In South America, spreading into nine countries is the Amazon rainforest – the largest rainforest in the world. It spans an estimated area of 55 lakh square kilometers and hosts a plethora of biodiversity including many species that have not been discovered and studied yet. There are few Australian animals that we will find only in Australia. The Amazon River, running through the forest supports the thriving life of Amazon rainforest animals and plants. These forests are known as the “lungs of the earth” because they absorb the largest amount of carbon dioxide on land and give out oxygen.
These forests are also home to some of the most dangerous animals known to humans and here is a list of the ten most dangerous Amazon Rainforest animals –
Dangerous Amazon Rainforest Animals
1. Green Anaconda
Contrary to movies might want us to believe, anacondas are not poisonous and it is not their bite that makes them lethal. Green anacondas are the largest snakes on Earth and can grow up tp 30 feet in length – two times the size of a giraffe. They live in water and can sneak up on the prey soundlessly and strike it with force, constricting it with their powerful body till it suffocates and dies. They then swallow the prey whole. They commonly hunt anything from wild boar, deer, capybaras and sometimes also jaguars and humans. You can also read about most dangerous animals in the world.
2. Black Caiman
It is an alligator found in the Amazonian basin and is one of the largest species in the world. This Amazon rainforest animal is a very adept hunter and kills its prey by moving towards it from underwater and then crushing it using its powerful jaws. It then drags the catch underwater till it suffocates. It kills all animals ranging from small fish, otters, dogs and deer to jaguar and other caimans. Caimans can grow up to 6 meters in length and humans are at risk only from the very large ones. You can also read about animals that could dissapear forever
3. Electric Eel
This animal is not actually an eel but a fish that looks similar to an eel. It has three organs in its body that can generate five times more electricity than a regular plug point. It uses this electricity to shock and immobilise its prey before eating it whole. It also releases electricity as a method of defense to scare away the attacker. Humans are usually attacked by the eel if it is accidentally stepped on. Most deaths occur not due to the shock itself but due to the subsequent paralysis and drowning. This method of killing its prey has earned the eel a spot in this list of ten most dangerous Amazon rainforest animals. Here also you can read about colour changing animals around the world.
This large cat is native to South America and is an apex predator of the region. It lives alone in large territories similar to leopards or tigers found in India and hunts smaller land animals like monkeys, boars, and deer. It rarely comes in contact with humans, and when it does, it is usually because it is trying to attack livestock. Though attacks a rare, this cat is a dangerous animal due to its speed, stealth, strong jaw and sharp teeth that can pierce even the shells of turtles and the human skull. Their numbers are declining, however, due to loss of habitat and hunting. It has shades of Tiger which is one of the apex predators in the world.
Like the anaconda, the movie industry also has a fascination with the piranha, making it a familiar animal. And here too, the movies got it wrong. The red-bellied piranha, the most dangerous of all species, is a scavenger and usually eats dead animals. It is known to attack live animals only if it feels threatened or if food is scarce in the area. Humans have been attacked by piranhas, but these attacks do not result in death, merely injuries due to the sharp teeth of the fish. Piranhas show cannibalistic behavior and are known to eat other members of their species.
As the name suggests, this Amazon rainforest animal is a brightly colored frog that secretes poison from glands on its skin. This poison is highly toxic and causes heart failure if it enters the body in large amounts. The golden poison dart frog is a rare species but is the most dangerous since poison from a single frog can kill twenty adult humans. Some tribes in the Amazon rainforest are known to use the poison from this frog to coat the tip of their arrows, used to hunt other animals.
This shark is one of the top three most dangerous shark species and frequently attacks humans that venture into its territory. It lives in the muddy waters of the river and hunts other aquatic animals like fish, dolphins, and snakes. Since it swims into shallow, muddy water, people are unable to see it and, if they come too close, the shark attacks them. The bite of the shark can prove fatal because it drags its victims down into the water and they either drown or die due to blood loss.
8. Brazilian Wandering Spider
The first insect to make it onto the list of most dangerous Amazon animals, this spider is native to the Amazon rainforest and has some of the most deadly venoms in the world. It is a ground-dwelling spider and hunts at night. It may sting humans who venture too close and the venom causes sharp pain and may eventually cause paralysis.
9. Amazonian Giant Centipede
As the name suggests, this centipede is a giant – it grows up to 30 centimeters. It is an expert predator and kills small animals like spiders, mice, small birds, bats, lizards, and snakes. It is not poisonous but preys by coiling itself around the prey and eating it while it slowly dies. Though it cannot kill humans, the bite causes intense pain, fever, and weakness. Nevertheless, it a fierce and dangerous Amazon rainforest animal.
This tiny ant – that grows to about 2 centimeters – gets its name from its painful bite that has been compared to being shot by a bullet. It also injects venom into the bite and can kill small animals. These ants hunt in groups and can paralyze or kill large animals by many bites. To humans, the bite is not fatal but causes a lot of pain and may lead to temporary paralysis of the area surrounding the bite.
So the next time you decide to venture into the Amazonian rainforest, be wary of these dangerous Amazon rainforest animals.