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Amazon Reptiles

Amazon Rainforest Reptiles

The western Amazon Rainforest, found in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and western Brazil, has the highest diversity of reptiles in South America and there is a comparatively low amount in the eastern Amazon. There are many different types of reptile found in the forest and to read more about Amazon reptiles you can see Amazon Rainforest Snakes, Amazon Rainforest Crocodiles or Amazon Rainforest Lizards. In this article, I will mention some of the rarer species with a few others commonly encountered. Many species lack scientific descriptions about their behavior and natural history, and there is a wealth of information still to be obtained.

Amazon Reptiles – Amazon Boa

Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata)

  • Amazon Boa
  • Arboreal
  • Strong
  • Constrictor
  • Non Venomous

There are many different snakes in the Amazon Rainforest. Some snakes, like this Amazon Tree Boa, are almost entirely arboreal. In a closed canopy environment there is no need for some animals to ever come down to the ground, although this particular snake sometimes comes down at night. Amazon boas even hang from branches to feed using their strength to catch passing birds.

Rainforest Reptiles – Black Caiman

Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata)

  • Black Caiman
  • Recovering
  • Severely Hunted
  • Dominant Species

Black caiman were very rare in the Amazon Rainforest, but due to their protection, numbers are recovering. They are the only member of the alligator family to pose the same risk to humans as large crocodiles. Often, while night spotting for rainforest wildlife, you will see their red eyes shining back at you from your torch light. Black caiman are a top predator in the Amazon Rainforest.



  • Bushmaster
  • Virgin Forest
  • Large
  • Venomous

Bushmasters are high in the running for the most dangerous snake in the Amazon Rainforest, but as they choose to avoid people, the fear response is somewhat undeserved. Even with venom treatment, patients suffer a 20% mortality rate from bites of this species. They prefer virgin rainforest and are rarely seen. Bushmasters are very large for a venomous snake at around 3.5 meters adding to their intimidating presence.

Caiman Lizard

Caiman Lizard

  • Caiman Lizard
  • Likes Water
  • Rare in Dry Season
  • Eat Snails

Caiman lizards are named due to their crocodilian-like skin. They are a semi-aquatic lizard and prefer living in areas close to water. They can be rarely seen during the dry season, but will be seen throughout the wet season on branches or in water. There are two species of caiman lizard having slightly different life histories. The pictured species, the only one in the Amazon Rainforest, was thought to feed exclusively on water snails. Observations & research have since found they also take tree-living invertebrates & eggs, although aquatic invertebrates probably take up a significant portion of their diet.

Common Liana Snake

Common Liana Snake at the Tahuayo Lodge

  • Liana Snake
  • Little Known
  • Arboreal
  • Attractive

Common liana snakes are a very attractive species. There is little scientific research on this snake, but Amazon guides regard them as a non-venomous species that spends much of their time in trees & foliage. There are about six species this genus (Siphlophis), which all live in South America.

Snail Eating Snake

Snail Eating Snake at the Tahuayo Lodge

  • Snail Eating Snake
  • Rarely Seen
  • Little Research

This Ornate Snail Eating Snake is really the only thing we know about these reptiles. They are rarely seen and there is little research. We know they eat slugs & snails from observations, but not much else is known about their life history.

All of these photos were taken while staying at the Tahuayo Lodge in north east Peru.

  • what lodge amazon rainforest

    Eight Days

    Tahuayo Lodge Iquitos, Peru

    Visit the highly regarded Tahuayo Lodge & Amazon Research Center as part of your tour of the bio-diverse Tahuayo Reserve. You are assigned a private guide & you can choose an itinerary to reflect your interests. Boasting the most itinerary options in Amazonia, you can whiz through the trees on the canopy zipline, view poison dart frog initiatives, & observe different monkeys on the A.R.C primate research grid.
    Private Guide, Zipline, Primate Research Grid

Feel free to leave your own comments or new information on any of these Amazon Rainforest reptiles. Have you seen them in the wild? What are your opinions about the pet trade in exotic animals?

Ash - Author & Travel AdvisorAbout the Author: Ash Card has a BSc in Biology, an MSc in Zoology & a love of nature, travel & conservation. In nature, he enjoys the small dramas that are being played out all around us, such as a parasitic wasp hunting its prey while we walk passed unaware.

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