21 Wild Animals in Brazil

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Want to know more about the animals in Brazil? Here’s a list of 21 Brazilian animals that you can see in the wild:


Toco toucan

The toco toucan is the largest species of toucan and is one of the most famous animals in Brazil. They’re found in eastern and southern Brazil in open areas in the Amazon forest.

The toco toucan is famous for it’s appearance with a black body, white throat, and its huge bill in yellow/orange tones. The bill is an average of 15.8-23 cm (6.2-9.1 in) in length.

Tuco toucans uses their bills to pluck fruits from the trees, but also to eat insects, frogs, small reptiles, birds, and eggs.

  • Name: Toco toucan
  • Scientific name: Ramphastos toco
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
Toco toucan

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Jaguar

This is one of the biggest wild cats that live in Brazil, and is also one of the most beautiful and powerful animals in the country.

They have a tawny yellow-colored coat with black spots and lighter underparts. A full grown jaguar can weight up to 96 kg (212 lb) and grow up to 1.85 m (6.1 ft) in length from head to tail.

It’s an animal that moves fast on land, but is also a great swimmer.

In Brazil they’re found in the Amazon basin, northern Cerrado, and in the Xingu National Park.

  • Name: Jaguar
  • Scientific name: Panthera onca
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Near threatened
Jaguar

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Giant anteater

Also known as the ant bear, the giant anteater is an animal that’s found all across Brazil.

It’s probably one of the strangest-looking animals in Brazil with their big bodies, tiny faces, long snouts, and bushy tails.

It’s the largest species of anteaters and can grow up to 2 m (6.5 ft) in length. They have sharp claws like bears and also a long tongue that they use to eat insects.

The tongue of a giant anteater shoots out up to 150 times every minute when it feeds – which allows them to eat over 30.000 insects a day.

Down below you have a video where you can learn more about the giant anteater and see how it uses its claws and tongue to find food.

  • Name: Giant anteater
  • Scientific name: Myrmecophaga tridactyla
  • Diet: Insectivore
  • Threatened: Vulnerable
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Three-toed sloth

The three-toed sloth is a tree-living mammal that lives in big parts of Latin America.

In Brazil, there are three species of the three-toed sloth; the maned three-toed sloth, the pale-throated three-toed sloth, and the brown-throated three-toed sloth.

It’s no doubt one of the most interesting animals in Brazil, as well as one of the cutest.

Their bodies are made to hang in trees, and they cannot walk on its four limbs. So when on the rainforest floor, they have to drag themselves using their front arms and claws.

They spend most of their lives up in the trees, and only comes down once a week to defecate on the forest floor. They’re known to be slow climbers in the trees, however, they’re good swimmers in the water.

They can be active at any hour of the day, however, they prefer to be awake during daytime.

  • Name: Three-toed sloth
  • Scientific name: Bradypus
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Threatened: Least concern, however the maned three-toed sloth is today vulnerable.
three-toed sloth

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Piranha

The piranha is probably one of the most unique animals in Brazil when it comes to marine life.

Piranhas live in freshwater and is known for their powerful jaws with sharp teeth. They have the strongest biting ability among bony fishes in the world.

Most piranhas are between 12-35 cm (5-14 in) in length, however, the red-bellied piranha can grow up to 50 cm (20 in).

  • Name: Piranha
  • Diet: Carnivore
piranha

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Capybara

The capybara is a mammal native to South America and are to be found all across Brazil.

It’s the largest rodent species in the world and they live in the dense forests and savannas near water sources, such as lakes, rivers, ponds, and swamps.

They have a barrel-shaped body with brown fur and a short head. They can grow up to 134 cm (4.40 ft) in length and weigh around 35-66 kg (77-146 lb).

  • Name: Capybara
  • Scientific name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
Capybara

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Golden lion tamarin

The golden lion tamarin has gotten its name from its golden fur and mane around their heads – looking similar to the lions in Africa.

They’re one of the most beautiful animals in Brazil. These tiny primates live in social groups in tropical rainforests in the southeastern region of the country.

They ar usually 26 cm (10.3 in) long and weights around 620 g (1.37 lb).

Today the golden lion tamarin is endangered, and there are only about 3200 individuals left in the wild.

  • Name: Golden lion tamarin
  • Scientific name: Leontopithecus rosalia
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Threatened: Endangered
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Armadillo

The Armadillo is one of the most interesting animals in Brazil, and is famous for their leathery shell around their bodies.

There are 21 different species of Armadillo, but the yellow armadillo is the most common of the species to be seen in the wild.

