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Amazon Jungle Animals in Ecuador

Few places on earth have such a variety of animals as the Amazon of Ecuador, and the richest area of all is the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. The diversity of Amazon jungle animals in Ecuador is the result of several factors:

  1. Located in the upper Amazon watershed, Cuyabeno is still located in the foothills of the Andes, which results of the presence of species from both the Amazon and the lower Andes;

  2. The relatively slow-flowing rivers and the lakes allow for black-water conditions which favor additional fish species and other aquatic life-forms in addition to the more common "coffee and milk" waters which are more common in the Amazon.

  3. Cuyabeno combines both well-drained hills with "tierra firma" conditions and wetland swamp conditions each with their own speices;

  4. Cuyabeno is located right on the Equator, with relatively little seasonal variety to the extend that rain even fall during the "dry season".


In the Amazon Region of Ecuador, 165 species of mammals are found, most of which live in Cuyabeno. The most abundant group are the Bats, that you can see everywhere, followed by the rodents.


The Cuyabeno Reserve supports a primate community of as many as ten species: The world's smallest true monkey, Pygmy marmoset, Cebuella pygmaea, The Black Mantle Tamarin, Saguinus nigricollis, the Spix's Night Monkey, Aotus vociferans, the Coppery Titi Monkey, Callicebus cupreus, the Collared Titi Monkey, Callicebus torquatus, the Monk Saki, Pithecia monachus, the Common Squirrel Monkey, Saimiri sciureus, the White-fronted Capuchin Monkey, Cebus albifrons, the Red Howler Monkey, Alouatta seniculus and the Brown Woolly Monkey, Lagothrix lagotricha, many of which can be seen regularly.


Generalized birth peaks for all primate species occur in the dry season, from December through February. Among some of the groups, the callitrichids have a second birth peak  in the middle of the rainy season from June through August.

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Yellow Handed Titi Monkey is a common Jungle Animal at Cuyabeno

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Amazon Jungle animals include Black Mantled Tamarins at Cuyabeno

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Black Mantled Tamarins are common amazon jungle animals

Research at the Cuyabeno Reserve has focused on the ecology of the Black-mantled Tamarin, Saguinus nigricollis and Yellow-handed Titi Monkeys.

A group of Black-mantled Tamarins has taken residence at the Cuyabeno Lodge, visiting almost every day.


Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Tapirs are Amazon Jungle amimals

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Capibaras as Amazon jungle animals

Tapirs are terrestrial Amazon jungle animals but they also are very happy in the water. Loved for their meat, they may still occasionally be hunted by the Indians in the Reserve. One rarely sees one in Cuyabeno, but they are there.

Capybaras are the largest rodents on earth. They live along the banks of rivers and can be frequently seen in Cuyabeno. Of course there are many other species of rodents, and often one can see porcupines.


Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: White Colared Peccaris in the Amazon Jungle

From the other hoofed Amazon jungle animals, the peccaries are the most common. Both species, the Collared Peccary, Tayassu tajacu, and the White-lipped Peccary, T. pecari, occur, as well as several deer species: The omnipresent White Tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, and the Brocket Deer, Manzama americana.


Most predators in Cuyabeno actually like water or at least tolerate it. Some of the predators include:

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: rarely seen Amazon Jungle Animal is the Jaguar

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: The Ocelot is a common Amazon cat

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Animals of the Amazon Rainforest

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Giant Otter at the Amazon Rainforest

Both the Jaguar, Panthera onca, and the Ocelot, Leopardus pardalis, like water rich forests; Jaguars are known to actually like swimming. These, and several other species of cats are present in Cuyabeno. Particularly at night, you can see them sneaking across low hanging branches, when you go looking for crocodiles. With a bit of luck, all of a sudden the eyes of a big cat are caught in your flashlight. Both Jaguars and Pumas, Panthera concolor, - which also live in the reserve - avoid people and are rarely seen, even by the indigenous people.


The South American coati, or ring-tailed coati, Nasua nasua, is a common predator in the Amazon region. Both the Giant Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis, and the Neotropical Otter, Lutra longicaudis, have been observed in the park.


No members of the dog family are known to live in Cuyabeno.

In such a water-rich area, one finds animals that are extremely adapted to the watery environment:

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Pink Dolphin at the Amazon River in Cuyabeno

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Amazon Dolphin in the Cuyabeno Lake

The Pink Amazon Dolphin, Inia geoffrensis, can be recognized by its hump-shaped dorsal fin and the more pronounced hump on its head and longer snout. Particularly the males may be pink, but often at Cuyabeno they are rather gray. The Pink Amazon Dolphin can turn its head 90 degrees each way. Dolphins can be seen almost daily at the Cuyabeno Great Lake, darting around the canoe and sometimes swimming with the swimmers.

The Gray Amazon Dolphin or Tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis, can be recognized by its shark-like triangular dorsal fin. Its belly is lighter and varies from light grey to pinkish. It has a closely related relative in the coastal waters of South America, but that species does not swim as deeply into the Amazon region as the Tucuxi. More so than the Pink Amazon Dolphin, Tucuxis tend to jump out of the water.


Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Amazon manitees are often seen in the Cuyabeno Lake

The Amazonian Manatee, Trichechus inunguis, is a species of manatee that lives in the freshwaters rivers and lakes of the Amazon basin and supposedly never leaves for the sea. It is found in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Venezuela. It is closely related to the West Indian Manatee, that also ventures up the Amazon River, but never as deeply inland as the Amazonian Manatee. They are regular visitors of Cuyabeno. Their meat is highly appreciated by the Siona Indians, but we hope that we have convinced them to no longer hunt them, as they have great tourism value.



Of course the jungle is home to a fabulous variety of the most wonderful insects, big and small: colorful moths and butterflies, odd shaped beetles, dragonflies, etc. etc. After more than two decades in the reserve, we learned that for insects, every night is different. Some nights our lights attract great numbers of very different insects, while other nights insects abound, but most of them only belonging to only a few species. 


During our nightly excursions, we go looking for nocturnal insects on the ground. Cuyabeno has some really strange looking critters that you only can see at night with flashlights.

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Moth with tranparent wings in the Jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Moths come at night to the Cuyabeno Lodge

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Yellow moth in the Jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Hummingbird Moth at the tropical Jungle

Some evenings, insects come in great variety, while other evenings, only a few different species fly about. Particularly the moths that come after the lights of the lodge, are of great beauty and if you are lucky, you may see a few of these species of the "hummingbirds" of the insect world show off their incredibly rapid wing beats.


Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Caterpillar in the forest

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Caterpillar in the Rainforest

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Monster Caterpillar in the rainforest

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Social caterpillars

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Yet another caterpillar

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Very hairy caterpillar

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Striped Caterpillar

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Strange Caterpillar

Caterpillars appear in amazing shapes and colors and are always a thankful subject for photographers.


Of course their adult life forms are also well-represented. Many diurnal butterflies like to gather at specific places, supposedly to nourish themselves with minerals.

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Butterflies gather at the banks of the Cuyabeno River

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Butterflies at a river bank in the Amazon Jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Popping out of its coccoon

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Butterflies gathering at a salt lick


With so many insects to feast on, it is obvious that there are lots of bats in the Cuyabeno Nature Reserve:

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Bats are very common animals of the Amazon jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Amazon jungle bat

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Hairy bat in the jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Bats may have ugly faces in the Amazon Jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Flying bat at nigh in the Amazon jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: If I don't see you, you don't see me

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Bats often fly during the Day in the Amazon Jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Crawling with one finger through the Amazon jungle

There are numerous species of bats in the jungle. Of course, at night you can see them fly in great numbers in the sky. But in daytime too, you can see quite a few of them. Some species hang from low braches above the water, and when you pass by them you chase them off their resting places and you get to see them from quite nearby. These pictures have been taken by biologists during a bat field study.



Other groups of the animal kingdom also love taking it out on insects: the Amphibians:

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Mating tree frogs in the Amazon Jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Animals are wathing you in the Amazon Jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Some animals are very difficult to find in the Amazon Jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Frog waiting to snap up a fat insect

Frogs and toads are extremely common in the Amazon Jungle. In fact, most of the nightly concerts are sung by amphibians! Unless you know how and where to look for them, you rarely see them though. Some of those noisy critters are no more than one or two centimeters and they have perfect hiding colors. As soon as they notice you, they keep quiet, but the moment you are gone, they resume their song.



Many reptiles also like a to snatch up insects, although some of them also like other Ecuador Amazon jungle animals for dinner, such as amphibians, birds and even peccaries and deer, as is the case of anacondas:

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Reptiles are not commonly found in the Amazon Jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Interesting lizard in the jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: A lizard wathing from a tree

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: A helmed lizar

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Geckos are noctural lizards of the Amazon Jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Anacondas are infamous Amazon Jungle animals

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Coral snake.

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: A snake swallowing a toad in the Amazon Rainforest



And then of course there are spiders, in many sizes and colors:

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Spiders in many shapes in the jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: A jung tarantella spider

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Jumping spiders on its pray

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: A spider in its web in the Jungle



In spite of the fact that birds are the jewels of the Ecuador Amazon jungle animals, we don't have all that many photographs to show for. We are working on that, but it will take a while before we can publish some nice pictures here. The guides of our  Ecuador Amazon rainforest lodge, the Cuyabeno Lodge, are widely known for the knowledge about birds as well as other Amazon Jungle Animals and Amazon Rain forest Plants.

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Blue and Yellow Macaw in Cuyabeno Park

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Hummingbird in the Amazon

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Huatzin in flightAmazon jungle animals Ecuador: A giant swift

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Red and Yellow Macaw in the Amazon Jungle

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Blue and Yellow Macaws are noisy inhabitants of the Amazon Jungle.

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador: Blue and Yellaw Macaw

Amazon jungle animals Ecuador  

For detailed information on climate and weather conditions read: climate of Cuenca, Ecuador; climate Galapagos Islands in Ecuador; climate in the Amazon of Ecuador and climate of Ecuador. If you want to learn more about the country, read Ecuador Facts.



The Cuyabeno Lodge is owned by Neotropic Turis Cia. Ltda., an Ecuadorian corporate social responsibility tourism corporations under Ecuadorian law. Read how our Lodge helped rescue the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. Disclaimer. Site Map.

Cuyabeno Lodge / Neotropic Turis Office in Quito, Ecuador:

Joaquin Pinto E4-360 Street & Avenida Amazonas

Phone: (++593) (0)2 2521212

Cell (mobile) phone: (++593) (0)999803395


Find it on the Quito Map Zoom in, it is a very detailed map!



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