Animals in South-America

Below you can find a complete list of South American animals. We currently track 186 animals in South America and are adding more every day!

South America is home to some of the most unique, and exotic animals in the world. From the dangerous to the nearly extinct, we’ve created a list of the most interesting animals on the continent and some of the most exciting facts about them.

The Official National Animal of South America

South America is a continent, and as such, it has no national animal. However, many of the countries within its borders have very prominent national animals that are worth mentioning. From exciting mammals to small omnivorous species, every country is incredibly proud of its individual mascot. For example, the national animal of Guatemala is the quetzal bird, while the national animal of Peru is the Vicuna, which is a type of llama.

Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in South America

Most of the animals in South America can be found either in the Amazon Rainforest or along the Andes mountains. If you’re looking for wildlife, you can generally check nearby wooded areas and expansive grasslands. Most animals like to have shelter and tree cover, but many of the local herbivores prefer to live in open plains where they can see predators approaching. Here is a list of some of the most interesting types of wildlife on the content and a few facts about them:

  • Jaguar – The jaguar is the only panther that still exists in the Americas. You can find them in dense forests of all kinds across the continent; there have even been a few sightings within the borders of the United States.
  • Capybara – Capybaras are extremely friendly creatures that socialize with all of the other animals in South America. You can usually find them exploring the rainforest, grazing in grasslands, or enjoying a nice soak in a local watering hole.
  • Tamarin – From the red-handed tamarin to the golden lion tamarin, South America’s tamarin population is famous, noteable, and adorable. You can find this small omnivorous species in jungles and tropical forests, especially if there is fruit, sunshine, and relative safety.
  • Tapir – With their distinctive noses and friendly attitudes, tapirs are one of South America’s most iconic inhabitants. You can find tapirs roaming the continent’s many beautiful grasslands.
  • Llama – Llamas have soft, fluffy fur and gregarious personalities. You can usually find llamas in mountainous areas, but they are also known to descend to slightly lower elevations to explore the grassy plains.
  • Guinea Pig – The guinea pig is typically seen as a house pet, but you can also find herds of guinea pigs living happily in the Andes mountains and the surrounding areas.
  • Sloth – Sloths can be found in the tallest and largest trees across the continent. Many sloths will never leave the tree in which they were born; tree-switching is rare and takes significant effort.

The Most Dangerous Animals in South America Today

South America’s jungles are known for being full of incredibly dangerous animals. Even small omnivorous creatures can turn on you with poisonous teeth and claws. Whether you’re traveling down an undeveloped road or simply out for nature observation, keep an eye out for the following list of rare and exotic wildlife.

  • Green Anaconda – Although they are non-venomous, green anacondas are incredibly large and powerful constrictors that are capable of killing humans even when they are quite young. Give these snakes a wide berth, and they should have no reason to attack you.
  • Poison Dart Frog – Poison dart frogs are so toxic that they aren’t safe to touch with bare hands. Resist the temptation to reach out and pet one of these adorable and brightly-colored amphibians.
  • Bullet Ant – Getting bitten by a bullet ant won’t kill you, but the pain is excruciating and can last up to 24 hours.
  • Black Caiman – Caiman lizards are large and effective predators that dwell deep in the Amazon Jungle. In particular, Black Caimans are responsible for most direct attacks on humans.
  • Kissing Bug – Also known as vampire bugs, kissing bugs are an incredibly poisonous species that like to land on human’s faces and bite them near the lip. Kissing bugs might not kill you immediately, but their unique venom causes around 30% of their victims develop chronic health problems that can result in sudden heart failure later down the line.

