10 of the Most Dangerous Animals in Latin America

 10. Anaconda

Eunectes (Anaconda) is a genus of boas found in tropical South America. They are carnivores. They have sexual reproduction. Reproduction is dioecious. They are a semiaquatic group of snakes and include one of the largest snakes in the world, E. murinus, the green anaconda. The name Eunectes is derived from the Greek word Eυνήκτης, which means "good swimmer". Four species are currently recognized.

Relationship with humans

While encounters between people and anacondas may be dangerous, they do not regularly hunt humans. Nevertheless, threat from anacondas is a familiar trope in comics, movies and adventure stories set in the Amazon jungle. Anacondas have also figured prominently in South American folklore, where they are sometimes depicted as shapeshifting mythical creatures called encantados. Local communities and some European explorers have given accounts of giant anacondas, legendary snakes of much greater proportion than any confirmed specimen.

9. Bull Shark

Carcharhinus leucas (Bull Shark) is a species of modern sharks in the family requiem sharks. They are associated with freshwater habitat. They are native to Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Australia, and Indian Ocean. They are carnivores. Individuals can grow to 400 cm. Reproduction is dioecious.

The Bull Shark is considered by many people to be the most dangerous shark alive. Its close proximity to populated shoreline areas and its aggressive behavior makes it extremely dangerous to humans. Despite the notoriety of other sharks such as the Great White and the Tiger Shark, the fact that they live in deeper ocean waters makes them less dangerous. (Australian Museum 1999)

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 32 years (wild)


The Bull Shark is one of the most commonly caught sharks in the world. It is frequently used as food in coastal areas and its skin is used to make leather. (Smith 1999)

8. Africanized Bee

The Africanized bee, also known as the Africanized honey bee and known colloquially as the "killer bee", is a hybrid of the western honey bee (Apis mellifera), produced originally by crossbreeding of the East African lowland honey bee (A. m. scutellata) with various European honey bee subspecies such as the Italian honey bee (A. m. ligustica) and the Iberian honey bee (A. m. iberiensis).

The East African lowland honey bee was first introduced to Brazil in 1956 in an effort to increase honey production, but 26 swarms escaped quarantine in 1957. Since then, the hybrid has spread throughout South America and arrived in North America in 1985. Hives were found in south Texas in the United States in 1990.

Africanized honey bees are typically much more defensive than other varieties of honey bees, and react to disturbances faster than European honey bees. They can chase a person a quarter of a mile (400 m); they have killed some 1,000 humans, with victims receiving 10 times more stings than from European honey bees. They have also killed horses and other animals.

7. Jararaca Pit Viper

Bothrops jararaca — known as the jararaca or yarara — is a species of a highly venomous pit viper endemic to South America in southern Brazil, Paraguay, and northern Argentina. The specific name, jararaca, is derived from the Tupi words yarará and ca, which mean "large snake". Within its geographic range, it is often abundant and is an important cause of snakebite. No subspecies are currently recognized.

The drugs known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, used for the treatment of hypertension and some types of congestive heart failure, were developed from a peptide found in the venom of this species.


This snake usually hunts at night, and during the day takes shelter in foliage; In habitats at higher altitudes, and those with colder months there is a significant reduction in activities, with greater activity observed during the warmer months. They are ambush predators and equipped with good camouflage, juveniles use caudal luring to attract prey, making movements with the tip of the tail whose coloring is white, the tip of the juvenile's tail is very similar to an insect larva, and is used to attract and capture prey.

6. American Crocodile

Crocodylus acutus (American Crocodile) is a species of crocodilians in the family crocodiles. They are listed in cites appendix ii. They are associated with freshwater habitat. They are native to The Neotropics and The Nearctic. They are solitary, nocturnal carnivores. They have parental care (female provides care).

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 32.9 years (captivity)


American crocodiles communicate through vocalizations. Roaring acts to defend territory and attract mates. Territorial communication is also displayed through slapping the water with the head and tail. Infrasonic sound is also used which creates ripples on the water's surface. This infrasonic rumbling is used during the mating season to court potential mates. Young American crocodiles communicate to the mother when hatching time approaches. Newly hatched young emit distress calls eliciting protective measures from the mother. The position of the body is also used to indicate dominance or submission. Dominant males swim along the surface of the water, exposing their entire body, while females and submissive males only expose their head or snout while swimming. Tail-thrashing is also used in aggressive behaviors and interactions as a visual cue. Finally, chemosensory cues are used in communication, but have been poorly documented.


