Tropical rainforests are home to numerous species of animals which include mammals, reptiles, insects, etc. Read this AnimalSake post to find out more about these interesting species.
Tropical rainforests are found in locations around the equator and are characterized by wet and humid climatic conditions along with dense forest cover. Rainforests are considered to be one of the oldest and the most complex ecosystems on earth, which explains the presence of numerous species of animals found here. The animals have adapted to this habitat, and are identified as important features of it.
Tropical rainforests lie in the equatorial zone between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. This ecosystem is characterized by high average temperatures, humidity levels, and a significant amount of rainfall. These forests can be found in Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, Central America, and on several of the Pacific, Caribbean, and Indian Ocean islands.
Thousands of animal species call these forests their home, with about 40% to 75% of all biotic species being indigenous to the region. In this article, we’ve profiled some of the best known animals that inhabit these forests.
Animals of Amazon Rainforest
Animals of African Rainforests
Animals of Asian Rainforests
Orangutans, the largest of the great apes, are most abundant in the Southeast Asian tropical rainforests. They are arboreal (live in trees) and spend most of their lives on trees. They have a strong bulky body, powerful arms, and short legs, and are reddish-brown in color. Their diet includes ripe fruits, leaves, flowers, vines, orchids, etc. In Malay, ‘orangutan’ means ‘man of the forest’.
Golden Lion Tamarin
Golden lion tamarins are primates of the size of a squirrel, with a golden silky mane like that of a lion. They are arboreal, they live in groups, and are mainly found in the rainforests of Brazil in South America. Golden lion tamarins mainly feed on insects, fruits and small birds. They have very strong legs with long, sharp claws that enable them to dig out insects from tree barks. They have been declared endangered due to the vast destruction of their habitats and also because they are poached for their golden, silky mane.
Jaguars are species of wild cats found in Central and South America. They prefer living in habitats that have water sources and they are good swimmers. They prey on capybaras, turtles, birds, and reptiles. Jaguars are nocturnal animals with strong physical features like short limbs and an extremely strong jaw with long and sharp canine teeth. Jaguars are declared as endangered owing to poaching and considerable loss of habitat.
Capybaras are the largest rodents and are found in swamps and marshes, and close to rivers and lakes in Central and South America. They are found in large groups and are excellent swimmers. They mainly feed on aquatic plants, tree barks, and fruits. They have barrel-shaped bodies with brownish fur and webbed feet to help them swim. They are preyed upon by jaguars, anacondas, harpy eagles, etc.
Toco Toucans are the largest among their species and are mainly found in the Amazon river basin. Their striking feature is their long, curved bill and their bright color. They cannot fly very well and are found hopping most of the time. They feed on bird eggs, frogs, and fruits. They are social birds, and live in cavities built in tree barks.
The anaconda, also known as the water boa, is the largest snake in the world and is mostly found in marshes and swamps. It is not venomous and it swallows its prey. It is a good climber and can go without food for almost a year after feeding on a big prey. It mostly hunts at night and kills its prey by constricting. It feeds on rodents, pigs, deer, birds, fish, etc.
Poison Dart Frogs
Poison dart frogs are brightly colored frogs found in the tropical rainforests of South and Central America. They have a poisonous skin and the poison is used on the tips of darts and arrows for hunting. The poison also works on their predators. They feed on small insects like spiders, ants, and flies.
Monarch butterflies are a species of poisonous butterflies that feed on the milkweed plant. They are mainly found in North America. They appear beautiful and have bright-colored, scaly wings. Their predators fall sick if they eat them due to the poison and hence, avoid preying on them.
Most of the animals found in the tropical rainforests are endangered, as are the tropical rainforests themselves. Rainforests are vital to our environment as they play an important role in producing oxygen and these animals are important as they maintain the tropical rainforests. Saving the rainforests will mean saving these exotic animals from extinction.