Endangered Animals in South America

South America is full of rare, unique, and exotic species that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, due to a combination of climate change and human interference, more than 30% of species on the content are endangered nearly extinct. Here are just a few fun facts about some of South America’s struggling animals:

  • Orinoco Crocodile – Orinoco crocodiles are some of the largest predators on the continent. However, because they were so heavily hunted for their leather in the 1900s, the population of this species is below 500.
  • Lemur Leaf Frog – Lemur leaf frogs are adorable and friendly rainforest inhabitants. Unfortunately, a disease outbreak in the 2010’s reduced their numbers by over 80%, putting this species at serious risk.
  • Giant Otter – Giant otters live in rivers of the Amazon Jungle, but their population numbers have dropped steadily over the last few decades. Today, the species is preserved in Peru’s many national parks.
  • Black Squirrel Monkey – Due to habitat loss, many squirrel monkeys have been forced to dine on local crops and end up falling victim to pesticides. This problem has made the species endangered far more quickly than local residents expected.
  • Pink Amazon Dolphin – Also known as the Amazon river dolphin, these distinctly pink-colored porpoises are rare but important to the local ecosystem. Population numbers are hard to estimate but have been noted to be dwindling.
  • Jaguar – Jaguars are endangered for a variety of reasons, including loss of habitat and deliberate poaching. These animals were naturally low in numbers and are nearly extinct in the modern day.

South American Countries Animals Lists

Click any of the countries below to see a detailed list of animals located in that country!

South American Animals


The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!


They can spit up to 10 feet.

Angora Goat

Each adult Angora goat produces about 12 inches of mohair annually while kids have about 8 inches.


First evolved 100 million years ago!


Found throughout the Southern Hemisphere!


One of the largest freshwater fish


Can curl into a hard, protective ball!


Has a curved, upturned beak!

Banjo Catfish

The banjo catfish is extremely shy and known for hiding from onlookers.


There are over 2,000 known species!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!


Detects prey using echolocation!


There are 8 different species!


There are more than 350,000 different species


Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!


Seabirds found across the South Pacific!

Brazilian Terrier

Small body and tri-coloured coat!


There are thought to be up 20,000 species!


Can grow to up 6 meters long!

Caiman Lizard

Caiman lizards are among the largest lizards.

Camel Cricket

The camel crickets that are found in the USA are light brown in color. They also have dark streaks all over their body.


Excellent at both diving and swimming


First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!


The larvae of a moth or butterfly!


There are nearly 3,000 different species!


There are about 3,000 documented species!


First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!


Natively found in the Andes Mountain range!


There are more than 2 000 known species!


Found in dense forests and wet jungles!


Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Collared Peccary

Form bands of up to 12 individuals!

Cotton-top Tamarin

Found in tropical forest edges!


There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!


There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings


Have changed little in 200 million years!

Darwin’s Frog

Camouflages itself as a dead leaf!


One of the only schooling Cichlids!


First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Dogo Argentino

Loyal and affectionate to their family!


First domesticated 5,000 years ago!


It's larvae are carnivorous!


Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!


Has exceptional eyesight!


There are nearly 2,000 different species!


Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

Electric Eel

Can generate a 500 volt electric shock!

Emperor Tamarin

Has an elegant white moustache!


The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fallow deer

The fallow deer has more variation in its coat colors than most other deer.


Sleeps on just one leg!


There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Squirrel

Can glide up to 90 meters!


There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Bat

Among the largest bats in the world


There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Geoffroys Tamarin

Has distinctive V shape on head!

Giant Armadillo

Armadillos have a smell that’s described as strong, sweet and acrid.

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Golden Lion Tamarin

Native to the eastern rainforests of Brazil!


There are 11,000 known species!

Gray Fox

The gray fox has retractable claws and a rotating wrist that allow it to climb trees with some proficiency

Guinea Pig

Natively found in the Andes Mountain range!


Also known as the Millionfish!


Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!


Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!

Harpy Eagle

Talon's the size of a grizzly bear's claws!

Hercules Beetle

This dynastine scarab beetle makes a weird huffing sound when it’s disturbed.


Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Horned Frog

Natively found in South America!


Has evolved over 50 million years!


Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.

Howler Monkey

Spends 80% of it's time resting!


Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!

Humboldt Penguin

Found on the South American coast!


Beat their wings up to 80 times per second!

Huntsman Spider

Some huntsman spiders have an interesting way of moving around. Some cartwheel while others do handsprings or backflips.


Can jump over 6 feet straight up from a standstill


Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!


Uses visual signals to communicate!

