.. of the monkey is the lemur. This creature is best known for it’s ringed tail, and although it also makes its home in the forest, a greater amount of time is spent on the ground. This makes them a lot easier to observe, but in contrast makes them an easier target for predators. Monkeys are not the only forest creatures which live their life high in the trees, there is also an abundant amount of bird life.
While this form of life is both beautiful and plentiful, most are hard to observe because they are hidden from the ground. Some species such as the Heron can be seen from the ground quite easily, because they love water and will flock to it. The appearance of birds in a particular area is seasonal and is dependant on the availability of food. A tree that is just coming into bloom will attract birds from miles around because of the source of food. One of the more enchanting bird’s of the rainforest is the Hummingbird. The general outlook on these birds is that they are small.
This is true in most cases, however the largest of it’s kind the “Giant Hummingbird” is as big as a sparrow. In comparison the sword billed hummer is one of the smallest birds, but’s it’s beak is larger than it’s body. Beaks on hummingbirds come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each one made for the particular bird’s need for obtaining nectar. Although the hummingbirds main source of food is the nectar from flowers, it can also feed on the many insects of the forest. Hummingbirds are the only birds with the ability to fly backwards and when in flight their wings will beat anywhere from fifty to two hundred times a second. The energy required for this causes the hummingbird to continuously feed throughout the day.
Another bird of the forest that cannot be forgotten is the Parrot. Their loud calls and tendency to stay in groups makes them easy to spot. Parrots are most commonly loved for their brightly coloured plumage (feathers). With all of these animals found in the treetops, there are also a numerous amount on the ground. One of the more riveting animals to be found on the ground is the tapir. These strange looking beasts resemble giant pigs and range in colour from brown to black and white.
This peculiar animal was even used in a Sherlock Holmes adventure in ” The Giant Rat of Sumatra ” which involved a tapir that went around savagely killing people. In actual fact tapirs are harmless vegetarians. They do however have massive teeth that they use to rip apart the leaves that make up their diet. Not all creatures that roam the ground are giant pigs though. Two other types of animals that find their home on the jungle floor are the millipede, and the centipede.
Both invertebrates average approximately 10-13 cm in length. The two are often mistaken for each other, but are dramatically different from one another. The millipede is a harmless vegetarian that feeds on various plant life found on the forest floor. The centipede on the other hand is vicious carnivore that runs like crazy and has the ability to inject a poisonous venom into it’s prey. The largest of it’s kind, the Giant Centipede can reach lengths of up to thirty centimetres, and is not an animal that is toyed with.
From creepy crawlers to cats, the rainforest hosts a variety of wild jungle cats. The largest of them being the tiger, although not far behind in size is the jaguar. The jaguar has a tendency to be more aquatic than the tiger, which is not surprising considering it’s habitat in the Amazon jungle is as much water as it is land. Snakes make up another portion of the wild life and are generally a mistaken species. After learning about them you tend to wonder why so many people fear this animals with such a passion. Of the world’s snakes only ten percent are venomous, and of these most would prefer to leave you alone as long as they are not provoked. Snakes are one of the hardest species to spot in the rainforest as they have the perfect camouflage for the forest, and thus makes them excellent predators.
One of the more commonly overlooked aspects of the ecology of a rainforest is humans. It is typical for people to think that humans have little or no role in the rainforest. In reality over there are over two hundred million tribal people in the world, most of which make their homes in the rainforest. Many of the people around us seem to think that these people are ignorant, when in fact the opposite is true. “Forest Dwellers” as they are commonly called are brilliant naturalists, mainly because of their great knowledge, and use of, the plants and animals within their environment. The greatest use and perfection of this combination has to be given the Pygmies.
The Pygmies are a West African tribe that are said to have the greatest ability to use what is around them, from their peers and others. They seem to have a special knack for this skill, which is often times attributed to “Magic” and the “Gods”. They are, surprisingly the smallest tribe in physical height in the world. The largest of their people measures in at a mere five feet tall. A common way for hunting in the forest is through the use of poison tipped arrows, and blow darts. When firing either of these at it’s prey a native will take a considerable amount of time because of the work involved in creating one. Making a fine quality arrow, or dart complete with poison can take several hours. The poison is used with the weapon so that the animal will not merely be injured (allowing it a chance to escape) but killed.
Another popular way to kill prey is through a method called “noosing” in which a rope resembling a noose will be made from vegetable fibres. When the victim steps into the noose it is suspended in mid-air with the noose tied tightly around it’s body. The natives do not only rely on animals as there only source of food though. The many plants of the forest including fruit are used in their ever day diets. This is done increasingly when animal game is scare.
The people of the forest will use anywhere from about 80-100 percent of the plant life around then when needed. They do realize however, that they must conserve the environment that they live in and will only do this when necessary. These plants that are found around then will also be used for the various cures, and treatments needed for the sick around them. Natives are regarded in the highest respect as botanists because of this amazing ability to use the plants of the forest for medical purposes. The reasons above clearly show why the native people of the rainforests play such an important role in the continuing ecosystem of the rainforest In summary it can be said that a Rainforest is an ecosystem with an abundant amount of differing species that rely on the things around them to go on living. All of these species in some way or another either directly, or indirectly influence each other.
A hole or damage in this system will then in turn effect the entire system in one way or another. The rainforest hosts an almost unlimited amount of species, and within these species includes over two thirds of the entire plant population. This is so because these plants can only survive in the conditions provided by a rainforest. As well as plants the rainforest contains numerous amounts of animal life ranging from something as small as and harmless as a Hummingbird to something as large and ferocious as a tiger. Along with all these plant and animal species comes something that is commonly over looked in the rainforest, and they are humans. There are over two million tribal people living in the world and a great deal of them live within the rainforest.
They use the materials found here to supply there food, make their weapons and cure their sick. All of these things come together to form one of the most complicated ecosystems of the world, and this form comes in the shape of the ecology of a rainforest.