Animals in Brazil's Rainforest

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Brazil's rainforest is complex in its ecosystem and the many animal and plant species that live there. The vast amount of resources, as well as the warm and humid climate, is what allows for such a variety of species to thrive. From the tall branches of the rainforest's trees to the murky waters of the Amazon River, there are still new animals being discovered today.


Located in northeastern South America, Brazil encompasses almost half of the continent's area. Rainforests, as well as the thousands of unique animal and plant species found there, cover about 60 percent of Brazil, according to Most of the rainforests are found around the Amazon Basin, which is where many river tributaries drain into the Amazon River. This constant feed of river water provides life to thousands of species of animals living in the rainforest's ecosystems.

Amazon River Animals

Many of the different animals found in Brazil's rainforest live in rivers and tributaries. Particularly, one can find the highest diversity of fish in the world in the Amazon River -- home to between 2,500 and 5,000 species of fish. Perhaps one of the most well-known fish species found there is the piranha, whose razor-like teeth allow them to shred prey like birds and snakes. Some piranhas are herbivores, feeding only on fruits and seeds. The Amazon is also home to the pirarucu, which is a prehistoric carnivorous fish that is known to grow up to 400 pounds. Pirarucu feed on other fish and birds. Electric eels, also found in the Amazon, can grow to about 9 feet long and are able to send a 650-volt shock into prey and predators alike. Other animals found around the Amazon include amphibians, such as cane toads, poison dart frogs and monkey frogs.

Rainforest Animals

Brazil's rainforest is home to approximately 1,700 bird species, 650 reptile species and almost 600 mammal species, according to Since Brazil's rainforest has varying ecosystems, different species of animals are found in different places. Birds that are native to the dense forests are typically bright in color, such as hummingbirds, macaws and parrots. Mammals found in Brazil's rainforest include armadillos, monkeys, deer, mice, sloths, anteaters and large cats like jaguars. Geckos, crocodiles, iguanas, chameleons, turtles and snakes are among the reptiles living there.

Endangered Animals

With deforestation brought on by increasing agriculture, logging and urbanization, many of the food and shelter resources that Brazil's rainforest animals depend on are depleting. These depleting resources have affected animals such as manatees, harpy eagles and jaguars, which are listed as endangered species.

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