Rainforests are tropical jungles located in areas of the world where the climate is hot and humid. The heat and large amounts of rain experienced in a rainforest causes the plants and trees to live in a tropical climate. There are many varieties of plants, flowers and animals that grow and live in the rainforests found in countries between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
Giant trees, vines, roots and flowers, including orchids, grow in the rainforest. Although many plants grow up from the ground, some grow on the trees and vines. Some trees can grow up to 200 feet tall. Plants provide food and shelter for the many creatures that live in the rainforest. The bromeliad plant is an example of a working plant in the rainforest environment. It stores gallons of water within its foliage, a trait that attracts many animals, including frogs and insects, to lay their eggs in the water. Bromeliads hold a complete miniature ecosystem within their colourful waxy leaves.
Multiple varieties of amphibians, reptiles, mammals, insects and birds live in the rainforest. Snails, frogs, salamanders, millipedes, spiders and beetles find shelter in plants such as bromeliads. Monkeys, gorillas, anaconda, crocodiles, orang-utans, jaguars, hippopotamuses and elephants all live in the rainforest. Colourful frogs, including the poison arrow and poison art frogs, are also found in this tropical area. Large and small birds, such as the parrot, toucan, kingfisher, vulture, nighthawk, harpy eagle and macaw, live in the tropical regions during the cooler winter months or throughout the year.
Plants that Help People
Some rainforest plants also provide food and supplies for people. Rubber is a raw material that is harvested from rubber plants. Cinnamon, sugar and chocolate, which are ingredients used for cooking and baking purposes, grow in the rainforest. Pineapples, cashew nuts and coffee beans also grow there. Many life-saving medicines are made from materials found in the trees and plants of the tropical climate.