Step into a tropical rain forest. The air is hot and humid. Frogs croak, monkeys howl, and insects buzz. “Rain forests provide food and habitat for some of the most amazing animals on Earth,” Linda Walker told TFK. She is a director at the World Wildlife Fund.
Sloths live in the rain-forest canopy. They spend most of their life hanging upside down.
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Tropical rain forests are found near the equator, where the weather is sunny and hot. You may have guessed that it rains a lot in a rain forest. It does! Most rain forests get more than 100 inches of rain per year. These conditions make them a perfect home for all types of life. In fact, more than half of the world’s plants and animals live in rain forests.
Different species live in different layers of a rain forest (see “Layer It Up!”). Plants give food and shelter to many animals, and animals help plants by spreading their seeds around the forest. Even predators play an important role in the rain forest. They hunt other animals, which prevents overpopulation.
A poison dart frog’s skin is toxic. The bright color warns predators to stay away.
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Rain forests are unique. They are unlike any other habitat. But each year, the rain forests grow smaller. Deforestation is hurting them. And as these habitats disappear, so does their wildlife.
“Deforestation means cutting down trees and converting the forest to something else,” Walker says. “Every minute, around the world, we lose an area of forests equal to 27 soccer fields.”
The rain forests are in danger. People chop and burn down trees to clear land.
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People around the globe are taking action and fighting to save the rain forests. Some plant trees, recycle, or raise money.
It isn’t too late to save this special habitat. What will you do to help protect the rain forests?
ILLUSTRATION BY ANNE REAS FOR TIME FOR KIDS
Rain-forest plants grow at many different heights. That creates four layers, or levels. Each layer gets a different amount of sunlight and rainfall. Each layer is packed with different types of plants and animals. Pick a favorite animal of the rain forest. Which layer does it live in?