Creepiest creatures of Amazon river
Amazon River – one of the most beautiful destinations to explore in the world, it is also a place full of creepiest creatures. If you are planning a trip to Amazon, be careful with the creatures mentioned below and stay safe.
The Amazon River is one of the world’s fascinating places.But it’s also one of the deadliest places on Earth. There are so many creatures in the rainforest that could kill you before you knew anything about it, and the rainforest sounds would do nothing to calm you as you were dying from a spider bite or snake venom. But at least you’d die somewhere incredible.
Let’s start with one that’s not deadly to humans, though it would deliver a bit of a shock. Dwelling in murky rivers, the electric eel delivers up to 600 volts that can stun a human. Deaths attributed to this animal are most likely from drowning when the paralyzed victim is unable to swim. The eel uses its “power” to kill prey and to navigate in poor visibility. Despite its name, the electric eel is not closely related to true eels but is the largest member of a group of electric fish called knife fish.
This nasty creature, also called the toothpick fish, has been reported to swim up the urogenital tract of bathers and lodges itself therein. Candiru are small, parasitic, freshwater catfish famous for launching themselves up the urethra of anyone foolish enough to urinate in the river, and getting lodged into the urinary tract because of the spines that run along their backs. While documented cases are rare, and there is some debate over whether these types of injuries occur at all, there is at least one documented case of a man requiring surgery to remove a candiru from his urethra—which had also attempted to burrow through to his testicles. However, the candiru usually preys on fish, attaching themselves to the larger fish’s gills with their spines and feeding on their host’s blood.
A black caiman is basically an alligator on steroids. They can grow up to six meters (20 feet) long, with bigger, heavier skulls than Nile crocodiles, and are the apex predator in the Amazonian waters. That means they are basically the kings of the river—they eat nearly anything they can get their teeth into, including piranhas, monkeys, perch, deer, and anaconda.
At one time, these creatures were nearly extinct in the Amazon but strict anti-hunting laws saved them. Its dark-colored skin helps to camouflage itself while waiting for potential prey and, like the jaguar, it’s not too fussy about what that prey is.
If you don’t like snakes, look away now because this is a really, really big snake. The anaconda never stops growing, and can reach 40 stone in mass and 21 feet in length. The good news is that it isn’t venomous – the bad news is that it has other ways of killing its prey. Its preferred method is to suffocate the prey by squeezing it until it can’t breathe and then swallowing it whole, without chewing. It takes a week to digest its food so doesn’t eat very often but when it’s hungry, no-one is safe…including humans!
These creatures are the longest examples of the weasel family, with adult males reaching up to two meters (over six feet) from head to tail. Their diet primarily consists of fish and crabs, which they hunt in family groups of three to eight members, and they can eat up to four kilograms (nine pounds) of seafood per day.
They are more than a match for the other animals on this list, with groups of them having been spotted killing and eating an anaconda. They hold their own against caiman as well. One family was seen devouring a 1.5 meter (five foot) caiman, which took them about 45 minutes. While their numbers are dwindling, mainly due to human intervention, they are among the most capable predators in the Amazon rain forest, hence their local name of “river wolves.”
While technically ocean-dwelling saltwater animals, bull sharks are quite at home in fresh water, too—they have been found as far down the Amazon as Iquitos in Peru, almost 4,000 kilometers (2,500 mi) from the sea. They have special kidneys that can sense the change in salinity of the surrounding water and adapt accordingly. And you do not want to meet one of these in the river; it is common for them to reach 3.3 meters (11 ft) in length and there have been reports of sharks weighing 312 kilograms (690 lbs). Like many sharks, they have several rows of sharp, triangular teeth and immensely powerful jaws, with a bite force of 589 kilograms (1,300 lb).
Payara (Vampire Fish)
They are absolutely ferocious predators, capable of devouring fish up to half their own body size. Given that they can grow up to 1.2 meters (four feet) long, this is no mean feat. A large part of their diet is made up of piranhas, which should give you some idea of how tough these fanged fiends can be. They get their name from the two tusks that sprout from their lower jaw, which can grow up to 15 centimeters (six inches) long and which they use to literally impale their prey after viciously lunging at them. Their fangs are so big, in fact, that they have special holes in their upper jaw to avoid impaling themselves.
This handsome fellow is one of the biggest freshwater fishes in the world, at over 100kg and 2m long. It’s not directly harmful to humans, although its cousin inMalaysia was credited with drowning two men in 2009. To other animals, however, it’s a ruthless killer. It eats fish and crustaceans, but also small land animals who happen to walk along the shore. The arapaima is another water-dwelling, air-breathing fish, which helps when snaring the land animals but also makes them vulnerable to being hunted by humans.
They are an important food source to indigenous tribes, and the meat is supposed to be delicious but they also have a medicinal purpose. Their bony tongues can be dried and mixed with guarana bark to make an appealing-sounding cure for intestinal worms. Guess they don’t have drugstores in the Amazon…
The quintessential terror of the Amazon River, so widely feared that they have inspired a number of questionable Hollywood movies, red-bellied piranhas are actually primarily scavengers. That’s not to say they won’t attack healthy creatures; after all, given that they can grow to be over 30 centimeters (12 in) long and swim around in large groups, they tend to be more than a match for most animals.
Like all piranhas, red-bellies have incredibly sharp teeth, one row on each of their powerful upper and lower jaws. These teeth are interlocking, which makes them perfect for tearing and rending the flesh of their prey. Their fearsome reputation mainly comes from sights of their “feeding frenzies,” where groups of piranhas will congregate on their unlucky prey and strip it to the bone within minutes. These attacksare rare and are usually the result of starvation or provocation.