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The Rainforest - in the tree tops

High up in the tree tops, it is sunny and warm. There are leaves and
flowers and fruit to eat all year around, because there is no winter in the
rainforest.

Leaf-eating monkeys called langurs live here. Leaf-eating lizards like


iguanas also climb up to feed and sunbathe. Wherever there are leaves there
are bound to be caterpillars, and the rainforest is full of glorious butterflies.

Even ants climb all the way up here to pick leaves and take
them down to their nests under the ground. They dont eat the
leaves but use them to grow mushrooms to eat.

There are eagles here, too, soaring above the canopy looking for birds and
monkeys to eat.

There are wonderful fruits in the tree tops. Parrots,


hornbills and toucans love to eat them, and so do spider
monkeys.
Many of the animals which live in the tree tops never come down to the
ground at all. If they did, they might not be able to climb back up the smooth
tree-trunks.
Name: Date:

The Rainforest - in the tree tops

Read the card and then decide if these statements are true or false or that there
is not enough information to decide either way (dont know). Put a tick in the
correct box.

True False Dont


know
It is sunny and warm in the tree tops.
Langurs are monkeys.
Langurs live in small family groups.
Iguanas are lizards.
Iguanas like to sunbathe.
There are no butterflies in the tree tops.
Ants can climb trees.
Ants eat mushrooms.
Spider monkeys do not eat fruit.
The tree-trunks are smooth.

Now try to think of two questions that you would ask a friend about life in the
tree tops.
1. Question
Answer
2. Question
Answer
Here is a list of the creatures named on the card. Decide if they are a bird,
mammal, insect or reptile.

Creature Bird, mammal, Creature Bird, mammal,


insect or reptile? insect or reptile?
langurs iguanas
eagles parrots
toucans spider monkeys
ants hornbills
The Rainforest - Hunters and Killers

Predators have to catch and kill other animals if they are to survive. They need to detect
their prey before it sees them, to stalk, ambush or outrun it before it escapes, and
incapacitate it before it can do them harm. To do all this they must have acute senses.
Daytime hunters often rely on their keen eyesight to find prey. Nocturnal hunters need other
skills - a highly developed sense of hearing or smell, or an ability to detect vibrations made
by an approaching animal. Prey animals have their own defences and means of avoiding
capture, such as camouflage, so an incompetent hunter goes hungry.

Red-kneed tarantula
As well as dry rocky places, the red-kneed tarantula lives in
humid forests. During the day, it stays in its silk-lined burrow.
After dark, it emerges to hunt for large insects or small
vertebrates. It injects prey with a venom that quickly causes
paralysis.

Nile crocodile
The Nile crocodile, together with the saltwater crocodile, is the largest of the jungle
predators. It can reach a record 6m (18ft) in length, but even the smaller ones are powerful
enough to overcome large animals - and people -
that come down to the rivers in which it lives.
Lurking unseen in the water, crocodiles are capable
of surprising bursts of speed as they lunge forward
to grab a drinking animal by the muzzle. They kill by dragging their catch underwater until
it drowns.

Lancehead snake
The small common lancehead is nocturnal, locating warm-blooded prey with heat sensitive
pits between its eyes and nostrils. When a victim is in range, the snake gapes open its
mouth, and two long front fangs swing forwards. As the snake strikes, these fangs stab,
injecting a lethal venom.

Leopard
The leopard hunts by leaping on prey from above and killing it with a bite to the throat or
neck.

Boa constrictor
The boa constrictor waits motionless until its prey comes close enough, its air-borne scent
picked up by the snakes tongue and transferred to the highly sensitive
Jacobsons organs on the roof of its mouth. The snake strikes open-mouthed,
gripping its catch with its fangs and coiling round the animals body. Each
time the animal breathes out, the snake tightens its coils a little more, until
the prey is suffocated.
Name: Date:
The Rainforest - Hunters and Killers
Find these words in your dictionary and write down their meaning.
predator .
prey ....
stalk ....
incapacitate ...
acute ...
nocturnal ...
detect ..
incompetent ...
carnivore ...
herbivore ...
Read the information and then decide if these statements are true or false or that there is
not enough information to decide either way (dont know). Put a tick in the correct box.
True False Dont
know
The red-kneed tarantula is nocturnal.
This tarantula is one of the largest spiders in the rainforest.
The Nile crocodile is a carnivore.
The Nile crocodile kills its prey with venom.
The lancehead snake is quite small.
The lancehead snakes venom paralyses its victim but does not kill it.
The leopard only hunts by day.
The leopard can climb trees.
The boa constrictor lies very still until it detects its prey.
The boa constrictor is a herbivore.

Now try to think of three questions that you would ask a friend about hunters and killers.

