Animals of the Peruvian Jungle are as diverse as they are captivating. Yet, many remain hidden gems in this dense rainforest. Some creatures are elusive, while others, simply overshadowed by more popular species.
Exploring the jungle’s depths, one can find an array of wildlife unknown to the casual observer. From nocturnal hunters to vibrant insects, the surprises are endless. Dive in with us as we unveil these lesser-known treasures of the Peruvian wilds.
In Spanish they are known as “Chosna”; and, although Paris Hilton thinks otherwise, they are not pets. They are carnivorous, arboreal and nocturnal mammals, cousins of raccoons. This animals of Peru are popular with native hunters, since they can become curious instead of escaping when they see a person. Their prehensile tail helps them to cling to the branches and move skillfully through the trees.
2. Murciélago Carpero
What, are not all bats vile vampires? Not at all, only 3 of the 165 Peruvian species feed on blood, other fruits, scattering seeds, nectar, pollinating flowers, or insects and small animals, controlling pests. I found this little carpero bat in Loreto. To protect themselves from the environment, they bite the blade around the base so that it folds forming a shelter similar to a tent; An incredible strategy!
3. The bush dog
The “sacha-perros”, also called bush dogs, are small carnivores related to dogs, and very similar to Tasmanian devils (to the real ones, not to the drawing). The trails keep these animals of Peru hidden, making them very rare to see.They walk in groups and can hunt prey larger than themselves, thanks to teamwork.
4. Glass frogs
As the name implies, glass frogs seem to be made of glass, making them very rare to observe. Its transparency is an adaptation to protect itself from predators. As Jack Mortimer, a photographer who looked for them in the Manu, told me: “you can only see them when they open their white eyes, because if they keep them closed they seem part of the sheet”. You can see their organs, bones and occasionally eggs in the females.
5. Amazonian manatee
Unlike the popular pink dolphins, the Amazonian manatees are very little known. They are very rare, so much so that a program of rescue and reintroduction of these species has been created in Iquitos, carried out by the CREA. The communities are informed of their risk, as they hunt them with harpoons to feed themselves. It is worth mentioning that the native communities are authorized, and can hunt for their own consumption; It is therefore important to work with them to conserve this species.
This manatee feeds on water lettuces, a plant similar to a lettuce that is floating by the rivers and lakes (lagoons) of the north. It is not found in the southern Amazon. If you go to Iquitos, visit the CREA rescue center and learn more about these beautiful animals of Peru.
6. Harpy eagle
Passing the meter in height, this is the largest eagle in the continent. With claws almost as big as those of brown bears, it is the terror of the arboreal mammals, hunting even the biggest and lazy monkeys. Many consider it the most powerful raptor bird in the world.
Seeing her in freedom is a luxury, since, as is common in large predators, they have large territories where only one or two individuals inhabit. Despite this, they are not endangered and their populations are healthy. In hunting areas, hunters compete with this bird for large primates, making the bird unlikely to be found.
7. Suriname Toad
Biologists know this strange toad as Pipa Pipa because of its simple scientific name. Amazon lakes (lagoons) hide it as it camouflages among the bottom leaves. We found this individual in the Manu National Park and released him after weighing him and measuring him for a study. This animals of Peru are not easy to find and their rare shape makes them look like an animal from prehistory. Unlike other amphibians, it is strictly aquatic.
Appearing to be part of the branch with an extraordinary camouflage and behavior, ayaymama is very popular in the Amazon because of its legend. During the day, camouflaged as shown in the photo, during the night begins to sing in a gloomy way, emitting a high-pitched whistle that goes down in intensity, becoming more serious. This song gives it its name: “Aaaay- aaaaay- maaaa- maaaa”.
If you visit the jungle attentive to the branches during the day, and open your ears during the night. And ask them to tell you the legend!
9. Bald uakari
Present between the jungles of Peru and Brazil, the Bald uakari inhabits areas of forests that are flooded in the rainy seasons called várzeas. The loss of habitat due to the felling and expansion of areas inhabited by humans, plus the hunting that is related to these activities, are the main causes for which this species is considered vulnerable.
In addition, for its strange and striking color, it is trafficked as a pet or for collections; A few years ago we did a practice in the “Parque de las Leyendas” for a course and there was a couple of these who had been rescued recently. The problem was that they had nowhere to go or a special habitat for them, at that moment; unfortunate causes of traffic.
10. Wood-eating catfish
Discovered in the Peruvian Amazon, they use their teeth to tear organic matter from the surface of the wood. For that, his denture is oval and a firm armor covers it for protection. They are one of the rare animals of Peruvian Jungle.
We must emphasize that the animal uses its four jaws in order to crush wood and extract the food it needs. In fact, it has a teething pattern that is unique in its kind: according to scientists, the fish has bacteria in its intestine that are responsible for processing the cellulose that contains the wood. The digestion will last for four hours, although in the end you will get what you are looking for.