How have animals adapted to survive in tropical rainforests?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The tropical rain forests present enormous challenges to the diverse species of animals that inhabit them. They must develop physiological or behavioural adaptions over several generations to help them survive the volatile and highly competitive ecological environment existing in these forests.

One such adaptive method is the ability to camouflage by blending in with the surrounding environment to avoid detection by predators. An example of that is the walking stick insect which blends in to its environment by looking just like the branch of a tree. Other animals, such as the jaguar, use their black spotted coats to hide themselves while hunting.

Many tropical rain forest animals choose a specific time of day at which they become active. They have to adapt to either a night time or a daytime mode in order to survive. The Amazon tree boa adopts a nocturnal mode to avoid predators such as primates by sleeping during the day and then hunt some nocturnal rodents at night by using special infrared receptors located around their mouth.

Tropical rain forest animals such as the poison dart frog use toxins to warn predators that it is dangerous to eat members of their frog family. They do this by excreting a powerful alkaloid toxin similar to morphine in its chemical properties.

Some other rain forest animals develop unique adaptive features which help them survive in this competitive environment. The keel billed toucan, a tropical rain forest bird, has a long, light beak made out of keratin which enables it to reach, pick, break apart and eat almost any tropical fruit in the rain forest. This bird also has brightly coloured feathers which enables it to blend in to its environment and avoid predators. Its powerful eyesight makes it possible to spot predators from a far distance and fly into the air before the predator is able to make a move.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial