Sloths, tapirs, jaguars, tigers, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, and orangutans are among the animals found in the rainforest. Caimans and the green anaconda are reptiles. Amphibians such as poison dart frogs and red-eyed tree frogs are also present. Toucans and macaws are birds found in the rainforest.
Rainforests support more than half of all animal and plant species on the planet, despite covering just 6 to 7% of the planet’s land surface.
Biologists estimate that there are millions of species living in rainforests that have yet to be discovered, in addition to the vast number of known rainforest animals.
A variety of rainforest creatures are discussed on this page. What’s your favorite out of the three? Have you ever seen any of the animals listed here? Tell us there in the bottom of the page’s comments section!
List Of Rainforest Animals
Individual species (i.e., The scientific name and conservation status (if known) of the animal have been included.
For taxa (i.e., groups of species) We’ve included the number of species in the group and the group’s name (anteaters) to help you identify them.
Amazonian Giant Centipede
Giant centipede from the Amazon. ActiveWild.com’s Tod Baker cropped and resized the photo.
Scolopendra gigantea is a South American Scolopendra species.
The Amazonian giant centipede is one of the world’s largest centipedes, growing to lengths of up to 30 cm (1 ft). The species may be found in tropical parts of northern South America, as well as the Amazon Basin (the region around the Amazon River).
A ferocious eater, the Amazonian giant centipede. Insects, spiders (including tarantulas), lizards, frogs, snakes, and even small mammals are among the creatures it hunt. Paralyzing venom is injected into the prey by the centipede. The centipede’s first segment contains “venom claws” that deliver the poison.
- Central and South America are home to four species in this suborder Vermilingua.
The Latin name for Anteaters is “Vermilingua,” which means “worm tongue.” Anteaters are part of a group of animals called Vermilingua. The creatures’ long, slender tongues are used to collect huge numbers of ants and termites, hence the name.
The big anteater, silky anteater, southern tamandua, and northern tamandua are the four different species of anteaters.
ActiveWild.com, CC BY 3.0, has cropped and resized this image by Ajoposor.
- South America is where you’ll find the scientific name Podocnemis expansa.
South American river turtles are also known as arrau turtles. It’s a huge freshwater turtle that may be found in rivers across much of northern South America. Both the Amazon and Orinoco rivers are home to this species.
Carapace (shell) lengths of over 1 meter (3.3 feet) and weights of up to 90 kg (200 pounds) have been documented in full-grown adults.
The world’s biggest side-necked turtle, the Arrau turtle, lives in the Arrau River. In a sideways movement, side-necked turtles (Pleurodira) pull their heads inside their shells. (Cryptodira turtles draw their heads straight back inside the shells.)
Although the Arrau turtle’s population is believed to be rapidly declining, it has been designated as a “Lower Risk” species by UNESCO.
An aye-aye in the rainforests of Madagascar. Aye-ayes locate food by tapping on trees with their elongated middle fingers.
In the rainforests of Madagascar, an aye-aye resides. The elongated middle fingers of aye-ayes are used to tap on trees for food.
- Daubentonia madagascariensis is a species of Madagascar ant that is endangered.
The aye-aye lemur is located in the Madagascar rainforests (a small island nation east of Africa’s coast). It is the world’s largest nocturnal monkey.
The aye-aye finds grubs (insect larvae) by tapping on trees with its fingers and eats them. It is possible to determine if a grub is concealed beneath the bark by listening carefully to the sound created by the tapping.
The elongated middle fingers of the aye-aye are especially suited for extracting grubs from holes.
Arctictis binturong is a vulnerable species found in Asia.
Binturongs (also known as viverrids) are the largest members of the animal family Viverridae.
The binturong’s long tail is capable of grasping things. It has the ability to retain items). When climbing, a binturong employs its tail as an ‘extra hand.
The prehensile tail of the binturong is unique among Old World mammals.
Binturongs are found throughout South and Southeast Asia’s forests.
Blue Morpho Butterfly
Blue Morpho Butterfly
- Central and South America are home to six species of Morpho.
Brilliant blue butterflies like the blue morphos. The term “blue morpho” refers to any blue butterfly in the genus morpho, and there are several species.
The rotting fruit that blue morphos find on the floor of South and Central American rainforests is what they eat (among other things).
