Our planet is vast and expansive in ways that are difficult to truly grasp. The extent of what the Earth has to offer is so far reaching that we often don’t understand what is truly out there, whether it’s the endless oceans or seemingly infinite landscapes covering the planet. Although it goes without saying that we have yet to explore most of our planet, the parts we have managed to see can sometimes be wildly impressive and even downright unnerving.
The perfect example of this are the different rainforests found around the Earth with each of them being home to immense ecosystems that house some of the world’s most petrifying creatures in existence. Many of these we are well aware of like tigers and leopards while others remain a complete mystery to most of us, representing things we don’t even want to see in our nightmares, much less in real life.
Here are twenty-five images that will make everyone stay far away from the rainforest, especially the giant of them all – the Amazon Rainforest!
25 Face to Face with Anaconda
In one of the more chilling images that will ever be found of the rainforest, photographer Franco Banfi photographed this absolutely mammoth anaconda from up close. According to Franco, in his words, he estimates “this incredible female anaconda to be approximately 19.8 – 21.45 feet long which, I would suggest is on the conservative side of accurate. What a pity it couldn’t be stretched out and measured, a task all but impossible in consideration of her awesome power.”
The craziest part of this photograph isn’t just the sheer enormity of the anaconda, but the fact that the photographer chose to enter the water so close to it, knowing fully well that it could turn to attack with speed we could never dream of matching.
24 The Amazonian Giant Centipede
This creature found on floors of the Amazon Rainforest as well as its trees isn’t just frightening to look at. It also poses a very serious threat considering its impressive size as well as its ability to hunt. The Giant Centipede of the Amazon can reach a length of an entire foot long, while hunting for quite literally anything that is small enough for it to devour. This includes anything from mice to bats to spiders, lizards, insects and more.
This is definitely one you don’t want to encounter on a rainforest hike!
23 Anaconda Takes on a Croc
Everyone knows that crocodiles are one of the few animals that are not to be trifled with. They are massive in size and expert killers. The fact that an anaconda could easily take one out in a battle may not be surprising, but it is still quite amazing, nonetheless. In this intimidating image of an anaconda taking on a crocodile in the rainforest, it becomes abundantly clear that these giant Amazonian snakes are on an entirely different level when it comes to status on the totem pole of power.
They can grow to well over twenty-five feet and weigh up 500 pounds, making it the largest and most powerful in the world. According to rainforestcruises.com, “they are particularly agile and stealthy in the water and lurk in the Amazon River in wait of anything they can strike and overpower, which includes jaguars, caimans, turtles, wild pigs, deer and even humans.”
They are just another reason to stay away from the rainforest!
22 The Giant Arapaima Gigas
Coming in at up to fifteen feet long, this fish is often considered the largest in the world. The arapaima is found in the waters of the magnificent Amazon River where it preys on smaller fish. These giants are powerful given their scales are tough enough to repel piranhas.
Although it is highly unlikely the arapaima would ever attack a human, their massive size is simply intimidating and can incite panic for anyone that sees them up close and in person. It’s wise to stay away as their jaws are powerful and they are more than capable of using them if they feel threatened.
21 Captured Arapaima
The indigenous people of the Amazon hunt the giant arapaima fish considering their abundance in meat. The arapaima can put up an incredible fight and don’t go down easily, given their power and strength. There have been documented instances of the fish knocking these fishermen out of their boats in battle in a test of wills. Its size is on full display as it seems to dwarf grown men standing upright holding it up after it lost its battle.
The giant is an expert hunter and is on record swimming right below the surface of the river water, ready to pounce on unsuspecting birds hovering right above looking to hunt for their own pray.
20 Lurking Black Caimans
The Black Caiman is deadly in every sense of the word. It is a fierce hunter with precision-like skills once it sets its sight on its prey, giving it very little chance of survival. The Black Caiman, although almost always very dark in color, given its name, can sometimes be brown which helps it camouflage perfectly in the darkened waters of the Amazon River.
These caimans are sometimes undetectable as they quietly approach their prey before striking with the impressive force only a fifteen-foot crocodile could muster.
19 Bull Sharks in the River
Sharks are almost always native to ocean waters, but there are known instances of the killer species making its way upstream into rivers and residing there, waiting to pick off easy prey in much more concentrated areas, making hunting a much easier feasting activity here. Amazingly, the bull shark, specifically, has been found in the waters of the Amazon River deep in the rainforest.
