Rainforest Animals List With Pictures, Facts & Links To Further Information, Plus FREE Printable Question Sheets

Rainforest Animals

Rainforest animals include mammals such as sloths, tapirs, jaguars, tigers, howler monkeys, spider monkeys and orangutans; reptiles such as caimans and the green anaconda; amphibians such as poison dart frogs and the red-eyed tree frog; and birds such as toucans, macaws and the harpy eagle.

Rainforest Animals
Rainforest animals – scroll down to see the entire list!

On this page is an alphabetical list of rainforest animals with pictures and facts.

  • You can use the Rainforest Animals Index, below, to find information on a specific rainforest species.
  • Find out how much you know about rainforest animals by downloading the free printable worksheet for use with this page (simply download and print: no sign-up necessary!)
  • Become a rainforest expert with our Rainforest Workbooks (a fun home or classroom activity!)

Introduction

Despite covering only between 6 and 7% of the world’s land surface, rainforests are home to more than half of all the world’s animal and plant species.

In addition to the vast number of known rainforest animals, biologists estimate that there are millions of species living in rainforests that are still to be discovered!

On this page you’ll find information on a wide range of rainforest animals. What’s your favorite? Have you ever seen any of the animals on this page? Let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the page!


Rainforest Animals List: Index

Rainforest AmphibiansRainforest BirdsRainforest Fish
Poison Dart Frog
Red Eyed Tree Frog
White-Lipped Treefrog
Harpy Eagle
Hoatzin
King Vulture
Lovely Fairywren
Macaw
Rainforest Scops Owl
Toucan
Candiru
Electric Eel
Piranha
South American Lungfish
Rainforest InsectsRainforest MammalsRainforest Reptiles
Blue Morpho Butterfly
Giraffe Weevil
Goliath Beetle
Leafcutter Ant
Red Imported Fire Ant
Anteater
Aye-Aye
Binturong
Capybara
Civet
Coati
Howler Monkey
Jaguar
Lemur
Leopard
Ocelot
Orangutan
Sloth
Spider Monkey
Tapir
Tarsier
Tiger
Vampire Bat
Arrau Turtle
Boa Constrictor
Caiman
Green Anaconda
Green Iguana
Other Rainforest Animals
Amazonian Giant Centipede
Goliath Birdeater

You can find out more about the animals listed below by clicking on the pictures or on the links provided.

Other rainforest animal pages on ActiveWild:


FREE Rainforest Animals Printable Worksheet – Test your knowledge!

Click on the images or links below to view & download FREE printable question sheets for use with this page.

(You can find more free worksheets from Active Wild on this page: Free Printable Worksheets.)

rainforest animals printable worksheet 1
Rainforest animals printable question sheet 1: click image to view / download.
Rainforest animals printable worksheet 2
Rainforest animals printable question sheet 2: click image to view / download.

Worksheet Download Links

The answers to the questions can be found either on this page or on pages linked to from this page.

These question sheets make a great home or classroom activity, and can be used to encourage internet-based research, as well as to improve knowledge of the rainforest biome.


List Of Rainforest Animals

For individual species (i.e. tiger), we’ve included the animal’s scientific name and its IUCN conservation status (if assessed).

For groups of species (i.e. anteaters) we’ve included the number of species in the group and the group’s name.

Amazonian Giant Centipede

Amazonian giant centipede
Amazonian giant centipede. Photo: Tod Baker, cropped/resized by ActiveWild.com, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Scolopendra gigantea
  • Conservation status: Unassessed
  • Where found: South America

Reaching lengths of up to 30 cm (1 ft.), the Amazonian giant centipede is one of the world’s largest centipedes. The species is found in the Amazon Basin (the region surrounding the Amazon River) and other tropical parts of northern South America.

The Amazonian giant centipede is a voracious predator. It hunts insects, spiders (including tarantulas), lizards, frogs, snakes and even small mammals. The centipede injects its prey with paralyzing venom. This venom is delivered via ‘venom claws’ located on the centipede’s first segment.

