Amazon Rainforest Wildlife, Peru

A peculiar pink Amazon River dolphin, Peru

The peculiar pink Amazon dolphins have a massive sonar array distorting their heads as they are almost blind and sense river life by reflected sound. Photo by Allen Sheffield.

Amazon Rainforest wildlife walks

More land area is dedicated to national parks and wildlife reserves than any other country in South America. Consequently the Peruvian Amazon is one of the most untouched rainforests on earth, containing a diversity of animal and plant life unrivalled by any other rainforest on the planet.

authentic Amazon Rainforest interior, Peru

Amazon rainforest ‘jungle’.

Someone in the group – probably the guide, assistant or macho tourist will have to take a take and use a machete (a kind of crude sword) to cut a way through the undergrowth. Tourists need to keep their eyes peeled as most of the wildlife is well disguised, birds and poisonous frogs excepted.

The photo above is what the authentic Amazon ‘jungle’ actually looks like, but without the worst bit, the humidity, or the best bit, the sounds – endless buzzing, clicking, humming, screeching, flapping and mysterious splashing/crashing sounds, along with the thick shadowy vegetation and heavy atmosphere make for a unique and unforgettable ambience, what the rainforest experience is all about.

2 Hoatzin birds on a branch in Peru's Amazon Rainforest

Most jungle creatures are well camouflaged, apart from very venemous creatures that wish to inform predators of their toxicity and birds, such as these Hoatzins that are reasonably visible in jungle surroundings, while. . .

a weird and spiky caterpillar, Amazon Rainforest, Peru

. . . this caterpillar is not, nor are most of the other 2. 5 million insect species.

a couple of strange Giant Waxy Monkey Tree Frogs, Amazon Rainforest, Peru

Frogs (these are Giant Waxy Monkey Tree Frogs), especially poisonous ones, don’t mind standing out.

Amazon Rainforest animals lucky visitors may see

A tapir (kind of like a pig with a long nose); capybara (an enormous, non-aggressive rat); anaconda, a massive, non-poisonous snake, especially visible if it’s eaten something large recently, such as a tapir; jaguar, the rainforest’s top predator but you are more likely to hear it roar than see it; monkeys (especially Woolly Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys and you may hear Howler Monkeys); sloths; anteaters; armadillos; poison dart frogs; pink dolphins; caimans; american crocodiles; turtles; lizards galore; iguanas; piranhas; vampire bats; scarlet macaws; toucans; harpy eagles; green parrots by the ton; herons. . .

A juvenile and unhappy anaconda, Amazon Rainforest, Peru, South America

A juvenile and unhappy anaconda (especially after a couple of tourists tried it on as a neck-warmer), spotted at night of course. Photo by Allen Sheffield.

A capped heron, Amazon Rainforest, Peru, South America

A capped heron. Photo by Allen Sheffield.

An iguana pretending he's invisible, Amazon Rainforest, Peru, South America

An iguana pretending he’s invisible. Photo by Allen Sheffield.

a wild monkey in the Amazon Rainforest, Peru

. . . while monkeys chitter happily about, even though locals tend to look on them as a good source of protein, . . .

On your Amazon Rainforest trip remember to pack

Inevitably you’ll come across legions of insects that want to taste your blood or drink your salt water (from your eyeballs, naturally) so pack long lightweight trousers/pants and possibly a light longsleeved shirt so you can use a serious insect repellent on them with a high DEET factor (50%-100%) and not on your skin. Long pants also serve as a snake-bite barrier.

Mosquito Avoidance
You will also need to bring some kind of light but strong rainwear, hiking shoes that are water-resistant and are maybe high enough to protect against snakes (or gaiters? ), a hat, sunglasses and high-factor sun protection, as well as something warm for cool nights, a water bottle and tissues or toilet paper, or both.

Amazon Rainforest facts

The Amazon Rainforest encompasses half of the entire world’s tropical rainforests and crosses 9 national borders with 60% in Brazil and 13% in Peru. 60% of Peru’s territory is in the Amazon region.

20% of all the world’s birds live in the Amazon, 1, 300 bird species, 430 mammal species, 378 reptile species and – wait for it – 2. 5 million insect species. I knew there was something itchy around there. Also 40, 000 plant species.

Deforestation in Peru

Peruvian loggers and farmers are less rapacious and methodically destructive than Brazil’s so the world’s eco-mentalists may have arrived on the scene just in time to save a bit of the Amazon rainforest and its wildlife.

At the current rate of deforestation in Brazil – mainly for livestock and soy bean farming – 40% of the Amazon rainforest will disappear in the next twenty years.

Best season to travel the Amazon Rainforest

The drier, best season is from July – October

With such an immense area it is difficult to choose the very best season to explore the rainforest, but very generally the rainy season runs from November to June (except for in Ecuador which goes dry January – March).
During the heavy rains the river rises dramatically and floods low-lying forest and villages, opening up many new avenues of exploration but triggering a mosquito explosion, overpowering humidity and frequently miserable conditions for canoeing and terrible conditions for photography.

As the temperature rises and waters fall in June/July the mosquito numbers go down and the old trails and beaches reappear, good for hiking, sightings of wildlife and photography.