Tropical rainforests are some of the most biodiverse habitats on the planet. Many people think of the Amazon Rainforest when they think of a tropical rainforest, however tropical rainforests can be found in Africa, Southeast Asia, and of course, South America. In this article, we will cover some of the animals that live in the tropical rainforest.
12 Animals that Live in the Tropical Rainforest
By definition, tropical rainforests are forests that occur near the equator and maintain warm temperatures and receive up to 70-100 inches of rainfall throughout the year. Tropical rainforests are also a main sink for carbon dioxide which is crucial for keeping the global climate stable and combating global warming.
It would be impossible to list out all of the animals found in tropical rainforests because there are so many! But here is a list of 12 of some of the more iconic animals that inhabit the world’s tropical Rainforests:
- Harpy Eagles
- Poison Dart Frogs
- Gaboon Vipers
Jaguars are apex predators, meaning they are at the top of the food chain in their environment. Jaguars are amazing hunters that will hunt almost anything found on the forest floor. Not only that, but Jaguars are amazing swimmers and have also been known to eat turtles, fish, and even caimans.
Where Jaguars are found: Jaguars can be found in Central and South America, including the Amazon Rainforest.
Anacondas are one of the largest snakes in the world by weight. They can also be considered as apex predators and have been known to sit in ambush to hunt rodents, birds, reptiles and even large mammals that come down to water sources to drink before quickly striking and then constricting their prey to death.
Where Anacondas are found: Anacondas inhabit freshwater bodies throughout the Amazon Rainforest and throughout much of South America.
3. Harpy Eagles
Harpy Eagles are the Kings of the bird world, at least in the Amazon Rainforest. They have a broad wingspan up to 6.5 ft long, enormous talons similar in size to grizzly bear claws, and a very large, sharp beak. They are effective hunters and can take down other birds, small to midsize mammals and even deer!
Where Harpy Eagles are found: Harpy Eagles can be found in the canopy of the Amazon Rainforest. They are also found from Southern Mexico to Brazil, but need large plots of undisturbed habitat to thrive, meaning that deforested areas are not able to support Harpy Eagles.
4. Poison Dart Frogs
Poison Dart Frogs are only tiny, but the toxins secreted from poison glands in their skin can pack a powerful punch. There are several species of Poison Dart Frogs, some of them sporting bright blues, yellows, reds and greens and vibrant patterns.
Where Poison Dart Frogs are found: Poison Dart Frogs spend much of their time on the forest floor where they can be found in tropical Rainforests in central America to Brazil.
Gorillas are revered as the kings of the primate world. They are the largest living primates and are recognized by their large hands that they sometimes beat against their broad chests. There are a handful of species of Gorillas, all of which are found in Africa.
Where Gorillas are found: Gorillas can be found in the tropical rainforests of equatorial Africa. Specifically, they are found in the Congo, Cameroon and parts of Nigeria.
Chimpanzees are known for their incredible intelligence, and one has even been sent on a space mission! But in the wild Chimpanzees spend most of their time traversing through the treetops of lush tropical Rainforests in equatorial Africa. They have been known to use tools, such as sticks to fish termites out of ant hills and leaves to soak up drinking water.
Where Chimpanzees are found: Chimpanzees inhabit tropical rainforests and wet savannas of West and Central Equatorial Africa.
7. Gaboon Vipers
Gaboon Vipers are one of the largest venomous snakes in the world by mass. Their fangs, the longest of any snake, can measure up to 2 inches in length and inject a large amount of venom, second only to the King Cobra. Gaboon Vipers, like the primates on this list, are from Africa where they can be found in fallen leaf litter, waiting to ambush their prey.
Where Gaboon Vipers are found: Gaboon Vipers are found in tropical rainforests along equatorial Africa. They tend to be found in rainforests in East and West Central Africa.
Tigers, the biggest cats in the world, can be found in a handful of different habitat types including tropical rainforests. Tigers can be territorial and need extremely large areas of land to fulfill their biological needs. With rates of deforestation increasing, Tiger populations have unfortunately suffered greatly.
Where Tigers are found: There are several species of Tigers which can be found in Southeast Asia, and parts of Asia, including Russia.
Orangutans, with their long, orange fur are an amazing species of primate. They are unlike many other primates in the sense that they are typically solitary animals. Orangutans have a limited distribution and have been greatly impacted by deforestation, which has led to them being critically endangered.
Where Orangutans are found: Orangutans have a small distribution and can only be found in the tropical rainforests on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra in Southeast Asia.
Hornbills are a group of large, impressive birds, known for their large beaks that look like two bills stacked on top of each other. There are several species of Hornbills that inhabit the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. Hornbills feed on fruit and are absolutely critical for seed dispersal, and therefore very important for fruiting trees in tropical forests.
Where Hornbills are found: There are actually many species of Hornbills, most of these species are in Asia but some are also found in Africa. In Asia, Hornbills can be found in tropical rainforests and in Africa, Hornbills commonly inhabit savannahs.
Tapirs are large, strange looking mammals. They almost look like what you would get if you mixed an anteater with a pig, but actually they are closely related to Rhinos and Horses. Tapirs use their prehensile trunks to pick forest fruit and they love spending their time in water or in mud.
Where Tapirs are found: Tapirs are found in tropical rainforests in both South America and Southeast Asia. However, in both regions of their range, Tapirs are considered rare due to their decreasing populations from poaching and hunting.
Pangolins are mid-sized scaly mammals with large keratin scales that give them a suit of armor and help protect them from predators. When they feel threatened, they will curl into a ball and use the sharp points on their scales for protection. Pangolins feed primarily on termites and ants found on the forest floor of tropical rainforests.
Where Pangolins are found: Pangolins are found in tropical forests in parts of Southeast Asia, however there are also species of African Pangolins as well.