Anacondas live in wet areas such as swamps, marshes and streams mainly within tropical rainforests like the Amazon. They are agile in the water, and because they have eyes on top of their heads, they can watch unseen for prey. Famous for swallowing their prey whole, anacondas eat many types of animals, such as wild pigs, turtles and even jaguars.
The howler monkey uses its loud call to warn other animals to stay out of its territory. It eats mainly fruit, and lives in groups of 10 to 30 howler monkeys, which include both males and females. The largest monkey in the Americas, it also produces one of the loudest calls, which can be heard for up to three miles.
The jaguar lives in the rainforests of Central and South America, although it used to live as far north as the southwestern United States. They remain the largest cat in the Americas, and the third largest in the world. They can grow to more than 300 lbs. and eight feet long (including the tail), and can swim and climb well. As a charismatic symbol of the rainforest, they inspire people to protect the vast tracts of land they need for survival.
Poison Dart Frog
Famous for its unusual appearance, the poison dart frog emits a poison from its skin that can paralyze, and sometimes kill, its predators. Its bright coloration, rather than camouflaging it, warn predators to stay away. The different species of poison dart frog bear many colors, such as gold, copper, green, blue and red, and many are extremely attentive to their young. Some species even carry their eggs and tadpoles on their backs.
Sloths have long arms for climbing trees, and long fur. They live in the rainforest canopy and eat mainly leaves and fruits. Known for sleeping a lot (up to 20 hours a day) and being sluggish, sloths are so slow-moving that algae sometimes grows on their coats. If attacked, however, they fight fiercely. Two main species of sloths exist: two-toed and three-toed sloths.
The scarlet macaw has a high level of intelligence and has a long lifespan, sometimes living 60 years or more. Scarlet macaw populations have been devastated by poaching, fueled by the demand for keeping exotic birds as pets. Other factors, such as degradation of their environments, has threatened these birds as well, as Bruce Bavar discusses in his book, "Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw." Conservation organizations are working to help this species thrive, and it remains a spectacular sight in the Amazon rainforest.
Spider monkeys have long arms and tails that grip tree branches, helping them to climb. Thus, they can move dexterously, like spiders, through the canopy. They live in groups of two or three dozen spider monkeys, sleeping and eating in smaller groups. They often communicate vocally through many calls, which often tend to be noisy. Indigenous societies often hunt them for food.
Best known for its large beak and bright colors, the toucan lives in small flocks that communicate noisily to each other. Its long bill helps it to forage for fruit and insects. Indigenous cultures of the Amazon rainforest often view the toucan as a messenger between our world and the world of the spirits.
Amazon River Dolphin
Dolphins, otters and many other animals live in the rivers of the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon river dolphin, often known as the pink dolphin, is the largest and most common river dolphin on the planet. It eats fish, occasionally feeding on shellfish or turtles as well.