Tropical Rainforest Animals: List, Names, Pics of Species That Live in Rainforests

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Animals | January 9, 2024

Person hiking in a jungle looking at tropical rainforest animals and wondering if there are pictures & charts of animals that live in the amazon rainforest as well as other forests like the deciduous forest, boreal forest, and coniferous.

Have you ever wanted to learn more about tropical rainforest animals and species?

Tropical rainforest animals are mostly found in the tropical regions around the equator.12 The area receives a maximum amount of rainfall nearly every month because of the intense solar energy that is produced.

The warm and moist tropical rainforest is a home for about 50% of forest animals and plants that exist.1,5

Despite the known number of animals and plants in the region, biologists say that there are other species that are yet to be discovered. West America, Indonesia, and West Central Africa are some of the regions with tropical rainforest growth.

This guide outlines some of the most well known tropical rainforest animals, as well as some that you may not know live in these jungle regions, along with pictures and names and other cool facts.

Temperate Forest Animals

Temperate forests are much cooler, receive less sunlight and rain compared to tropical rainforest regions.

Despite this, different categories of animals live in this area including tropical rainforest animals like monkeys and bears,7 birds like eagles, reptiles like Giant Tortoises, amphibians like salamanders and insects like beetles.

Graphics of Temperate Forest Animals showing Deer, Butterfly, Ants, Bear, Beetle, Spider, Hawk, Frog, Owl, Hedgehog, Opossum, Tortoise, Fox, Moth, Lizard, Mouse, Salamander, Racoon, Wolf, Stick Bug, Robin, Snake, Squirrel, Slug, Jay, Kangaroo, Skunk, Emu, Elephant, and Woodpecker images is circle frames.

When you visit the temperate forest it is hard to miss the songs of birds as they are the most common in the region.

Adaptations of Temperate Forest Animals

  1. Birds migrate and mammals hibernate during the winter when the food is not enough.
  2. Carnivores like wolves and wildcats grow pelts to help them survive during the winter.
  3. Chipmunks, squirrels and jays gather nuts when they are in plenty in the summer time, and store them for winter when they are scarce.

Deciduous Forest Animals

The word Deciduous, also known as woodland, means ‘to fall’. During the process of photosynthesis,13 plants collect sunlight and turn it into energy.

In the autumn and winter seasons, the leaves fall to the ground and become part of the forest floor hence the name Deciduous.

The forest can be found in the parts of the United States and Canada as well as in the continents of Europe and the western parts of Asia, and is home to a number of tropical rainforest animals.

List of Animals That Are Found in the Deciduous Forest

Here are some of the animals that are found in the Deciduous Forest.

Graphics of Deciduous Forest Animals showing Birds (Northern Cardinal, Hummingbird, Snowy Owl, Blue Bird, Northern Goshawk, Pileated Woodpecker, and Broad Winged Hawk), Reptiles (Box Turtles, Snake Grass, Salamander, and Northern Copperhead), Large Mammals (Mountain Lions, Wolves, and Bears), Small Mammals (Deer and Moose), Amphibians (Toads, Frogs, and Wood Frog), and Insects (Butterflies, Bees, Caterpillars, Termites, and American Burying Beetle) images.

BirdsReptilesLarge MammalsSmall MammalsAmphibiansInsects
Northern CardinalBox TurtlesMountain LionsDeerToadsButterflies
HummingbirdSnake GrassWolvesMooseFrogsBees
Snowy OwlSalamanderBearsWood FrogCaterpillars
Blue BirdNorthern CopperheadTermites
Northern GoshawkAmerican Burying Beetle
Pileated Woodpecker
Broad Winged Hawk

Adaptations of Deciduous Forest Animals

  1. During spring, amphibians such as toads use the warm weather to lay their eggs in a collection of water and small ponds. Usually the ponds make it easy for different types of plants to grow therefore, attracting insects and making it easier for the newborn to have food.
  2. Hibernating animals always make sure to feed heavily so that during the winter season their coats will grow thick and long enough to make them warm. As for the birds, they all migrate to warmer places where there is enough food and water.
  3. Chipmunks and some other species usually store nuts under fallen leaves or in hollows of trees when there are plenty in summer, and consume later in the winter when there is not enough food.

