Although many people think of the Amazon as the home of the jaguar, anaconda, and piranha, there are dozens of other amazing creatures living in this rainforest that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth. Here are five animals native to the Amazon rainforest that you may have never heard of but you should know about.
The Pacas are common rodents in South America. They are related to guinea pigs, which they have similar appearances to. They love chewing on leaves, making them easy prey for predators, such as birds and cats. Even though they aren’t very fast or agile, their shells protect them from predators. Pacas eat every day and live in small groups called herds. Since they don’t have any natural enemies, their biggest threat is humans who hunt them for food or fur.
The river dolphin, also known as a boto or pink river dolphin, is a species of toothed whale. Pink dolphins are native to tropical rivers, including those in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. These creatures have very little hair and are slightly smaller than bottlenose dolphins; they typically grow to between 5-6 feet long. River dolphins live in small pods that generally include just one male with several females and their offspring.
Also known as a Chinese dragon fish, it’s probably one of the most expensive fish species in existence. It’s rich meat is popular in Chinese cuisine but is also considered an aphrodisiac. Due to its significance and value, it’s even been reported that many thieves have stolen them from aquarium owners by simply cutting out a portion of glass surrounding them. The owners then pay large amounts to get their fish back because they’re so rare and valuable.
The Royal Python is, as its name suggests, a type of snake that can only be found in a few parts of India. It’s considered by some to be one of the most dangerous snakes in India due to its ability to kill and eat other snakes. These pythons can reach up to 20 feet long and weigh around 200 pounds, which means they’re even able to devour much larger animals such as pigs and monkeys!
It’s not a household name in North America, but it should be. The jaguarundi is slightly smaller than a bobcat and is common to South America’s tropical jungles. Its small size and black-tufted ears give it a cuddly appearance, but don’t let that fool you.
Pink Fairy Armadillo
The Pink Fairy Armadillo is about as cute as a pink fairy armadillo can be. They are a rare species, only found in Brazil and much smaller than most armadillos. Their small size makes them an easy target for predators like cats, dogs, and foxes. These tiny creatures have beautiful hairy bodies that make them look very soft and cuddly, which is why they are hunted so often by domestic pets looking for something new to play with or kill.
The Giant Anteater is often found in open fields in South America. An average adult has a size of 50 to 70 inches long and weighs between 60 and 80 pounds. The giant anteater can reach a maximum length of 3 meters (9.8 feet) from head to tail with that same length accounting for its tail as well. These anteaters feed on ants, termites, bees, larvae, earthworms and even small rodents.
The anaconda is a large, non-venomous snake species found in tropical South America. It gets its name from being extremely long and thick. The green anaconda can reach up to 30 feet (9 meters) in length and weighs about 140 pounds (63 kilograms). Surprisingly, though it’s not as aggressive as other snake species, when threatened or harmed it will often attack.
This tiny, adorable little guy is only six inches tall and has a big personality to match. The marmoset is endemic to Brazil, and they can weigh up to two pounds as adults. Fun fact: Marmosets are related to tamarins, another rare primate that’s hard not to love! And though you might think their name sounds a bit like marmite (that stuff you either love or hate), no one’s quite sure how these cute critters got their name!
Everyone is familiar with manatees and their languid way of life. Manatees spend most of their time eating, sleeping and generally doing nothing—and that’s why they’re so slow! A fully grown manatee grows to around 13 feet long, weighs over 1,000 pounds and can live up to 60 years in captivity.
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