A tropical rainforest animals list, with pictures, facts and links to further information.
Rainforests are home to an incredibly diverse range of animals and plants. This page contains a list of many of the most famous rainforest animals, but there are many more: it is estimated that there may be millions of species of plants, insects and microorganisms living in the rainforest that are still to be discovered.
Maybe you could discover a new animal and add it to a future rainforest animals list!
You can find out more about many of the animals listed below by clicking on the pictures or following the links.
Discover the World’s Rainforests at Active Wild …
- View / download a FREE Rainforest Animals worksheet for this page: Free Printable Worksheets
- Discover amazing rainforest mammals here: Rainforest Mammals List
- Discover amazing rainforest reptiles here: Rainforest Reptiles List
- Find out more about the world’s rainforests at our main Rainforests Page.
- Interested in the Amazon Rainforest in particular? You’ll find pictures and facts about its animals and plants here: What is in the Amazon Rainforest?
- Discover some incredible rainforest monkeys here: Rainforest Monkeys.
- Rainforest plants are just as exciting as rainforest animals! Find out why here: Rainforest Plants List.
- New! Download Active Wild Rainforest Worksheets.
- Find out more about the animal kingdom here: Animals: The Ultimate Guide.
List Of Rainforest Animals
Anteaters are members of a group of animals with the latin name Vermilingua, which means ‘worm tongue‘. The name comes from their long, thin tongues, which are used to gather up ants and termites.
There are four species of anteater: the giant anteater, silky anteater, southern tamandua and northern tamandua.
- You can find out more about anteaters here: Anteater Facts.
Aye-ayes are found in the rainforests of Madagascar. They are a species of lemur (see further down the page), and are the world’s largest nocturnal primates.
Aye-ayes eat grubs, which they find by tapping on trees. They have specially-adapted middle fingers for hooking grubs out of holes.
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‘, which means that it can hold onto things. It is used as an ‘extra hand’ when the binturong is climbing.
In fact, the binturong is the only Old World mammal with a prehensile tail. (‘Old World’ is a term for the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa combined.)
Binturongs live in the forests of South and Southeast Asia.
Blue Morpho Butterfly
The blue morpho is a brilliant blue butterfly that feeds (among other things) on rotting fruit found on the floor of South and Central American rainforests.
- Read more about Blue Morpho butterflies here.
Boa constrictors are large rainforest snakes. They ambush their prey, then constrict (squeeze) it before swallowing it whole.
These fearsome reptiles are found in Central and South American rainforests.
- Find out more about boa constrictors here.
Caimans are predatory reptiles that live in the rivers and lakes of Central and South American rain forests. There are six species of caiman.
Together with crocodiles, alligators and gharials, caimans form a group of animals known as ‘Crocodilians‘. The spectacled caiman is the world’s most common crocodilian.
- Find out more about caimans here: Caiman Facts & Information.
Capybaras are the world’s largest rodents. They live in South and Central American forests.
Capybaras have several adaptations for a semi-aquatic lifestyle, and are always found living close to water.
- You can read more about capybaras here: Capybara Facts.
Civets are cat-like mammals found in rainforests in Asia and Africa. They produce a strong-smelling substance that can be used to make perfume.
Like Binturongs (see further up the page), civets are members of the Viverridae family.
Coatimundis are also known as ‘coatis’. These cat-sized carnivores are members of the raccoon family, Procyonidae.
Coatis are found in South America and in southern North America.
Green anacondas are the world’s heaviest species of snake, but not the longest (that’s the reticulated python). However, they can still grow to over 5 metres in length!
Green anacondas are excellent swimmers, and can be found in the lakes and rivers of the Amazon Rainforest.
- You can find out more about the green anaconda here.
Harpy eagles are the largest birds of prey found in the Americas (the continents of North and South America combined). They live in the tops of the trees in rainforests — a habitat known as the ‘canopy’.
- Read more about harpy eagles here.
All fifteen species of howler monkey live in the rainforests of South and Central America. Howler Monkeys use their loud voices to let rival troops know where they are.
A howler monkey’s cry can be heard through 3 miles of rainforest. Despite this, Howler Monkeys are sometimes kept as pets!
- Read more about howler monkeys here.
Iguanas are large lizards that live in the forests of Central and South America. Although they look fierce, they mainly eat plants.
- Discover more about iguanas here.
Jaguars are the world’s third-largest cat species — only tigers and lions are bigger. Jaguars 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 majestic predators!
- Find out more about this beautiful rainforest predator here: Jaguar Facts.
They may be small, but leafcutter ants are some of the most amazing rainforest animals. Their huge nests can be home to over 8 million insects (there are many countries in the world with smaller human populations than this)!
