The Amazon River and its surrounding rainforest are home to some of the most diverse lifeforms on Earth. As one of the longest rivers in the world, the Amazon offers a rich habitat for a wide range of different creatures. Some are uniquely beautiful, while others are undeniably creepy. Many Amazonian species have evolved in ways that make them completely terrifying.
These weird Amazonian animals can be scary for all kinds of reasons. Some look as if they have crawled straight out of a nightmare, like the Amazonian giant centipede. Others, like the black caiman, are dangerous predators capable of maiming anything they encounter. Then there are the animals that look harmless, but are actually killing machines that should be avoided at all costs. That giant otter may look adorable, but it's as fierce as any sharp-toothed carnivore.
Wondering what animals live in the Amazon? The answers may spook you. Animals wreak havoc all over the globe, but those that are unique to the Amazon River are especially scary. These are some of the most fascinating and downright alarming animals you will ever see.
Tyrant King Leeches
The tyrant king leech may only be three inches long, but it's plenty terrifying. It uses its huge teeth to saw into flesh and create holes for it to feed. What's worse, it seems to purposely aim for the orifices of mammals, including the eyes, penis, vagina, and rectum. Once inside its prey's body, the leech can survive and feed for weeks.
Green anacondas live throughout South America. They can primarily be found in swamps, marshes, and rivers, and this makes the Amazon the ideal home for them. These snakes are gigantic: they can reach up to 30 feet in length and weigh an amazing 550 pounds.
These anacondas don't pose much of a threat on land; they're too heavy and cumbersome to move quickly. When they are in water, though, it's a completely different story. They can move with devastating speed, and special openings on the very top of their heads allow them to lie almost completely submerged in water. Once they locate and ambush their prey, they use their immense size and strength to constrict it to death. Anacondas' meals aren't small, either – they've been known to take down jaguars.
Amazonian Giant Centipedes
The Amazonian giant centipede is one of the largest insects alive. That size directly correlates to its creepy factor: an adult giant centipede can measure up to a foot long. This mammoth critter can be found scurrying around the forest floor near the Amazon River, where it hunts lizards, amphibians, and small mammals that make their homes near the water. Besides its nightmare-inducing size, it can also inject venom into its victims using sharp claws on its head.
The black caiman is the largest member of the alligator family. Capable of growing up to 20 feet in length, it's one of the deadliest animals that calls the Amazon River home. The dark coloring of its hide provides perfect camouflage for its nighttime hunts, allowing it to ambush unsuspecting prey in the water.
It strikes terror into local human populations, too, thanks to its aggressive nature. Black caimans have been known to attack people who live or work on the riverbanks.