How Many Types of Animals Live in the Rainforest?

By Beverley Burgess Bell
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Tropical rainforests are a unique resource in the world. The amount of animal and plant diversity that exists in this ecosystem is staggering. The area is home to plants from which medicines are created, from which different foods come from and different varieties of trees and wood grow. The tropical rainforests are also home to indigenous birds and animals that live there permanently and those that migrate there during certain times of the year. The vast amount of trees also contribute a significant amount of oxygen to the world and play a vital role in global weather.

Emergent Level

The emergent tree level is so called because these taller-than-average trees emerge or rise out of the thick canopy of the rainforest. Sunlight is more plentiful in this area and the air is less humid than down below in the jungle. Animals that call this part of the rainforest home include a variety of insects, birds such as Harpy Eagles and many different types of bats.

Canopy Strata

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Animal life in the rainforest canopy is plentiful and diverse. Orangutans, chimpanzees and gibbon monkeys enjoy life high up in the trees along with their cousins the spider monkeys and lemurs. Up in the canopy food such as fruits and nuts are plentiful and animals are safe from predators. Birds such as parrots and toucans, macaws and hornbills also live among the trees. Butterflies such as the Blue Morpho and different moths also call this area home.

Rainforest Understory

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The understory of the rainforest is dank and humid, without much sunlight. This part of the jungle is home to many insects such as mosquitoes, stick insects, leaf hoppers and various species of butterflies and moths. Most of these insects have highly-developed forms of camouflage such as mimicking leaves or bark to protect themselves from the skinks, geckos and monitors that share this habitat. Birds that enjoy feasting on the wealth of insects that live in the understory include shrikes and thrushes and treecreepers.

Jungle Floor

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The jungle floor harbors the predators of the rainforest. Large cats like the jaguar, leopard and the ocelot prowl the grounds and prey on unwary animals. Smaller creatures that live on fallen fruit and seed include species such as the mouse deer in Asian rainforests and the agouti in South America. Here you will also find large herbivores like elephant, gorillas, rhinos and hippos.

About the Author

Beverley Burgess Bell has been a professional freelance writer since 1986. She has worked for Medigram, a medical poster and Rodar Publications. She also was editor of "Epilepsy," Canada's national newsletter and wrote for various publications including "Future Health." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Concordia University in Montreal.