Pilots may sometimes see the blue of their wings from the sky due to the number of blue morphos flying above the rainforest canopy.
- B. constrictor is a scientific name for this snake, which is found across Central and South America.
A big rainforest snake known as the boa constrictor. Before swallowing it whole, it ambushes its prey and constricts (squeezes) it.
In Central and South American rainforests, this fearsome reptile may be found.
The green anaconda belongs to the Boidae family of big, non-venomous snakes, and the boa constrictor is one of them.
One of the few animals with scientific names is the boa constrictor!
- Central and South America are home to six species of alligators.
Caimans are predatory reptiles that live in Central and South American rain forests (as well as other habitats). Caimans come in a variety of colors.
The most frequent caiman species is the spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus). The reptile’s nose is equipped with a bony ridge that gives it the look of wearing glasses, hence its name.
The black caiman (Melanosuchus niger) is the world’s largest caiman, growing to lengths of over 5 meters (16 feet).
Caimans are part of the Crocodilians family of animals, which also includes crocodiles, alligators, and gharials.
- Vandellia cirrhosa is a South American species with no conservation status.
The Amazon River, as well as many other South American rivers and their tributaries, are home to the candiru, a small fish. It has a long, slender body that is transparent. The gill covers of small spines are present.
By attaching themselves to their victims’ gills, these rainforest fish feed on the blood of bigger fish. The candiru is also said to be able to enter a human body. This, on the other hand, is both unproven and improbable.
- Conservation status: Least Concern
The world’s biggest rodent is the capybara. It can be found in South and Central American woodland.
For a semi-aquatic existence, the capybara has a number of adaptations. and loves to live near water in general. Because of its predators, including jaguars and ocelots, it can stay submerged for up to five minutes.
- 12 or more species have been discovered in the Viverridae family.
In Asia and Africa, civets are cat-like creatures who dwell in the rainforest. Perfume (while most perfume producers are currently switching to synthetic substitutes) uses a powerful-smelling substance that they produce.
The Viverridae family (binturong included) contains the majority of civets. The only species in the Nandiniidae family is the African palm civet, which lives in African rainforests.
The Carnivora family includes civets, which are mammals. Feliforma (the cat-like carnivorans) and Caniformia (the dog-like carnivorans) are the two groups that make up this group. Feliforma includes civits, as well as cats and hyenas.
- Nasua / Nasuella is a genus of four species that lives throughout North and South America.
Coatimundis is the Spanish name for coatis. Members of the raccoon family, Procyonidae, are cat-sized carnivorous mammals.
Throughout the day, coatis graze on the forest floor. Their acute sense of smell helps them find food among the leaf litter. They rest in the rainforest canopy during the night.
South America and southern North America are home to coatis.
- Conservation status: Least Concern
The electric eel is a knifefish rather than a genuine eel, despite its name and eel-like appearance. The fin spans practically the whole length of the underside of this long, slender fish. The electric eel can swim both forward and backward by moving this fin using a wave-like motion.
The electric eel, like other knifefish, uses electrical fields to see in murky water, similar to how a fish sees. The electric eel has mastered this skill, enabling it to create voltages high enough to paralyze prey while also frightening predators. Humans may be killed by a shock from an electric eel!
- Trachelophorus giraffa is a species of ant found in Africa (Madagascar).
Madagascar, an island republic, is home to this unusual-looking rainforest bug. The giraffe weevil gets its name from the fact that it has an unusually long neck. This is a combat and nest-building adaptation.
The insect has a total body length of almost 1 in. (2.54 cm) due to the male’s neck being nearly twice as long as that of the female.
A female will build a nest by encasing a leaf in a tube and placing a single egg inside.
Goliathus is a genus of five species that are native to Africa.
The world’s largest insects are the five species of goliath beetles. They grow to be over 10 cm (3.93 in.) long as adults. Their larvae may weigh up to 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Goliath beetles can still fly despite their enormous size.
In Africa’s tropical rainforests, Goliath beetles may be found.
- Conservation status: Unassessed
The Theraphosidae family of tarantulas includes the goliath birdeater. Although its leg-span of 11 inches (28 cm) is only the second largest, after the large huntsman spider, this enormous rainforest spider is the world’s heaviest. It has a body that grows up to 4.75 in. (12 cm).
The Amazon rainforest, as well as the forests of northern South America, are home to the Goliath birdeater. It preys on a wide range of huge invertebrates and small vertebrates, such as lizards and frogs, during the night. The species eats birds only on rare occasions, despite its name.
- Eunectes murinus is the scientific name for this species, which is found in South America.
The heaviest snake species on the planet, but not the longest (the reticulated python), is the green anaconda. A green anaconda, on the other hand, may reach lengths of over 16.4 feet / 5 meters!
The Amazon Rainforest’s lakes and rivers are home to this massive rainforest snake, which is a superb swimmer.
Green anacondas are non-venomous, like other members of the Boidae family. It instead subdues its victims by using its squeezing power.
- Iguana iguana is the scientific name for this species, which is native to Central and South America.
The large lizard known as the green iguana lives in Central and South American forests. This ferocious rainforest reptile eats mostly plants, despite its appearance.
The arboreal (tree-dwelling) species is found. It’s a great swimmer and commonly found near water.
The Lesser Antillean iguana, which is endemic to the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles islands and lives in the rainforests, is endangered.
- Harpia harpyja is a Central and South American species of fish.
The rainforest’s largest bird of prey is the harpy eagle.
Its wingspan is (relatively) modest, which is an adaptation for flying through the woods; despite being one of the world’s main eagles.
The world’s most powerful bird of prey is claimed to be the harpy eagle. It can pick monkeys and sloths off of trees, for example.
- Opisthocomus hoazin is the scientific name for this species.
The hoatzin has a lengthy body, a wide tail, and a spiky crown on its head. It is shaped like a pheasant.
For a variety of reasons, the hoatzin is an unusual bird. At the elbow joint of each of their wings, juvenile hoatzins have a claw. The juveniles drop into the water when the species nests above water and is threatened. When the danger has passed, they can climb back into the nest using their claws.
The green leaves that make up the majority of the creature’s diet are digested in an unusual manner. Like cows digest grass, the foods are digested by bacteria in a specific portion of the bird’s crop (the expandable storage compartment in a bird’s neck).
The hoatzin’s crop gives off an unpleasant aroma because of the fermenting leaves. As a result, the species is known as the “stinkbird” because of its pungent odor.
- Central and South America are home to 15 different species of Atelidae.
The rainforests of South and Central America are home to all fifteen species of howler monkey. In groups known as “troops,” howler monkeys exist. A troop might have from six to fifteen howler monkeys.
Three miles of rainforest can hear a howler monkey scream. The monkeys make use of their loud voices to communicate with opposing troops and avoid having to battle for control of their areas (this way).
Others keep howler monkeys as pets, despite the loud calls!
- In North and South America, the scientific name is Panthera onca.
Only tigers and lions are bigger than Jaguars, which are the world’s third-largest cat species. These large cats are apex predators in the South American rain forest, where they dwell. At the top of the food chain is where they live.
Jaguars have enormous jaws and are superb swimmers, making even caimans unsafe!
Conservation status: Least Concern
The rainforests of Central and South America are home to the king vulture, a large bird. It has a brilliantly colored head and beak, as well as black and white plumage.
It’s mostly a scavenger, like other vultures. It eats carrion that it scoops up from the forest floor. It is large and powerful enough to keep other scavenging birds from feeding on the carrion until it has had its fill.
47 genera, including Atta and Acromyrmex, are found in Central & South America.
Leafcutter ants are one of the most fascinating and significant creatures that dwell in rainforests, despite their modest size.
These hardworking insects construct nests that are 30 meters (98 feet) wide. Nearly 8 million insects live in these giant nests!
(The number of people in a single leaf cutter ant colony is less than the population of many nations on Earth!)
Leafcutter ants even create their own sustenance in specialized “fungus gardens” inside their massive nests, which is perhaps even more astonishing!
Leafcutter ants may be seen dragging leaves from the rainforest canopy to their nest on long trails. The fungus is given to the ants’ larvae, and the leaves are given to the fungus.
Over 100 species have been discovered in the Lemuroidea superfamily.
Lemurs are tiny monkeys that live in Madagascar’s rainforests. Madagascar is home to lemurs, who are only found on the island.
Lemurs come in about a hundred different breeds. A ring-tailed lemur is the species represented in the photograph above. The ring-tailed lemur, like many other lemurs, is on the verge of extinction.
- Panthera pardus is a species of panther.
