Forests are spectacular, alive places that contain a wide range of creatures. For life on Earth, they are required. From the air we breathe to the wood we utilize, they have a profound effect on our lives. Forests house eight of every ten species on the earth, and forests also house nearly 300 million people, especially in developing nations.
We are losing our forests at an alarming rate, despite the fact that they are so important to us and many other species. Expansion agriculture, an rising population, and changes in eating habits are the primary reasons for this. A forest, as well as many of the plants and animals that lived there, is typically lost to unsustainable agriculture once it has been destroyed.
By 2020, WWF aims to protect the world’s most crucial forests in order to preserve nature’s diversity, maintain our climate, and promote well-being. Explore the animals that dwell in woods:
The genus Dendrolagus includes tree kangaroos, which are found in the tropical rainforests of New Guinea and northern Queensland, as well as a few of the islands in that area. They range in weight from 5 to 15 kilograms, depending on the species.
They have developed physical adaptations such as wide hind legs, front legs with curved claws, and long tails because much of their lifestyle consists of climbing and jumping between trees.
They’ve also figured out how to move around effectively. On the ground, tree kangaroos are sluggish and ungainly. They’re courageous and quick among the trees. They ascend by bending their front legs around a tree’s trunk and sliding them up the tree, using their strong hind legs to hop.
They are amazing jumpers; they can leap 9 meters from one tree to the next without sustaining injury and have been known to leap 18 meters.
The amethyst python, which lives and climbs in the trees as well, is their natural enemy. The Matschie’s tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei), for example, may be seen in the image.
The young of kangaroos are carried in a pouch until they are fully developed, which is the marsupial characteristic. Read this other article about the reproduction of kangaroos if you’ve ever wondered how kangaroos are born.
Pandas subsist nearly entirely on bamboo and prefer to dwell in bamboo thickets high in the mountains of western China. They help spread seeds and assist vegetation growth in the bamboo forests, which is extremely important.
Habitat destruction caused by road and railroad development fragment the forest, isolating panda populations and preventing breeding, as well as restricting pandas access to the bamboo they need to live.
The National Conservation Program for the giant panda and its habitat has received WWF support in China. Panda reserves now cover more than 3.8 million acres of forest thanks to this program.
Koalas spend the majority of their time in the tree canopy because they depend on two eucalyptus species for nutrition. Moreover, they are more attractive while sleeping in tree nooks where they may be observed for 18 hours a day, and their low-nutrition diet of deadly eucalyptus leaves makes them sluggish.
These lovable leaf-eaters are Australian marsupials, as are most other animals on the planet. Because of habitat destruction and injuries caused by vehicle collisions, koalas are considered endangered. According to researchers, there are only around 100,000 adult koalas left in the wild.
Binturong (Arctictis binturong)
The viviparous binturong dwells in several high-reaching forests throughout Asia. With an average weight of 33 lb (ca. 15 kg), this mammal is the biggest of its kind.
With short, powerful legs, the binturong is a big and hefty animal. They seldom leap, yet they climb swiftly and quietly, and travel with the same ease and confidence on the top of trees or upside down beneath them.
Their prehensile tail, which is almost as long as their body, is used to support them. Since binturongs have a hard time navigating among trees, they must come to the ground frequently.
Little mammals, birds, fish, earthworms, insects, and fruits are all eaten by the binturong. Most of the binturong’s diet is likely made up of plant matter, as it lacks the characteristics of a predatory mammal.
Because it can scratch the tough outer coating of the seeds, the binturong is an important disseminator of seeds, particularly those of the strangler fig.
Since the mid-1980s, the population of binturongs has dropped by more than 30%, making it an endangered species according to the IUCN Red List.
The hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) is a strange, mostly arboreal bird with a contested taxonomic placement. These South American creatures can’t fly long distances due to their colorful crest of leathers.
