Animals of the Amazon Rainforest

Contributor: Jody Muth. Lesson ID: 13164

The Amazon Rainforest is home to hundreds of animals that are only found here! Take a closer look at some of these amazing animals and at why they need our help.


Earth Science, World, World

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Do you know what the animal pictured above is or where it lives?

This is the blue poison dart frog, and he is only found in the Amazon Rainforest. The Amazon Rainforest is home to hundreds of species of animals that are found nowhere else on earth! To learn more about poison dart frogs and their friends, read on!

The Amazon Rainforest is located in South America along the Amazon River. Most of it is located in the country of Brazil, which can be seen on the map below.

Amazon River map

Image by Kmusser, via Wikimedia Commons, is licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

Where the Amazon River runs through the northern part of Brazil, there are not many cities or inhabitants. This lack of development allows various species of animals to flourish. However, as the need to develop land for human civilizations grows, the habitats for these animal species decline. Hence, many of these unique animals are endangered, which means they are in danger of dying out completely.

Examples of endangered animals found in the Amazon Rainforest include the poison dart frog, jaguar, hyacinth macaw, golden lion tamarin, pink river dolphin, and three-toed sloth. There are also many undiscovered species that scientists know are becoming extinct every day. Let's take a look at these endangered animal examples and learn why they are important to this area.

Poison Dart Frog

harlequin poison dart frog

These frogs live throughout the Amazon Rainforest and can be found in trees or under rocks and leaves. They have bright colors that warn predators not to eat them. The poison dart frog is one of the most deadly animals in the world, with one touch of their skin providing enough poison to kill a human in minutes. Poison dart frogs eat ants and keep this population in check.



The jaguar is the third-largest cat on earth, behind only the lion and tiger. It can only be found in the Amazon Rainforest. Like many big cats, jaguars try to blend into their surroundings or use camouflage to help them stalk their prey. Jaguars are important because they keep animal populations in check in this area.

Be careful not to confuse a leopard with a jaguar. Jaguars only live in Central America and have rose-like pattern spots with spots inside of them. A leopard has a similar rose pattern but no spots inside. Compare the two in the images below.

jaguar and leopard

Hyacinth Macaw

hyacinth macaw

This beautiful blue and yellow macaw is the largest of the flying parrots. Hyacinth macaws are native to South America and can live 50 to 60 years! Unfortunately, their popularity as pets as well as habitat loss have threatened their population. Nicknamed the gentle giant, these birds are very intelligent and social.

Golden Lion Tamarin

golden lion tamarin

The golden lion tamarin is a small monkey-like mammal that lives on the Atlantic Coast region of the Amazon River. It gets its name from the large mane around its face which resembles that of a lion's mane. They tend to live in the trees and sleep at night. During the day, you can find them munching on insects, fruits, lizards, and birds in the area.

Pink River Dolphin


Pink river dolphins, also known as Amazon river dolphins, are properly called botos. They only live in the freshwater rivers of South America and look quite different than marine dolphins. Botos get their distinct color from their blood capillaries, which are located very near their skin surface.

Three-toed Sloth

three-toed sloth

These sloths move so slowly that algae grows on their fur. It does not bother them, however, because it helps give them great camouflage in the Amazon Rainforest. Scientists have also begun studying this algae for its cancer-curing benefits!

Three-toed sloths tend to sleep during the day high in the treetops. At night, they come out for just a bit to eat leaves, fruit, and shoots. Thankfully, this herbivore is able to hold a lot of water, so it doesn't need to come down from the trees to find water often. If they did, it may just cut into their sleeping time!

Now that you have learned about some of the endangered animals living in the Amazon Rainforest, let's head over to the Got It? section.

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