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5 iconic Amazon animals

Secondary Categories: PeruThe Essentials

Your once in-a-lifetime adventure to the world’s largest and richest rainforest will be packed with wildlife highlights from start to finish. Here are a few of the most exciting species found near Puerto Maldonado...

Giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)

These graceful river giants, which attain lengths of 8ft (if you include their long tails) and weights of 70lb, are the largest member of the Mustelid family. Only 5,000 remain in the wild (in an area the size of the Lower 48!) but the oxbow lakes of Tambopata in South-Eastern Peru are one of the best places in the world to see them. The sociable otters who live in groups of up to 20 individuals are expert fishermen who eat approximately 3 kilograms of fish every day. Each otter is born with a uniquely shaped patch of cream-colored fur on its throat – much like a human fingerprint this can be used by rangers and scientists to identify individuals. They’re also extremely vocal animals…as you will find out on your Amazon adventure.

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Jaguar (Panther onca)

Full disclosure. It is highly unlikely that you will see a jaguar, the king of the jungle, on your trip to the Amazon. But it is still a possibility: on May 6 2017 a group of tourists on a nocturnal river cruise at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica (one of our most popular lodges) had an extremely close encounter with one of these majestic animals. These large (they average 200lb), solitary, stalk-and-ambush predators play a key role in regulating the jungle ecosystem and camera traps are showing that there are more of them out there than we previously thought. About 6% of jaguars are melanistic meaning that they have a color variation which makes them appear almost entirely black (you can still make out their spots if you look closely). Commonly known as black panthers, these enigmatic creatures are actually the same species as their black and gold brothers.

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