Ethnopharmacological relevance Animal oils and fats from the fishes Electrophorus electricus and Potamotrygon motoro, the reptiles Boa constrictor, Chelonoidis denticulata (Geochelone denticulata) and Melanosuchus niger and the riverine dolphin Inia geoffrensis are used as anti-inflammatory agents in the Peruvian Amazon. The aim of the study was to assess the topic anti-inflammatory effect of the oils/fats as well as to evaluate its antimicrobial activity and fatty acid composition. Materials and methods The oils/fats were purchased from a traditional store at the Iquitos market of Belen, Peru. The topic anti-inflammatory effect was evaluated by the mice ear edema induced by arachidonic acid (AA) and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) at the dose of 3 mg oil/ear. Indomethacine and nimesulide were used as reference anti-inflammatory drugs. The application resembles the traditional topical use of the oils. The antimicrobial effect of the oils/fats was assessed by the microdilution test against reference strains of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enteritidis. The fatty acid composition of the oils/fats (as methyl esters) was determined by GC and GC-MS analysis after saponification. Results All oils/fats showed topic anti-inflammatory activity, with better effect in the TPA-induced mice ear edema assay. The most active drugs were Potamotrygon motoro, Melanosuchus niger and Geochelone denticulata. In the AA-induced assay, the best activity was found for Potamotrygon motoro and Electrophorus electricus oil. The oil of Electrophorus electricus also showed a weak antimicrobial effect with MIC values of 250 μg/mL against Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 and Salmonella enteritidis-MI. The main fatty acids in the oils were oleic, palmitic and linoleic acids. Conclusions Topical application of all the oils/fats investigated showed anti-inflammatory activity in the mice ear edema assay. The effect can be related with the identity and composition of the fatty acids in the samples. This study gives support to the traditional use of animal oils/fats as ant-inflammatory agents in the Peruvian Amazon. However, new alternative should be encouraged due to the conservation status of several of the animal sources of the crude drugs.