Species of Animals in the Amazon Rainforest

Updated February 21, 2017

The Amazon rainforest basin is nine times the size of Texas, according to PBS. The many species of animals that live in this vast region include a third of the world's birds, 500 different mammals and 175 lizards. Some are indigenous to the region, while others have the ability to inhabit biomes other than the tropical forests that make up this ecosystem.


The jaguar is one rainforest animal that can also live in areas as dry as deserts, open lands such as grasslands and in deciduous forests. The jaguar is the largest of all felines in the western hemisphere; the largest individuals can weigh as much as 136 Kilogram. The jaguar can climb and swim, with the cat doing most of its searching for prey at night. The jaguar preys on animals such as the capybara, tapir and various deer species. The jaguar has no enemies in the rainforest, with the exception of humans, who hunt the cat for its fur as well as to prevent it from attacking livestock.

Amazon Manatee

The Amazon manatee is an aquatic mammal that never leaves the waters of the rivers and lakes in the rainforest. According to Animal Info, this creature subsists entirely on plants, making it an oddity among mammals that live in the water. The Amazon manatee can grow to be as long as nine feet and has forelimbs shaped like flippers. The manatee has a cylindrical shape and the animal possesses a mouth with lips designed to pull aquatic plants up from their roots. The Amazon manatee depends heavily upon eating during the wet seasons; it is able to go long stretches during the dry season without food until the vegetation it consumes starts to grow again.


The 17 different species of macaws are at home in their rainforest environs with toes that grip branches and strong beaks to help them break open fruits and nuts. The macaws are part of the parrot family and live on a diet that also includes insects and snails. The birds have a brightly coloured feathers and can live for as long as 60 years, typically mating for life. National Geographic notes that macaws live in social groups of up to 30 birds and have a high degree of intelligence. The mother macaw tends to the young, while the male brings food back to the nest.

Amazon Horned Frog

The Amazon horned frog is a denizen of the freshwater pools and swamps that exist in the Amazon basin. This frog grows as long as eight inches and may weigh over a pound. The Amazon horned frog takes its name from the small projections resembling miniature horns above its eyes. This frog feeds upon anything it can swallow whole, lying in wait on the forest floor hidden in mud and leaves to ambush prey. The Amazon horned frog has a sharp set of teeth, which it will quickly use to defend its territory against any intruder.

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About the Author

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.