Temperate Deciduous Forest Animal

Temperate Deciduous forest has four distinct seasons: winter, autumn, spring, and summer. Therefore, the forest is referred to as a Changing Biome.

Conditions like rich soil, rain and temperature changes that occur in the forest, allows a variety of plants and animal species to live there including woodland animals.

The forest is mostly found in the eastern part of the United States and Canada and mostly in Japan, China, and parts of Europe. Deciduous forests are also categorized in tropical and subtropical forests.14

List of Animals Found in the Temperate Deciduous Forest: Tropical Rainforest Animals

Here is a list of some animals found in the Temperate Deciduous Forest.

Graphics of Temperate Deciduous Forest Animals showing Reptiles (Salamander, Toads, Snakes, and Frogs), Insects (Walking Sticks, Bees, Dragon Flies, and Mosquito), Small Mammals (Raccoon, Monkey, Squirrel, and Rabbit), and Large Mammals (Elephants, Bears, Tiger, and Human Beings) images.

ReptilesInsectsSmall mammalsLarge mammals
SalamanderWalking SticksRaccoonElephants
SnakesDragon FliesSquirrelTiger
FrogsMosquitoRabbitHuman Beings

Adaptations of Temperate Deciduous Animals

  1. Large mammals like Bears grow fur to help them feel warm in the winter season.
  2. During the winter season, birds migrate to areas where there is warmth, water, and plenty of food.
  3. Squirrels and other varieties of animals gather nuts when there is plenty in summer, and store them in tree hollows, and under the leaves to use during the winter when there is no enough food.

Coniferous Forest Animals

From the word Coniferous, vegetation in this forest primarily consists of cone bearing needle leaved trees that are evergreen. You may have seen Coniferous trees growing along the Deciduous trees.

This should not fool you, supreme Coniferous Trees always grow in areas where it is very hard for Deciduous Trees to grow.

Despite the harsh climatic conditions and sparse vegetation observed in the Coniferous Forest, it is still home for many animal species including tropical rainforest animals. Animals in this area have specific food habits.

Therefore, for any animal to survive in this region, it must have special adaptations for it to survive. Most of the Coniferous forest grows in the lower latitude of Asia, North America, and Europe.

List of Animals That Live in the Coniferous Forest

Here is a list of some of the animals that live in the Coniferous Forest.

Graphics of Coniferous Forest Animals showing Mammals (Martens, Lynx, Squirrel, and Moose) and Birds (Waxwing, Crossbills, Warblers, and Hawks) images.


Adaptations of Coniferous Forest Animals

  1. Birds like Crossbills have unique beaks where the upper and the lower beak overlap each other allowing them to extract seeds from the cone even before the cones open on their own.
  2. Animals in the Coniferous Forest have evolved to the habit of omnivores where they eat whatever is available in the forest.
  3. Some animals like moose and porcupines hibernate to other areas to look for food and cover as they partially depend on the food that the Coniferous Forest can provide.

Tropical Rainforest Animals: What Animals Live in the Tropical Rainforest?

When you think of rainforest and the first thing that pops into your mind is vibrant plants, large snakes and cats, and a lot of rain, then you are on the right track. Rainforest is simply an area where there is a high amount of rainfall and the presence of tall and different types of evergreen trees.

Rainforest is found almost everywhere in the world except the Antarctica regions. Rainforest occupies 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.15,4

Below are some of the tropical rainforest animals that live in this region.


Jaguar or the Black Panther is the fourth largest cat species. They are mostly found in Africa and Asia.

You cannot miss to know a Jaguar if you see one, they are mostly covered with beautiful spotted coats all over their bodies.

A Jaguar standing on a tree branch inside an enclosure showing its spotted coat and yellow eyes.

(Image: Robert Feil22)

There are so many facts about Jaguar that we cannot mention all,16 for example they eat more than 85 species of prey including the young Caiman.

Side profile of a Madagascar Giant Day Gecko on top of a tree branch with leaves around it showing its large black eye and green skin.

(Image: Ltshears23)

Madagascar Giant Day Gecko

As the name suggests this reptile is from the tropical rainforest of Madagascar. But they have been introduced to other regions where they are bred and sold as foreign pets.

Madagascar Giant Day Gecko does not have eyelids so they tend to lubricate them by licking them.