The shell works like an armor made of plates from the dermal bone with overlapping scutes. When feeling threatened, they roll up into balls to protect themselves.

These animals and have an average length of 75 cm (30 in) from head to tail, and can weight up to 54 kg (119 lb).

Armadillos can run pretty fast and are also good diggers thanks to their sharp claws.

  • Name: Armadillo
  • Scientific name: Dasypus
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Many species of armadillo are today endangered
Armadillo

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Poison dart frog

This is one of the most colorful animals in Brazil and lives in the tropical rainforests.

There are different species of the Poison dart frog, however, most of them are tiny and no bigger than a thumbnail.

Due to their small size they can be a bit tricky to spot in the wild. Thankfully they give you a clue with their highly vocal calls.

Sometimes they are found sitting on the leaves of plants or on rocks, but most often on the ground among fallen leaves. On the dark ground they do not have the best camouflage and will stand out with their bright color.

They have gotten its name from the local people who made poisonous darts out of their poison. The frogs themselves will do you no harm, unless you lick it or eat it.

  • Name: Poison dart frog
  • Scientific name: Dendrobatidae
  • Diet: Insectivore
  • Threatened: Some species of poison dart frog are today endangered due to loss of their habitat
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Broad-snouted caiman

The broad-snouted caiman is a crocodile reptile that lives in southeastern Brazil. It’s mainly found in freshwater marshes, mangroves, and swamps where the water is still and moves slow.

In the wild these animals can grow up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and weight up to 62 kg (137 lb). They are recognized by their light olive green color and broad snouts that they use to rip through the dense vegetation of the marshes.

These caimans feed mainly on invertebrates and can crush shells to feed on both snails and turtles. The young caimans mostly eat insects, but as they grow they eat both birds, fish, and different kinds of reptiles.

  • Name: Broad-snouted caiman
  • Scientific name: Caiman latirostris
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
Broad-snouted caiman

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Jaguarundi

The jaguarundi is a small wild cat native to North- and South America where they live in lowland brush areas close to water.

They have short legs, and a long body and tail. These animals can grow up to 77 cm (30 in) in body length and weigh up to 9.1 kg (20.1 lb).

Jaguarundis prefer to be active during the day where they like to spend time up in trees. When going hunting they prefer to be down on the ground to catch their prey. These wild cast normally eat small reptiles, rodents, and birds on the ground.

  • Name: Jaguarundi
  • Scientific name: Herpailurus yagouaroundi
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
Jaguarundi

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Rhea

This large bird is native to South America and look similar to its distant relatives the Australian emu and the African ostrich. It’s the largest bird in South America.

There are two species of the rhea bird; Darwin’s rhea and greater rhea.

The greater rhea lives in Brazil in a variety of open areas such as savanna, grassy wetlands, and grasslands. It’s an omnivore and feed on both seed, fruits, insects, scorpions, small rodents, reptiles and small birds.

They can get 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) tall, and weight around 20-27 kg (44-60 lb).

  • Name: Greater rhea
  • Scientific name: Rhea americana
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Threatened: Near threatened
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Tapir

The South American tapir, also known as the Brazilian tapir, is a large mammal with a shape of a pig and a short nose trunk. It’s the largest surviving native terrestrial mammal in the Amazon.

They can grow up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and weigh around 225 kg (496 lb).

These animals are found near water in the Amazon Rainforest. South American tapirs are great swimmers and divers, and can also move fast on land.

In the wild, the tapir can live up to 30 years and their main predators are the black caimans, orinoco crocodiles, cougars, and jaguars.

  • Name: South American tapir
  • Scientific name: Tapirus terrestris
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Threatened: Vulnerable
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Capuchin

Capuchin monkeys inhabit a large part of Brazil and are often found in large groups of 10-35 individuals within forests.

These groups are usually led by a male that dominates the group. However, in the white-headed capuchin groups there are both a male and a female who leads the group.

Capuchin monkeys are recognized by their fur that can either be brown to whitish in color – something that varies depending on species. However, they are usually dark in color with an off-white color around their faces and necks.

They can reach a length up to 56 cm (22 in), with tails that are just as long as the body. Although they’re quite small primates they still can jump up to 3 m (9 ft) when traveling from tree to tree.

  • Name: Capuchin
  • Scientific name: Cebinae
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
Capuchin

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Maned wolf

The maned wolf looks like a large fox. However, it’s not a fox, nor a wolf. It’s one of the most unique animals in the world and is the only species of its kind (canid).

This means that they are the only survivors of the Pleistocene extinction that wiped out the majority of the megafauna, including the famous woolly mammoth.