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Anteater

Rainforest Animals List Giant Anteater
There are 4 species of anteater; the animal above is a giant anteater. Click on the image to visit our giant anteater facts page.
  • Number of species: 4
  • Suborder: Vermilingua
  • Where found: Central & South America

Anteaters belong to a group of animals with the Latin name Vermilingua, which means ‘worm tongue‘. The name comes from the animals’ long, thin tongues, which are used to gather up large quantities of ants and termites.

There are four species of anteater: the giant anteater, silky anteater, southern tamandua and northern tamandua.

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Arrau Turtle

Arrau Turtle
Photo: Ajoposor, cropped/resized by ActiveWild.com, CC BY 3.0
  • Scientific name: Podocnemis expansa
  • Conservation status: Lower Risk / Conservation Dependent
  • Where found: South America

The Arrau turtle is also known as the South American river turtle. It is a large freshwater turtle found in rivers throughout much of northern South America. The species is present in both the Amazon and the Orinoco rivers.

Full-grown adults have carapace (shell) lengths of over 1 m (3.3 ft.) and can weigh up to 90 kg (200 lb.).

The Arrau turtle is the world’s largest species of side-necked turtle. Side-necked turtles (Pleurodira) tuck their heads into their shells with a sideways motion. (Members of the other main group of turtles, Cryptodira, draw their heads straight back into their shells.)

Although the Arrau turtle’s conservation status is currently ‘Lower Risk’, its population is thought to be declining rapidly and there are some calls for the species to be considered ‘Critically Endangered’.

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Aye-aye

Aye-aye
An aye-aye in the rainforests of Madagascar. Aye-ayes locate food by tapping on trees with their elongated middle fingers.
  • Scientific name: Daubentonia madagascariensis
  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Where found: Africa (Madagascar)

The aye-aye is a species of lemur found in the rainforests of Madagascar (an island country off the east coast of Africa). It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate.

(You can find out more about lemurs further down the page.)

The aye-aye eats grubs (insect larvae), which it finds by tapping on trees with its fingers. By listening carefully to the noise produced by the tapping, it can tell if a grub is hidden under the bark.

The aye-aye’s elongated middle fingers are specially adapted for hooking grubs out of holes.

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Binturong

Binturong
Binturong: click the photo to find out more about the ‘bearcat’.
  • Scientific name: Arctictis binturong
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable
  • Where found: Asia

Binturongs – otherwise known as ‘bearcats‘ – are the largest members of the animal family Viverridae. (Members of this family are known as viverrids).

The binturong’s long tail is ‘prehensile‘ (i.e. it can hold onto things). A binturong uses its tail as an ‘extra hand’ while climbing.

The binturong is the only Old World mammal with a prehensile tail. (‘Old World’ is a collective term for the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa.)

Binturongs live in the forests of South and Southeast Asia.

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Blue Morpho Butterfly

Blue Morpho Butterfly
Blue Morpho Butterfly
  • Number of species: 6
  • Genus: Morpho
  • Where found: Central & South America

Blue morphos are brilliant blue butterflies. There is more than one species of blue morpho; the name is used for any blue butterfly in the genus morpho. (A genus is a group of closely related species.)

Blue morphos feed (among other things) on rotting fruit, which they find on the floor of rainforests in South and Central America.

Sometimes there are so many blue morphos flying over the rainforest canopy that pilots can see the blue of their wings from the sky!

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Boa Constrictor

Boa Constrictor
Boa Constrictor: click the image for information about these beautiful rainforest snakes.
  • Scientific name: Boa constrictor
  • Conservation status: Currently Unassessed
  • Where found: Central & South America

The boa constrictor is a large rainforest snake. It ambushes its prey, then constricts (squeezes) it before swallowing it whole.

This fearsome reptile is found in Central and South American rainforests.

The boa constrictor is a member of the family Boidae, a group of large, non-venomous snakes that also contains the green anaconda (see further down the page).

The boa constrictor is one of the few animals commonly known by their scientific names!

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Caiman

Caiman in List Of Rainforest Animals
Caiman: click image for caiman facts, pictures and information.
  • Number of species: 6
  • Family: Alligatoridae; subfamily Caimaninae
  • Where found: Central & South America

Caimans are predatory reptiles that live in the rivers and lakes of Central and South American rain forests (and other habitats). There are six species of caiman.

The spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) is one of the most common species of caiman. It gets its name from the bony ridge on its nose, which makes the reptile appear to be wearing glasses.

The largest caiman is the black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), which grows to lengths in excess of 5 m (16 ft).

Together with crocodiles, alligators and gharials, caimans form a group of animals known as ‘Crocodilians‘.

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Candiru

Candiru

  • Scientific name: Vandellia cirrhosa
  • Conservation status: Unassessed
  • Where found: South America

The candiru is a small fish found in the Amazon River and several other South American rivers and their tributaries. It has a long, thin, translucent body. Small spines are present on its gill covers.

These rainforest fish feed on the blood of larger fish by attaching themselves to their gills of their victims. It is even rumored that the candiru can enter a human body. However, this is both unproven and unlikely.

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Capybara

Capybara
Capybara
  • Scientific name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Where found: Central & South America

The capybara is the world’s largest rodent. It lives South and Central American forests.

The capybara has several adaptations for a semi-aquatic lifestyle. and is always found living close to water. It can remain submerged for up to five minutes; a useful skill for an animal whose predators include jaguars and ocelots!

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Civet

Small Indian civet (Viverricula indica), a species found in South and Southeast Asia
Civet
  • Number of species: 12+
  • Family: Viverridae
  • Where found: Asia & Africa

Civets are cat-like mammals found in rainforests in Asia and Africa. They produce a strong-smelling substance that is used to make perfume (although most perfume manufacturers are now switching to synthetic alternatives).

Most civets are members of the family Viverridae (the binturong also belongs to this family). The African palm civet, a civet found in African rainforests, is the only species in the family Nandiniidae.

Civets are mammals in the group Carnivora. This group is split into two branches; Feliforma (the cat-like carnivorans) and Caniformia (the dog-like carnivorans). Civits, along with animals such as cats and hyenas, are placed in Feliforma.

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Coati

South American coati
South American coati (Nasua nasua), a species found in the Amazon Rainforest
  • Number of species: 4
  • Genera: Nasua / Nasuella
  • Where found: North & South America

Coatis are also known as ‘coatimundis‘. These cat-sized carnivorous mammals are members of the raccoon family, Procyonidae.

Coatis forage on the forest floor by day. They find food among the leaf litter using their acute sense of smell. During the night they rest in the rainforest canopy.

Coatis are found in South America and in southern North America.

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Electric Eel

electric eel
Electric eel. Click photo for more information on this animal.
  • Scientific name: Electrophorus electricus
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Where found: South America

Despite its name and eel-like appearance, the electric eel is a knifefish rather than a true eel. This long, thin fish has a fin running almost the whole length of the underside of its body. By moving this fin with a wave-like motion the electric eel is able to swim both forwards and backwards.

Like other knifefish, the electric eel is able to produce electrical fields that help it navigate in murky water. The electric eel has greatly developed this ability and is able to produce voltages strong enough both to stun prey and deter predators. A shock from an electric eel can even be life-threatening to humans!

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Giraffe Weevil

Giraffe Weevil
Male giraffe weevil. Photo: Frank Vassen from Brussels, Belgium [CC BY 2.0]
  • Scientific name: Trachelophorus giraffa
  • Conservation status: Unassessed
  • Where found: Africa (Madagascar)

This strange-looking rainforest bug is found in the island country of Madagascar. The giraffe weevil’s name comes from the species’ elongated neck. This is an adaptation for fighting and nest-building.

The neck of the male is over twice as long as that of the female, giving the insect a total body length of almost 1 in. (2.54 cm).

The female makes a nest by rolling a leaf into a tube, in which she will lay a single egg.

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Goliath Beetle

goliath beetle
Goliath beetle (Goliathus goliathus)
  • Genus: Goliathus
  • Number of Species: 5
  • Where found: Africa

The five species of goliath beetles are the world’s largest insects. In their adult form they are over 10 cm (3.93 in.) long. Their larvae weigh up to 100 grams (3.5 oz.)

Despite their large size, Goliath beetles are still able to fly.

Goliath beetles are found in the tropical rainforests of Africa.