1. Question
Answer.
2. Question
Answer.
3. Question
Answer.
The Rainforest - Disguise and Warning

Animals and insects use camouflage in an effort to avoid being eaten. Colour and shape
either make an animal indistinguishable from its background, or trick a predator into
thinking that it is dealing with something bigger or more dangerous. Some animals have
colours or patterns that closely match their background. Some patterns seem bold and
conspicuous, but actually break up an animals outline, making it impossible to see against a
mosaic of leaves, twigs, sunshine and shadow. Another kind of camouflage is mimicry, with
insects looking like leaves, barks or twigs. The disguise of many insects is so good that,
rather than waste time looking for them, flocks of mixed species of birds move noisily
through the forest like a wave. What small creature one bird dislodges or disturbs, the bird
behind snaps up.

Camouflaged cat
Light-coloured fur with dark stripes, spots or blotches imitates the dappled effect of sunlight
in the dense vegetation of the rainforest. It makes an effective camouflage for jungle cats.
Tigers rely on their ability to remain unseen as they stalk their victim.

Butterfly disguises
Many butterflies have vivid patterns to warn predators that they taste unpleasant. Some
harmless butterflies copy the appearance of bad tasting ones to trick predators into leaving
them alone.

Poison arrow frog


The bright colours of the poison arrow frog warn other animals that it is poisonous.
Toads
The horned toads shape and colour blend in with the floor covering. A leaf litter toad looks
exactly like the dead leaves surrounding it.

Lizards
Some lizards, such as skinks, make their tails fall off if they are attacked. This confuses the
predator and the lizard escapes.

Turtles

Turtles have hard shells to protect them. Matamata turtles have bumpy shells which look
like dead leaves.
Name: Date:
The Rainforest - Disguise and warning
Find these words in your dictionary and write down their meaning.
camouflage
indistinguishable ...
conspicuous ...
mosaic
mimicry ..
species
dislodge ..
imitate ....
dense ..
vivid ...
Read the information and then decide if these statements are true or false or that there is
not enough information to decide either way (dont know). Put a tick in the correct box.
True False Dont
know
Camouflage is a means of defence for some animals.
Some creatures use colour to warn that they are dangerous.
Birds eat insects.
The tiger is easily seen in the dense forest.
Some plants produce poisons to protect them from caterpillars.
All butterflies taste unpleasant.
Butterflies are eaten by lizards.
The poison arrow frog blends in with its surroundings.
Horned toads use bright colours as their defence.
Leaf litter toads are found on the forest floor.
Now try to think of three questions that you would ask a friend about disguise and warning
using the information on the sheet.

1. Question
Answer.
2. Question
Answer.
3. Question
Answer.
The Rainforest - among the branches

Under the tree top canopy the vines wind among the tree branches.
Everything that lives here has to be an expert climber.
Sloths go very slowly. They hang
underneath branches, hooked on by their long,
curved claws. Sloths are hardly ever the right
way up. Even their fur grows from the middle
of their tummy down their back instead of the
usual way round. Their back fur is a lighter
colour than their tummy fur which is also the
opposite to the way most animals fur is
coloured. Another strange thing about sloths is
that their fur looks green. Tiny plants live right
inside the hairs. This helps to make them hard
to see among the leaves.

South American woolly monkeys, marmosets, howler monkeys and


spider monkeys have a long tail for clinging onto branches. A monkeys tail is
like an extra arm or leg. These monkeys can safely move their hands and feet
without falling if they wraps their tail tightly round a branch. A spider monkey
is one of the most acrobatic monkeys. It can use its tail to pick fruit. A howler
monkey screeches so loudly that its call can be heard over three kilometres
away.
Some animals can glide from tree to tree instead of leaping. Gliders are
easy targets for birds so many of them are patterned to blend in with their
surroundings. Most of them only come out at night when it is harder for
predators to spot them.

Colugos have flaps of skin joined to their wrists and ankles. When a
colugo leaps out of a tree with its legs stretched out, the flaps become taut and
act as parachutes.
Flying squirrels sleep in the day in tree holes. At dusk they climb into
the tree tops to feed on leaves, plant shoots and nuts. They can glide as far as
100 metres between trees.
Name: Date:

The Rainforest - among the branches

Find these words in your dictionary and write down their meaning.
camouflage .....
..
acrobatic ..

predators .
.
taut

dusk
..

Read the card and then decide if these statements are true or false or that there
is not enough information to decide either way (dont know). Put a tick in the
correct box.

True False Dont


know
Sloths move very slowly.
A sloths fur is green because it eats plants.
Sloths are easy to see among the trees.
Monkeys glide from tree to tree.
Monkeys like to eat fruit.
Howler monkeys are bigger than spider monkeys.
Glider animals are usually camouflaged.
Birds like to eat glider animals.
Colugos use their tails to cling to trees as they move.
Flying squirrels are nocturnal animals.

Now try to think of two questions that you would ask a friend about life among
the branches using the information on the card.

1. Question.
Answer
2. Question.
Answer

The Rainforest - on the ground

ANT

Down on the ground its warm and damp. Everything that falls from above -
leaves, fruit, animal droppings - is gobbled up by the ants,
giant millipedes, beetles and other creatures that swarm
there. Nothing is wasted. Even fallen trees are eaten up by
termites. On the forest floor scavenging is a way of life.

FROG BEETLE

GOLDEN
BEETLE

HERCULES
BEETLE
There arent many large animals down here, except for a few scavengers such
as wild pigs and tapirs. The tapir comes from both the horse family and the
rhinoceros family. He is a good swimmer, he can run quickly and even climb
trees! He uses his long nose and upper lip in the same way an elephant uses his
trunk.

In the rainforests of Africa, Gorillas live in groups of 10 - 20 animals. Gorillas


move slowly through the forest eating leaves, stems and roots.

Because its so dark, many forest plants and creatures are brightly coloured so
that they can be seen.

Making a noise is another way to attract attention in the dark, and this is the
reason why rainforests are so noisy. Every morning, the howling of gibbons
mixes with birds and insects in the deafening dawn chorus.
Name: Date:
The Rainforest - on the ground

Find these words in your dictionary and write down their meaning.
scavenge ....
termite....
attract
chorus
Read the card and then decide if these statements are true or false or that there
is not enough information to decide either way (dont know). Put a tick in the
correct box.

True False Dont


know
It is warm and dry on the forest floor.
There are lots of insects on the forest floor.
Termites eat fallen trees.
The tapir is a nocturnal animal.
The tapir has a long nose.
Gorillas live in groups.
Gorillas only move around in the daytime.
Most creatures on the forest floor are dull colours.
Birds sing when they wake up.
Gibbons make a howling noise.

Now try to think of three questions that you would ask a friend about life on
the ground using the information on the card.

1.Question.
Answer
2.Question.
Answer

3.Question.
Answer

The Rainforest - Hidden Dangers

Lurking in the depths of the jungle are animals and plants equipped with a lethal battery of
foul-tasting poisons. They either make the poisons themselves, or use those that were in
their food, advertising their hidden armoury with their bright colours. Venomous creatures
such as snakes and spiders need powerful venom to subdue prey that might inflict injury
during a struggle. Plants contain poisons to prevent herbivores from eating all their foliage.
The only indications that their green leaves are unpleasant are the smell and taste. They can
afford to lose a few leaves, and animals soon learn to avoid them.

Poison Dart Frog

Poison dart frogs are among the most poisonous animals on Earth. This forest floor frog
oozes very nasty poisons from all over its skin if anything tampers with it. The frogs got
their name because South American Indians use these poisons to coat their blow pipe darts
and arrows. A tiny scratch from a poisoned arrow can kill a large animal such as a jaguar.
Animals killed by the arrows are safe to eat because the poison is destroyed when it is
swallowed.

Poisonous Plant

If a plant loses all its leaves it is unable to take in carbon dioxide and
make food. The leaves of the climbing passion flower plant
(Passiflora) contain several poisonous chemicals. Mammals will not
eat it, and only a few leaf-eating insects such as postman butterflies
have found ways of overcoming its poisons.

Postman Butterfly

A female postman butterfly lays her eggs on the youngest leaves of the passion flower plant
because these contain the least poison. The larvae absorb the poison into their bodies.

African Giant Swallowtail

The enormous African giant swallowtail butterfly can have a wingspan of up 250 mm (10
inches). It is very poisonous and is completely avoided by all its enemies.
Cobra
The cobra is very poisonous. It hunts at dusk and in the early
morning. It eats other reptiles and small mammals. Its front fangs
inject a highly toxic venom. The poison is also fatal to people.
When threatened, cobras rear up, hiss and puff out their hood by
raising the elongated ribs in the neck area.
Name: Date:
The Rainforest - Hidden Dangers
Find these words in your dictionary and write down their meaning.
lethal
armoury ..
venomous
subdue .
foliage ..
indication
tamper ......
absorb ...
toxic ..
fatal .
Read the information and then decide if these statements are true or false or that there is
not enough information to decide either way (dont know). Put a tick in the correct box.

True False Dont


know
Some plants can poison creatures that try to eat them.
Poisonous creatures are usually well camouflaged.
Spiders use poison to subdue their victims.
Poisonous plants smell nice to tempt creatures to eat them.
The poison dart frog injects its venom through fangs.
The poison dart frog can be found in South America.
A plant will die if it loses too many leaves.
The youngest leaves of a plant are the most poisonous.
The cobra is a very large snake.
The cobra lives in African rainforests.
Now try to think of three questions that you would ask a friend about Hidden Dangers using
the information on the sheet.

1. Question..
Answer.
2. Question..
Answer.
3. Question..
Answer.