The anaconda lives in the swamps and rivers. Anacondas can also climb trees. Adults can get as big as 20 feet long. Anacondas are good swimmers. They have scales and can swim quickly. They kill their prey by constricting (squeezing) and drowning. Many anacondas are found in South America.
The anteater is a mammal that lives in Mexico, Central America, and South America. They live in forests and swamps and plains. The anteater has a long sticky tongue that catches insects. Anteaters have very long, strong claws.
Ants are amazing. They carry leaves that are many times bigger than they are from the top of the canopy in the rain forest to the forest floor. Here they live in nests of millions of ants! The ants digest the plants and also feed off their droppings.
Unlike monkeys, apes do not have tails. They have very strong limbs that help them swing and climb. They live in the rain forests of the world with the exception of Australia. Apes are plant eaters and travel to different levels of the rain forest for fruit and twigs to eat.
Many species of bats live in the rain forests. They are nocturnal (night) animals. They sleep during the day (hanging upside down) in layers of the canopy. At night they search for fruit and plants to eat. Some have big eyes and a very strong sense of smell. Some have long tongues to get the nectar from flowers.
Bees are very important to the rain forest. Along with bats and other insects, bees help pollinate flowers. This helps the plants form seeds which can then develop more plants.
High in the emergent layer of the rain forest is the place you find these colorful birds. The male bird of paradise is very colorful and attracts its mate by displaying his feathers and making loud sounds all day long.
The Boa Constrictor squeezes (constricts) its prey. It uses its fangs to capture prey and then coils its body around the prey and squeezes until the prey suffocates. The Boa Constrictor often swallows large prey whole with the help of powerful jaws.
Chameleons skin color changes when they are in danger. The color changes in their skin are caused by a gland that releases special pigments when faced with an enemy. This pigment creates a camouflage that helps the chameleon hide from enemies and escape. Chameleons can also can puff out to make themselves look bigger.
Chimpanzees are part of the ape family. They do not have tails. They have long arms and legs and swing from branch to branch in the canopy of the rain forest. They eat fruit and nuts. They use twigs as tools to dig for food.
Cobras are poisonous snakes that live in the dense part of the rain forest (jungle). The cobra feeds on other snakes and mammals. It injects its prey with venom. The cobra hisses and expands its hood when it feels threatened.
This tropical bird lives in the South American rain forest. The male is usually bright orange and the female is brown. They nest in the mud and eat fruit and seeds.
The cockatoo is a part of the parrot family. It lives in the Australian rain forests. It lives in the upper canopy and emergent layers of the forest. It feeds on fruit, seeds, and nuts. There are many varieties and colors of cockatoos.
Crocodiles are reptiles. They have scaly skin. They live on land and water. Their strong tail allows them to move quickly in the water to catch prey. Their eyes are on top of their heads so they can see above the surface of the water.
Eagles live in the top of the trees in the emergent layer of the rain forest. They are fast and have keen eyesight. They can swoop down and snatch their prey from the canopy. They eat small mammals.
Emerald Tree Boas are bright green to blend in with their habitat. They are part of the boa family and are constrictors.
Not all frogs are green. Poison dart frogs come in many colors to ward off their enemies. The poison from these frogs can kill predators.
Geckos belong to the lizard family. There are many types of geckos in the rain forest. Some have sticky feet to stick to the trees they are climbing. Others jump and glide to avoid being caught by their predators.
Gorillas are part of the ape family. They eat plants and fruit. Gorillas amble around the forest floor using their feet and knuckles. They can move quickly for a short distance.
You’ll know how this monkey got its name once you hear it. It is by far one of the noisiest animals of the rain forest. Their howls can be heard up to two miles away. The howler monkey is one of the biggest species of the monkey family. Howler monkeys live in Central and South America. They eat fruit, plants, insects, and seeds.
There are over four hundred species of hummingbirds throughout the world. Many hummingbirds live in South America in the tropical rain forests. Hummingbirds are the smallest species of birds. Some are as small as 7 cm. (about 3 inches) in length. The hummingbird gets its name from the sound of the rapid beating of its wings.
Iguanas are a type of lizard. They live in the rain forests. They live along the banks of the rivers and in tree branches. They are usually a green to gray color. They are herbivores.
Jaguars are one of the largest animals in the cat family. They live in South America. They can swim and like to eat fish. They also eat mice and other rodents. You can find them on the forest floor, but also in other layers of the rain forest because they can climb trees.
Lemurs live in Madagascar. Madagascar is an island not far from Africa. They eat plants, fruit, and insects. They are related to the monkey family. Leopards: Leopards are part of the cat family. They can climb trees and move swiftly. They often pounce on their prey from the trees above.
Macaws are part of the parrot family. Popular macaws are the blue and gold macaw and the Scarlet macaw. They are found on the treetops of the canopy and emergent layers. They are brightly colored. They eat fruit, seeds, and nuts. They crack the nuts with their sharp beaks.
Mandrills are part of the ape family. They are easily recognizable for their brightly colored face. They live on the forest floor of the rain forest. They can climb trees, too.
There are many species of monkeys in the rain forest. Some species include the spider monkey, the woolly monkey, the golden lion tamarin, and the howler monkey. Unlike apes, monkeys have tails. They often hang from branches with their tails.
There are many species of moths and butterflies in the rain forest. They live in the forest canopy. Some are busy during the day and others are nocturnal. They eat the nectar from plants.
Okapis live on the forest floor. They are related to the giraffe. They have stripe markings on their legs that help camouflage them in the forest.