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Goliath Birdeater

Goliath birdeater Spider
Goliath bird eater spider. Photo: Fernando Flores from Caracas, Venezuela [CC BY-SA 2.0]
  • Scientific name: Theraphosa blondi
  • Conservation status: Unassessed
  • Where found: South America

The goliath birdeater is a member of the tarantula family Theraphosidae. This huge rainforest spider is the heaviest spider in the world (although its leg-span, at 11 inches (28 cm) is only the second largest, after the giant huntsman spider). Its body reaches a length of up to 4.75 in. (12 cm).

The Goliath birdeater lives deep in the rainforests of northern South America, including the Amazon rainforest. It hunts at night, preying on a variety of large invertebrates and small vertebrates, including lizards and frogs. Despite its name, the species only occasionally eats birds.

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Green Anaconda

Green Anaconda
Green Anaconda
  • Scientific name: Eunectes murinus
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Where found: South America

The green anaconda is the world’s heaviest species of snake, but not the longest (that’s the reticulated python). However, a green anaconda can still grow to over 16.4 ft. / 5 metres in length!

This huge rainforest snake is an excellent swimmer, and is found in the lakes and rivers of the Amazon Rainforest.

Like all members of the family Boidae, the green anaconda is non-venomous. Instead, it relies on its squeezing ability to subdue its prey.

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Green Iguana

Green Iguana
Green Iguana
  • Scientific name: Iguana iguana
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Where found: Central & South America

The green iguana is a large lizard that lives in the forests of Central and South America. Although this rainforest reptile looks fierce, it mainly eats plants.

The species is arboreal (tree-dwelling). It is often found near water, and is an excellent swimmer.

The closely-related Lesser Antillean iguana, a species found in the rainforests of the Lesser Antilles islands in the Caribbean, is critically endangered.

  • You can find out more about iguanas on this page: Iguana Facts

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Harpy Eagle

Rainforest Bird Harpy Eagle
The harpy eagle is the biggest eagle of the Americas.
  • Scientific name: Harpia harpyja
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened
  • Where found: Central & South America

The harpy eagle is the largest bird of prey found in the rainforest.

Although it is one of the world’s biggest eagles, it’s wingspan is (relatively) small; this is an adaption for flying through the forest.

The harpy eagle is said to be the world’s most powerful bird of prey. It is capable of plucking mid-sized mammals such as monkeys and sloths from out of trees.

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Hoatzin

Hoatzin
Hoatzin
  • Scientific name: Opisthocomus hoazin
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Where found: South America

The hoatzin is a pheasant-shaped bird with a long body, broad tail, and a spiky crest on its head.

The hoatzin is an unusual bird for several reasons. Juvenile hoatzins have a claw at the ‘elbow’ joint of each of their wings. The species nests above water, and if threatened, the juveniles drop into the water. Using their claws, they are able to climb back into the nest once the danger has passed.

The species also has an unusual way of digesting its food, which consists largely of green leaves. The food is broken down by bacteria in a special area in the bird’s crop (the expandable storage area in a bird’s throat), in a similar way to that in which cows digest grass.

The fermenting leaves in the hoatzin’s crop give off an unpleasant aroma. Because of this, the species has the alternative name of ‘stinkbird’.

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Howler Monkey

Howler Monkey
No list of rainforest animals would be complete without a howler monkey!
  • Number of species: 15
  • Family: Atelidae
  • Where found: Central & South America

All fifteen species of howler monkey live in the rainforests of South and Central America. Howler monkeys live in groups known as ‘troops‘. There can be from 6 to 15 howler monkeys in a troop.

A howler monkey’s cry can be heard through 3 miles of rainforest. The monkeys use their loud voices to let rival troops know where they are (this way they don’t actually have to fight to keep their territories).

Despite the loud calls, some people keep howler monkeys as pets!

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Jaguar

Jaguar
Jaguar
  • Scientific name: Panthera onca
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened
  • Where found: North & South America

Jaguars are the world’s third-largest cat species — only tigers and lions are bigger. These big cats live in South American rain forests, where they are apex predators (i.e. top of the food chain).

Jaguars have extremely powerful jaws and are excellent swimmers – not even caimans are safe from these fearsome carnivores!