Several people think that the hoatzin has kept certain primitive properties in spite of its independent development from other current birds. The presence of claws on chicks’ wings, which akin those of Archaeopteryx, is the most obvious one.
One of the planet’s most endangered and vulnerable creatures is the saola. They resemble antelopes, although they are cattle cousins. They are only known to exist in Vietnam and Laos’ Annamite Mountains, where they are critically endangered.
Saola are being squeezed into smaller spaces as forests disappear under the chainsaw to make way for agriculture, plantations, and infrastructure. The habitat of saola is also fragmenting due to fast and large-scale infrastructure development in the area.
WWF has worked on research, community-based forest management, capacity building, and law enforcement to protect the saola since its discovery.
In the subtropical rainforests of Central and South America, the charming squirrel monkey swings from trees. These primates aren’t just attractive; they’re clever as well.
Their enormous intelligence enables them to track their complicated social connections and adapt themselves to their complex environment.3 Squirrel monkeys can have up to 500 members in their troop.
Unfortunately, due to their appeal, they are a highly sought-after species in the illegal pet trade.
The ability to glide, or descend from trees at a sharper angle than 45 degrees, is possessed by flying frogs. Certain frogs can descend at a steeper angle than 45 degrees. These are not real flying frogs, so the ability to parachute is called that.
Many physical adaptations allow this species to have these extraordinary aerodynamic abilities. Enlarged hands and feet, complete webbed foot between all fingers and toes, lateral skin flaps on arms and legs, and a lower weight per foot length than other frogs are among the features that distinguish them.
Their life in the trees, high above the ground, is thought to have caused this parallel development. From tropical to subarctic climates, frogs are incredibly diversified and ubiquitous. If you want to learn more about frogs and their various species, read this other article.
Orangutans are the world’s largest tree-climbing mammal, and their name means “man of the forest” in Malay. They sleep in the daytime and nest in the trees during the night, using vegetation as their homes. They’re woodland gardeners who play an important part in forest seed dispersal.
Oil palm plantations and other agricultural plantations are rapidly replacing their habitat. Outside of protected areas, in plantations managed by timber, palm oil, and mining firms, more than half of orangutans are now discovered. Borneo and Sumatra are home to Orangutans.
Sumatra’s woods have been destroyed by 85%, while Borneo’s has been destroyed by a similar percentage. WWF works in Borneo and Sumatra to link sub-populations of orangutans by securing well-managed protected areas and expanding forest landscapes.
The greater glider, like the flying squirrel and flying phalangers (such as the sugar glider), may glide from tree to tree by spreading a thin membrane between its elbows and ankles. Those huge floppy ears and bushy tail, however, are its most endearing features. A sooty brown or a gray-to-white form of greater gliders are available in two variants.
Like the koala, these marsupials originate from Australia and eat mostly eucalyptus leaves. The IUCN has designated the greater glider as a vulnerable species, and habitat loss is a major threat. The loss of big, old trees with hollows that the bigger glider utilizes as cover is particularly concerning.
The family Sciuridae contains 50 species of squirrels known as flying squirrels (scientifically named Pteromyini or Petauristini).
They are unable to fly, at least not in the same manner as birds, despite their name. A patagium, a furred, parachute-like skin membrane, is able to aid them in gliding from one tree to the next. Their limbs and tail can also be used to direct and control their glide path.
They have a lot of modifications in their anatomy to suit their way of life, which makes them look a lot like other squirrels. Their limbs are longer, and their hand and foot bones are shorter, in addition to having a patagium.
However, flying squirrels aren’t the only arboreal species. Squirrels spend the majority of their time climbing trees. Some squirrels even make their homes in trees, utilizing the holes as their entrances.
African Forest Elephant
The deep rainforests of west and central Africa are home to African forest elephants. With more oval-shaped ears and straighter tusks that point downward, they are smaller than African savanna elephants.