Imperial Moth

Since the imperial moth doesn’t eat, it does die shortly after it lays its eggs. Its lifespan is only about one week.


There are an estimated 30 million species!


The largest feline on the American continent!

Keel-Billed Toucan

It's beak can reach nearly 20 cm long!

Kinder Goat

Best jumper of all goats


Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!


The kinkajou is a nimble forest-dwelling mammal of Central and South America.


The kodkod is among the smallest species of cats in the entire world


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Leopard Frog

They can jump up to three feet


There are around 5,000 different species!


Natively found in the Andes Mountain range!


Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.


The lungfish first evolved almost 400 million years ago.


The largest species of parrot in the world!

Magellanic Penguin

Threatened by oil spills!


With an appropriate tail wind, the mallard can travel hundreds of miles a day

Maned Wolf

Despite its name, the Maned Wolf is not actually a wolf.

Marine Iguana

Adult marine iguanas vary in size depending on the size of the island where they live.

Marine Toad

Produces a toxin used in arrow darts!


There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Mexican Free-Tailed Bat

Some colonies have millions of bats


Some species have a poisonous bite!


Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!


Known for their calm and peaceful nature!

Monarch Butterfly

During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.


Has characteristics of two or more breeds!


There are around 260 known species!


Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!


There are 250,000 different species!

Mountain Lion

Has no real natural predators!


Found on every continent on Earth!


The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.


Also known as the Painted Leopard!


There are 13 different species worldwide


Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!


Can live for up to 100 years!

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth


Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pied Tamarin

Only found in one area of Brazil!


They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.

Amazon River Dolphin (Pink Dolphin)

Also known as the 'Pink Dolphin'

Pink Fairy Armadillo

The smallest known species of Armadillo


Generally found in fast-flowing streams!

Poison Dart Frog

Inhabits the jungles of Central and South America!


There are 30 different species worldwide!


Has longer back legs than front legs!


Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!


The tail feathers of the male can be 1m long!


Known to wash their food before eating it!


Omnivores that eat anything!


It's venom digests it's prey before it even swallows it!

Red-handed Tamarin

Red hair on hands on feet!

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!

Rockhopper Penguin

There are 3 different species!


The capybara, the world’s largest rodent, likes to be in and around bodies of water. Because of this, the Catholic Church in South America decided that it was a fish, and people were allowed to eat it during Lent and First Fridays.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are closely related to cardinals

Roseate Spoonbill

The only Spoonbill in the western hemisphere!

Saber-Toothed Tiger

Canines up to 7 inches long!


There are more than 700 different species!


Returns upstream every year to spawn

Scarlet Macaw

Like many parrots, the scarlet macaw is capable of vocal mimicry.


There are around 2,000 known species!


Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!


Around 35 million in the English countryside!


There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Silver Dollar

Closely related to the Piranha

Skink Lizard

Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.


Also known as the Polecat!


It's body temperature is between 30 - 34 degrees!


There are nearly 1,000 different species!


There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Snapping Turtle

Only found in North America!


There are 140 different species!

Spectacled Bear

Native to the Andes mountains of South America!

Spider Monkey

Found in the tropical jungles of South America!


Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!

Squirrel Monkey

Lives in groups of up to 500 individuals!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!


Populations have been affected by pollution!


Most closely related to horses and rhinos!


Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!


Native to the freshwater streams of South America!


The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.


Can live until they are more than 150 years old!


There are more than 40 different species!

Tree Frog

Found in warmer jungles and forests!


Have a very short tail for their size!


Migrates up and down the mountains!

Vampire Bat

Have a heat sensor on the end of their nose!


There are 30 different species worldwide!


There are around 75,000 recognised species!

White-Faced Capuchin

One of the world's most intelligent monkeys!

White-tail deer

White-tail deer are good swimmers


Thought to date back more than 300,000 years!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

Wood Turtle

Temperature determines the sex of turtle eggs


Actually a crustacean, not an insect!


There are 200 different species!

Woolly Monkey

Has a long, strong prehensile tail!

X-Ray Tetra

Yellow, black and white striped fins!

South American Animals List