Amazon rainforests are known for their wide variety of animals. They are home to a wide range of reptiles including various species of snakes, lizards, chameleons, and turtles.
Reptiles are animals, which are vertebrates but lay eggs. They can be distinguished by dry scales on their upper body. Most of them live in water but they are adapted to survive on land as well.
Some species of reptiles are adapted to live both on land and water. Though these reptiles look bright and adorable, one must be very careful with them. Most of the reptiles are venomous and can cause death. They are wild animals and can’t be domesticated.
There are many snake species found in the Amazon rain forest.
- The most common snake found here is Anaconda. There are categorized under the viper family.
- Another snake of the viper family that is found here is the lancehead snake.
- Eyelash vipers are also found here. They possess bright colors. Yellow eyelash vipers are the most common ones, found here.
- Species of coral snakes are also common here.
- Other snakes found in the Amazon rainforests include Mussurana and the two striped forest vipers.
All these snakes are venomous and may cause serious harm to human beings and animals.
Amazon rainforests are home to a large range of alligators but rarely houses any species of crocodiles. Black Caiman and the Stripped Caiman are usually found in these areas.
- Black Caimans are predators who survive on other smaller animals. They usually kill their prey by drowning them in the deep waters. In the 1900s, they were hunted down extensively for leather manufacturing.
- By the 1970s their numbers were reduced to 1% of their population.
- Steps were taken by the authorities to prevent poaching and save the species from getting extinct.
- Spectacled caimans (or Stripped Caimans) are named so due to a ridge they have in the eyes, that resembles a spectacle. They are also called common caimans and are found in freshwater in other countries.
- The yellow Caiman is very similar to the other two species of Caiman and was subcategorized as spectacled caimans until some years ago when it was classified as a separate species.
- They grow up to about three meters in length and survive well in wetlands.
The amazons are home to over a hundred species of lizards including some exotic and rare species, existing in various shapes, sizes, and colors.
- Iguanas are the most common lizard, found here. They are usually green in color but can be found in multiple colors such as orange, grey, and more. They are arboreal creatures, residing on the trees usually.
- The banded anoles live on trees and feed on small insects. They tend to camouflage with the trees in the forests. Their population faced major threats due to deforestation.
- Geckos are also native to the amazon rain forests.
- Bridled forest gecko and turnip-tailed gecko are usually found in the Amazon rainforest. They restrict themselves to the forests and are hardly ever spotted near human habitats.
- Turnip tailed geckos are very much like the bridled forest geckos in behavior. However, they have been spotted near human habitats often.
Turtles and tortoises
There are fourteen species of aquatic turtles and semi-aquatic turtles living in the Amazons.
- There are five species of slider turtles, which include three types of mud turtles called Kinosternon, the South American snapping turtle, scientifically named Chelydra acutirostris and slider turtles called Trachemys.
- The slider turtles survive on an omnivorous diet and eat both plants and animals.
- The snapping turtle is the largest of the species, growing up to a length of 20 inches at times.
- Wood turtles relay on both plants and animals for their survival, owing to their Omnivorous nature.
- The spot-legged wood turtle, which is scientifically known as Rhinoclemmys punctularia, is generally aquatic in nature.
- The brown wood turtle, scientifically named Rhinoclemmys annulata, is generally terrestrial in nature.
Two native terrestrial tortoises, members of order Cryptodira, live in these forests.
- Chelonids denticulate is the scientific name for yellow-footed turtles and red-footed turtles are named Chelonidis carbonaria. These turtles are found in the interiors and the exteriors of the forest.
- The red-footed tortoise grows about 18 inches in length and their weight is about 30 pounds. These turtles are herbivorous in nature.
- Side-necked turtles cover almost 22 percent of the region’s total turtle diversity.
- Amazon rainforests house several species of side-necked turtles. There are many species of the side-necked turtle living in the Amazon rainforests, each with some unique characteristics.
Amazon River turtles have records of forming aggregations of more than 100,000 turtles on sandy beaches. This is a rare sight now since the numbers have reduced due to poaching and hunting.
Chameleons are a species of lizards, known for their ability to change color and camouflage in the environment. There are more than 200 species of chameleons living in the Amazon rainforests.
The male grows up to a length of 17 cm while a female chameleon reaches half the length in its entire life span.
Major Cause of loss of habitat
The amazon rainforests act as a natural habitat for many wild species of animals. However, over the years, there has been a huge loss of habitat and a decline in the animal diversity and population of the forest.
- The major cause of loss of habitat is due to human activities in and around the forests. Human activities have exploited the environment for ages, and this has affected the environment greatly.
- The environment gets polluted which often kills the animals.
- Water pollution and deforestation have been major causes of the decline of animal diversity here.
- Hunting and poaching have led many of the species to the verge of extinction. Though legally, hunting, and other such human activities are restricted, illegal human activities are often carried out, escaping the vigilance of the officials.
- Natural calamities like forest fires also harm animals and cause deaths.
There are nearly 450 species of reptiles that are native to the Amazon rain forests. In recent years, there have been many initiatives to protect the animals in the Amazon rainforests. Programs are being implemented for the welfare of both the flora and fauna species in the area. These animals are rare and might get extinct in few years. They must be protected.