Rainforest Dwellers: The Amazing Animals of the Amazon
The West Indian Manatee
These gentle giants live in the warm waters of the southern United States, Brazil, and the Caribbean. They can weigh up to 1,300 - that’s right - 1,300 pounds, and grow to be up to thirteen feet long. These peaceful creatures rarely ever fight and have no natural enemies, being that they’re approximately the size of a small car! While swimming, they have to come to the surface to take in the air every three to four minutes, but can rest underwater for up to fifteen.
Sloths are some of the slowest moving creatures on Earth. They are about the size of a small domestic dog and can be divided into two categories: two-toed and three-toed. Sloths have been known to remain in the same tree for years at a time. They can be found hanging upside down by their claws most of the time - female sloths even give birth hanging upside down - and need very little food to survive due to their slow metabolisms. It is uncommon for sloths to come down from their trees, as they feed on leaves and small fruits and do not hunt to survive.
There are four different types of Anteater: the giant anteater, silky anteater, southern tamandua, and northern tamandua. They are named for their long, thin tongues which they use to scoop up ants and other insects. The anteater has very poor eyesight, so they rely heavily on smell to find food. Like sloths, they are quite slow-moving, although they are good swimmers and can use their long snouts like snorkels.
The Boa Constrictor
One of the most fearsome and imposing snakes in the wild, the Boa Constrictor can be found in South American and Asian rainforests. They have extremely strong, powerful bodies, which is ultimately their greatest weapon, as they catch their prey with the use of their “constricting” talents. They are not, however, venomous in any way. They completely shed their skins every 1-2 months.
The world’s largest rodent, the Capybara looks similar to a Guinea Pig and can weigh between 76 and 146 lbs fully grown and stand up to 2 feet tall. They have an intimidating pair of large, sharp teeth, which grow throughout their entire lifetimes. They can be found in every country in South America apart from Chile, Central America, and Florida. They like to live in wet, swampy areas and forests near warm bodies of water. They are great swimmers and use the water to hide from land predators, generally eating plant-based diets themselves. They live in groups of 10-20 and are very social, communal animals.