Perhaps even more amazingly, leafcutter ants grow their own food in special ‘fungus gardens‘ within their immense nests!
- You can find out more about leafcutter ants here.
Lemurs are small primates that are found in Madagascan rainforests. In fact, they’re ‘endemic‘ to the island of Madagascar, which means they aren’t found anywhere else!
Leopards are big cats famous for their spotted coats. A leopard’s spots are called ‘rosettes‘. One way of telling leopards and jaguars apart is by looking at their rosettes. Those of a leopard are empty, whereas a jaguar’s rosettes are filled with smaller black marks.
Leopards are also slightly smaller than jaguars, and live in Africa and parts of Asia, rather than in South America.
Leopards are incredibly strong, and can drag their prey up trees. (They have to do this, otherwise lions and hyenas might try to steal it from them!)
- Read more about leopards here: Leopard Facts.
Ocelots are wild cats that are also known as ‘dwarf leopards’ because they have similar markings to their bigger cousins.
As well as living in the rainforests of South America, they are also found in Central America, and even as far north as Texas.
- Find out more about ocelots here.
Orangutans are members of the great ape family, Hominidae – just like us! Orangutans are found in the rainforests of the Southeast Asian islands Borneo and Sumatra. The name ‘orangutan’ means ‘man of the forest’ in the local language.
Sadly, both the Sumatran and Bornean species of orangutan are now critically endangered, mainly due to deforestation.
- Read more about orang-utans here: Orangutan Facts.
Piranhas are fish found in the lakes and rivers of South America. They are carnivorous (meat-eating) and have sharp teeth and powerful jaws.
Despite their big teeth and fearsome looks, piranhas are just as often prey for other animals as they are predators.
- You can find out more about piranhas here: Piranha Facts.
Poison Dart Frog
There are around 170 species of poison dart frog. Most of them have brightly-coloured skin, which warns potential predators that the frogs are poisonous. Some poison dart frogs, such as the golden poison frog, are among the world’s most poisonous animals!
Poison dart frogs are found in Central and South American rainforests.
- Find out more about poison dart frogs here.
Red Eyed Tree Frog
Red eyed tree frogs are among the most recognizable of all amphibians! These iconic frogs live in rainforests in Central America.
The red eyed tree frog’s bright colors are part of a defence mechanism called ‘startle coloration‘. The frog hopes that a quick flash of its bright red eyes will momentarily confuse any potential predators, giving it time to escape.
- Learn more about red eyed tree frogs here.
Sloths are medium-sized rainforest mammals of the Americas. They are famous for being slow-moving, and have developed a slow metabolism (the rate at which their body processes work) because the leaves that they eat contain very little energy.
- Read more about sloths here.
It’s not hard to see how spider monkeys got their name; their long limbs and tail make them 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, five are Endangered, and two are Critically Endangered.
- Find out all about spider monkeys here.
Tapirs are large hoofed animals. They have long, prehensile snouts that are used to grasp and manipulate foliage and other food. (Prehensile means adapted for grasping or holding.)
Tapirs are related to rhinoceroses and horses. The only species of tapir found outside of the Americas is the Malayan tapir, which is found in Asia.
- You can read more about these awesome rainforest animals here: Tapir Information.
Tarsiers are small primates that live in rainforests in Southeast Asian islands. They have extremely large eyes and long tails. Tarsiers move around by leaping through the trees.
Several tiger subspecies live in rainforest regions in Asia. Tigers are an endangered species, with some tiger subspecies being critically endangered.
- You can find out more about tigers here: Tiger Facts.
Toucans are distinctive Central and South American rainforest birds, famous for their huge, colourful bills.
- Discover more about toucans here: Toucan Facts.
Bats are mammals whose arms have evolved into wings, allowing them to fly. There are three species of vampire bat, all of which feed on the blood of other animals.
Vampire bats know exactly where to bite their victims – they use infrared radiation to see where blood flows closest to the skin!
Vampire bats are found in the Americas.
- You can find out more about vampire bats here.
Rainforest Animal Habitats
As their name suggests, rainforests are forests that have a high rainfall. There are two types of rainforest: tropical rainforest and temperate rainforest. This list includes animals from both types.
Many of the animals have links that you can click on to ind out more information. Click on the individual animal to find out more about it, and also its habitat and which country or countries it is found in.
Rainforest Animals List Conclusion
We hope that you have found this list of rainforest animals helpful. Please bookmark this page so you’ll always be able to come back to it, and tell your friends about us!
- Now learn about amazing animals from all over the world! Visit our main animals page: Animals: The Ultimate Guide.
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