The large sharks, which can grow to more than ten feet long and weigh nearly 700 pounds “possess enormously powerful jaws and will gorge on just about anything, from sloths to dolphins, turtles to birds, and even member of their own species”, according to rainforestcruises.com.
18 The Small, but Frightening Candirus
The candirus is a small parasitic fish that lives in the Amazon River, making its home deep within the river beds. The key word here is “parasitic” which essentially means these little creatures, although tiny in size, feed in ways that are downright alarming. Their parasitic natures mean they make their way into orifices or gills of larger creatures, making their home inside the bodies of their new hosts, where they eat from within.
If this sounds frightening, it’s because it truly is, considering there are known cases in which they did this to humans wading into the waters of the rainforest.
17 The Electric Eels of the Amazon
The electric eel is indigenous to the waters of South America, so anytime you see these depicted in pop culture, they originated in the rainforests of the Amazon. These eels grow nearly seven feet long and almost fifty pounds, making them commanding in size alone. But it isn’t their size that is most fearsome, but the potential danger they pose in the form of electric shocks that could incapacitate victims in seconds.
It is able to send nearly 900 watts of electricity with one shock, which is enough to paralyze its prey into submission.
16 Colossal Crabs
Although these giant crabs aren’t found in the Amazon Rainforest, they can be seen throughout other forests of the world near the ocean, specifically in Asia near the Pacific Ocean. Known as coconut crabs because of their affinity for coconuts, these crabs are truly scary to look at. They climb the trees of forests and nest up high while also piercing the fruit for its tasty coconut water.
They tend to stay away from humans but running into one of these during a nature trek in the forest is enough to send anyone running in the other direction.
15 The Giant Amazonian Otter
The Amazon Rainforest continues to make its mark on our list, proving its size and diversity when compared to other rainforests of the world. It is home to the giant otter which may not seem frightening, but these aren’t your average, cuddly cute otters found in the United States. According to ranker.com, “while it may not look particularly threatening, this apex predator is one of the most efficient killers in the rainforest. Believe it or not, this otter is capable of killing and eating anacondas and caimans” which work in groups to take on much larger opponents.
These giant otters aren’t slouches either when it comes to size as they are the largest of its species in the world.
14 A Mammoth Spiderweb
If we didn’t know any better, we would think that there was a real-life Spider-Man living among us, taking residence in the jungles of the Amazon. Although that would be a cool story, these giant webs actually belong to real life spiders that live among the forest of the Amazon, many of which reach sizes that are hard to fathom at times.
Stumbling across a spiderweb of this magnitude would surely be reason to ring the alarm. Whatever resides up there has to be the thing of nightmares!
13 The Goliath Birdeater
Speaking of giant spiders that are scary enough to keep us up at night, it’s time to get acquainted with the Goliath Birdeater, an arachnid that is so intimidating, it seems like it can't be real. This spider is essentially the size of a puppy. That is absolutely massive, making this the largest and heaviest spider in the world. As its name suggests, the Goliath Birdeater feeds on birds that are bold enough to endeavor out at night on the forest beds. The Goliath has even been known to catch birds while hiding out in trees under the cover of darkness!
12 Icky Leeches
Although the leeches in the Amazon can seem like a nuisance, they can actually be quite dangerous. Found on the banks of rivers and the riverbeds themselves, these creatures are infamously known for latching onto victims with the intent of sucking on blood and feeding on flesh. According to ranker.com, the biggest of them all, the tyrant king leech “seems to intentionally aim for mammals' orifices, including the eyes. Once inside its prey's body, the leech can survive and feed for weeks.”
11 Leopard Manhandles Black Caiman
Those powerful black caiman crocodiles that just made our list of reasons to avoid the rainforest should follow our advice as it clearly went toe to toe and lost its battle against the king of all mammals in the Amazon Rainforest – the leopard. The cat may not be the biggest or fastest in the world, but it is certainly one of the fiercest with its ability to hunt just about any living creature with deadly results.
In this instance, the black caiman even lost the battle despite being on its home turf in the river. The leopard will soon retreat with its new meal up one of the giant trees of the rainforest for feeding.
