Animals Wildlife 10 Animals Found in the Rainforest By Bryan Nelson Writer SUNY Oswego University of Houston Bryan Nelson is a science writer and award-winning documentary filmmaker with over a decade of experience covering technology, astronomy, medicine, and more. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Bryan Nelson Updated September 08, 2020 Lelia Valduga / Getty Images Share Twitter Pinterest Email Animals Wildlife Pets Animal Rights Endangered Species No terrestrial ecosystems are as essential as rainforests, the most species-rich regions on Earth. Covering only about 8 percent of the Earth’s surface, tropical rainforests contain over half of the planet’s animal and plant species. Because of the immense biodiversity of these habitats, they are home to some of the most intriguing creatures in the world. From snakes to dolphins to marmosets, learn about 10 unique rainforest inhabitants. 1 of 10 Jaguar Jami Tarris / Getty Images Jaguars — specters of the rainforests of Central and South America — are the apex predator in their home range. They are the largest feline to inhabit the Americas, and the third largest in the world behind the tiger and the lion. Though most cats are known for having an aversion to water, jaguars — like tigers — are an exception. Though jaguars can be found in other ecosystems, they are perfectly adapted to the rainforest and are as comfortable in the water as they are on land. 2 of 10 Okapi NNehring / Getty Images Looking a bit like a cross between a zebra and an antelope, the okapi has even been confused for a unicorn. But the unusual looking okapi is actually a member of the giraffe family. These beautiful, elusive creatures inhabit the rainforests of Central Africa. They spend most of their time grazing leaves, buds, grasses, ferns, and fruit with their exceptionally long, agile, and sticky tongues. Their tongues are so dexterous that they are able to use them to thoroughly wash their eyelids and their large ears inside and out. 3 of 10 Amazon River Dolphin guentermanaus / Shutterstock The Amazon River dolphin, or boto, is one of only five living species of river dolphins on the planet, and it is the world's largest. This dolphin occupies the murky waters of the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America, and is frequently found swimming among the trees in the flooded forest. The species is also often referred to as the "pink dolphin," due to the occasional pink hue of its skin. 4 of 10 Glass Frog Dirk Ercken / Shutterstock These remarkable see-through frogs, found throughout the rainforests of Central and South America, have skin so translucent that you can see the plants around them through their body. This unusual feature protects the glass frog from predators, who often don’t notice these arboreal frogs in the forest. More than 100 species of this amazing family of amphibians are believed to exist. 5 of 10 Cassowary Neil Tackaberry / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0 Found in the rainforests of New Guinea and Northeastern Australia, these colorful flightless birds look like flamboyant ostriches wearing razor-like helmets. They are three species of cassowaries, with the Southern cassowary holding the title for the largest, at four to five and half feet tall. Unlike many other bird species, it's the female cassowary, rather than the male, that is typically more brightly colored. 6 of 10 Marmoset Leonardo Costa Farias / Getty Images These tiny monkeys from the rainforests of South America might be the cutest primates of all time. Common marmosets are adaptable, and have been able to thrive in habitats outside of their normal range. Due in part to their adaptation of claws instead of nails, marmosets are able to live in a variety of forest types. At least 21 species of marmosets are known to exist, each with eccentric variations of fuzzy coats. Even more adorable, they almost always give birth to twins. 7 of 10 Sun Bear my_wave_pictures / Getty Images The sun bear, the smallest species of bear in the world, inhabits the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. It is one of only two species of bear in the world that has adapted to life in the jungle (the other is South America's spectacled bear), and is the only bear that lives almost exclusively in the trees. The sun bear gets its name from the distinctive U-shaped orange marking on its chest. 8 of 10 Anaconda Patrick K. Campbell / Shutterstock Found in the rainforests and floodplains of South America, the anaconda is the largest snake species in the world. Though it's non-venomous, it is capable of killing a grown man by constriction — though such attacks are extremely rare. Its semi-aquatic lifestyle is part of what allows the anaconda to grow to such a massive size, and the snake is known to be an excellent swimmer. 9 of 10 Siamang Suneko / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 Siamangs are black-furred apes native to the forests of Southeast Asia and the largest species of gibbon in the world. They are particularly distinctive for their large balloon-like throat pouch, which they use for making loud, whooping calls. These calls are unmistakable in the dense jungle and are meant to establish territorial boundaries between rival groups. Grooming is an essential social activity for siamangs. The dominant animals in a social group receive the most grooming; during breeding season, adult males groom females. 10 of 10 Mata Mata Mark Kostich / Getty Images The mata mata might be the most unusual looking species of turtle in the world. Found in the rainforests of the Amazon and Orinoco basins, this large, sedentary reptile is characterized by its triangular, flattened head and shell. Flaps of skin also seem to dangle from its neck and head, almost like damp leaves. In fact, the odd shape of the mata mata's shell is believed to resemble a piece of bark, offering the turtle camouflage from predators and prey in its habitat.