Ecuador’s small size is juxtaposed by its astounding variety of terrain and the incredible diversity of wildlife within its borders. Along the Napo River, between Coca and the Peruvian border, is the deep jungle; one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet to go on Amazon tours in Ecuador.
In Yasuni National Park, a 3,800 square mile swath of primary forest a few hours south from Coca- there are over 500 kinds of birds, 200 different mammals, and more than 100 species of reptiles. Happy Gringo works with lodges in the area- including Sani, Napo Wildlife Center, and Sacha that offer once in a lifetime treks to see the creatures that live under the canopy. Keep reading to find out more about the wildlife that can be found in the Ecuadorian jungle.
Found in the deep regions of the jungle from Venezuela to Brazil, red howler monkeys make their presence known to travelers with their deep-throated growls early in the morning and after the sun sets. They have the loudest call in the New World and can be heard from two miles away.
Pink river dolphins are found in the peaceful lagoons and river ways on day trips by canoe on Amazon tours. They travel in packs, and surface en mass with slaps on the surface of the water before diving below in search of fish.
Ecuador is home to four species of caimans-white, brown, black, and crowned dwarfs. They are a nocturnal animal, seen after dark on trips along the banks of the muddy rivers of the jungle. The black caiman is the largest predator in the Amazon-growing up to twenty feet in length.
Three-toed sloths are the world’s slowest animal and are often seen in the trees along the paths and rivers when traversing the Amazon. The sleepy animal has an added edge to life in the tree tops-it can turn its head 270 degrees because of extra vertebrae in its neck.
Naturalists still discover new species of animals every year in the jungle. In 2010, a new species of gecko small enough to fit on the end of a pencil was found in Ecuador. The colorful creatures are often spotted beside turtles resting on the logs, rocks, and shores of the tributaries of the Oriente.
The largest rodent in the world, capybaras stick close to the water while hopping through the forest along the trails beneath the canopy. During the day they avoid the heat by resting in standing water and can stay underwater for up to five minutes to avoid larger predators.