American crocodiles have been known on the rare occasion to attack and kill or injure humans and domestic animals. They have no direct economic importance for humans, however, similar species such as Alligator mississippiensis attract tourists to areas such as the Florida Everglades. In some areas, they may be hunted for food or leather.

5. Vampire Bat

Desmodus rotundus (Common Vampire Bat) is a species of bats in the family New World leaf-nosed bats. They are native to The Neotropics and The Nearctic. They are nocturnal carnivores. Individuals are known to live for 234 months and can grow to 78 mm. Reproduction is viviparous and dioecious. They rely on flight to move around.

Researchers have isolated an anticoagulant called draculin in the saliva of vampire bats. The anticoagulant is a glycoprotein that stops wounds from clotting so that the bat can gain a full meal from its prey.

Vampire bats have been the source of many myths and superstitions throughout the world. The Europeans have traditionally associated bats with the devil. In European pictures, the devil often has bat wings. The Persians and the Chinese, on the other hand, have chosen to depict the bat in a different light. The bat is a symbol of longevity and happiness in traditional stories and legends.

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 29.2 years (captivity) Observations: They stop growing at about 5 months. One captive specimen lived for 29.2 years (Richard Weigl 2005).


Vocalizations are most common between mother and offspring. Small contact cries have been heard from the offspring at 6-12kHz. These usually occur during food sharing. Contact calls are also given when the offspring is trying to find its mother. Chemical cues and touch are also likely to play an important role in communication.

Vampire bats use echolocation and vision to navigate and find prey. They may also use olfaction and auditory cues to identify prey.


A bite from Desmodus rotundus can cause infections and transmit diseases carried by the bat. Infections can spread rapidly and cause death. The vampire bat transmits rabies to both humans and domestic livestock. Losses to the cattle industry in Latin America amount to many millions of dollars every year.

4. Assassin Bugs

The Reduviidae are a large cosmopolitan family of the order Hemiptera (true bugs). Among the Hemiptera and together with the Nabidae almost all species are terrestrial ambush predators: most other predatory Hemiptera are aquatic. The main examples of nonpredatory Reduviidae are some blood-sucking ectoparasites in the subfamily Triatominae. Though spectacular exceptions are known, most members of the family are fairly easily recognizable; they have a relatively narrow neck, sturdy build, and formidable curved proboscis (sometimes called a rostrum). Large specimens should be handled with caution, if at all, because they sometimes defend themselves with a very painful stab from the proboscis.

Adult insects range from about 4.0 to 40 mm, depending on the species. They most commonly have an elongated head with a distinct narrowed 'neck', long legs, and prominent, segmented, tubular mouthparts, most commonly called the proboscis, but some authors use the term "rostrum". Most species are bright in colour with hues of brown, black, red, or orange.

The most distinctive feature of the family is that the tip of the proboscis fits into a ridged groove in the prosternum, where it can be used to produce sound by stridulation. Sound is made by rasping the proboscis against ridges in this groove stridulitrum (stridulatory organ). These sounds are often used to discourage predators. When harassed, many species can deliver a painful stab with the proboscis, injecting venom or digestive juices. The effects can be intensely painful and the injection from some species may be medically significant.

3. Poison Dart Frog

Poison dart frog (also known as dart-poison frog, poison frog or formerly known as poison arrow frog) is the common name of a group of frogs in the family Dendrobatidae which are native to tropical Central and South America. These species are diurnal and often have brightly colored bodies. This bright coloration is correlated with the toxicity of the species, making them aposematic. Some species of the family Dendrobatidae exhibit extremely bright coloration along with high toxicity, while others have cryptic coloration with minimal to no amount of observed toxicity. The species that have great toxicity derive this from their diet of ants, mites and termites. Other species however, that exhibit cryptic coloration and low to no amounts of toxicity, eat a much larger variety of prey. Many species of this family are threatened due to human infrastructure encroaching on their habitats.

