Brazil is world-famous for its amazing biodiversity. The country is home to around 60% of the Amazon rainforest, which in turn accounts for around 10% of all species found on Earth. The tropical conditions of the rainforest allow these animals to thrive and completely transform the Amazon. From giant river otters to a variety of poisonous frogs, these colorful animals roam in some of the most untouched parts of the rainforest, isolated from the rest of the world. Here’s the list of the Top 10 animals you must see on your trip to Brazil.
1. The Black Jaguar
Jaguars are the largest feline in the entire American continent and the third largest in the world. They like to live in places with an abundant supply of water, such as rainforests or swamps, and they are known to be great swimmers. They feed by stalking and hunting their prey and using their incredibly powerful bite to kill. Jaguars are sparsely spread out in the jungle and are an amazing sight if you get the chance to see one.
Better yet, the black jaguar is a very rare animal to see but they can also be found in the Amazon. Black jaguars are a result of mutations, and although they are predominantly black, the spotted markings are still visible on their coat. They are fierce yet majestic animals and one of the wonders of the Amazon Rainforest.
The anaconda is the largest snake in the world, reaching up to 10 meters (33ft) long, weighing up to 250kg (550lb) and measuring up to 40cm (16in) in diameter. They are most commonly a dark green, with a lighter yellow color lighter on the belly, black and beige spots along their sides and yellow and black patterns on the tip of the tail. Anacondas live in trees in the rainforest where they slip down from the branches to attack their prey, and also in rivers or ponds where they sneak up on animals coming to get water. Anacondas are constrictor snakes, meaning that they wind around their prey to suffocate and drown them. Their favorite prey includes capybaras, deer, alligators, and jaguars.
There are so many species of monkeys in the Amazon rainforest that scientists have not yet discovered all of them. Among these are species of capuchin monkeys, tamarins and howler monkeys. Dozens of species of tamarins inhabit Amazon rain forest, they are usually small (about the size of a squirrel) and some of them are quite strange in appearance. Capuchin monkeys are New World primates and one of the most commonly kept monkeys as a pet, as they are known to be intelligent and social. The capuchin monkeys are one of the most famous species of monkey in the world. Howler monkeys are the largest monkeys in the Amazon are incredibly noisy. Amazonia is home to nine species of howler monkeys, all known for their raucous calls, which can be heard from 16km (10miles) away.
4. Giant Armadillo
Giant armadillos can grow up to an impressive 80kg (176lb), measuring 1.5m (5ft) from nose to tail, a similar weight and length and an average human. These mammals are interesting not just for their well-known defense mechanism of curling up into a solid ball, but also for the fact that they have nearly 100 teeth, that’s more teeth than any other terrestrial mammal and twice as many as the great white shark. With their copious amount of teeth, they like to eat everything from ants and termites to spiders and snakes. In Brazil, they primarily inhabit open areas such as grasslands, but they can also be found in the lowland Amazon rainforest.
5. Poison Dart Frog
Poison dart frogs are some of the most colorful and most interesting creatures you’ll find in the Amazon rainforest. However, beware because their bright coloration is actually a warning. Poison dart frogs are poisonous is a unique way, they secrete a powerful poison through their skin, which they use as an incredibly effective defense mechanism. In fact, they don’t have any main predators in the large jungle because of their deadly poison, despite their size. The poison of the dart frog has enough poison to kill up to twenty humans, so you don’t want to get too close, but spotting one of these creatures is an incredible sight that you’ll never forget.
6. Maned Wold
The Maned wolf is the largest canid of South America and one of the world’s most unique animal. The maned wolf is actually not a wolf, nor is it a large fox, and it is not closely related to any other canid, it is the only species of its kind, making it extra special if you get to see one. They are found in open and semi-open habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees, in the south, central-west, and southeastern Brazil. They look similar to a red fox, but are a lot larger and have very long legs.
The capybara is the largest rodent in the world, and are found along waterways throughout the marshes, swamps, and lakes of South America. They are a close relative to guinea pigs and have reddish-brown fur, webbed toes for gliding efficiently through water and weigh an impressive 66kg (46lb). They live in large groups of around 20 across the whole of Brazil, so you have a good chance of spotting one! Their main predators include anacondas and jaguars.
8. Giant Anteater
Locally known as ant bears, these anteaters can measure over 2 meters (7ft) in length and weigh approximately 45kg (100lbs). They are probably one of the weirdest-looking animals found in Brazil, with strange long noses and giant bushy tails. They are found roaming the wide-open plains of Brazil, searching for termites and ants, as well as in the dense rainforest. They use their massive claws and long, sticky tongues to eat almost 30,000 insects each day, that’s a lot of protein and carbohydrates eaten each day!
Sloths are arboreal mammals known for their slowness of movement and for spending most of their lives hanging upside down in the trees of the tropical rainforests of South America and Central America. The reason why sloths are incredibly slow-moving is due to their low-energy diet of leaves and to avoid detection by predatory hawks and cats who hunt by sight. There are six species of sloths divided into two families: two-toed sloths and three-toed sloths. In Brazil, both types of sloths can be found. Sloths can be 60 to 80 cm (24 to 31 inches) long and, depending on species, weigh from 3 to 8 kg (8 to 17 lb).
10. Giant Otter
Giant Otters are another amazing creature found in the Amazon Basin. They are much larger than any other otter and can grow up to 1.8m (6ft) long and can weigh over 30kg (66lbs). Their diet includes fish, crabs and smaller anacondas, their sensitive whiskers help them detect the vibrations of their prey to catch them. Unfortunately, these giant otters are becoming very rare due to the pollution levels in the Amazon. The otters need clean, untouched water to survive, and so some of these animals can no longer survive.
There are countless animals to see in Brazil, and although not all are easy to find, you’ll undoubtedly get to spot a couple before you leave, especially if you venture into the amazing jungle.