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5 Amazing Tropical Rainforests Animals You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

The intelligence, beauty, ferociousness and power these animals in tropical rainforests possess are beyond human imagination.

Tropical rainforest, Stunning view of Borneo Rainforest with sunrise mist and fog rays in the morning. Photo: BorneoRimbawan/Shutterstock

Hisses and ribbits and guttural squawks echo with the clatter of monkeys across tropical rainforests in the world. Sounds and sights alien to many, there are countless animals in the tropical rainforests across the world that many still do not know about. Peculiarity, magnificence, and mystery are what make the biodiversity in rainforests enchanting.

The Amazon Rainforest, The Congo Basin Rainforest, New Guinea Rainforest and Sundaland Rainforest are the most famous tropical rainforests with unsung exotic animals, but did you know that there are five other tropical cornucopias of floras and faunas?

Daintree Rainforest, The Cardamom Mountains rainforests, Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, Lacandon Jungle and Costa Rican rainforests are popular tourist destinations too which house amazing tropical rainforest animals.

Rainforests instinctively make one think of the animals and plants that are indigenous there, but would it be a lie to leave out the idea of humidity that pops up now and then, making you sweaty and your hair frizzy just by thinking about it? Unpreferred by many curly-haired visitors, Glass Frogs seem to thrive in such clamminess.

1) Glass Frogs:

A Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium iaspidense) from the transparent undersides showing his internal organs in Costa Rica.
Henk Bogaard/Shutterstock.

Reticulated Glass Frogs, uncommonly known as Hyalinobatrachium Valerio, are found across the rainforests of Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica. Labelled endangered, the ribbiting amphibians live near trees and water, only heading out at night to hunt. Their big eyes, facing forwards unlike normal frogs, help them in preying. What is astonishing about them is their biology-defying body.

The Glass Frogs have translucent skin, making their internal organs visible to the naked eye. Their transparent body shows the rhythmic beating of their heart. With a life span of up to 14 years, the male glass frogs guard fertilized eggs until it hatches. The eggs are laid on leaves and upon hatching, the tadpoles fall into the water below. To attract paramours, glass frogs whistle in a high-pitched voice.

2) Arrau Turtles

In the same rivers of the Amazon and the Orinoco rivers, Arrau turtles are also found. Also known as Podocnemis Expansa, the side-necked turtle is the largest river turtle in South America. Not only do they weigh more than 100 pounds, their carapace spans over 3.3 feet. Their colours vary depending on the algae attached to their shells. Normally, they contrast between olive green and brown.

Arrau River turtle (Podocnemis expansa) captive.
Elliotte Rusty Harold/

Although the Arrau turtle is primarily herbivorous, they are also known to prey on dawdling sea creatures. Fan of solitary lives, the Arrau turtles do not hear like humans, instead they are gifted with amplified sight and smell. They depend on the vibrations too.

The female turtles before laying their eggs tend to sunbathe on the beach for one to two weeks. The hatchlings draw a lot of attention from predators as they are two inches long.

3) Bullet Ants

Undeterred by its size, Bullet Ants found in South and Central America can protect themselves from any kind of predator. The tiny insect is more powerful than one might take it for.

Costa Rica ants ectatomma camponotus paraponera clavata.
Andres Nunez Mora/

If you have ever been shot, you would know what kind of pain this tiny creature can instil. They have the most powerful sting known to mankind. Although its scientific name is Paraponera Clavata, it is also referred to as the 24-hour ant as it takes one whole day for its sting to subdue.

They are also one of the largest in their species, growing up to 1.2 inches long and packing their venom. With a lifespan of about 90 days, the Bullet Ants are not particularly aggressive insects. Unless and until they are provoked or intimidated, they will not sting you. It was discovered not too long ago that Bullet Ants are scavengers too unlike most ants.

Canopied under shrubs, secluded from the hustle and bustle of humans and motor vehicles, the animals that live in tropical rainforests thrive away from humans. While most animals like turtles like solitary, large flying bats prefer to be amongst their own. Although the large flying bats have over the years acclimatized to the rainforests, they are more commonly found in forests.

4) Malayan Flying Fox

Malayan Flying Fox, Upside Down Feeding.
Chen Yee Hern Alex/Shutterstock.

The vagabonds like to travel long distances and tend to dwell for a while in search of food. Commonly known as Malayan flying foxes, they are found in Malaysian Peninsula, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Borneo.

They are the world’s largest bats with their wings spanning over five feet. Contrary to their scientific name ‘Pteropus Vampyrus’ and their deceptive menacing looks, they enjoy juicy fruits, nectar, and flowers. Its looks are deceiving as they are not a threat to humans or other animals.

5) Blue Morpho Butterfly

Fluttering and flaunting its vibrancy, the Blue Morpho butterfly flies in the rainforests of Mexico as well as Central and South America. The iconic butterfly dupes its predators by folding its wings when it is resting on flowers and plants.

Blue morpho (morpho peleides) on green nature background, close-up.
Lukas Gojda/Shutterstock.

Although it is amongst the largest butterflies, it is still susceptible to being preyed upon. The black dots on the edges of its blue wings deceive predators into thinking that it is a large creature.

What is most interesting about the blue butterfly is that it is believed that spectators are forced to cover their eyes as their wings shine the brightest when the blue butterflies are flying in swarms. The shimmering blue on their wings reflects light. The Blue Morpho butterfly is amongst the rarest of butterflies.

To uncover the intricacy and mystery that lies deep in tropical rainforests, it will aeons to narrate the parables that each unique fauna has to share. While these animals are beautiful to look at, it is important to remember that each one of them contributes to the ecosystem and biodiversity.

The intelligence, beauty, ferociousness and power these animals in tropical rainforests possess are beyond human imagination.

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