Animals and Adaptations in the Tropical Rainforest

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3 examples of animals that live in the rainforest






All primates have five fingers (pentadactyly), a generalized dental pattern, and a primitive (unspecialized) body plan. Another distinguishing feature of primates is fingernails. Opposing thumbs are also a characteristic primate feature, but are not limited to this order; opossums, for example, also have opposing thumbs. In primates, the combination of opposing thumbs, short fingernails (rather than claws) and long, inward-closing fingers is a relic of the ancestral practice of gripping branches, and has, in part, allowed some species to develop brachiation as a significant means of transportation. Forward-facing colour binocular vision was also useful for the brachiating ancestors of humans, particularly for finding and collecting food, although recent studies suggest it was more useful in courtship. All primates, even those that lack the features typical of other primates (like lorises), share eye orbit characteristics, such as a postorbital bar, that distinguish them from other taxonomic orders.

Old World species (apes and some monkeys) tend to have significant sexual dimorphism. This is characterized most in size difference, with males being slightly more than twice as heavy as females. This dimorphism may be a result of a polygynous mating system where there is significant pressure for males to attract and defend multiple females. New World species form pair bonds, and so these species (including tamarins and marmosets) generally do not show a significant size difference between the sexes.


Fur: protections from insects

Cuddly during cold season: Would keep warm by staying close to each other and stay there for long periods of time.

Use of Rainforest: Most primates create simple tools in the rainforest to accomplish small tasks.







Reptiles are cold-blooded, scaly skinned vertebrates. Their hearts have three or four chambers, and, like humans, they breathe through lungs. They breathe through their lungs throughout their life, unlike the amphibian, who begins life breathing through gills which may later develop into lungs. This is one of the major differences in reptiles and amphibians. Most reptiles, are considered to be tetrapods, or 4 legged animals. Though snakes are the exception to this, it is believed that the snake evolved from a reptile who had four legs. Being heterothermal, or cold blooded, a reptile must adjust its body temperature to its environment The body of a reptile works optimally when it can get the right amount of heat from its surroundings. That is why you will often see reptiles lying on a rock, basking in the sun. Different reptiles thrive in different environments.

Some reptiles prefer cool weather and will thrive in temperatures as cold as fifty degrees, while others prefer a warm climate, having temperatures up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature is not conducive to a reptile, they can go into a state of hibernation and wait until the weather is right for them to be active. Even during their active times they have to vary their periods of exposure seeking the cool of shade or underground to conserve energy. A reptiles scaly skin absorbs heat from the sun and prevents animals from drying out. As a reptile grows, it sheds its outer layer of skin. A reptile has the same jaw articulation as a bird, but differ from amphibians by the way their skull attaches to their back bones. The reptile is a fascinating creature with roots reaching all the way back to the age of the dinosaur. By studying these creatures, we can gain insight on the lives of those animals living so long ago.


The adaptations of the many species of lizards is legendary. There are undoubtedly many, many we will never even know about as the lizards of smaller size do not fossilize well. But just looking around at the thousands of existing species gives a clue to the great diversity there was and still is. The very long and sticky tongues of the true chameleons which can snare prey more than a body length away are a good example. The ability to reproduce without males is another. Did some of the dinosaurs also employ this method"? It is not all that unlikely. Having an expendable tail, large colored tongue for defense, color changing for protection, large expandable frills, playing dead, and 360 degree independent eye movement are some of the other successful adaptation lizards are capable of.


The various species of felid vary greatly in size. The smallest is the Black-footed Cat at around 35-40 cm in length, while the largest is the tiger. Compared with many other mammals, they have relatively short faces, and good binocular vision.
The fur of felids takes many different forms, being much thicker in those species that live in cold environments, such as the snow leopard. The colour of felids is also highly variable, although brown to golden fur is common in most species, often marked with distinctive spots, stripes, or rosettes. Many species also have a 'tear stripe', a black stripe running from the corner of each eye down the side of the nose.
The tongue of felids is covered with horny papillae, which help to rasp meat from their prey. With the exception of the cheetah, almost all felids have fully retractable claws.


The skin of a cat is very loose. This adaptation lessens the chances of injury from desperately struggling prey or attacks from rivals and other predators

Agility -- due to their powerful back legs and flexible spine, cats are noted for their ability to leap long distances, often as much as six times their entire length

Agility -- cats are able to "always" land on their feet because they have a very flexible spine, enabling them to orient their bodies aided by a balancing organ in their inner ear

Agility -- vertical surfaces can be climbed without claws, by the cat running at the edifice. As the cat impacts the surface it uses momentum to provide grip while it runs upward

Art -- a black cat is standing at the end of the bed in the painter Manet's "Olympia." It is used as a symbol to denote corruption and moral decay in society

Behavior -- such as growling, hissing, hair raising, back arching, teeth barring, ear flattening and side leaning are designed to win agreements without injury

Cannibalism -- does occur in cats, but only in certain conditions. Larger cat species, will however, kill and eat smaller cat species whenever they get the chance

Cannibalism -- after a change of leadership in a lion pride, it is common for the new dominant male to kill and even eat any cubs, so that only cubs carrying his genes will be cared for

Claws -- climbing up trees and along branches is easy for most cats because they can employ a combination of claws, gripping limbs, and a tail for balancing as they go

Claws -- in cats the equivalent of the thumb is known as the dewclaw. It is raised above the ground on the inside of the front leg and is used as a hook for holding down prey during the kill

Claws -- cat claws should probably be termed as protractible as opposed to retractable. This is because muscles are required to stick them out, but they pull back automatically.

Color -- sometimes cheetahs are born with striped instead of the usual spots on their coats. They are known as 'king cheetahs' and were once thought to be a separate species.

Corey Nazario-Animals and Adaptations