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  • Plants Galore!

    More than half of all the different kinds of plants on Earth grow in rain forests!  Rain forest soil does not have a lot of nutrients, so plants have adapted or changed to survive there. 
    Some plants, like a pitcher plant, use animals for to get their nutrients.  Many plants that grow in the dark understory and forest floor have huge leaves. The big leaves help the plants take in as much sunlight as possible.  The forest floor is so dark, some plants have adapted by growing on tall trees.  They are sometimes called, "air plants" because they do not need soil for water or nutrients. They get their water by catching the rainfall.  Trees spread their roots wide and across the forest floor.  By doing this, they are able to draw up water and nutrients from the top layer of the soil. The rain forest is so rainy and wet, some leaves have special tips to get rid of the extra water.  

    Epiphytes 
    air plants (photograph from caltech.edu)  pitcher plant (photograph from rainforestexplorers.com) 


    Amazing Animals!

     

    Millions of different kinds of animals live in rain forests. Animals live in all four layers of the rain forest.  Most animals live in the canopy layer. Orangutans have developed long, powerful arms to swing from tree to tree. Small animals like monkeys, birds, rodents, snakes, and frogs never touch the ground.  They hide in the understory for shelter from the rain and protection from other animals. Many animals, like the sloth, use camouflage for protection from predators.  Blueish-green algae grows on its fur, which helps the sloth to blend in with the trees.  Many birds use their beaks to help them. Toucans use their bright colored beaks to crack very hard seeds, eat fruits, and to scare away enemies. 
     During the day, tree frogs rest inside bromeliads (plant) for protection or keep safe and hidden from other animals. At night, they catch insects with long, quick-action tongues. Many animals are nocturnal or sleep during the day and come out at night. 

    Image of a Toucan. Image of a sloth.
    toucan (photo from cotf.edu) sloth (photo from cotf.edu)