s edge. They’ve been spotted swimming, playing and catching fish in the Amazons rivers. 

Squirrel Monkey

Squirrel Monkey eating a green plant in the tree tops

Named Squirrel Monkeys for their small size and agile movements, they are found throughout the Amazon Rainforest.
There are five species of these tiny primates, all of which are super small. Averaging around 30cm (not including their long tails), you’ll spot them foraging and playing in the treetops. They are super social, living in large groups and chatting loudly to one another.
Unlike many of the smaller primates you’ll see swinging around the rainforest, squirrel monkey tails are good for little more than aiding their balance. Watching the tail can be a good way to differentiate them from other species.


A three toed sloth high in the tree tops

Hidden among the tree tops only those with a keen eye will be able to spot a sloth. Most commonly seen snoozing, an activity that takes up 80% of their time, sloths aren’t the most exciting animal to watch. However, the difficulty in spotting them and the cuteness of their round little faces make it worth looking out for. You may even be lucky enough to see them in the water, which is where they are, surprisingly, at their fastest. 


Two Capybara's wading through a river in the Amazon rainforest

The Capybara is the largest rodent in the world. Depending on who you are, that may or may not sounds like something you’d want to see. But I guarantee you these giant guineapig-like creatures are definitely something to look out for. 
They’re big lovers of water so you’re best chance to spot one will be near a river or swamp. Living in groups of up to 30, you’ll rarely see one of these guys on their own. There have even been occasions when Amazon River cruises have passed gatherings of a hundred or more on the river’s edge!


A Toucan on a branch with no leaves

There are seven species of these bright, big-beaked birds found in the Amazon rainforest. The largest and most commonly seen is the, cute sounding, Toco Toucan. They are mainly black but have white faces and comically large, bright orange and yellow beaks. You might hear these social birds chatting away in the treetops or see them flying off into the sunset together.

Hyacinth ( Blue) Macaw

Two blue Macaws peer out from a whole in a tree

An iconic amazon animal, the Blue Macaw is quite a rare sight despite its bright blue plumage. These gorgeous birds have been hunted to near extinction, captured for their feathers or to be sold as exotic pets. 
There are several other species of Macaw and other colourful birds, found in the Amazon. So make sure you regularly look up!


A Hoatzin bird flapping its wings in a tree

The “stinkbird”, as it is known locally, is often smelt before it is seen. The prehistoric-looking, pheasant-sized bird has a unique digestive system leading to its rather unpleasant odour. Aside from the smell, you’ll also be able to find the hoatzin from their sound. These mohawked rockers are often heard making a bizarre variety of hisses, groans and grunts. 
Quite a common site, you’ll spot (smell and hear) these guys along the rivers and canals. 

Giant Amazon River Otter

A Giant Amazon River Otter eating a fish.

Substantially bigger than their North American cousins the Giant Amazon River Otters are just that, giant! Growing up to six feet long they have powerful jaws and webbed paws making them excellent underwater hunters. They are the largest species of otter and also the rarest. The giant otters are under threat due to deforestation and hunters, catching them for their pelt. Despite this, they are still regularly sighted by tourists on Amazon River cruises. 
Getting around in family groups the giant otters are social and playful animals. Keep an eye out for them playing and splashing around on the water’s edge. 

Giant Armadillo

A giant Amazon armadillo

Things just seem to grow bigger in the Amazon. The rodents, the otters and the armadillos are all giants in comparison to their North American counterparts. This not so little fella is rarely seen outside of a zoo, but here’s to hoping you’re one of the lucky ones to spot them in the wild. 
These solitary animals are most active at night and spend their days sleeping in burrows. To catch a glimpse of the armoured giant head out on a night safari in the rainforest.


Tapir standing at the water's edge

One of the largest mammals found in the Amazon, the Tapir average around 2m in length and weigh up to 250kg! These relatives of the rhinoceros are primarily herbivores, eating mainly at night. They spend their days resting in the cooler jungle shade. 
Their keen senses of hearing and smell, aid them in avoiding predators. They are also excellent swimmers both above and below the water and use this as a tactic to escape predators on their trail.

Your best chance of seeing a tapir in the Amazon is on a night animal safari.


Blue and orange piranha fish

There are three piranha species found in the wide rivers of the Amazon rainforest. Rather than sticking your head in the murky waters, the best way to see one of these bitey little fish is on the end of a line. 
Piranha fishing is a fun and safe way to get up close and personal with the sharp toothed fish!


Green Anaconda in a mashy green swamp

There are four species of anaconda found in the Amazon though you are only likely to come across two. The green anaconda, which is the largest, and the yellow anaconda, which is the smallest. Commonly found near water both species of anaconda are competent swimmers. 
Keep an eye out for them on Amazon river cruises and jungle treks through swamps and marshes. 

Have any snaps of Amazon animals you’ve seen? Share them with us by tagging @bambaexperience or #bambaexperience on Instagram. Or tell us about your Amazon adventure in the comment section below.