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15 Fascinating & Weird Animals in the Amazon Rainforest 

15 Fascinating and Weird Animals in the Amazon Rainforest 

The Amazon Rainforest has for years been the home of many interesting, and slightly weird, creatures. Let’s have a look at some of these weird animals in the Amazon! 

1. Pink Amazon River Dolphin

Pink Dolphin
Boto Amazon River Dolphin. Amazon river, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil South America. Image by A1804 via depositphotos.com

The Pink Amazon River Dolphin, also known as the Boto, probably stands out the most due to its pink coloration – unique to this species. These endangered freshwater dolphins are incredibly agile, the unfused vertebrae in their necks allow them to move gracefully around obstacles. 

2. Sloth

Baby sloth poses for the camera on the tree. Image via depositphotos.com

One of the world’s slowest animal species, the sloth, also resides in the Amazon rainforest. Everything about these animals are slow, their climbing time, their eating speeds and even their digestion is slow! Not only are sloths slow, but they love to sleep – making one understand where the sloth stigma comes from!

3. Glass Frog

invisible frog can cause breakthroughs in medical research
A tiny spotted emerald glass frog (Hyla punctata) on glass with its organs visible through its body. These frogs inhabit Central and South America. Image via depostphotos.com

These little amphibians were named glass frogs as their skin appears translucent, allowing us to see their organs, including their beating heart,  from the outside! The skin on the top of their backs has a green hue, but that around their sides and under their bellies is clear. 

4. Jesus Lizard

jesus lizard
Basilisk or Jesus Christ Lizard (Basiliscus basiliscus). Image by buteo via depositphotos.com

These impressive creatures received their name, Jesus Lizards, due to their ability to run on water. Growing up to two feet long and weighing around 1.2 pounds, these nippy creatures choose to live close to water to make impressive escapes if predators appear. 

5. Peanut Head Bug

Peanut bug
There is a myth in Ecuador that if somebody is bitten by the peanut bug (machaca), he must have sex with a virgin within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death. Image by Pavel Kirillov from St.Petersburg, Russia, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Looking at the image of these insects their name’s origin is quite clear – their heads are shaped like uncracked peanuts! These large insects’ predominant head shape often serves as camouflage against predators.

6. Bullet Ant

bullet ant
Paraponera clavata show his jaws . Big species of ant, commonly known as the bullet ant, named for its extremely painful sting. Tortuguero Cerro, Costa Rica. Image by artush via depositphotos.com

These feisty creatures got their name from their painful bite, which is said to feel like a billet shot! These viscous creatures live in colonies of hundreds of bullet ants. Bullet ant bites cause incredible pain, described as pure and intense, which only subsides after about 12 hours!

7. Electric Eel

Electric Eel
Electric eel in Aqua. Image by yourth2007 via depositphotos.com

These eels are actually a type of freshwater fish and can generate electric shocks of over 600 volts to stun prey or in self-defense. They have specialized organs that generate electrical currents, that are not only used as a weapon but also as a means of navigation and communication.  

8. Amazonian Giant Centipede

amazonian giant centipede
Image by iwayansumatika via depositphotos.com

The Amazonian Giant Centipede is the largest centipede species in the world, growing to 13 inches! These massive animals feed on anything that they can overpower and kill. Not only are these centipedes massive, but they are also venomous! Their venom is toxic to other insects and mammals. 

9. Goliath Birdeater

goliath birdeater
The Goliath birdeater are found in northern South America. Image by Delgadillo Figueroa via Pexels

This tarantula species is the largest spider in the world, weighing 6.2 ounces and 5.1 inches long. However, despite their name, these spiders rarely feed on birds but prefer anthropods, amphibians, and worms. 

10. Hoatzin

hoatzin
Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) with crest raised in the Amazon rainforest at Lake Sandoval, Peru, South America. Image by riverriver via depositphotos.com

These tropical birds are known for their unfortunate smell. These prehistoric-looking birds have a peculiar digestive system. They are able to ferment and break down plant matter in their stomachs, similar to the digestive systems of cows. 

11. Harpy Eagle

harpy eagle
Image by ChepeNicoli via depositphotos.com

These eagles hunt anything from sloths to monkeys, to the occasional deer. Harpy eagle wingspans reach up to 7 feet and their talons grow to 5 inches! With their distinctive double crests, these raptors are one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world.

12. Spider Monkey

spider monkey
Mexican spider monkey in nature park. Image by jurra89 via depositphotos.com

These primates use their tail as an additional limb, giving them the ability to cruise through vegetation and trees with ease! These social animals live in groups away from humans, they will even break off branches to throw at those bothering them. 

13. Matamata Turtle

Matamata turtle
Mata mata Turtle, Chelus fimbriata on isolated Black Background. Image by Seregraf via depositphotos.com

These are probably the most odd-looking turtles one would ever see, and therefor a must add to our list of weird animals in the Amazon! They have diamond-shaped heads, ridged carapaces, and bumpy skin that helps them camouflage in aquatic vegetation. 

14. Leaf Cutter Ants

leaf cutter ant
macro image of a red leaf cutter ant in Costa Rica carrying away a piece of leaf on a natural green background. Image by wollertz via depositphotos.com

Leaf cutter ants are highly organized insects with complex social structures, each playing their role in the colony. These ants cut and carry fresh vegetation back to their nests, where they grow a fungus that serves as their primary food source. 

15. Pacu Fish

pacu
Image by Wisky, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These freshwater fish are often confused with piranhas, however, Pacu’s do not eat meat! The pacu has human-like teeth and feeds on fruits, nuts, and seeds. Despite their large size, these toothy fish are not aggressive.

Are These Amazonian Animals Really That Weird?

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These 15 weird animals found in the Amazon are just a small taste of what diversity and adaptability can be found in the animal kingdom! We hope you enjoyed exploring the wonders of the Amazon with us. And that you agree, although they are weirdly different, they are wonderful!

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