They are mainly found in grasslands where there’s scattered bushes and trees. The best place to spot them is in the Cerrado of south, central-west, and southeastern Brazil.

  • Name: Maned wolf
  • Scientific name: Chrysocyon brachyurus
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Near threatened
maned wolf

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Pink dolphin

The pink dolphin lives in the Amazon river in Brazil and is the largest spices of river dolphins.

The males can weight up to 185 kg (408 lb) and reach 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in length. When they’re born thy have a dark grey color and gets the beautiful pink color with age.

A fun fact about the Amazon river dolphin is that their cervical vertebrae are not fused, which means that they can turn their head 90 degrees.

  • Name: Amazon river dolphin
  • Scientific name: Inia geoffrensis
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Endangered
pink dolphin

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Howler monkey

Howler monkeys are common to hear and see in the wild. They’re known for their roar that can be heard clearly up to 4.8 km (3 miles).

These primates are recognized by their short snouts and wide-set round nostrils. With their noses they can smell out food up to 2 km away.

They can grow up to 92 cm (36 in) in length, excluding their tails which can be equally as long. In Brazil they usually live 15-20 years in the wild.

  • Name: Howler monkey
  • Scientific name: Alouatta
  • Diet: Folivores
  • Threatened: Some species are endangered, some are vulnerable and some are not threatened at all
howler monkey

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Ocelot

The ocelot is about twice the size of a house cat and is the largest small cat in the Americas.

It’s characterized by its beautiful fur with black spots, streaks, and stripes. They can grow up to 100 cm (39 in) in head-and-body length with a 25-40 cm (10-16 in) long tail. Males are usually bigger than females and can weight up 15.5 kg (34 lb).

Ocelots are found in the biggest parts of Brazil. However, they’re shy animals and are not often seen in the wild.

  • Name: Ocelot
  • Scientific name: Leopardus pardalis
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
Ocelot

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Giant otter

The giant otter is the longest member of the weasel family and can reach up to 1.7 m (5.6 ft) in length.

They live in the Amazon River and in the Pantanal in Brazil and are today an endangered species. There are around 5000 giant otters left in the wild.

Giant otters eat fish, characins and catfish are their favorite food. However, the also eat crabs, turtles, snakes, and small caimans as well.

  • Name: Giant otter
  • Scientific name: Pteronura brasiliensis
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Endangered
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Emperor tamarin

This is a species of tamarin that got its name from the German emperor Wilhelm II, which they funny enough look much alike.

In Brazil they live in the west Brazilian states of Acre and Amazonas –  mainly in lowland and lower mountain rain forests.

They are characterized by their grey fur with yellow speckles on the chest, black hands and feet, brown tail, and long white beard. An emperor tamarin can grow up to 26 cm (10 in) in body length, plus a tail of up to 41.5 cm (16.3 in). They normally weigh around 500 g (18 oz).

  • Name: Emperor tamarin
  • Scientific name: Saguinus imperator
  • Diet: Herbivore / omnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
emperor tamarin

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Macaws

Macaws are one of the most colorful and beautiful animals in Brazil. They are the largest members of the parrot family, and can reach 100 cm (39 in) in length.

One of the best places to spot these beautiful birds is around Porto Jofre in the northern Pantanal, and Fazenda San Francisco.

Due to habitat loss and capture of these birds for the pet industry, they are today listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

  • Name: Macaw
  • Scientific name: Ara macao
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Threatened: Vulnerable
macaw

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More about Brazilian animals

Brazil is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and is home to a great number of animal species. Here you find the worlds biggest rainforest and the worlds largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal.

When going out in nature there are several beautiful and interesting animals that you can see – from small to large animals.

A fun fact is that Brazil has its own ”big five” animals. The big five in Brazil are the jaguar, the Brazilian tapir, the maned wold, the giant river otter, and the giant anteater. If you spot these five animals in Brazil, you are very lucky.

What’s Brazil’s national animal?

Brazil’s national animal is the jaguar. The third-largest cat in the world after the lion and tiger.

Are there any deadly animals in Brazil?

In the wilderness of Brazil there are a several dangerous animals that can do harm towards humans. Down below you have a small list of some of these dangerous animals in Brazil:

  • Bullet ants
  • Brazilian wandering spider
  • Electric eel
  • Jaguar
  • Poison dart frog
  • South American rattlesnake
  • Red belly piranha
  • Green anaconda
dangerous animals in brazil

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Do you have any other questions about the wild animals in Brazil? Leave a comment below!

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