Life in the canopy
Large, colourful forest birds with huge bills for cracking and eating tough forest fruits include the toucans (in the Americas) and hornbills (in Africa and Asia). Herbivorous mammals that live in the forest canopy include flying squirrels, monkeys, and sloths. Some mammals, like tree pangolins and tamanduas eat arboreal ants and termites. Carnivores adapted to life in the trees include the jaguar and leopard.
From tree to tree
Canopy animals have developed some ingenious ways of travelling about the forest. Flying lemurs and flying squirrels do not actually fly, but have have broad flaps of skin between their front and hind limbs that enable them to glide from tree to tree to escape predators or to find food. South American monkeys, opposums and tree porcupines have prehensile tails that act like an extra limb to help them swing from branch to branch.
Rainforest soil is covered with a thin layer of fallen leaves, twigs and humus. This layer also teems with life: termites and ants, spiders, mites, snails, and beetles make their home here. The mammals include small deer, antelopes like duikers, pigs, tapirs, and tigers and other members of the cat family.