A vast majority of the world’s animals can be found in rainforests around the world. These forests on their part are true to their name, receiving a high amount of rainfall throughout the year, characterizing them by dense vegetation with trees reaching massive heights. The rainforest habitats can be divided into the tropical and temperate categories, found in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, and North America.
List of animals that live in the rainforest biome
What type of animals live in the tropical rainforests
Amazon Rainforest, South America
|Scarlet macaw||Red-eyed tree frog|
|Giant anteaters||Amazon river dolphin|
|Two-toed sloth||Squirrel monkey|
|Capuchin monkey||Brown spider monkey|
Congo Rainforest, Africa
|African Leopard||African civet|
|African forest elephant||Bonobo|
Daintree Rainforest, Australia
Puerto Rico (El Yunque) Rainforest, North America
|Puerto Rican parrot||Common coquí|
Southeast Asian (Indonesian) Rainforest
|Bornean Orangutan||Sumatran Rhinoceros|
|Asian palm civet||Sumatran tiger|
Philippine Rainforest, Asia
|Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox||Flame-crowned flowerpecker|
Indian Rainforest, Asia
|Indian Bison||Lion-tailed macaque|
|Indian giant squirrel||Big barn owl|
What animals live in the temperate rainforests
Appalachian Rainforest, North America
|Flatted muck turtle||White-tailed deer|
Valdivian Rainforest, South America
Layers of the rainforests
- The emergent layer is the uppermost one, consisting of the tallest trees that outgrow the canopy.
- The canopy is the next layer, where the biodiversity is the most. Large treetops are predominant in this layer.
- The layer that follows is the understory.
- The last layer of the rainforest is the forest floor, which gets the least amount of sunlight.
Animals of the rainforest emergent layer
Animals that live mostly in the emergent layer of rainforests are harpy eagles, macaws, capuchin monkeys, and sloths.
Animals of the canopy layer
Howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, green iguanas, two-toed sloths, and toco toucans are some of the animals that can be found in the canopy.
Animals of the understory
The layer under the canopy is teeming with animals like frogs, toads, snakes, and large mammals including red-eyed tree frogs, golden tree boas, greater bulldog bats, and jaguars.
Animals of the forest floor
The damp and dark forest floor is home to thousands of insects including a number of spiders and scorpions, while larger inhabitants like the tapir, giant anteaters, agouti, elephants are also there.
Adaptations of the Rainforest Animals and Birds
- Camouflage is an essential tool, and many animals, both predators, and preys use it to blend in with the dense forest backgrounds.
- Due to a high level of competition in these forests, many animals have chosen a part of the day to be active, with some being completely sedentary during the daytime becoming busy only during the dark hours (nocturnal). Some may be at rest in the night and be active during the day (diurnal).
- Nocturnal species have specially adapted eyes that help them see clearly in the darkness of the night, and also rather dark daytime hours as hardly any sunlight breaks through the upper level of trees to reach the understory and forest floor.
- Many of the smaller animals, including insects, reptiles, and amphibians have bright coloring to warn their potential predators, as most often these creatures are poisonous. In the wild, including in rainforests, bright coloration is associated with toxicity.
- Most primates living in rainforests have prehensile tails to aid them in climbing tall trees and locomote through the branches, especially in the emergent and canopy layers.
The food chain in the rainforest follows the set pattern where vegetation is the primary producer. They are followed by the primary consumers who feed on grass, plants, fruits, and seeds. Herbivores like tapirs, monkeys, sloths, and toucans are some of the primary consumers. The secondary consumers follow, feeding on the primary consumers with jaguars, boa constrictors, anacondas and other carnivores being members of this part of the food chain. The last rung on the food chain is constituted by decomposers like fungi, insects, and other microorganisms.
Endangered rainforest animals
Many animals of the rainforest are considered endangered, with a major percentage having reached a critical stage. Sumatran tigers have been driven to being critically endangered, with two of their cousin species, the Javan and Balinese tigers having already become extinct. Sumatran orangutans also are critically endangered. As are yellow-crested cockatoos, brown spider monkeys, Lear’s macaw, mountain gorillas, and Javan rhinoceros, amongst others.
Why are they endangered
There are various reasons behind the endangerment of the rainforest animals and birds. Overhunting and habitat destruction are some of the major reasons behind the state of the animals living in these forests. However, people have come to realize the significance of preserving these habitats and its inhabitants; as a result, conservation efforts are underway to get their populations on an increasing trend so that they can be brought back from the brink of extinction.
- The South American rainforests are home to over 200 species of butterflies.
- Bats living in the rainforests are responsible for the pollination of many tropical fruits like mangoes.
- Okapis are the closest relative of the giraffe. Looking like a cross between a zebra and a giraffe, they are also one of the most elusive inhabitants of the African rainforests.
- The green anaconda is the heaviest snake in the world. It is also the second longest serpent after the reticulated python.
- Howler monkeys are one of the loudest monkey species in the world.