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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 Boa

There are many different snakes in the Amazon Rainforest. Some snakes, like this Amazon Tree Boa (header image), 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.

Black Caiman

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 torchlight. Black caiman are a top predator in the Amazon Rainforest.

Bushmaster

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
Photo by Cuatrok77 on Flickr

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 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

The 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.

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?

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