Amazon Rainforest mammals include many of the favorites to search for on Amazon Jungle Tours. From Amazon Monkeys to rodents, the forest is teeming with our mammalian relatives.
Amazon mammals have successfully colonized the ground, the trees, and the air filling the jungle with a diversity of different species. You are sure to see many on your Amazon tour. Try and look out for the dark looking balls on the tops of the tallest trees as these could be sloths, one of the Amazon’s most commonly seen large mammals.
The Bald Uakari is an interesting looking New World primate with its red face and short tail. They mainly feed off seeds and fruit and there is an interesting story behind their name you can read in the Red Uakari Monkey article. They are the largest New World monkey without a prehensile tail.
Amazon Rainforest Sloth
Sloths are one of the many Amazon Rainforest mammals you are likely to see on Amazon Tours. Sloths are sometimes difficult to spot because of the their greenish tinge. They are the only mammal in a symbiotic relationship with algae, which covers their fur and provides camouflage against the foliage. This doesn’t deter all predators, however, as they are one of the main foods of the Amazon Rainforest’s magnificent Harpy Eagle.
Brocket deer seem to prefer a dense jungle habitat feeding on fruits and plants. They are a small to medium sized deer with males possessing small spiky horns. After competing for a female by the usual jousting displays common to most deer, brocket deer stay with the same partner for life. Usually nocturnal and skittish, seeing brocket deer in the wild is a rare treat.
Tamanduas are the anteaters of the Amazon’s trees feeding almost exclusively on the rainforest’s most abundant insects — ants and termites. Tamanduas use the powerful arms their relatives use to demolish termite mounds for climbing and are mostly arboreal. A smaller anteater than their large ground-living relatives that roam the grasslands and forest floor, tamanduas reach about one metre in length (around 3 feet). Like other anteaters, they can become aggressive if provoked and use their powerful arms and claws as weapons. One baby is born at a time and this rides on its mother’s back for a while before becoming independent.
Coatis are the mischievous mammals of the Amazon rainforest and are mostly diurnal relatives of North American raccoons. They are quite common in the Amazon Rainforest and are opportunistic omnivores feeding on eggs, invertebrates, small vertebrates, and fruit.
Capybara are the world’s largest rodent and they are farmed in some parts of South America for meat and leather. They are very abundant, especially in the wetlands like the Pantanal, and are one of the main prey items of large Amazon predators like jaguar. Capybara are often found near water as they possess webbed feet and have a semi-aquatic habit. Capybara are a social species and are often spotted in groups. In the Pantanal Wetlands, a group can number over 100 individuals. They feed on plant material like grasses, aquatic plants, and young shoots.
Round eared bats are often found near streams in the Amazon Rainforest. They sometimes roost in empty termite mounds coming out at night to hunt insects.
In the bat world it’s the vampire bats that get the most attention. Vampire bats are spread across three species of native South American bat that feed exclusively on blood. Although somewhat gruesome and the inspiration for horror stories, there is a relatable and caring side to these vampires.
Vampire bats roost in dark areas like caves with many other individuals and can only survive about two days without blood. It is not guaranteed that a bat will find food each night and so bats that go hungry ask for food from unrelated neighbors. The pestered neighbor gives up a portion of their night’s find willingly in a gesture of apparent selflessness. However, this gesture is not completely selfless, as the donating bat may not find blood the next night and it, too, may require a friendly gesture from the very bat that was begging for blood.
Of course, with this kind of arrangement there are inevitable cheaters that try and selfishly break the system. If a bat asks for a friendly donation from a neighbor and selfishly does not donate its blood meal when required, the selfish bat is attacked and disciplined by its neighbors.
Tayra are predatory weasel relatives that inhabit the forests of South America. They are adept predators being proficient at climbing, running, swimming, and jumping presenting slower Amazon Rainforest mammals and birds with a formidable foe. Tayra are omnivorous eating vertebrates, eggs, and fruit. Video from camera trap in the Tahuayo Reserve near the Tahuayo Lodge, Iquitos, Peru.
Jaguar are the main animal people want to see, or avoid, in South America. They are a top predator and are famed partly due to the attractive spotted pattern on their coats. There are, however, rare, completely black morphs known as panthers. The photo in the header image is from the Tambopata Research Center in Peru’s Tambopata Reserve.
Tapir are large, hoofed mammals of the Amazon Rainforest that feed on fruits and young shoots. Although bulky and seemingly cumbersome, if disturbed, they will quickly run to the water for safety and will even negotiate practically vertical inclines flattening most things in their path.
Mountain lions (pumas) have an incredibly large range and must be exceptionally adaptable animals. They occur from Canada to the Andes and are solitary generalist carnivores. Mountain lions are opportunistic hunters predating insects to large mammals. They have a developed search image for prey animals and thankfully don’t recognize humans as prey.
What are your favorite Amazon mammals? Have you seen any wild mammals in the Amazon Rainforest? Please leave your comments below