The Amazon rainforest covers a remarkable 5.5m square kilometers and boasts an incredible level of biodiversity that attracts intrepid nature lovers from all over the world.
The wondrous sights that lie within the emerald, arching trees are genuinely breathtaking, despite the fauna itself becoming increasingly under threat by logging companies and other arriviste corporations.
Despite this, the Amazon rainforest, which encompasses 9 different countries- Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana- is still home to some of the most remarkable animals on Earth, with an unbelievable 16,000 species calling it home.
In this particular article, we will focus on some of the most dangerous animals that call the Amazon home. Below are 15 terrifying examples.
1. Green Anaconda
The green anaconda, which also goes by the common anaconda and water boa, is non-venomous, but don't be fooled; this boa species is the heaviest and one of the longest known snake species in the world.
As you may have figured, while it isn't venomous, it's sheer weight can crush its prey in minutes, and if you're unlucky enough to come across a hungry one, you may want to run for your life, as the green anaconda has been known to crush humans, drag them to the water and suffocate them within minutes.
Once dead, the body is swallowed whole into the mouth. Just one meal can satisfy an anaconda's appetite for 3 months.
2. Black Caiman
Along with the American alligator, the black caiman is one of the biggest members of the family Alligatoridae one of the most feared predators in the Amazon.
The black caiman will eat anything, from monkeys and sloths to giant otters and sloths. If it can't swallow its prey whole, it will likely let it rot and then bite into pieces later on. While humans are also susceptible to attack, it is usually the larger ones, measuring over 4 meters long, who go for humans.
3. Electric Eel
While the electric eel is very much an electric fish, it is not an eel, but a knifefish. With that trivia out of the way, you'll probably want to know what makes it so dangerous.
Well, where do we start? Just imagine if an animal could generate five times as much electricity as a well socket. As you can guess, coming into contact with one is going to hurt, but deaths are less likely.
Native to vast swathes of the Americas, the jaguar is one of the most majestic animals in the Amazon. Characterized by its lithe walk and beautiful spots, the jaguar is arguably the Amazon's crowning jewel in an already-remarkable array of fauna. But don't be fooled by its beauty: a jaguar won't hesitate to turn ugly.
After all, while their prey largely consists of monkeys, birds, snakes and various livestock, the world's third largest cat has the strongest bite out of any cat in the world. In fact, its razor teeth can pierce a turtle's shell, as well as other animals with thicker outer layerings such as the armadillo.
5. Red-Bellied Piranha
While the red-bellied piranha won't tear the flesh off your bones in a matter of seconds as the media would have you believe, all species of piranha, including red-bellied piranhas, are mostly scavengers and are more likely to feast off dead animals and insects and plants.
However, attacks on humans are quite common, though they are rarely fatal and usually occur during the dry season when food is scarce. These attacks result in multiple cuts on hands and feet, but nothing that would require surgery.
6. Poison Dart Frog
Coming in various phantasmagorical colors, poison dart frogs are a treat on the eye, but their bright coloration is actually a warning to anyone who comes close. Yes, poison dart frogs emit a potent poison through their skin, which can potentially cause heart failure within minutes if the right amount is absorbed from contact.
The golden poison dart frog is even more deadly, with just one touch spawning enough poison to kill twenty humans or 10,000 mice! Scientists have come to a consensus in recent years that it is a poison dart frog's diet, which consists of poisonous insects, who, in turn, get their poison from poisonous plants, which makes their skin so toxic.
7. Bull shark
Big, aggressive fish found in coastal waters and rivers and estuaries they are actually pretty talented scavengers and mostly go for carcasses of large sea creatures, like whales.
However, you don't want to be in the water when these finned beasts are around.
8. Assassin Bug
Assassin bugs aren't pretty on the eye. Known for their trunk-like organ protruding from their mouths, they inject poisonous saliva from it, which slowly melts their victim's organs from the inside out. Eww!
Naturally, this makes the assassin bug a creature you'd want to avoid at all costs, not only for its painful bite but the disease which it transmits. Known as Chagas disease, it is attributed the to deaths of at least 12,500 humans a year. Scary stuff.
9. Harpy Eagle
One of the largest birds of prey in the Amazon, a harpy eagle's claws can grow up to 5 inches (13 centimeters) long, more than long enough to catch a host of fauna, including ones as meaty as sloths, monkeys, and squirrels. They have even been known to attack capybaras and deer!
Because they are capable of snatching away most animals- big and small- children are advised to stay well clear. However, there have never been any child deaths from this bird, so the likelihood of this occurring is low.
10. Brazilian wandering spider
One of eight species of Brazilian wandering spider found in the Amazon rainforest, experts have included them among the most venomous spiders on Earth.
Their strong venom can cause immediate pain and. if not treated in time, paralysis and breathing difficulties as well. If you ever find yourself camping in the Amazon, be sure to check your tent ten times over as these spiders are nocturnal, and search the ground for food.
11. Amazonian Giant Centipede
This centipede can reach an impressive 10 to 12 inches, and despite punching above its weight in a rainforest rife with much bigger beasts, the Amazonian giant centipede is a fierce predator itself.
Victims include insects, tarantulas, small birds, lizards, frogs, mice, small snakes and even animals as big as bats. They manage to bring down prey much larger than themselves by recoiling their frame around the victim and then eating it while it is still alive.
Luckily for us, we're far too big to be taken down, but their bite can cause pain and in some cases, a long and lasting fever.
12. Bullet Ant
At just over 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) long, the bullet ant makes the Amazonian giant centipede look colossal, but that doesn't mean this little thing can't do some severe damage. Its bite has even been compared to the pain of a bullet wound, hence the name.
Bullet ants can also inject venom into their prey, and for humans, this can cause temporary paralysis of the bitten area.
13. Common Vampire Bat
Prevalent in Central and South America, common vampire bats, as the name might suggest, are nocturnal, and when they look for food, the first thing on their mind is blood. In fact, the red stuff is their only source of food. Often feeding on horses and cattle, it is their love for human blood, however, which is most documented.
Worryingly, they have been known to suck on our blood for as long as 30 minutes! Despite this, the bite itself isn’t painful, and the blood loss isn’t enough to make a human feel any different. Nonetheless, the bite area is still prone to infection. A small number of common vampire bats even carry rabies, so it's always best to get yourself to a doctor if you're bitten.
14. Pit Vipers
As well as tree boas, many other dangerous snakes roam the Amazon's labyrinth-like setting, including tree vipers- venomous snakes that can grow to a terrifying 3.7 meters.
Some notable examples include the South American rattlesnake, the eyelash viper (named after their eyelash-like scales above their eyes) and the mercurial fer-de-lance, a snake with a notorious reputation and responsible for most of the snakebites in its area.
15. Tree boas
It's terrifying enough imagining a snake slithering under your feet and dragging you to a slow and painful death, but it's even more disturbing when you consider many lurk deep within a wide set of trees that make them near-invisible to the human eye.
Take tree boas. While these snakes are non-venomous, they are heavy-bodied snakes that won't hesitate to suffocate you. As they have larger teeth than venomous snakes, their bites will also be excruciating. Despite their aggression, they boast beautiful colors and can grow up to 13 feet (4 meters) long.