They mostly feed on insects, nectar from flowers and small vertebrates.

Blue Morpho Butterflies

Blue Morpho Butterflies are well-known insects of the rainforest. They are mostly from the South American region with a variety of species which are all from the same genus name Morpho.11

The shiny wings they have are to protect them from harmful predators.

Top shot of a Blue Morpho Butterfly on top of a leaf showing bright blue with spotted black edge wings.

(Image: Gaby24)

These tropical butterflies feed on wet mud, rotting fruit, fungi, fluids from decomposing animals, and tree sap.

Golden Lion Tamarin showing hair with copper to orange hues with large rocks in the background.

(Image: Nadine Doerlé25)

Golden Lion Tamarin

Gold Lion Tamarins are found in Southeastern Brazil in the heavily populated Atlantic coastal region. They feed on insects, fruits and small invertebrates.

There are different species of Lion Tamarin including Black-Faced Lion Tamarin, Golden-Headed Lion Tamarin, and now the Gold Lion Tamarin.

In order to protect themselves against predators, they mostly live together with other tamarins.

Amazon Rainforest Animals

Amazon Rainforest, Amazonia or Amazon Jungle is a home for many plant species and other tropical rainforest animals. The Amazon Rainforest covers 60% of Peru which is the largest extension in any country of the world after Brazil.2

For this reason it is also known as the “Lungs of the Planet” because it produces a considerable amount of oxygen.8

List of Animals Found in the Amazon Rainforest: Tropical Rainforest Animals

Here is a list of some animals that can be found in the Amazon Rainforest.

Graphics of Amazon Rainforest Animals showing Reptiles (Green Anaconda, Black Caiman, and Side Necked-Turtle), Birds (Paradise Tanager, Cock of the Rock, Harpy Eagle, Potoo Bird, and Macaw), Amphibians (Poisonous Dart Frog), Mammals (Black-Capped Squirrel Monkey, Bearded Emperor Tamarin, Amazonian Tapir, Pink River Dolphin, and Giant River Otters), Insects (Blue Morpho Butterfly, Peanut Head Bug, Goliath Birdeater, and Leafcutter Ant), and Fish (Paiche, Piranhas, and Electric Eel) images.

Green AnacondaParadise TanagerPoisonous Dart FrogBlack-capped Squirrel MonkeyBlue Morpho ButterflyPaiche
Black CaimanCock of the RockBearded Emperor TamarinPeanut Head BugPiranhas
Side Necked-TurtleHarpy EagleAmazonian TapirUrodid Moth CocoonElectric Eel
Potoo BirdPink River DolphinGoliath Birdeater
MacawGiant River OttersLeafcutter Ant

Adaptations of Amazon Rainforest Animals

  1. Because of the numerous towering trees, some animals tend to take advantage of this and start living on the trees to avoid competition of food and also to protect themselves from predators on the ground.
    For example Spider Monkeys, they have long strong limbs that allow them to move from one canopy tree to another. Another example is sloths, they usually live by hanging upside down from high branches, and they also move slowly and camouflage to escape their predators.9
  2. Animals like Katydid use mimicry adaptation to hide in the forest. They tend to look like something that is intended to be seen and also behaves like it.
    Katydid may mimic Stinging Wasp but it is harmless unlike the Stinging Wasp that has venomous sting.
  3. The Amazon Rainforest tend to favor small animals. Big animals like Jaguar adapt to this environment by forcing themselves not to grow too big for them to fit, and also to allow them to hunt for their prey much quicker and easily.
  4. Some animals for example Bearded Pigs are usually active during the night and sleep or rest during the day, they usually move in groups to protect themselves from predators.
    The Amazon Rainforest occupies a large number of animal and plant species. When some animals are active during the night; this reduces competition during the day and also gives them an opportunity to find foods that cannot be found during the day.
  5. Dart Frogs have very bright colors, this is an indicator to their predators that they are poisonous and that they should stay away. However not all Dart Frogs are poisonous, but still they are safe from their predators as they look like the Poisonous Dart Frogs.

How Many Animals Live in the Amazon Rainforest?

The Amazon Rainforest is a habitat for many plant and animal species than any other ecosystem that you may know of on this planet. 30% of the world’s species are found in the Amazon Rainforest.