10 Mata Mata Turtle
Although this specific turtle poses little danger to nearby humans, its appearance is something that will send chills down anyone’s spine. Looking more like an ancient dinosaur than an actual turtle, the Mata Mata Turtle looks quite alarming with its serrated shell and flat reptilian fossil-like head.
Anyone who crosses path with the Mata Mata would definitely feel a mixture of confusion, fear, angst and dread as the reptile looks quite dangerous on appearance alone.
9 The Giant Payaras
Found in the dangerous waters of the Amazon River, payaras are a deadly fish that few can contend with. Size is everything when it comes to the payara. Reaching lengths of nearly four feet, this fish is massive in size which adds to the dread its prey feels as it approaches.
The six-inch jagged fangs are just as intimidating which it uses to feast on smaller fish in its way. The payara is fearsome, but pales in comparison to the next fish on our list.
8 The Dreaded Piranha
Popularized in cinema for decades, the dreaded piranha is every bit as deadly as we have come to believe. Although the fish isn’t nearly as fatal on its own merits by itself, the damage a family could impose is almost unfathomable. Able to take out mammals as large as giant deer within minutes, the piranha is an intimidating reality that could be a costly mistake for anyone in its path.
The school of fish work together to attack and dismember its prey quickly with its jagged and razor-sharp teeth.
7 Fatal Frogs
The poison dart frog has been featured in Hollywood movies as a cool reptile that can inflict serious damage on others through its poison, but no movie can quite capture just how dangerous this reptile is. Although the poison dart frog is one of the most beautiful creatures alive with its bright and eclectic colors covering its body, looks are deceiving in this case. That mesmerizing skin is also deadly, carrying toxins that can be fatal to the touch.
According to ranker.com, “A single poison dart frog can kill up to 10 adult humans with a simple touch.”
6 The True King of the Jungle
The silverback gorilla is not an unknown animal to the world, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous or frightening. One of the most powerful animals on the planet, the silverback is a force to be reckoned with. With power that could easily best a group of grown men like child's play, the gorillas found in the rainforest are typically left alone by just about every other creature in the forest.
With very little to worry about, the silverback focuses on resting, eating and protecting their family in the deep forests of the Amazon.
5 Enormous Tarantulas
Surprisingly, these creatures are not as dangerous as one would immediately assume based on their size and look. The giant tarantulas found in the rainforest are certainly lethal when it comes to the creatures they prey on but would do little harm to humans. Their bites contain no venom, and although painful, are not deadly.
The pain would be similar to being bitten by other strong insects with no last effects after an hour or so. Either way, it is probably a good idea to avoid them altogether!
4 Tigers in the Shadows
Although tigers are not found in the Amazon Rainforest, they still call the rainforest home in other parts of the world including most of Asia. These large cats are considered some of the deadliest mammals on the planet as they are perfectly built for destruction. Their combination of size, speed, power and stealth making them hunting machines, which very few predators can match.
Tigers should be reason enough to avoid the rainforest altogether!
3 Never Before Contacted Tribes
Hiking through the jungles of the world present dangers of all kinds, but one of the scariest might just be the one we would least expect – humans. There are indigenous tribes that still call the rainforest home, many of which have never had any contact with the outside world. Because of this, experts believe that they are prone to reacting with aggression as they perceive outsiders as imminent threats.
There are documented cases of helicopters being attacked by never-before contacted tribes with arrows and spears as they fly over their remote villages.
2 Unsafe Travel
It is not unheard of for brave visitors to traverse the jungles of South America and other rainforests of the world. It’s a dangerous, but bold adventure that could turn out to be the experience of a lifetime. Many turn back the moment they see just how unsafe it can be. Without even accounting for the deadly animals throughout, the travel also presents great risks as much of the landscape consists of hazardous conditions.
Having to cross makeshift bridges like the one above tend to be reason enough to turn back.
1 The Unnerving Visored Bat
Indigenous to the tropical rainforests of South America, the visored bat is certainly a sight to behold. Although they don’t truly pose any real dangers other than a bite which shouldn’t be harmful to humans, it is their look that is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine. The bat’s off-white hair and large protruding yellow eyes look like something out of a horror movie, not to mention the bulging disc in its forehead which resembles a visor, hence the name.
The visored bat’s appearance is truly unsettling especially if you were to actually see it in its natural state – in the dark.