Rainforests are the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Central and South America, Africa, India, Indonesia and Australia all support tropical rainforest ecosystems. Biologists and ecologists have estimated that almost half of all animal species live in the rainforest. While insects and other invertebrates make up most of these, it is estimated about 20,000 vertebrate animals live in the rain forests of the world.
Monkeys and Primates
From spider monkeys and golden tamarinds to chimpanzees and gorillas, the rainforest is teeming with monkeys and apes. Smaller monkey species live high in the trees in colonies. Some larger primates like orangutans also spend a large amount of time in the trees but most like Gorillas primarily live in open clearings on the ground.
Some of the largest and most venomous snakes in the world live in the rainforest. Boa constrictors, pythons, vipers and cobras are some of the snake species that dwell in rainforests all over the world. Some species like the constrictors are not poisonous but instead kill their prey by squeezing the life out of them.
Great cats live in the forest. Leopards, jaguars and tigers are large, fearsome predators that prey on smaller mammals in the forest. Leopards are known for their ability to climb. After making a kill, they will typically carry it high into a tree to feed on without competitors. Jaguars and tigers stalk and ambush their prey and have been known to kill humans if their territory is invaded.
Tropical frogs are abundant in the rainforest. Colorful and sometimes toxic, rainforest frogs are uniquely adapted to their environment. Over 5,000 species of frogs live in the rainforest, especially in Latin America and West Africa. Known as an indicator species in ecological circles, the health of the amphibian population in the rain forest is a good gauge of overall ecosystem health.
Parrots, Toucans, Cockateils, Hornbills, Harpy Eagles are a few of the many bird species found in the rainforests of the world. Typically much more colorful and diverse than common bird species found outside the rainforest, rainforest birds are some of the most well known and intelligent bird species in the world.
Article Written By Jason Gordon
Jason Gordon is a professional writer and editor. In addition to online work, he has written for "Texas Highways," "AAA Southwest," "Glimpse," the "University of Washington Daily" and the "Dallas Morning News." Gordon's passions include animals, reading and finding the perfect pairings of pastry and espresso.