The Amazon River stretches more than 4,000 miles. The tropical rainforest of its watershed is home to millions of species of plants and animals, making it the planet’s most diverse ecosystem. The Zoo is home to an Amazonia Exhibit and animals from Amazonia, as well as many animals from other parts of South America.
Giant Anteater Leaves Zoo


one-year-old AuroraAurora, the first giant anteater born at the Zoo, has left the National Zoo for the Nashville Zoo, under a recommendation by the Species Survival Plan. In Nashville, she will be paired with Gabe, a young male. The new couple will then find their home in France at the ZooParc de Beauval.

When she turned one year old on July 24, Aurora was full grown. The largest of four anteater species, giant anteaters may grow five to seven feet long, from nose to tail. Giant anteaters live in South America, from southern Belize to northern Argentina, and eat up to 30,000 insects in a day.

Aurora’s mother, Maripi, and father, Dante, can be seen in their yard, near Lemur Island. Maripi is usually out in the morning, and Dante is usually out in the afternoon.

Read previous updates and watch a video.
Year of the Frog

There are more than 6,000 species of amphibians on Earth, including frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts. One thousand or more may be found in Amazonia. One-third of amphibians are threatened with extinction. Find out about the extinction crisis.

Amazonia Exhibit

The Zoo’s Amazonia Exhibit leads visitors into the realm of the Amazon River Basin, where giant arapaima, pacu, red-tailed catfish, and piranhas swim in shallow water, and poison arrow frogs, titi monkeys, tanagers, a scarlet macaw, and a two-toed sloth inhabit the world above. Living kapok, avocado, and cocoa trees spread their roots in this enclosed tropical habitat. click toTake an audio tour of the exhibit.

Adjacent to the exhibit, the Amazonia Science Gallery offers a glimpse into the scientific research Zoo staff conduct in the lab and in the field.

link to Amazonia photo gallery | link toHelp with cam

Can’t see any animals?
The animal in this exhibit may have moved out of view. FONZ volunteers operate some cams, but most of our cams show a fixed view.

Watching Amazon river fishes: Here is a glimpse into the rich and vibrant underwater life of the Amazon. When the large, serpent-like arapaimas swim past the camera, you will get a close-up look at one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. The ones you can see here range from five to six feet in length, but may reach up to ten feet and weigh 300 pounds. Red-tailed catfish, black pacus, and other fish share this 27,000-gallon aquarium below a living tropical forest.
Find out more about Amazonia Habitat and its Science Gallery.

Spectacled Bears

spectacled bearThe Zoo is home to two South spectacled bears, which live in a habitat near Amazonia. The only bear native to South America, spectacled bears have a thick black or brown coat and light-colored “spectacles” that ring their eyes. The whitish or cream markings extend down to the throat and chest in a pattern unique to each bear. click for more

Find Out About Our Bears

In March 2007, Zoo keeper Tracey Barnes talked to Washington Post Radio’s Jerry Phillips about the Zoo’s spectacled bears. Listen to Tracey’s interview and learn about the lives and habits of these fascinating bears, including a 15-year-old male that debuted at the Zoo in January. The interview (5:15) originally aired on Washington Post Radio (107.7 FM and 1500 AM) on March 25, 2007.

Tropical Wildlife at the Zoo

Elsewhere in the Zoo are golden lion tamarins, native to Brazilian tropical forest, which have been saved from extinction by Zoo conservationists. Golden Lion Tamarin Program

Leaf-cutter ants, Cuban crocodiles, and two species of bats hail from tropical and subtropical forests in the Americas. And, many of our familiar North American breeding birds spend the winter in these forests. Migratory Bird Center

Beyond Amazonia

Tropical forest also covers parts of Central and West Africa, home to western lowland gorillas and pygmy hippos, and the site of a major biodiversity study in Gabon, and Madagascar, home to lemurs.

In Asia, elephants, tigers, clouded leopards, orangutans and gibbons, Eld’s deer, gharial, and many other Zoo species live in tropical forests. Asia Trail

Sea turtles, a focus of long-term Zoo research, nest on tropical beaches around the world. more

Sometimes people are surprised to learn that rainforest does not blanket all of South America. Large expanses of this continent are grasslands, home to capybara, maned wolves, maras, and seriemas, among other Zoo species.