Animals & Plants in the Central American Rainforest


Covering less than 2 percent of the planet, rainforests are home to more than 50 percent of all plants and animals on the Earth. Central American rainforests are warm and wet environments with thick, dense vegetation. These densely-packed plants and trees generate a large portion of the Earth's oxygen. Many plants discovered in the rainforest are also used to develop new drugs to fight illness and disease. The diverse types of animals in these dense rain forests range from insects and worms to large birds and mammals.

Plants and Trees

  • The Central American rainforests are located in the tropical regions of the Earth, which means they get plenty of sunlight year-round. The energy from the sun remains stored in the thick and dense plant life of the rainforest. Many different species of animals eat the plants, which store that energy from the sun and thrive. This may explain why there are so many different animals living in the rainforest. A large number of medicines, insecticides and other chemical compounds are derived from rainforest animals and plants. Spices like vanilla, cloves and ginger also grow in the rainforest.

Invertebrates and Insects

  • Bugs and insects thrive in the warm and wet climate of the tropical rainforest. The scistosoma serves as one example of an invertebrate or parasitic trematode, which makes its home in the bodies of several species of birds and snails. One blood-sucking insect, the kissing bug, bite into the lips or other exposed sensitive flesh of sleeping humans. Numerous species of spiders, mosquitoes. Home to more organisms than all other biomes on the planet, thousands of species have come to the rainforest and have adapted over time.

Mammals and Birds

  • There are many species of mammals and birds found in the rainforests of Central America. Squirrel monkeys are very common in the rainforests of Central America and spend most of their lives in the upper tree canopy. Jaguars, an endangered species, are big cats that live in the rainforest. Jaguars, along with many other animals and plants found in the rainforest, are threatened by human encroachment, shrinking habitat and hunting. Many rainforest birds like the Harpy eagle, toucans, cockatoos and some species of parrots are also threatened by habitat loss on over-hunting.

Amphibians and Reptiles

  • The sheer number of different animal species which inhabit the Central American rainforest remains unknown. There are about 116 different species of poison dart frogs, which are used by the natives to coat the tips of their poison darts for hunting. Iguanas, one of the most common of all lizard pets, also thrive in the rainforests of Central America. Most of the reptiles and lizards found here consume the many types of fresh fruits and vegetables found in the rainforest. Many different species of snake, including boa constrictors and various sub-species of anaconda, also make their home in the Central American rain forest.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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