  • You can find out more about this rainforest predator on this page: Jaguar Facts.

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King Vulture

king vulture
King vulture
  • Scientific name: Sarcoramphus papa
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Where found: Central and South America

The king vulture is a large bird that lives in the rainforests of Central and South America. It has black and white plumage and a strikingly-colored head and bill.

Like other vultures, it is primarily a scavenger. It feeds on carrion that it finds on the forest floor. Due to its size and strength it is able to prevent other scavenging birds from feeding on the carrion until it has had its fill.

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Leafcutter Ant

Rainforest Animals Leafcutter Ant
Leafcutter Ant – click image to learn about these fascinating insects.
  • Number of species: 47
  • Genera: Atta / Acromyrmex
  • Where found: Central & South America

They may be small, but leafcutter ants are some of the most amazing – and important – animals that live in rainforests.

These industrious insects build nests that are up to 30 m (98 ft.) across. These huge nests are home to over 8 million insects!

(There are many countries in the world whose human populations are smaller than the number of leaf cutter ants that live in just one nest!)

Perhaps even more amazingly, leafcutter ants grow their own food in special ‘fungus gardens‘ within their immense nests!

Long trails of leafcutter ants can often be seen carrying leaves from the rainforest canopy to their nest. The leaves are fed to the fungus, which in turn is fed to the ants’ larvae.

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Lemur

Ring Tailed Lemur
Ring Tailed Lemur – one of around 100 lemur species.
  • Number of species: around 100
  • Superfamily: Lemuroidea
  • Where found: Africa (Madagascar)

Lemurs are small primates found in the rainforests of Madagascar. Lemurs are ‘endemic‘ to Madagascar, which means that they’re found nowhere else on Earth!

There are around 100 species of lemur. The species shown in the photo above is a ring-tailed lemur. Sadly, like many lemurs, the ring-tailed lemur is endangered.

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Leopard

Leopard
Leopards live in a variety of habitats, including rainforests.
  • Scientific name: Panthera pardus
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable
  • Where found: Africa & Asia

Leopards are big cats found in Africa and parts of Asia. The rainforest is just one habitat in which this versatile animal is able to live; it’s equally at home in savannas, woodlands and grasslands.

The spots on a leopard’s coat are called ‘rosettes‘. One way of telling leopards and jaguars apart is by looking at their rosettes. A leopard’s rosettes are empty, whereas those of a jaguar are filled with smaller black spots. Leopards are also slightly smaller than jaguars.

Leopards are incredibly strong, and are known to carry their prey up trees. (They have to do this, otherwise lions and hyenas might try to steal it from them!)

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Lovely Fairywren

Lovely fairywren
Lovely fairy wren. Photo: Aviceda [CC BY-SA 3.0]
  • Scientific name: Malurus amabilis
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Where found: Australia

The lovely fairywren is an Australian rainforest bird found in the northeast of the country. It often lives on the rainforest edge, and is frequently seen high in the rainforest canopy. The species lives in small family groups.

The lovely fairywren lives in the rainforests of northeastern Australia. It is usually found at the edges of rainforests, often high up in the rainforest canopy. The species lives in small family groups.

This colorful Australian bird is one of 11 species of fairywren, all of which are small and brightly-colored.

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Macaw

Scarlet macaw
Scarlet macaw
  • Number of species: 19
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Where found: The Americas

Macaws are members of the family Psittacidae, one of the three parrot families (not all of the members of this family are macaws). Macaws are large, colorful birds with large bills and long tails. Most species can be told apart from other parrots by their featherless faces.

There are 19 species of macaw. Several of these, including the hyacinth macaw, great green macaw and scarlet macaw, are found in rainforests.

A macaw’s feet are “zygodactyl“; the outer two toes face forwards while the inner two toes face backwards. This helps the bird to climb and land on tree trunks. This type of foot is a characteristic of several woodland and forest birds, including parrots, woodpeckers and cuckoos.

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Ocelot

Ocelot
Ocelot: Click the image to find out more about this animal.
  • Scientific name: Leopardus pardalis
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Where found: Central & South America

The ocelot is a small wild cat found in South and Central America. The species is also occasionally seen as far north as Texas and Arizona.

