The Varied Adaptations of Rainforest Animals

Every environment has its own challenges and its own advantages. To meet those challenges and be able to live most effectively in those environments, animals adapt with certain common traits. Today, let’s take a look at what traits animals who live in the rainforest typically have which help them not only to survive but to thrive there.

Sloth Covered in AlgaeRainforest wildlife has camouflage. They aren’t the only ones that need camouflaging patterns. Tigers and lions blend into the tall grasses where they live, and rockfish blend into the ocean floor. However, camouflage in the rainforest actually means being quite flashy in some instances. Sloths’ fur carries green algae, which helps them to blend into the leaves. Big cats like jaguars have their distinctive light brown and black spots to mimic the appearance of light through the branches and helping them hide even in light.


Of course, it isn’t always light out in the rainforest. In addition to the thick canopies and layers of leaves not letting light through, many animals have adapted to being nocturnal. This is especially helpful in the rainforest because of the sheer amount of wildlife who lives there. Flying foxes and many frogs take advantage of the night to eat with little competition.

Rainforest Parrot Soaring in SkySpeaking of competition, many animals who live in the rainforest have adapted to have a very limited diet. They consume only specific leaves or fruits so that they won’t face competition from others. This is possible because of the variety of fruits, leaves, and flowers available. For example, parrots take advantage of their hard beaks to dig for seeds and crack open hard nuts and seeds.

Animals also eliminate competition by living strictly in different layers of the rainforest. Monkeys live in the canopy along with many birds. Parrots and Harpy eagles live just above them at the highest points. On the floor, there are bugs like leafcutter ants, and anteaters and cabybaras. Birds live at all layers but eat different foods from one another.


Animals who live in the rainforest aren’t as large as those who live elsewhere because they don’t have such unlimited food sources and being large and moving through the branches or thick undergrowth would slow the animal down. On the reverse side, though, snakes do tend to grow larger in the rainforest, but they can slither through the trees and move around and past obstacles easily.

Rainforests cover only 2% of the Earth, and we’re causing that number to dwindle by deforestation and using the trees for lumber. However, rainforests may contain as much as 50% of the biodiversity on the planet. That’s why it critically important that we preserve these environments.

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