15 animals of the Peruvian jungle (with photos)

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Simon Doyle
15 animals of the Peruvian jungle (with photos)

The animals of the peruvian jungle They correspond to the diverse fauna of the tropical America of the Amazon rainforest and the yunga. In Peru there are 66 million hectares of tropical forests with a great diversity of animals.

The Amazon rainforest is one of the most diverse biomes in the world, with an abundance of fauna. While the yunga represents the Andean high mountain jungle, varying in its eastern and western slopes.

A sloth

The Peruvian Amazon is a warm plain jungle (80 and 400 meters above sea level), called the Omagua region, one of the 8 natural regions of Peru. The eastern yunga is a humid area with mountain cloud forest, it contains a great biological diversity and extends from 500 to 3,600 meters above sea level..

For its part, the western yunga corresponds to a drier area, presenting tropical dry forest and some areas of peaceful forest, today very reduced.

In the Peruvian Amazon, it is estimated that there are around 257 species of mammals and 782 species of birds. In total, about 1,700 species of animals have been identified only in the so-called white sands region..

While in the eastern yunga, the most diverse of the Andean forests, only in vertebrates there are about 200 species. When counting the species of other groups of animals, especially insects, in the Peruvian jungles these exceed the thousands.

Animals of the Yunga of Peru

Andean cock-of-the-rocks or tunki (Peruvian Rupicola)

Andean cock-of-the-rock or tunki (Rupicola peruviana). Source: Bill Bouton from San Luis Obispo, CA, USA / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

This species is the national bird of Peru, with a showy pattern of coloration of the males in black and orange or scarlet red. Specifically, the head, including the crest, and the body are orange or deep red, the wings are black with a gray band and the tail black..

This bird is omnivorous, feeding on fruits, insects, small reptiles and rodents, as it inhabits the Andean cloud forests. It spans Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

Jaguar (Panthera onca)

Jaguar

The jaguar or American tiger is the emblematic animal of the tropical forests of America, being the third largest feline in the world. It is an animal that has been venerated by all the indigenous cultures of the American jungles, including Peru.

This carnivore is the main predator both in the Amazon rainforest and in the eastern yunga. Males have been reported that exceed 150 kg in weight, with a length of almost 2 m, plus a 75 cm tail.

The jaguar is the feline that proportionally has the shortest tail of the whole family. Its yellow coat with black rosettes is characteristic, as well as the traces it leaves on the humid jungle floor..

Yellow-tailed woolly monkeyLagothrix flavicauda)

Yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda). Source: Platyrrhinus / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

This primate is endemic (exclusive) to the Peruvian cloud forest and is in danger of extinction. It was initially thought to be restricted to the region between the Marañón and Huallaga rivers in northern Peru, but in 2019 a population was detected in the Junín region.

This monkey is characterized by being relatively large reaching up to 54 cm plus a prehensile tail of up to 63 cm. Its fur corresponds to the environment where it lives in cloudy jungle with low temperatures.

In this sense it is dense and long, dark reddish brown in color, with a whitish spot around the muzzle and even the eyes. The name comes from the fact that the terminal third of the tail has yellowish fur..

Gray woolly monkey (Lagothrix cana)

Gray Woolly Monkey (Lagothrix cana)

The species is restricted to Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, having two subspecies, of which the subspecies tschudiiit is exclusive to Peru. This monkey lives in the cloud forest between 1,000 and 2,500 meters above sea level and is characterized by its dense gray fur, with darker face and extremities..

San Martín stump monkey or Rio Mayo marmoset (Callicebus oenanthe)

Callicebus oenanthe

This is another species of monkey endemic to the Peruvian jungle, in this case from the San Martín region, in the Upper and Lower Mayo River and in the Huallaga River. It is a primate with about 33 cm in length and a tail somewhat longer than the body.

They have a reddish brown to greyish coat, except for the tail which is reddish, the outer part of the extremities being lighter. The hands tend to be almost black and in many cases they have a white face.

Spectacled bearTremarctos ornatus)

Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus). Source: Greg Hume / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The species is unique in its genus, being endemic to the high mountains of the tropical and subtropical Andes. It lives mainly in the high mountain cloud forests, although occasionally it ventures into the jalca or páramo.

It is a mainly herbivorous mammal, feeding on leaves, fruits, barks, and consuming a low percentage of meat. It is one of the species of arboreal bears, being able to climb quite high and even build platforms to sleep and store food.

It weighs about 200 kg, measures up to 2 m in length, being black with distinctive white ornaments. These range from the chin and even chest to the face around the eyes.

Sira's Horned Curassow (Pauxi unicornis koepckeae or Pauxi koepckeae)

Sira's horned curassow. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] / / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Whether it is considered a subspecies of Pauxi unicornis or a different species, this animal is endemic to Peru. Specifically, it inhabits the hills of the El Sira Communal Reserve, located in the eastern Peruvian Andes..

This bird is threatened with extinction and is characterized by the peculiar shape of the horn or cap on the forehead. Like Pauxi unicornis, It is a large bird, 90 cm long, black in color and has a horn on its forehead.

However, the shape of the horn is different, being ellipsoidal and somewhat flattened, not elongated conical.