Orangutans live in Southeast Asia, in Borneo and Sumatra. They are part of the ape family. They do not have a tail (monkeys have tails, apes don't). They live in the trees and build nests out of branches. They eat fruit and vegetation. The females carry their babies until they are about three years old. They are a reddish-orange color.
There are many varieties of parrots in the rain forest. Not all rain forests have the same species. The cock-a-too, for example, is only found in Australia. The toucan is found in the South American rain forests. Parrots have strong beaks that help them crack the hard nuts and seeds they eat. The cracking of these seeds allows some to fall to the forest floor and the seeds then begin to grow, helping to replenish the rain forest.
Peacocks are known for their colorful feathers. They live in Southeast Asia. They can fly, but they spend most of their time on the ground. When the male wants to attract a mate, he spreads out his feathers.
Porcupines live on the forest floor. They have very sharp spines that protect them from their enemies. Many are found in the forests of Asia.
This bright green frog has red eyes to scare away its enemies. The tree frog has sticky toes to help him grasp tree limbs. Some can glide from one leave/branch to another.
The rhinos that live in Southeast Asia live on the forest floor. You can also find the Rhino living in the grasslands and savannahs. They charge their enemies with their strong and sharp horns. Despite their weight they can run quickly to attack. They eat fruit and leaves.
The three-toed sloth lives in the canopy of the rain forest. The sloth has very strong claws to help it cling to tree branches. The sloth often sleeps hanging upside down, using his firm grip to keep from falling. The sloth is a slow moving animal. It often takes a day to climb up and down a tree. The fur of the sloth often looks green. This is algae growing on its fur, which the sloth can feed on.
The golden lion Tamarin is part of the monkey family. It is a bright golden color. They like to eat fruit and small animals. They live in the trees of the rainforest.
Tapirs are found mostly in India and Asia. This animal has a snout that helps it find its food of leaves, seeds, and fruit. It is mainly nocturnal. It can swim with its strong legs.
Toucans live in the tropical rain forest of South America. They have a long colorful beak that measures as long as its body. This large beak is used to pick and eat fruit.
There are many varieties of vipers in the rain forest. The pit vipers are nocturnal. This viper has a pit organ that smells other animals leading him to his prey. The gaboon viper lives on the forest floor. It has long fangs that inject poison into its prey.
Many plants in the upper regions of the rain forest have aerial (air) roots. They are called epiphytes. Some people mistake that to mean the roots use air to live or breathe. The roots actually use the moisture in the air.
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Found in Asian rain forests. They can grow 6-15 inches a day. They can grow as tall as 120 feet. Bamboo, although hard like wood, is actually a member of the grass family. Bamboo is used in the tropics to build houses, rafts, and bridges. Bamboo is also used to make mats, hats, fish traps, chopsticks, and musical instruments.
The banana plant is grown all over the tropics for its fruit. Half of the world's banana crop is grown in Africa. Central and South America export bananas to other parts of the world. Bananas grow in bunches. Plantain is a type of banana that is larger and coarser. It isn't as sweet
Brazil Nuts are grown in the rain forest. They are gathered by native workers and sent around the world. Many products are grown in the rain forest. The hard shell of the Brazil Nut is hard to crack. Some parrots have sharp beaks to break open the shell. The nuts are found in a round grapefruit size ball that grows on the tree and contains about 20-25 seeds (nuts).
Pineapples are part of a group of plants called bromeliads. These plants have stiff leaves that help water travel to the center of the plant. A big bromeliad provides a home for insects and small water animals
The seeds of the "cacao" tree are made into a powder that is called cocoa. Cocoa is a drink that is made with this powder mixed with milk. Africa harvests about two-thirds of the world's cocoa beans. Most of the rest comes from South America.
Coconuts are the fruit of the coconut palm tree. The fruit grows in clusters. It has a thick outer husk and a hard inner shell. The inner white shell is called the meat of the coconut and is used for food. The liquid inside the coconut is called coconut milk and is a favorite drink in the tropics.
Ferns are spore producing plants. Most grow in damp, shady places, but some grow in dry soil and rocks. Some are air plants that grow on trees. Ferns come in a variety of sizes, some are very small and others can be large bushes.
There are many different species of hummingbirds in the rain forests. They are important because they help pollinate flowers like the hibiscus. Look at the anthers (in yellow), these wipe onto the hummingbird when it is getting nectar from the plant and the hummingbird transports the pollen to another plant.
The Kapok tree is a very large tree in the rain forest. It is home to many animals
Lianas are climbing plants. They climb the canopy in search of light. They wrap around branches and link from tree to tree. Lianas send roots that hang in midair, called aerial roots. These roots spread when they hit the ground and help support other climbing plants.
Orchids are an epiphyte. Epiphytes are plants that live on other plants. They often are found on tree trunks and branches of trees. The orchid traps rainfall with its aerial roots. Orchids are one of the many prized flowers of the rain forest.
There are many varieties of palm trees. The coconut originated in Asia and the pacific coast of South America. They now can be found around the world. They produce a fruit called coconuts. The palms grow along the shores of the tropics.
The rosy periwinkle is found in the rain forest. It is part of the ”dogbane" family. Periwinkles are often used to treat childhood leukemia and Hodgkin's disease.
Rubber is a product of the rain forest. It comes from a rubber tree plant. These plants produce a sticky material called latex. Latex is used to make rubber.
There are many spices that come from the rainforest. Some are known to you. They are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. These and other spices are used throughout the world
Vines are climber plants like lianas. Some reach for the sunlight, while others head toward the ground to get nutrients for the plants.