Brazilian Porcupine

The Brazilian Porcupine (Coendou prehensilis) or Porcupine is a spiny, arboreal, nocturnal creature and in the North Rupununi has been noted for having a preference for palm forests.

Golden-handed Tamarin

The Golden-handed Tamarin (Saguinus midas), also known as Midas Tamarin and Red-handed Tamarin can be seen along farm edges in the North Rupununi, but interestingly enough does not exist in the Iwokrama Rain Forest.

Crab Eating Fox

In the rainforest

The Crab Eating Fox (Cerdocyonthous) or Savannah Fox is the only fox that exists in Guyana.

Vermilion Flycatcher

The Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) is tiny but aptly named and can be seen sitting and marking its territory in open savannah areas of the North Rupununi.

Yellow Banded Poison Dart Frog

In the rainforest

The Yellow Banded Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates leucomelas) is the largest of the Dendrobatid frogs and has been seen in the Burro Burro river of Surama and the Clarence Mountain Trail in Aranaputa.

Red Fan Parrot

The Red-fan Parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus) is also known as the Hawk-headed Parrot and it can be seen in the Iwokrama River Lodge when fruiting trees are bearing.


The Ocelot (Leoparduspardalis) is an often-seen, spotted, midsized cat, weighing up to 11 kg.


With golden eyes and a tawny, golden colour the Puma (Puma concolor), is a long legged, rangy cat which ranges from North America to the tip of South America and exists at elevations up to 4,500 m, hence the name “mountain lion.” Also known as the Florida Panther or Deer Tiger, it is white on the underside from the muzzle to the belly.


The Common Iguana (Iguana iguana) or ‘Guana,’ is a large green lizard that grows up to 1.8 m, with a cylindrical body and a high spiky crest of scales running the length of the spine. 

Collared Peccary

Rain forests are rich in biodiversity and are home to many different plants and animals as well as indigenous communities.

Peacock Bass

Peacock Bass (Cichla ocellaris), Butterfly Peacock Bass, Waterwolf, or Lukanani is actually a cichlid, not a member of the bass family.

Land of Giants

The Iwokrama Forest and Rupununi Wetlands are home to healthy populations of Guyana’s Giants.

Purple heart

Purpleheart (Peltogyne venosa) belongs to the family of Caesalpiniaceae. The species is found growing in sandy plains and terraces and it is distributed throughout Central and South America from Mexico down to southern Brazil; in other parts of the world it is referred to as Amaranth and Violetwood.

Dwarf Caiman

Four species of caiman exist in Guyana: the Black Caiman, Spectacled Caiman and two species of dwarf caiman.

Savannah Ecosystems

Savannahs are grassland ecosystems that are characterised by small trees or trees that are widely spaced so as not create a closed canopy.

Wattled Jacana

In the rainforest

T  he Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) is a common wetland bird that ranges from Panama and Trinidad and down into most of South America. 

Variegated Tinamou

The Variegated Tinamou (Crypturellus variegates) species was first identified from a specimen collected in French Guiana and is the larger cousin to the Little Tinamou. 

Grey-winged Trumpeter

The Grey-winged Trumpeter (Psophia crepitans) is distributed north of the Amazon River, in Ecuador, Colombia, south Venezuela, north-east Brazil, north-eastern Peru and the Guianas.

The Giant Gladiator Frog

The Giant Gladiator Frog (Hypsiboas boans) belongs to the family of tree frogs (Hylidae).

Red Brocket Deer

The Red Brocket Deer (Mazama Americana) is a species of brocket deer that can be found in the forests of South America ranging from northern Argentina to Colombia and the Guianas.

Red-rumped Agouti

The Red-rumped Agouti (Dasyprocta leporine) is locally known as the Akuri in Guyana.

Suriname Toad

T he Suriname Toad (Pipa pipa) could be one of the strangest frogs you might see in the rainforest; in fact it’s not a toad but an aquatic dwelling frog.