Now I want you to imagine how many species of ants can be found even in a single bush.

Bird's eye view of a part of the Amazon RainForest showing the Amazon River and the dense forest lining the riverbanks.

(Image: Tom Fisk26)

With that being said. The Amazon Rainforest is home to over 400 species of amphibians, 1300 species of birds, 427 species of mammals, and 378 reptile species.

And there are other animals in the forest that are yet to be discovered, for example, over the last decade 10,000 species of beetles have been discovered.

Animals Adaptations in Tropical Rainforest

Adaptation by tropical rainforest animals is a must. Animals adapt to their environment in order to run away from their predators and at the same time seek for their prey.

If there were no adaptations of animals, then animals would be less likely to survive.

  1. Some animals in the forest like Dart Frogs have bright colors on their skin representing their poisonous nature to their predators. Although there are different species of Dart Frogs that are not poisonous, they tend to mimic their Poisonous Dart Frogs brothers in order to survive in the environment.
    Another example is a Lobster Moth, whose larva looks like a scorpion. They also have markings on their wings that look like eyes, and this feature helps them to escape predators.
  2. Sloth lives on the tree by hanging upside down on the branches. They camouflage and move slowly to protect themselves from predators like jaguar.
    Sloth is the world’s slowest animal to an extent that it takes a month for it to digest food that it has eaten. Therefore it does not need a lot of resources for it to survive.
  3. Leaf Cutter Ants work very hard for their meal. They look for leaves and carry bits by bits to the ground and later bury them and wait for it to decompose to later eat the fungus of the leaves.
  4. The Leopard Cat, Flying Fox Bat, and Wallace’s Flying Frog are some of the animals that hunt at night and rest during the day, thus given the name nocturnal animals. During the night there are no birds moving from place to place looking for food or any other animal that is not nocturnal, thus there is low food competition.
    Nocturnal animals have the opportunity to hunt for foods that are only available at night and enjoy them.
  5. Spider Monkeys have adapted to the environment by living on the trees of the tropical rainforest. They have very long tails that enable them to move and swing from one tree branch to another.
    Sloth also live on the branches of trees by hanging upside down.

Endangered Animals in the Tropical Rainforest: Tropical Rainforest Animals

Endangered animals are animals that face a very high risk of extinction in the forest ecosystem. There is no life that can survive without food, water, and shelter.

Tropical rainforest is home to over a half of animal species in the world. Due to rapid disappearance, the number of endangered animals in the tropical rainforest has been declining.

Conservation of our environment must be our priority and there should also be a balance between the predators and the prey, whereby some animals will completely disappear. Biologists have been doing their best to research animals that are at risk of extinction.

Below are some of the endangered Amazon animals in the tropical rainforest that you need to know.

  1. River Dolphin: IUCN has listed Amazon Dolphin as one of the most endangered animals in the tropical rainforest.17 This animal that only lives in fresh water has been hunted and used as bait to catch the Carnivorous Catfish.
    Well this is not the only problem that this animal faces as there is dam installation and water pollution in the area thus creating habitat fragmentation.
  2. Jaguar: Agricultural activities, poaching, and deforestation are the main activities that scatter the territories of jaguar. Jaguars have the historic range of 50% but within a period of just 14 years, they had already lost 14%.18
  3. Golden Dart Frog: Poisonous Dart Frogs have enough poison to kill 10 people, how amazing this is. In spite of this, some people keep them as pets.
    Golden Dart Frogs are gradually becoming extinct due to the deforestation activities.

Layers of the Rainforest

Most rainforests are structured in four different layers, that is, the Emergent Layer, the Canopy Layer, Understory Layer, and the Forest Floor.10

Each layer is different depending on the amount of sunlight that they receive, the amount of water and the air circulation that they encounter.

Graphics of rainforest layers showing the Emergent Layer, Canopy Layer, Understory Layer, and Forest Floor which are divided by broken line with a cartoon image of a rainforest in the background.

Although layers of the rainforest have different animals, the animals depend on each other for survival.

Emergent Layer

This is the top layer of the rainforest. Not all animals can live in an emergent layer because it is the hottest of all the layers and mostly windy.

