With warm temperatures, water and an abundance of food, tropical rain forests support thousands of wildlife species. The competition means organisms must adapt or develop specialised traits to compete for environmental resources. Many rainforest animals use adaptations to protect themselves from predators.

Tropical rainforests support a greater number and variety of animals than any other biome. One of the reasons for this great variety of animals is the constant warmth. Tropical rainforests also provide a constant supply of water and a wide variety of food for the animals.

Small animals, including monkeys, birds, snakes, rodents, frogs, and lizards are common in the tropical rainforest. Many of these animals and a multitude of insects never set foot on the ground. The animals use the tall trees and understorey for shelter, hiding places from their predators, and a source of food. Because there are so many animals competing for food, many animals have adapted by learning to eat a particular food eaten by no other animal.

Animal Adaptations


The cassowary has adapted well to a peaceful life in the depths of the forest and as a result, are rarely seen by humans who are trying to spot them. It cannot fly and so has developed the need to run incredibly fast, as these large birds are able to sprint through the jungle at speeds of more than 50 km/hr. Its large, sharp claws help defend itself from danger.

The most distinctive features of the cassowary are its large body size and brightly coloured feathers (females are both larger and more colourful than the males). Its large, hard crest that protrudes from the top of the cassowary's head can grow to 18 cm in height. It is believed that the crest is used to settle disputes and also helps this bird when it is running through the thick undergrowth in forests.