Rainforests are a diverse ecosystem that can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Located in tropical regions, the land areas are dense forests that receive large amounts of precipitation each year. According to the Nature Conservancy, rainforests make up less than 2 percent of the Earth's total surface, but are the residence for half of the planet's plants and animals. A wide range of distinctive animals are indigenous to the tropical climate of rainforests.
Amphibians and Reptiles
The poison dart frog is flamboyant in color. Species of the creature can appear in various colors including gold, red, blue, red, green, or black. Their distinct colors and markings discourage potential predators from attacking. Poison dart frogs often carry their young on their backs. As their name implies, the poison dart frog contains toxins. Their skin can exude poison that can stun and even kill potential predators. According to the National Geographic, some species of the poison dart frog have enough poison to kill 10 humans.
Other amphibians and reptiles that can be found in the rainforest include varieties of snakes, including anacondas and boa constrictors, lizards, turtles, crocodiles and newts.
Aptly named, the howler monkey is known for its unique shrill cry, which can be heard more than 2 miles away. The cry alerts other animals to keep their distance. The creatures, mostly found in Central and South America, possess brown, black or even red fur, according to the National Geographic. The monkeys possess a tail that is capable of grasping onto objects, especially branches. Howler monkeys often live in groups of up to 30 primates.
Mammals in a variety of sizes occupy rainforests. The most commonly found animals include bats and rodents. Other mammals found in the rainforest include lemurs, tigers, leopards and apes.
Rainforests house hundreds of species of birds. Birds near the top of the rainforest are inclined to be more colorful, while birds who reside near the bottom of the rainforest use their color for camouflage.
One of the most well known birds of the rainforest is the toucan, noted for its distinctive color and oversized beak. A toucan's beak, made of bone and air, scares off potential predators and acts as a useful tool for feeding. Both males and females possess bills that can grow more than 7 inches long. Toucans, which can live up to 20 years, nest in holes of hollow trees and live in flocks of six birds. A toucan's diet consists mostly of fruit and insects.
- Photo Credit green lizard image by JASON WINTER from Fotolia.com
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