Because the emergent layer is in the open, the trees try to spread their leaves as much as possible to get enough sunlight for photosynthesis. Animals that can glide and fly are the ones mostly living here.

Canopy Layer

Unlike the emergent layer, animals mostly occupy the canopy layer because of its abundance of food and the perfect environment that it creates. Animals that live in the canopy layer include Barking Spiders, macaws and Howling Monkeys.

Out of all the layers in the rainforest, the canopy layer is a home for many animals compared to any other layer.

Understory Layer

Only 5% of sunlight is received in this third layer. The plants are much shorter in this area and have large leaves to catch the little sunlight that they receive.

Animals in this layer include animals that camouflage, jaguar and the Green Mamba.

Forest Floor Layer

The forest floor layer is considered the darkest of all the layers in the rainforest. There is a lack of sunlight, meaning almost no plant can grow in this area.6

The leaves that fall on the forest floor quickly decompose. The roots of the rainforest trees spread widely because there is not enough nutrients.

Animals that occupy this layer include wild pigs, leopards, and rodents.

Producers in the Rainforest

The producers in the Rainforest are simply those components that make it easy for other animals to survive for example nutrients,19 sunlight and water. Plants are the main producers in the rainforest.

For instance, Wild Hogs survive on fallen fruits from the trees, and Jaguar hunts and eats the Wild Hog; it is obvious that neither Jaguar nor the Wild Hog would survive without the tree.

List of Producers in the Rainforest

  • Epiphytes
  • Bamboo
  • Lianas
  • Algae
  • Canopy Tree
  • Moss

Decomposers in the Rainforest

Decomposers are simply animals that get their energy from waste materials.

Without decomposers in the rainforest, forest floors would be piled up with litter, soil would quickly lose its nutrients and primary producers of the rainforest would cease to exist.3

We all know what this means.

List of Decomposers in the Rainforest

  • Bacteria
  • Fungi for example Termite
  • Protozoa

Tropical Rainforest Invasive Species

Invasive species are species that when introduced to a particular area, they tend to cause economic and environmental harm. Invasive species are often spread by human activities.20

For example when goods are being transported from one place to another, the species are often carried unintentionally.

List of Tropical Rainforest Invasive Species

  • Golden Mussels
  • Limnoperna Fortune
  • Spartina Alterniflora

Tropical Rainforest Keystone Species

Keystone species are organisms that help to hold the system together; without it the ecosystem would not have existed. They have low redundancy meaning no other species would fill its ecological niche if for example it disappears now.

It is important to note that the role of keystone species may change if it moves to another environment.21

List of Tropical Rainforest Keystone Species

  • Beavers
  • Sea Otters
  • Wolves
  • Elephants
  • Tundra

X. tropicalis (Western Clawed Frog)

This species so far has only been found in the rainforest regions. X tropicalis (Western Clawed Frog) is a relative to Xenopus laevis, a kind of frog that has great use in the laboratory.

For example it is instrumental in studying molecular mechanisms of neural development and disease. It is also distantly related to mammals but unlike mammalian model X tropicalis produces thousands of embryos in the laboratory for experimental analysis purposes.

What Are Jungle Animals?

A jungle is an area of land that is covered by dense vegetation, dense forest and are usually in the tropical forests. It is a habitat for large, unusual and fiercest animals in the world.

The jungle covers 7% of the earth’s surface and is a home for most primates.

Jungle Animals

Jungle animals come from different parts of the world including, Africa, Central and South America, Asia and Australia.

Graphics of jungle animals across the world showing Australia Jungle Animals (Musky Rat-Kangaroo, Tiger Quoll, Bowerbird, and Southern Cassowary), Africa Jungle Animals (Forest Elephant, Bongo, Bonobo, Chimpanzee, and Pygmy Hippopotamus), Central and South America Jungle Animals (Bothrops Asper, Baird's Tapir, Jaguar, and Bull Shark), and Asia Jungle Animals (Great Hornbill, Crested Serpent Eagle, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Red Jungle Fowl, and Reticulated Python) images.

Below is a list of jungle animals from different parts of the world.

