The rainforest is home to almost half of Earth’s most amazing, unusual, and even the most deadly animals. The animals that live in it use different methods to survive in a beautiful yet hostile environment.
Apart from soldiers using camouflage to disguise themselves from the enemy, animals use camouflage to disguise themselves from predators or to deceive their prey. The leafhopper looks like a set of thorns to confuse predators into thinking it is just part of the rainforest foliage. Some species of moths appear to be dead leaves to blend in with the environment.
One of the more famous camouflage-using animals from the rainforest is the jaguar. The jaguar sports orange fur mottled with black spots. The jaguar uses its black spots to hide in the darkness to lie in wait for its prey. Other predators also use the environment to their advantage. The fish hunting matamata turtle resembles a leaf in shape and in appearance and it uses this disguise to wait for a fish to come by and snatch it with its razor sharp beak.
Animals use warning colors to let predators know that they are either very unappetizing or that they are extremely deadly to eat. One of the more famous rainforest animals that use warning colors is the poison dart frog. The poison dart frog is a frog that sports many bright colors from yellow to red and even blue to green. Eating a poison dart frog is dangerous enough but touching one is even worse. Some species of poison dart frogs possess toxic skin. Some tribes in South America use the poison dart frog’s deadly skin to coat their darts with a poisonous substance to hunt their prey in the rainforest. Another animal that has bright colors and a bitter taste is the Heliconius butterfly, a species of butterfly that uses both its color and horrible taste to warn birds not to eat them.
An animal doesn’t always need camouflage or bright colors to survive. Some species just stay off the surface away from predators by taking to the trees. Some animals, such as sloths and spider monkeys keep to the trees where most rainforest food can be found. Even though leaves are plentiful on trees, some leaves are made of cellulose, which is harder for some animals to digest than others. This is why some species need to search for other sources of food in the trees or on the forest floor. Some mammals like the colobus monkey and the sloth have special compounds in their bodies that make leaves easier to digest.
For other animals, like pygmy marmosets, tree sap is a viable food source. Animals can eat sap out of the tree and gum derived in the chicle tree after ripping off the bark with sharp claws and teeth. Nectar acts as a food source for some species of bats, insects, and hummingbirds. The sugar and water inside the nectar provides energy for some animals and energy is important for surviving in the rainforest.
Other Methods and Species
Scientists are still studying rainforest animals and every day. There is a possibility they might uncover a new species with a new quirk that allows them to survive in the rainforest. Scientists and other organizations are also working to help stop deforestation from loggers and other businesses to uncover these new species of animals. These animals can teach humans a thing or two of how to adapt to an environment as they have had for thousands of years. Just think if humans already use camouflage to adapt to hostile environments, imagine what else they will discover!