The Amazon Rainforest, situated across nine countries in South America, is one of the most intriguing and organically diverse places on the planet filled with protected areas for plants and animals alike. It is arguably the world’s best destination for wildlife. Scattered on the ground floor or reaching high through the skies you will find thousands of varied shapes and sizes when it comes to Amazonian creatures. Even in the depths of the night, hiding in the darkness, some animals will be dwelling, hunting, and exploring – these are the nocturnal animals of the mighty Amazon region.
There are not a shocking amount of nocturnal animals found in the Amazon river basin considering its size. To date, roughly 430 amphibians, 1,295 birds, 3,000 fish, 427 mammals, and 378 reptiles live in the Amazon rainforest basin. Of this huge collection, a varied selection are nocturnal meaning they are mainly active at night. The yellow-crowned brush-tailed rat is one of these peculiar creatures. These unique little fellas are found at ground-level in the lowland evergreen rainforest. This creature is most commonly found in the Brazilian section of the Amazon. Living in and amongst the river borders, you will spot them at the entrances of their dens or even hiding in tree holes. They are very difficult to observe and highly rare to spot on a trip to the Amazon unlike their hard-shelled friend the nine-banded Armadillo…
This wonderful animal is one of the most widespread of existing Armadillo species. Currently reaching from the United States, covering Central and South America too, these mammals are generally solitary, insect-guzzling foragers. They prefer semitropical climates due to their poor thermoregulation skills and slower than average metabolisms. One of the largest armadillo species, these guys can get anywhere as heavy as 10kg! Covered by an armored shell for protection, they roam around marking their territories with urine – just like dogs do! In most cases, these guys will measure 64 – 107cm and when startled can jump as high as 3-4ft in the air! So be careful where you tread or you might get an unexpected surprise from the nine-banded Armadillo.
Arguably the cutest nocturnal creature to roam the tropical forests in the Brazilian Amazon is the Margay. This feline is a petite wildcat living in Central and South America. These little cats have beautiful markings characterized by black rosettes and stripes over short brown fur. Captivatingly large eyes help them to hunt for small animals such as monkeys, birds, and even frogs! These feral cats are wonderfully skilled and can sustain themselves by hunting solely in the trees of the jungle. Sadly, reproduction rates struggle with this species as the mothers will birth one (maximum two) kittens per pregnancy and the infants suffer from a 50% mortality rate.
The final fluffy mammal living nocturnally in the Amazon’s tropical rainforest is the Honey Bear. Sweet by name and sweet by nature, Honey Bears will eat any treats found in the jungle. Naturally, they will suckle honey from hives, (hence their nicknames), consume fruits, foliage and flowers. Scientifically they are known as Kinkajous and are very different information to the regular bear that you might be thinking of. Golden brown fur and long tails make them commonly mistaken for monkeys as they swing around the jungle’s high branches.
Grasping along with their sturdy claws, Honey Bears often fall out of their slumber in the evening light to begin their course for food. These creatures are raised purely by their mothers, fathers become irrelevant after pro-creation, and around four months old they will be completely independent, feeding themselves from the fruits of the forested areas.
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