Australia Jungle AnimalsAfrica Jungle AnimalsCentral And South America Jungle AnimalsAsia Jungle Animals
Musky Rat-KangarooForest ElephantBothrops AsperGreat Hornbill
Tiger QuollBongoKeel-billed ToucanCrested Serpent Eagle
BowerbirdBonoboBaird’s TapirSumatran Rhinoceros
Southern CassowaryChimpanzeeJaguarRed Jungle Fowl
Pygmy HippopotamusBull SharkReticulated Python

Forest Animals

Forest animals are wildlife animals that are found in the forest. Animals find food, water, and shelter in the forest.

Common animals that are found in the forest are bear, cheetah, tiger, chimpanzee and snakes.

Adaptations of Forest Animals to Their Environment

  1. Raccoons are nocturnal animals, meaning they look for their prey and food during the night and rest during the day.
  2. Squirrels are small rodents that are found in the forest. They are mostly known for their bushy tails and their quick movements when they cite their prey.
  3. Wolves usually live in packs. They are important predators as they help to level the population of other animals in the forest.
  4. Bears are mostly known for their intelligence and strength. They are mostly found in many forests in different parts of the world.
    Bears are omnivorous meaning they eat both plants and animals.
  5. Foxes are cunning and opportunistic at the same time, they never miss a chance to hunt on their small prey for their survival.

Forest Carbon Offset

Forest carbon offsets refers to reduction of GHG (greenhouse gas) emission or an increase in carbon storage by planting trees to compensate for emissions that occur in other places. Forest carbon offset is not a bullet but a tool, meaning it should be approached with caution.

Negative effects on the local communities and the need to monitor carbon sequestration must be carefully considered. This can be done by creation of awareness through the family forest carbon program.

Forest Ecosystem

This is a land that is dominated by trees and is a survival area for biotic and abiotic components. Forest ecosystems play a major role in our environment, for example it provides us with oxygen and also helps in the balancing of climate.

Forest ecosystems are majorly categorized in three types known as Temperate forest ecosystem, Boreal Ecosystem, and Tropical Forest Ecosystem.

What Animals Live in the Boreal Forest?

How will you differentiate Boreal Forest from other forests in the world? Well, Boreal Forests are mainly found in seven countries around the world namely Norway, Canada, United States, China, Japan, and Russia.

Most trees in these areas are evergreen, for example spruce and pine.

Animals that are usually found here are mostly covered with fur because of the cold winter experienced. Over 300 species of birds are found in these areas.

However, amphibians and reptiles that are found in these forests mostly hibernate to stay away from the harsh climate.

List of Animals That Are Found in the Boreal Forest

  • Raccoon
  • Deer
  • American Black Bear
  • Red Fox
  • Gray Wolf

Characteristics of Forest Ecosystem

  1. The forest protects biodiversity and supports many animals that survive in it.
  2. The warm temperatures in the forest and the maximum rainfall support the formation of lakes, and ponds therefore supporting the animals in the ecosystem.
  3. Plants grow in these areas because of soils that are rich in nutrients and organic matter, thus making food available for the animals that live in the forest ecosystem.

Why Are Trees Important?

Trees not only release oxygen and store carbon, but they also connect us to the past, the present and the future. Trees provide shelter to millions of species that can cause diseases.

They release stress from our souls and at the same time protect against flood and water pollution.

Trees are very essential in our lives. Imagine a life without trees, how would it be?

We would not have even survived. Because we all depend on trees for food, oxygen, and water to survive.

Tropical Rainforests are very important resources in our planet that cannot be replaced.

By replacing the trees in the rainforests that have been destroyed, we can help rebuild the habitats that tropical rainforest animals need to flourish and survive.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tropical Rainforest Animals

Do Lions Live in the Jungle?

Lions do not actually live in the jungle but can be found in the rocky hills, savannah, grasslands, and shrubland areas. However, they are considered, “king of the jungle animal” due to their roar which is always powerful, in addition to their strength, courage, and raw power.

Which Animals Will Be Extinct by 2050?

Animals like gorillas, giant pandas, and polar bears are the animals that will be extinct by 2050 because of human activities on the planet. However, through animal protection campaigns, people can sponsor an animal ensuring that it is protected together with its offspring thus extension of its lifespan.

Which Are the Biggest Jungles in the World?

The Amazon, Indo-Burma, Congo, and Sunderland are believed to be the biggest jungles in the world.


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