Forest elephants are essential for the dissemination and germination of many rain forest trees, especially since they eat more fruits from various tree species than any other large vertebrate. The seeds of several of these species need to pass through the elephant’s digestive system in order to germinate.
Elephants, in fact, are magnificent forest gardeners. From a total of 3 million square miles in 1979, their range has decreased to roughly 1 million square miles today.
Between 2002 and 2013, poachers slaughtered over 65% of their surviving populations. These elephants are being pushed onto smaller fragments of protected land, reducing their mobility and long-term survival prospects.
These reptiles start their lives as eggs deposited in the bark and foliage of a tree, giving them the appearance of a pint-sized dragon. Their long tails help them balance on the tree’s branches after they hatch. The remarkable climbing ability of geckos, however, is the trait that they are most recognized for.
Until scientists found that they take use of weak molecular attractive forces, how they perform their gravity-defying acts remained a mystery.
Common sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni)
The Northern two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) is a species of sloth found in Central and South America, and is also known as the Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth. Sloths with two toes dwell in the canopy of tropical rainforests.
It lives almost entirely in trees and weighs about 8 kg when fully grown. The branches of trees are where this animal eats, mates, and sleeps. Even the most common exercises are done upside down.
They only poop on the ground every five days or so. When these animals are seeking a new tree to live in or finding a fresh food source, they’ll also descend to the ground. They travel hardly more than 30 meters each day between tree limbs.
Sloths are fantastic creatures that may be found in the rainforest. Sloths have the ability to elevate their whole body weight with just one arm from birth, according to research. Read this other article for more information on sloths as well as many additional fascinating facts.
Chamaleons are camouflage masters who may alter their color, giving birth to one of Mother Nature’s most amazing surprise effects.
Chameleons may be found in Africa, Madagascar, and Asia, as well as other European countries. Thanks to their powerful viscous tongue, these animals primarily live on trees, where they hunt insects.
With an extra-long tail, feet, and toes that add up to a primate uniquely suited for life in trees, tarsiers’ bodies exemplify how evolution ends up cute. The tarsier must swivel its head to look around because of the enormous eyes found on the islands of Southeast Asia.
Being nocturnal is why they have such big eyes. They use their batlike ears to explore in the dark and both these talents to find out where they like to eat: insects. The only completely carnivorous primate species is the tarsier. Little birds, lizards, and even bats are known to be devoured by them.
Gibbons are one of four genera and 20 species in a group of primates that includes many subspecies. The lesser apes and small apes are two terms used to describe them. Gibbons are smaller, have low sexual dimorphism, and do not build nests, as compared to the great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans).
These tiny monkeys can be found in Asia, particularly China, India, Bangladesh, and Sumatra, in both tropical and subtropical woods.
They swing between tree branches while moving, a kind of locomotion known as “brachiation.” They’re incredibly swift and can sneak through thicket with ease. They can reach speeds of up to 55 km/h (34 mph) in certain cases.
They may leap up to 8 meters (26 feet) and keep their balance on two legs by raising their arms. They’re the quickest non-flying mammals that live in trees.
Monkeys are located on entirely separate branches of the evolutionary tree than apes, contrary to popular belief. If you want to learn more about monkeys and their various species, read this other article.
Italian tree frog
The bright-green color and a black line distinguish the Italian tree frog (Hyla intermedia) from other amphibians. This little frog is perfectly adapted to life in the trees, and it is endemic to Italy. Its colors allow it to blend in on leafy branches, and its sticky fingertips aid it in climbing trees, shrubs, and canes.
These small tree-climbers come from Africa, Europe, and the Middle East and are closely related to civets. They have a lot of the same behavioral features as your cat, since they are feliforms and are distant cousins to cats. Genets also have retractable claws, a cunning intellect, and a desire for tiny rodents, birds, and reptiles. They prefer to pursue it if it’s tiny and travels quickly.
Genets have grown in popularity in the exotic pet trade as a result of their many similarities to cats.