Ecosystems – Wetlands

In the Rainforest

Wetlands are areas that hold water, either seasonally or permanently; they have been titled the kidneys of the landscape and biological supermarket because of the functions they perform in the hydrological and chemical cycles and the extensive food web and rich biodiversity they support.

The Cattleya Orchid

The Cattleya Orchid (Cattleya spp.) occurs naturally throughout Central and South America and belongs to the largest plant family in the world, Orchidaceae.

Coral snakes

“Red on black is a friend of Jack, red on yellow kills a fellow”!


Piranhas belong to the family Characidae and are related to herbivorous species like the Pacu.

Red Howler Monkey

It’s 4 am in the rainforest and you are awakened by the sound of loud eerie roaring; if you are new to the environment it can be a disconcerting sound.

Giant Water Lily

The Giant Water Lily (Victoria amazonica) is a flowering plant and the largest of the Nymphaeaceae family of water lilies in the world.

Ite Palm

In the rainforest

Ite (Mauritiaflexuosa) also known as Morichi, belongs to the plant family which includes all palms (Arecaceae). 


In the rainforest

Kufa (Clusiaspp) is a plant which is widely distributed in the tropical rainforests of Guyana and belongs to the family of plants known as Clusiaceae.


Locust (Hymenaea courbaril) or ‘Stinking Toe’, grows on both clay and sandy soils and can be found along rivers in mixed Mora forests and marsh forests.

Snake families: Boidae or Boas

In the Rainforest

In Guyana there are eight snake families. The main families are the pit vipers, the elapides (coral snakes), the colubrids (largely non-venomous snakes) and the boids.


In the rainforest

Frogs are amphibians; they have moist, scaleless skin and are exothermic animals.  This means that their body temperature depends on the temperature of their environment.


In the Rainforest

Rain forests are rich in biodiversity and are home to many different plants and animals.

Kinkajous and Olingos

In the rainforest

Kinkajous (Potos Flavus), also known as Night Monkeys or Honey Bears, and Olingos (genus Bassaricyon) are both members of the Racoon family.

Giant Anteater

In the rainforest

It’s more than six feet long with a great bushy tail, long snout, and big claws on its front feet.

Black Caiman

In the rainforest

Guyana is home to four species of Caiman including the Spectacled Caiman, Black Caiman and two species of Dwarf Caiman; they are classified in the subfamily Alligatoridae and are often mistaken for alligators.


In the Rainforest

There are over 1,100 species of bats worldwide, with at least 121 species found in Guyana and 86 found within the Iwokrama forest.

King Vulture

In the rainforest

The King Vulture, Sarcoramphus papa or Kasana as it known locally by the Makushi people, is the largest bird of the New World Vulture family, Cathartidae, with a length of 67 to 81 cm and a wingspan of 1.2 to 2 m and is distributed throughout

Black Curassow

In the rainforest

The Black Curassow (Crax alector), or Powis, as they are locally called in Guyana, are found in humid forested areas in the Guianas, northern Amazon, southern Venezuela and parts of Colombia, and are part of the family of

Vampire bats

In the rainforest

Vampire bats, creatures of many myths and legends, are blood-feeding, flying mammals found throughout Central and South America.


In the rainforest

The Jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest cat in the Americas and ranges from the south western US to Argentina. 


In the rainforest

Pandion Haliaetus, more commonly known as the Osprey or Fish Hawk, or locally known as ‘Tanuwaka,’ can be found in forested areas near bodies of water.

Giant River Turtle

In the rainforest

Giant River Turtles (Podocnemis expansa) are found in the Guianas, Venezuela and the Amazon as well as in rivers,

Jabiru Stork

In the rainforest

The Jabiru Stork (Jabiru mycteria) is the tallest (122-40 cm) flying bird in South and Central America and belongs to the stork family, Ciconiidae.

Giant River Otter

In the rainforest

This is the first in a series of articles about the various species of fauna and flora which abound in Guyana’s rain forest and the Rupununi Savannahs.