These amphibians are often called "dart frogs" due to the Native Americans' use of their toxic secretions to poison the tips of blowdarts. However, of over 170 species, only four have been documented as being used for this purpose (curare plants are more commonly used), all of which come from the genus Phyllobates, which is characterized by the relatively large size and high levels of toxicity of its members.


Poison dart frogs are endemic to humid, tropical environments of Central and South America. These frogs are generally found in tropical rainforests, including in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, Peru, Panama, Guyana, Nicaragua, and Hawaii (introduced).

Natural habitats include subtropical and tropical, moist, lowland forests, subtropical or tropical high-altitude shrubland, subtropical or tropical, moist, montanes and rivers, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, lakes and swamps. Other species can be found in seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, arable land, pastureland, rural gardens, plantations, moist savanna and heavily degraded former forest. Premontane forests and rocky areas have also been known to hold frogs. Dendrobatids tend to live on or close to the ground, but also in trees as much as 10 m (33 ft) from the ground.

2. Mosquito

Culicidae (Mosquitos) is a family of flies. They visit flowers of Green adder's-mouth orchid, eryngo, western white clematis, and Bog Star. 

The mosquito life cycle consists of egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages. Eggs are laid on the water surface; they hatch into motile larvae that feed on aquatic algae and organic material. The adult females of most species have tube-like mouthparts (called a proboscis) that can pierce the skin of a host and feed on blood, which contains protein and iron needed to produce eggs. Thousands of mosquito species feed on the blood of various hosts ⁠— vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and some fish; along with some invertebrates, primarily other arthropods. This loss of blood is seldom of any importance to the host.

The mosquito's saliva is transferred to the host during the bite, and can cause an itchy rash. In addition, many species can ingest pathogens while biting, and transmit them to future hosts. In this way, mosquitoes are important vectors of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Chikungunya, West Nile, dengue fever, filariasis, Zika and other arboviruses. By transmitting diseases, mosquitoes cause the deaths of more people than any other animal taxon: over 700,000 each year. It has been claimed that almost half of the people who have ever lived have died of mosquito-vectored disease, but this claim is disputed, with more conservative estimates placing the death toll closer to 5% of all humans.

1. Fer De Lance Snake

Bothrops asper (Fer De Lance) is a species of snakes in the family vipers. They are native to The Neotropics. They are solitary, nocturnal carnivores. They have sexual reproduction. Reproduction is dioecious. They have parental care (female provides care).

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 20.4 years (captivity)


This species likes moist environments and occurs in most life zones located at low or middle elevations (up to 600 meters (2,000 ft)), excluding those with strong seasonal dry periods. They are, however, sometimes found at much higher elevations. This is true in the premontane forest in Costa Rica, the cloud forest of Guatemala and Mexico, or the lower montane wet forest in the Caribbean Region of Colombia and Ecuador. It chiefly inhabits tropical rainforest and evergreen forest, but it also occurs in drier areas of tropical deciduous forest, thorn forest, and pine savannah near lakes, rivers, and streams. The home range of B. asper averages between 3.71 ha and 5.95 ha, which is comparatively small in relation to other pitvipers.


B. asper is nocturnal and solitary. It is less active in colder and drier periods. This species is often found near rivers and streams, basking in the sun during the day and lying still while well camouflaged in leaf litter or under forest cover waiting to ambush prey such as rats and mice that come within range during the night. When cornered or threatened, this species can be very defensive and may exhibit an S-coiled defense display. Juveniles are often semiarboreal, and even adults are sometimes encountered in bushes and low trees. Juveniles are also known to exhibit caudal luring, a use of their differently colored tail tips to lure prey. Although both males and females display this behavior, only males have bright coloured tail tips.

Compared to the common lancehead, B. atrox, these snakes have been described as excitable and unpredictable when disturbed. They can, and often will, move very quickly, usually opting to flee from danger, but are capable of suddenly reversing direction to vigorously defend themselves. Adult specimens, when cornered and fully alert, are dangerous. In a review of bites from this species suffered by field biologists, Hardy (1994) referred to it as the "ultimate pit viper".

Sources: EOLWikipedia
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