The Amazon basin is home to the greatest biodiversity on the planet. This is not so surprising considering that it is the largest rainforest on the planet, measuring 5 500 000 km². The abundance of sunlight and water are a couple of the reasons why this area is so biologically rich. Despite this biodiversity being spread over such a large area each portion of the Amazon is still home to an incredible number of plant and animal species.

The area surrounding Leticia is no different. There is an amazing variety of wildlife on display for those who are interested in taking a look.


The Amazon basin is home to an astounding number of plant species. Low estimates place the number at around 40 000 species. Trees, shrubs, lianas, cacti, flowering and aquatic plants all vie for every bit of available space and sunlight. So valuable is space that many species known as epiphytes, have adapted to grow on other plants and trees. In some areas epiphytes can make up over a third of all plant species and it can be hard to see some host trees under their heavy load. Among the more common and most easily identifiable plant groups are the cecropias, heliconias (the banana family), bromiliads (the pineapple family) and a variety of palms. All these plants make for an inescapable sea of green.


Next to insects no other group takes advantage of all the different habitat types available in the Amazon. From the skies to the depths of the river you can find representatives of this charismatic group. There are around 430 species of mammal found in the entirety of the Amazon. Around Leticia there are approximately 195 species. Bats make up almost half of this number. In addition to bats, visitors can see 2 species of dolphin, 16 species of monkey, a number of rodents, opossums, wild pigs, anteaters, sloths and only if you are extremely lucky will you catch a glimpse of the enigmatic jaguar.

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Brown Throated 3 Toed Sloth - Bradypus variegatus
Reptiles and Amphibians

Among the 430 amphibian species found in the Amazon there are some iconic animals. Probably the most recognizable are the poison arrow frogs. These brightly colored frogs can sometimes be hard to find but nonetheless visitors may be lucky enough to spot these or any of the other 110 species found in the Colombian Amazon. There is a similar diversity of reptiles to be found in the Amazon with approximately 380 species, half of them found around Leticia. 110 snakes, 60 lizards, 4 caimans and 10 turtles fill out the roster of reptile species.

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Brown Throated 3 Toed Sloth - Bradypus variegatus

Colombia is home to the highest number of bird species found anywhere in the world, currently numbered at 1 880. The Amazon basin is home to some 1 300 species. The overlap is not insignificant with almost 1 000 bird species having been identified in the area around Leticia. Parrots, hummingbirds, hawks, herons and kingfishers are among the many species that can be regularly seen.

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Capped Heron - Pilherodius pileatus

The hardest animals to spot unless they are in a net or on a hook, they are the second most diverse group of animals. Of the approximately 3 000 species estimated to be found in the Amazon River and all of its tributaries some 2 400 have been identified. Besides the iconic piranha there are a number of other interesting fish swimming in the muddy waters. Among them the pirarucu, which is the largest scaled fish in the world, the electric eel, and many others.


The most polarizing group of animals to be found in the Amazon, they are also the most abundant and most diverse. It is very difficult to approximate the number of insect species found here. With 130 000 already identified, some estimates reach up to the millions of species. Aside from the irritating mosquitos, there is a fascinating variety of butterflies, moths, beetles, ants, dragonflies, grasshoppers and other insects which vary from the weird to the stunningly beautiful. In addition to the huge number of insects there are many other interesting invertebrates to be seen like spiders, scorpions, centipedes and millipedes.

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Swallow Tail Moth - Urania leilus

Admittedly not everyone is going to be as interested or happy to see every type of animal that can be found in the Amazon. But don’t let your aversion to certain types of animals stop you from paying the Amazon a visit . As mentioned on our FAQ page, as long as you follow your guide’s advice you shouldn’t run amiss of any of the wildlife that calls the Amazon Rainforest home.

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golden silk orb weaving spider - Nephila species