What Animals Live in the Floor Layer of Rainforests?

Updated February 21, 2017

The rainforest is home to an astonishing array of wildlife, with literally tens of thousands of plants and animals inhabiting every square mile of rainforest land. While many of the best known rainforest animals, like colourful birds and monkeys, make their home high in the trees, other animals live on the ground floor of the rainforest.


The tapir bears a strong resemblance to the domestic pig, with a similar shape and short, stout legs. But one of the most recognisable features of the tapir is its long prehensile snout, used to root out food and dig on the rainforest floor. Many varieties of tapir make their home on the floor of the rainforest, and due to habitat destruction and other factors, they are all listed as endangered or threatened species.


Elephants are probably the largest animals to inhabit the floor of the rainforest. Elephants are often seen in Asian rainforests, and the indigenous populations in these areas often use them as beasts of burden. As much of the rainforest has been levelled and clear cut, the habitat for elephants has shrunk as well, placing an additional burden on the land and forcing many elephants into inhabited areas.


Jaguars are among the most elusive of all big cats, and these predators often make their homes on the floor of the rainforest. The relationship between these large predators and the rainforest is strong, with jaguars preying on other rainforest dwellers like monkeys and some species of birds. These big cats hunt mostly at night, and their unique colouration makes them difficult to spot. As the rainforests have disappeared over the last couple of decades, the habitat of this major predator has shrunk dramatically.

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About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Bonnie Conrad has been working as a professional freelance writer since 2003. Her work can be seen on Credit Factor, Constant Content and a number of other websites. Conrad also works full-time as a computer technician and loves to write about a number of technician topics. She studied computer technology and business administration at Harrisburg Area Community College.