Leopards are large cats that live throughout Africa and Asia. This adaptable animal can survive in rainforests, savannas, woodlands, and grasslands, among other habitats.
The term “rosettes” refers to spots on a leopard’s coat. The rosettes of leopards and jaguars may be used to differentiate them. A jaguar’s rosettes have smaller black dots inside them, whereas a leopard’s are empty. In comparison to jaguars, leopards are slightly smaller.
Leopards are known to carry their prey up trees (they have to do this, otherwise lions and hyenas might try to steal it from them!) because they are incredibly strong.
The lovely fairy wren is a little bird. Aviceda [CC BY-SA 3.0]
- Conservation status: Least Concern
A rainforest bird is the lovely fairywren, which lives in Australia’s northeast. It’s most often seen near the forest’s edge, high in the rainforest canopy. Just a few individuals make up each family group.
In Australia’s northeast rainforests, the beautiful fairywren may be found. It’s usually seen on the outskirts of rainforests, at the highest peaks of the rainforest canopy. The species’ habitat is made up of small family units.
The colorful Australian bird is one of 11 kinds of fairywrens, all of which are tiny and brightly colored.
- The Americas are home to 19 species in the Psittacidae family.
The family Psittacidae (not all of which are macaws) belongs to the three parrot families, and macaws are one of them. Macaws have huge bills and long tails, and they are huge, colorful birds. The featherless faces of most parrots may be used to differentiate them from other parrots.
Macaws come in 19 different types. Rainforests are home to several of them, including the hyacinth macaw, great green macaw, and scarlet macaw.
The outer two toes of a macaw face forward, while the inner two toes face backwards, giving it the term “zygodactyl.” The bird can climb trees more easily with this aid. Several woodland and forest birds, including parrots, woodpeckers, and cuckoos, have this type of foot as a characteristic.
- Leopardus pardalis is a common name for this scientific species.
In South and Central America, the ocelot is a small wild cat. Even as far north as Texas and Arizona, the species is occasionally seen.
The ocelot, which is about the size of a bobcat, is often referred to as the ‘dwarf leopard’ because of its spotted coat.
The ocelot, a nocturnal hunter that primarily eats rabbits and armadillos, is a rare eater of bigger animals.
- Pongo is a genus of three species that are found in Asia.
Orangutans, like humans, belong to the family Hominidae. On the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra, orangutans survive in rainforests. In Malay, the name orangutan signifies ‘man of the woods.
The world’s biggest arborial (tree-dwelling) creatures are orangutans. The majority of their time is spent in the trees, up to 95%.
Sadly, all three orangutan species are currently endangered. Deforestation is the primary cause of this. Palm oil plantations have destroyed much of the orangutan’s native environment.
- Serrasalminae (pacus and silver dollars are also found in this subfamily) is a 30-60+ species group.
In South America’s lakes and rivers, piranhas are freshwater fish. Piranhas are well-known for being ferocious predators, with strong jaws packed with pointy teeth.
This isn’t a complete picture of this terrifying reputation. Piranhas aren’t the top of the rainforest food chain, and other animals are just as likely to devour them.
Some piranhas are omnivores who consume plant matter as well as meat, rather than being solely carnivorous.
Piranha attacks on humans are rare, and seldom result in serious injury.
Piranha may be found in over 60 different species (the exact number is uncertain). The red-bellied piranha, which can grow to be 50 cm (20 in) long, is the largest of the piranha species.
Poison Dart Frog
- Central and South America are home to approximately 170 species of Dendrobatidae.
The color of the skin of most poison dart frogs is vivid. Potential predators will be warned of the frogs’ toxicity because of this.
Poison from the skin of poison dart frogs was used in the tips of blowdarts by rainforest hunters.
One of the world’s most poisonous creatures is the golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis).
The rainforests of Central and South America are home to poison dart frogs.
Rainforest Scops Owl
The rainforest scops owl is a creature found in the wild. Bernard DUPONT of France [CC BY-SA 2.0] photographed the scene.
- Otus rutilus is a scientific name for this bird.
The rainforest owl resides in eastern Madagascar’s forests. It is one of the smallest owl species, with a wingspan of up to 54 cm (21 in).
Brown, grey, or reddish-brown are the three color variations of the rainforest scops owl. It raises two ear-like crests on its head when it is threatened.