Around the size of a bobcat, the ocelot is sometimes referred to as the ‘dwarf leopard’ on behalf of its spotted coat.

The ocelot is a nocturnal predator that rarely targets prey larger than rabbits and armadillos.

  • You can find out more about the ocelot on this page: Ocelot Facts

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Orangutan

Orangutan mother and baby in rainforest
Orangutans live in Southeast Asian rain forests. The orangutans in the photo are Bornean orangutans.
  • Number of species: 3
  • Genus: Pongo
  • Where found: Asia

Orangutans are members of the great ape family, Hominidae – just like us! Orangutans live in rainforests on the Southeast Asian islands Borneo and Sumatra. The name ‘orangutan’ means ‘man of the forest’ in Malay.

Orangutans are the world’s largest arborial (tree-dwelling) animals. They spend up to 95% of their lives in the trees.

Sadly, all three species of orangutan are now critically endangered. This is mainly due to deforestation. Much of the orangutan’s natural habitat has been cleared to make way for palm oil plantations.

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Piranha

Red-bellied piranhas
Piranhas live in rainforest rivers. The fish in the photo are red-bellied piranhas – the largest piranha species.
  • Number of species: 30 to 60+
  • Subfamily: Serrasalminae (the subfamily also includes pacus and silver dollars)
  • Where found: South America

Piranhas are freshwater fish found in the lakes and rivers of South America. With powerful jaws tightly packed with sharp teeth, piranhas have a reputation for being dangerous predators.

This fearsome reputation isn’t entirely deserved. Piranhas aren’t top of the rainforest food chain, and are just as likely to end up as dinner for other animals.

Many piranhas, rather than being purely carnivorous, are actually omnivores who feed on plant matter as well as on meat.

Piranha attacks on humans are rare, and seldom result in serious injury.

There may be over 60 species of piranha (scientists are unsure of the exact number). The largest piranha species is the red-bellied piranha, which grows up to 50 cm (20 in) in length.

  • You can find out more about piranhas on this page: Piranha Facts.

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Poison Dart Frog

Poison Dart Frog
Poison Dart Frog – Click photo for more information
  • Number of species: around 170
  • Family: Dendrobatidae
  • Where found: Central & South America

Most of the 170 or so species of poison dart frog have brightly-coloured skin. This acts as a warning to potential predators that the frogs are poisonous.

Hunters from rainforest tribes used poison taken from the skin of poison dart frogs on the tips of their blowdarts.

The golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis) is one of the world’s most poisonous animals.

Poison dart frogs are found in Central and South American rainforests.

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Rainforest Scops Owl

Rainforest Scops Owl
Rainforest scops owl. Photo: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE [CC BY-SA 2.0]
  • Scientific name: Otus rutilus
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Where found: Africa (Madagascar)

This rainforest owl lives in the rainforests of eastern Madagascar. With a wingspan of up to 54 cm (21 in.), it is one of the smaller owl species.

The rainforest scops owl appears in three color variations, brown, grey or reddish-brown. When threatened it raises the two ear-like crests on its head.

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Red Eyed Tree Frog

Red Eyed Tree Frog
The red-eyed tree frog; one of the most distinctive rainforest animals list. Click the image for red eyed tree frog facts!
  • Scientific name: Agalychnis callidryas
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Where found: North & South America

Thanks to its eye-catching good looks the red-eyed tree frog has become one of the world’s best-known amphibians.

When resting, the frog conceals its bright colors under its green body and closes its large red eyes, making it surprisingly difficult to spot.

These iconic frogs live in the canopy layer of Central American rainforests.

The red eyed tree frog’s bright colors are part of a defense mechanism called ‘startle coloration‘. The frog hopes that a quick flash of its bright red eyes will momentarily confuse a potential predator, giving it time to escape!

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Red Imported Fire Ant

Red Imported Fire Ant
Red Imported Fire Ant. Public domain image by Alex Wild, produced by the University of Texas “Insects Unlocked”
  • Scientific name: Solenopsis invicta
  • Conservation status: Unassessed
  • Where found: South America

The red imported fire ant is an ant in the genus Solenopsis. It is found in tropical areas of South America. The species is found in a number of habitats, including rainforests.

