South American Animals

Despite being much smaller compared to its northern counterpart, South America has quite the variety to offer in terms of biodiversity, with almost 50% of that of the entire world. The continent has several unique species that evolved over the years due to its relative isolation, including sloths, capybaras, tapirs, and over 450 species of reptiles.

Most of the species living in South America are found in the Amazon rainforest or the Andes Mountains. For instance, jaguars and capybaras are commonly seen in the Amazon rainforest, while llamas and spectacled bears live in the Andes.

South American Animals

List of Animals living in South America




  • Amazon Tree Boa
  • Aruba Rattlesnake
  • Basilisk Lizard
  • Black Caiman
  • Blind Snake
  • Bolivian Anaconda
  • Bushmaster Snake
  • Caiman Lizard
  • Cascabel
  • Cat-eyed Snake
  • Chicken Snake
  • Coachwhip Snake
  • Dwarf Boa
  • Emerald Tree Boa
  • Eyelash Viper
  • False Coral Snake
  • False Water Cobra
  • Galapagos Giant Tortoise
  • Golden Lancehead
  • Green Anaconda
  • Hognose Snake
  • Marine Iguana
  • Mussurana Sanke
  • Orinoco Crocodile
  • Parrot Snake
  • Pipe Snake
  • Rainbow Boa
  • South American Rattlesnake
  • Terciopelo


  • Cane Toad
  • Horned Frog
  • Leopard Frog
  • Lemur Leaf Frog
  • Red-eyed Tree Frog
  • Scrotum Frog


  • Arapaima
  • Armored Catfish
  • Banjo Catfish
  • Blue-eyed Pleco
  • Cory Catfish
  • Dusky Shark
  • Electric Eel
  • Freshwater Eel
  • Galapagos Shark
  • Platinum Arowana
  • Polka-dot Stingray
  • Red-bellied Piranha
  • Sheepshead Fish


  • Biscuit Beetle
  • Black Witch Moth
  • Blue Morpho Butterfly
  • Bullet Ant
  • Clothes Moth
  • Codling Moth
  • Kissing Bug


  • Amazonian Giant Centipede
  • Black Widow Spider
  • Brazilian Wandering Spider
  • Dinosaur Shrimp
  • Fiddler Crab

Threats faced by Animals native in South America

As per the IUCN, almost 30% of the species in South America are classified as “Endangered” or “EN” or higher. For instance, the Galapagos giant tortoise is classified as “Critically Endangered” or “CR”, while the Lemur leaf frog is similarly categorized. The threats these animals face include deforestation and a loss of habitat, with further encroachment by locals into their territory.


Q. What is the largest animal native to South America?

A. The South American tapir; it weighs over 660 lbs.

Q. What are the most dangerous animals living in South America?

A. Amazonian giant centipede, green anaconda, black caiman, bullet ant, Brazilian wandering spider, etc.