Red Eyed Tree Frog
- Agalychnis callidryas is the scientific name for this species.
The red-eyed tree frog has become one of the most well-known amphibians in the world thanks to its striking good looks.
The frog lowers its brilliant colors and closes its big red eyes while resting, making it difficult to locate.
The canopy layer of Central American rainforests is home to these iconic frogs.
The bright colors of the red-eyed tree frog are called “startle coloration,” and they serve as a defense mechanism. The frog hopes to momentarily mislead a potential predator with a quick flash of its brilliant red eyes!
Red Imported Fire Ant
Fire Ants from Mexico The University of Texas “Insects Unlocked” created a public domain image by Alex Wild.
Solenopsis invicta is a scientific name for this species, which is found in South America.
The genus Solenopsis includes the red imported fire ant. It may be found in South America’s tropical regions. The species may be found in a variety of environments, including rainforests.
The species has spread throughout its natural range, and it is one of the most invasive species on the planet. It has been transported using shipping containers to the United States and Australia.
The red imported fire ant, like all fire ants, has a painful sting. Floods and droughts are less harmful to the species, and it has been observed congregating into vast floating, living ‘boats’ containing thousands of people.
Central and South America are home to six species.
Sloths are sloth-like animals that live in the rainforests of South and Central America. Almost all of these rainforest canopy-dwelling tree creatures spend their lives hanging upside-down from branches.
Sloths have a slow metabolism and move at a crawl (with the body burning energy at a sluggish pace). This is a method for surviving on leaves, which have limited calories. Sloths can also stay hidden from predators like the harpy eagle by slowly moving.
Algae grows in the fur of sloths because they move at such a leisurely pace. The sloths benefit from this since it hides them among the leaves and protects them.
South American Lungfish
- Lepidosiren paradoxa is a scientific name for the species.
Lungfish species are currently present in six different species. Lungfish have kept the ability to breathe air from their progenitors. Lungfish have lungs and can breathe without the use of their gills, as the name implies.
The lungfish of South America may be found in the Amazon Basin’s sluggish rivers and streams. It’s a long, slender fish that can reach over a meter (3.3 feet) in length.
The South American lungfish can survive buried in the mud throughout the dry season by surrounding its body in mucous and forming a protective coating.
North and South America are home to three species of this subfamily.
Bats are animals that have developed wings on their arms. The common vampire bat, hairy-legged vampire bat, and white-winged vampire bat are the three different species of vampire bats.
Other animals’ blood is consumed by all vampire bats. Infrared radiation is used by vampire bats to determine where the blood is closest to the skin in order for them to know where to bite their prey!
The Americas are home to vampire bats. They dwell in woods and meadows as well, despite their presence in rainforests.
- Litoria infrafrenata is a scientific name that refers to Australia.
The world’s biggest species of tree frog and Australia’s biggest native frog is this Australian amphibian. New Guinea, as well, is home to this species.
The Hylidae family of amphibians includes tree frogs. The arboreal (tree-dwelling) lifestyle of tree frogs is reflected in their names.
The Daintree Rainforest in north-east Queensland is home to the white-lipped tree frog. The species may also be found in cities and is occasionally transported hundreds of kilometers to other states inside banana boxes.
On this page, you’ll learn more about the white-lipped tree frog: White-Lipped Tree Frog Information
What Is A Rainforest?
Rainforests are woods generally located in areas with a lot of rain, as the name implies. In a year, all rainforests get at least 1.8 meters (70 inches) of rain, with some receiving up to 3 meters (118 inches).
Rainforests that are near the equator are known as tropical rainforests. They’re hot and humid, to put it simply. A tropical rainforest has an average monthly temperature of at least 18°C (64°F), with summer and winter having little variation.
- Rainforest Facts is a website that offers information on different types of rainforest.
Plants and animals in a tropical rainforest have an ideal environment due to the unique combination of high rainfall and constant high temperature.
Tropical rainforests are one of the most significant habitats on the planet because of their high biodiversity. (Biodiversity is the quantity of distinct species that live there.)
Rainforest Animals List: Discover More with Active Wild!
We want you to have a wonderful time exploring the fascinating rainforest creatures on this page. The tropical environment is fundamental for sustaining a substantial fraction of the world’s biodiversity, and rainforests harbour a vast and diverse range of species.