The species has spread beyond its original range, and is considered to be one of the world’s worst invasive species. It has been introduced to the United States and even to Australia via shipping containers.

Like all fire ants, the red imported fire ant can deliver a painful sting. The species is resilient to floods and droughts, and has even been seen amassing into floating, living ‘boats’ consisting of thousands of individuals.

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Sloth

Sloth
Sloths see the rainforest upside-down!
  • Number of species: 6
  • Suborder: Folivora
  • Where found: Central & South America

Sloths are medium-sized rainforest mammals found in South and Central America. These tree-dwelling animals spend nearly all of their lives hanging upside-down from branches in the rainforest canopy.

Sloths move very slowly and have a low metabolism (the rate at which the body uses energy). This is an adaptation for living on leaves, which contain very little energy. Moving slowly also helps sloths stay hidden from predators such as the harpy eagle.

Because sloths are such slow movers, algae often begins to grow in their fur, giving them a green color. This is actually beneficial to the sloths, as it camouflages them among the leaves.

  • You can find out more about sloths on this page: Sloth Facts

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South American Lungfish

South American Lungfish
South American Lungfish
  • Scientific name: Lepidosiren paradoxa
  • Conservation status: Unassessed
  • Where found: South America

The South American lungfish is one of six species of lungfish alive today. Lungfish are fish that have retained their ancestors’ ability to breathe air. As the name suggests, lungfish have lungs, and can breathe without using their gills.

The South American lungfish is found in slow-moving rivers and streams in the Amazon Basin. It is a long, thin fish that can grow to over 1 meter (3.3 ft.) in length.

During the dry season, the South American lungfish is able to surround its body in mucous and can survive buried in the mud, even if the river dries up.

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Spider Monkey

Spider Monkey Rainforest Animals List
Geoffroy’s spider monkey – an endangered species of spider monkey. Click image to learn more about these agile rainforest monkeys.
  • Number of species: 7
  • Genus: Ateles
  • Where found: South America

Spider monkeys get their name from their long limbs and tail; these agile primates actually look like giant spiders! Spider monkeys live in the rainforests of South America.

All seven species of Spider Monkey are now threatened; one is rated Vulnerable, four are Endangered, and two are Critically Endangered.

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Tapir

Mountain tapir
Mountain tapir, one of five species of tapir.
  • Number of species: 5
  • Family: Tapiridae
  • Where found: Central & South America, Asia

Tapirs are large hoofed animals in the family Tapiridae. They have long, prehensile snouts which they use to grasp and manipulate foliage while foraging for food. (Prehensile means ‘adapted for grasping or holding’.)

Tapiridae, the family to which all 5 species of tapir belong, is one of three animal families that make up the group of animals known as odd-toed ungulates.

The other families in this group are the horse family (Equidae) and the rhinoceros family (Rhinocerotidae).

The only species of tapir found outside of the Americas is the Malayan tapir, which is found in Asia.

  • You can find out more about these rainforest animals on this page: Tapir Facts

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Tarsier

Tarsier
Tarsier: Click on the photo for more information on tarsiers.
  • Number of species: 11
  • Family: Tarsiidae
  • Where found: Asia

Tarsiers are small primates that live in rainforests on Southeast Asian islands. They have extremely large eyes and long tails. (The eyes of some tarsier species are larger than their brains!) Tarsiers are adapted for jumping, and move around by leaping through the trees.

These nocturnal animals exist mainly on a diet of insects.

There is some confusion over the exact number of tarsier species. Currently, 11 species of tarsier are listed in the Catalogue of Life (a list of all of the world’s species), but other authorities recognize more or fewer species. All tarsiers are in the family Tarsiidae.

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Tiger

Rainforest Tiger
Tigers are an endangered species; will they even be in future rainforest animal lists?
  • Scientific name: Panthera tigris
  • Conservation status: Endangered
  • Where found: Asia

The tiger is the world’s largest cat species. It lives in a variety of habitats, including rainforests and a variety of other types of forest.

Tigers are found in several Asian countries, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The species is also found in southeast Russia.

