By Pedro Souza
October 31, 2017
Covering a great part of the northwest of Brazil, the Amazon rainforest is one of the most biodiverse environments in the world. A plethora of incredible animal and life species inhabit this gargantuan forest, hundreds of thousands of them still undiscovered. Below, we have compiled some of the most fascinating animals that live in it.
Green Anaconda: Growing up to 9 meters long and weighing as much as 200 kilos, the green anaconda is the largest snake in the world. Lurking in the Amazon River, this enormous reptile kills its prey by coiling around it and squeezing it until it dies of suffocation, swallowing it whole after it is dead. While it usually preys on mid-sized mammals such as wild pigs and capybara, it has been known to kill cows, alligators, jaguars and even humans in rare cases. Despite its capacity of eating large animals, it does not eat very often, and can live without hunting for weeks or even months after a large prey.
Electric Eel: Despite its name, this fascinating animal is not really an eel, but a fish that inhabits murky streams in the Amazon and Orinocos basins. Growing up to 2.5 meters long, it can generate 600 volts of electricity in a single discharge from its specialized organs filled with cells known as electrocytes. The electric eel uses this ability for stunning its prey and for defending itself against predators. Humans are also in danger of being electrocuted it they accidentally touch this animal, though deaths are very rare.
Poison Dart Frogs: The poison dart frogs are not a single species, but rather a group of frog species that inhabit the Amazon Rainforest. These frogs are some of the most beautiful animals in the forest, displaying brightly colored patterns across their skin. As beautiful as they are, these frogs are colored precisely to signal the fact that they are extremely venomous. Through their skins, they secrete a powerful venom that paralyzes its prey and can cause heart failure within minutes. The indigenous peoples of the Amazon have been using these frogs for a long time to poison their darts, which aided them in hunting. This is where their name came from.
Harpy Eagle: Known in Brazil as gavião real (royal hawk), the harpy eagle is the largest and most powerful raptor in the Americas, weighing up to 10kg. This fierce predator has claws that can grow up to 13 centimeters, which it uses to snatch and kill sloths, squirrels, rabbits, birds, armadillos and even capybaras and deer. Unfortunately, destruction of its natural habitat is making this majestic animal disappear. In Central America the harpy eagle is almost gone, but in Brazil it is found in many parts of the country.
Brazilian Wandering Spider: There are eight species of the Brazilian wandering spider, which is a common animal in the Amazon Rainforest. These spiders are not only among the most venomous spiders in the world but they are also extremely aggressive, attacking if they feel threatened. Their venom is a powerful neurotoxin, which causes extreme pain, loss of muscle control and breathing problems, which can lead to death by asphyxiation. They get their name from the fact that they can be seen wandering across the ground at night. During the day, these spiders prefer to hide inside termite mounds or under rocks and barks.