Spiny rat (Isothrix barbarabrownae)

It is an arboreal rodent endemic to the Andean cloud forests of Peru, where it feeds on nuts and fruits. It is about the size of a squirrel and has abundant grayish-brown fur.

It has a crest of black hairs on the crown and neck, and a long tail. This is initially brown, then black at its greatest extent and ends in a white streak..

Tigrillo (Leopardus pardallis)

Tigrillo (Leopardus pardallis). Source: João Carlos Medau / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

This is one of the many species of medium-sized American felines, having a wide distribution. In Peru it is found both in the jungles of the Yungas and in those of the Amazon.

It reaches up to 1 m in length, closer to 45 cm in tail, with a height of about 50 cm. Its coat is very distinctive, since in addition to the brown-orange and black pattern, bands of white are added to the rosettes.

Animals of the Peruvian Amazon

Black alligator (Melanosuchus niger)

Melanosuchus niger

This caiman is endemic to the Amazon River basin, reaching up to 5 m in length. It is opaque black in color, with gray bands on its lower jaw and whitish to pale yellow on the sides of the body..

It is a species that can be dangerous to humans and in the past was hunted for the value of its skin.

Danta (Tapirus terrestris)

Tapir (Tapirus terrestris). Source: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

It is one of the large mammals of the American jungle, reaching 2.5 m in length, 1 m in height and up to 225 kg in weight. It has a dark brown to gray color with a very short coat, highlighting a dense but short black mane.

It has a short trunk, prominent rounded ears with white edges, and a very short tail (about 10 cm). It moves very well both on land and in water, feeding on terrestrial and aquatic plants, as well as fruits.

White-bellied spider monkey (Ateles belzebuth)

Ateles belzebuth

This large monkey is endemic to the jungles of northwestern South America, from Peru to Venezuela. It is listed as an endangered species and is a monkey with long limbs in relation to the body.

It reaches up to 59 cm in body length in females, plus a tail of up to 88 cm. Its fur is black or dark brown on the back and light or white on the belly, with a distinctive white marking on the forehead..

As for its diet, it feeds mainly on fruits, but also includes leaves, seeds and barks..

White-lipped peccaryTayassu pecari)

Tayassu pecari

This animal has a wide distribution in tropical America, inhabiting a great diversity of habitats. In Peru it is found both in the Amazon jungle and in the Yungas, living in herds of 30 to more than 100 individuals.

They reach up to 1.4 m in length, 60 cm in height and 40 kg in weight and feed on fruits, roots and also insects. They have an abundant and thick coat of black, gray or brown color with a white band on the upper edge of the lips.

Three-striped poison dart frog (Ameerega trivittata)

Three-striped poison dart frog (Ameerega trivittata). Source: Andreas Schlüter / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)

This is one of the many species of poisonous frogs that inhabit the Amazon, belonging to the Dendrobatidae family. The species is terrestrial and carries out its activity during the day, feeding mainly on ants.

It is characterized by its black color on the back and sides, and a bright green band on the border between the back and the sides. Similarly, the extremities are externally green and internally black, with dark blue spots..

These frogs are called dart or arrowhead frogs because of the indigenous use of their poison for their darts and arrows..

Machaco parrot snake or orito machacuy (Bothriopsis bilineata)

Bothriopsis bilineata

It is an extremely poisonous snake, with the aggravation of being one of the few arboreal species of the genus. This makes it even more dangerous due to the level at which it can carry out its attacks on humans..

The species reaches a length between 70 and 100 cm and has a pale emerald green color, with small yellow markings on the back. The lower part of the head is pale yellow with black lines and it feeds on small mammals which it hunts at night by means of ambushes..

Hairy armadillo or hairy quirquincho (Dasypus pilosus)

Hairy Quirquincho (Dasypus pilosus). Source: Prissantenbär / Public domain

This species is endemic to Peru, living mainly in the Yungas, although it is also found in the Amazon. Its peculiarity is its long face and the presence of abundant grayish or reddish brown hair coming out of the plates of its armor..

References

  1. León, B., Pitman, N. and Roque, J. (2006). Introduction to endemic plants of Peru. Peruvian Journal of Biology.
  2. McHugh, S.M., Cornejo, F.M., McKibben, J., Zarate, M., Tello, C., Jiménez, C.F. and Schmitt, C.A. (2019). First record of the Peruvian yellow-tailed woolly monkey Lagothrix flavicauda in the Junín Region, Peru. Oryx.
  3. Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (2016). Descriptive memory of the ecozone map. National Forest and Wildlife Inventory (INFFS) -Peru.
  4. Pacheco, V., Cadenillas, R., Salas, E., Tello, C. and Zeballos, H. (2009). Diversity and endemism of the mammals of Peru. Peruvian Journal of Biology.
  5. Peruvian University Cayetano Heredia. Center for Pre-University Studies. The 11 Ecoregions of Peru. (Posted on July 12, 2020). upch.edu.pe
  6. World Wild Life (Viewed on 08 July 2020). Eastern South America: Eastern slopes of the central Andes in Peru. Taken from worldwildlife.org
  7. World Wild Life (Viewed on 08 July 2020). Upper Amazon basin of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia. Taken from worldwildlife.org

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