The tiger is an endangered species. It is estimated that there are only around 3,000 to 4,000 of these beautiful animals left in the wild. The main threats to tigers are habitat loss and poaching.

  • You can find out more about tigers on this page: Tiger Facts.

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Toucan

keel-billed toucan
Keel-billed toucan
  • Number of species: 43
  • Family: Ramphastidae
  • Where found: Central and South America

Toucans are a family of around 43 crow-sized birds found in Central and South America.

These distinctive birds are known for their large, colorful bills.

A toucan uses its long bill to reach food without having to fly or climb to another branch. The bill also helps the toucan stay cool by transferring body heat to the surrounding air.

The keel-billed toucan, pictured above, lives in the canopy of Central American rainforests. It is primarily a frugivore (fruit-eater), although it will also eat a variety of animals, including snakes and the nestlings of other birds.

  • You can find out more about toucans on this page: Toucan Facts.

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Vampire Bat

Vampire Bat
Vampire Bat
    • Number of species: 3
    • Subfamily: Desmodontinae
    • Where found: North & South America

Bats are mammals whose arms have evolved into wings, allowing them to fly. There are 3 species of vampire bat: the common vampire bat, the hairy-legged vampire bat, and the white-winged vampire bat.

All vampire bats feed on the blood of other animals. Vampire bats know exactly where to bite their victims by using infrared radiation to see where the blood is flowing closest to the skin!

Vampire bats are found in the Americas. As well as being found in rainforests, they also live in woodlands and grasslands.

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White-Lipped Treefrog

White-Lipped Treefrog

  • Scientific name: Litoria infrafrenata
  • Conservation status: Least Concern
  • Where found: Australia

This Australian amphibian is the world’s largest species of tree frog, and Australia’s largest native frog. The species is also found in Papua New Guinea.

Tree frogs are amphibians in the family Hylidae. Tree frogs are named for their arboreal (tree-dwelling) lifestyle.

The white-lipped tree frog is found in north-east Queensland, and is present in the Daintree Rainforest. The species is also found in urban areas, and occasionally gets transported hundreds of miles to other states in banana boxes.

You can find out more about the white-lipped tree frog on this page: White-Lipped Tree Frog Facts

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What Is A Rainforest?

As the name suggests, rainforests are forests found in areas that receive a high amount of rain. All rainforests receive at least 1.8 m (70 in.) of rain in a year; some rainforests receive over 3 m (118 in.).

Tropical rainforests are rainforests that are located near the Equator. They are hot, humid places. The average monthly temperature in a tropical rainforest is at least 18 °C (64 °F), with little difference between summer and winter.

A tropical rainforest’s unique mix of high rainfall and constant high temperature provides plants and animals with an ideal environment in which to live.

Because of their high biodiversity, tropical rainforests are among the world’s most important habitats. (Biodiversity is the amount of different species that live in one area.)


Rainforest Animals List: Discover More with Active Wild!

We hope that you’ve enjoyed discovering the amazing rainforest animals on this page. Rainforests are home to a wide and varied range of species and this ancient habitat is vitally important for sustaining a large proportion of the world’s biodiversity.

What’s your favorite rainforest animal? Are there any animals we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!

The animals on this list represent only a fraction of the species that live in the world’s rainforests; you can discover more animals on the pages listed below:

You can find out more about rainforests on the following pages:

4 thoughts on “Rainforest Animals List With Pictures, Facts & Links To Further Information, Plus FREE Printable Question Sheets”

  1. This is really cool and interesting. I love how there’s so many different animals but I hate that people are taking away their homes.

    Reply
  2. They are such wonderful animals and they are very cute. I always thought of a capybara as a huge guinea pig and they are very cute in real life. also ant eaters and monkeys are very cute.

    Reply
    • Hi Ceanna,

      That’s a good question!

      Everything in a rainforest is part of a big, complicated system. Therefore it’s impossible to identify the most important organism.

      It’s also extremely difficult to predict how the ecosystem will react to the introduction / disappearance of a species: the effects can be surprising and seemingly random!

      The correct answer is probably ‘man’; only man has the power to protect or destroy the rainforest.

      Reply

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