Get to Know our Planet: Part 3 - The Rainforest

In celebration of Earth Day 2021, let's take a closer look at what makes our planet truly spectacular! Unique eco-systems are home to equally unique animals. It is our responsibility to do our part to keep our planet safe and healthy so all species can survive. Learning about the planet is a great first step in understanding how we are all connected. In this three-part series we will look at the desert, rainforest and ocean and some animals that call these ecosystems home. Come along for the journey you are sure to be surprised and delighted discovering these creatures!

The rainforest is a luxuriant forest, composed of tall, broad-leaved trees and usually found in wet tropical uplands and lowlands around the equator. Tropical Rainforest Facts. Rainforest is described as tall, hot and dense forest near the equator and is believed to be the oldest living ecosystems on Earth which gets maximum amount of rainfall. Rainforests account for only about 6 percent of the total land area on the planet but more than half of the world's species live there! An astounding 30 million or more distinct species make their home in the rainforests of the world. Discovering the rainforests must have been like hitting the biological lottery for the first biologists that ventured in to explore them. No matter where you are on earth, you are benefitting from the rainforests because the plant life that grows there produces an incredibly sizable portion of the world's oxygen.

Scientists once believed that there were only two species of elephant in the world, the African Savannah Elephant and the Asian Elephant. When DNA testing was developed, they were surprised to learn that there was a third species. The African Forest Elephant is a true separate species and not a subspecies of the savannah elephant as they once thought. African Forest Elephants are smaller with the largest of them growing to a height of 8 feet compared to their savannah cousins that can grow as tall as 13 feet. Their ears are also more rounded, and their tusks are straighter and thinner and have a pinkish coloration to their ivory. They typically live-in smaller family groups and are a bit darker than savannah elephants.

This is undoubtedly one of the most-feared predators in the rainforest. The Bengal tiger is not the largest tiger in the world, but it can grow to a very formidable size of up to 10 feet long and weight up to 575 pounds. The Bengal tiger makes its home in Bangladesh, China, India, and Indonesia. Like all big cats, the Bengal tiger is a carnivore (meat-eater) and commonly preys on boars, moneys, wild oxen, and other animals that are unfortunate enough to cross the tiger's path when it is feeling hungry. Like most cats, it relies heavily on stealthy hunting tactics that allow it to sneak quietly within striking distance of unsuspecting prey animals.

Although the slender loris is not a danger to people, it might be a shocking to find yourself face-to-face with is odd-locking primate! Slender loris live in the rainforests of Southern India and Sri Lanka. These cuties favor thick forests with thorny vegetation that makes escaping from predators easier! Fun fact! The slender loris spends most of its life in trees. About the size of a chipmunk, they are known for their leisurely pace. Insects are their main food source. It's arms and legs are only about as thick as pencils! Teeny tiny!

We hope you have enjoyed Part 3 of our Earth Day - 3 part series. Part 2 explores our oceans and the creatures that live there and Part 1 the deserts and the animals that call it home. Let's work together to take care of our planet for generations to come! Share what you've learned with us @terrabybattat and for more fun animal facts.