At noon, under the canopy of tropical rain forests gloomy and stuffy, damp and quiet. Green shade hides the brightness of colors, and continuous chaos of overlapping branches and aerial roots to the extreme narrow view. It seems that the climate and the abundance of vegetable can provide a comfortable life and feed the countless hordes of creatures, but they are not visible. You can spend a whole day in the pristine jungle and did not see any animal larger than a mouse. Them and do a little bit here. Especially little larger.
By weight, the animals are only 0.02 percent of the total biomass of the forest. This is 2-3 times lower than the corresponding ratio for the whole of the total biomass of the Earth. In absolute terms, about 200 kilograms per hectare, and not less than one third of the animals rainforest (again by weight) lives in soil and litter.
Just how hard to see the inhabitants of the jungle, shows the story of the okapi. This huge beast, the closest relative of giraffes, almost with the same long legs and neck, which is well-known natives of virgin forest, cleverly concealed from the eyes of the Europeans until 1901. Only through the efforts of the Pygmies, wounded to the quick distrust of their stories about the unique inhabitant of thickets, Royal Zoological Society of London received a skin and two skulls of the mysterious invisible. However, in the next 80 years to see the okapi in the wild only a few fortunate researchers jungle.
The life of any animal of the forest necessarily tied to a tree. This relationship is particularly noticeable in the jungle. Almost all of the inhabitants live in trees – on the trunks and crowns, at least huddle near the roots in the forest floor and in the soil, but are building their own burrows or constantly using them enough. Among land animals, only a few are not able to climb trees. Tropical jungle – patrimony most skilled climbers.
Before large land animals, unable to rise to the upper floors, there are two important problems: how to move around in the bushes and chaos than to eat here. Major existing require substantial amount of food, and its first floor a little bit.
The problem of movement even more difficult. Of large animals best adapted to life in the jungle alive bulldozer – a huge forest elephant. Smashing all the steps along the way, a herd of giants can wade through any thicket, maneuvering among the huge trunks, which for them are insurmountable obstacle.
However, even the elephants tend to forest edges, clearings, the grassy meadow with water regularly flooded lowlands along the coast forest rivers and streams. Like the other inhabitants of the jungle, need sun baths, especially elephant calves, or they can develop rickets.
In the rain forests of small prey. There are no animals, topped by such spreading horns like our European red deer and elk. With such an ornament on her head through the thicket not probereshsya. Mazamet or spitserogie deer that live in Central and South America, worn on the head small straight horns. The American pudu horns so small that they do not protrude from the thick wool. Sami reindeer too small. The growth of various types ranging from Mazamet large rabbit to a small deer. Ordinary pudu – dwarf height of 30-35 inches and a weight of 7.10 pounds.
Of the 14 species of African crested duikers, peculiar forest antelope, 12 prefer to live in tropical rain forests. Their slightly recurved horns only slightly raised above the highest crest thick hair that grows between them. Do baby antelope horns no more than 10 centimeters, and a very tiny dwarf antelopes, barely a quarter of a meter at the shoulder, elbow and quite tiny – just 1.5-2 cm.
Among the few exceptions spiral-horned antelope. In bushbokov helically coiled horns can reach a length of 55 centimeters, and a larger bongo – meter. But they sent back and not interfere wade through the thicket. As on the run antelope throws his head back. How often we have to do bongos, horns indicate pureed bald patches on the back of the shoulder blades.
Most ungulates dense rainforest – pygmies compared with their relatives from other areas of the planet. Jungle typical deer and antelope the size of a small dog. Small kanchil, a resident of the jungle island of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Java, the size of a rabbit and run on thin as a pencil, feet and weighs 2-2.5 kg. He is nocturnal and it seems timid and helpless. At the slightest danger Mouse-deer dissolved in dense thickets, but if the predator overtake him, desperately bite, inflicting serious wounds to the enemy. Dwarfism – an adaptation to the thickets. It is characterized by the bulls, bears and other animals.
Red subspecies of African buffalo, living in the jungle, it will come down for the calf of his huge black brother, who lives in the savannah. Baby height 100-130 cm, and weighs four times less. Even fewer dwarf buffalo Anoa from forests of the island of Sulawesi. His height of 60-100 cm. These bulls are short, swept-back horns, while the black African buffalo they form an intricate eight head of the animal, and the distance between their tips can reach a meter. The same conditions of existence called unidirectional adaptation: similarly affected the appearance of most jungle ungulates and demanded their miniaturization, which has touched not only the body but also of the horns.
The same applies to bears. If you compare the size of animals that inhabit the open plains and the PA in different forests, you will notice that they gradually become smaller in proportion as the forests become denser. White polar bear weighs up to a ton. Almost as large subspecies of brown bear with a land Kodiak Island, which lies off the coast of Alaska. In the forests of the country are brown bears rarely weigh 750 pounds, they are often much less. Asiatic black bear, are more closely associated with the tree, there is no heavier than 140-150 pounds. Baribal North American, South Asian and South American spectacled sloth bears little less. And the small Malayan bear, or biruang – quite the baby, weighing up to 65 pounds! He lives in tropical rain forests and spends most of the day in the trees. It sleeps or eats leaves, fruit, and all living creatures.
Among ungulates tropical rainforests most peculiar tapirs. These large creatures up to 300 kilograms of weight, its appearance resemble pigs, perfectly adapted to life in the bush. They have a relatively short legs and elongate the torso, so that the animals at the withers less than 1 meter. Elongated snout and narrow-minded head can easily fit into a tapir any space between the branches. Torpedo body with narrow shoulders, slightly tapered to the pelvic region, which put on a thick skin, covered with short smooth hair, can squeeze through the thicket. Like elephants, tapirs tend to open glades, mostly to the coast. The hottest time of the animals like to spend in the water. On occupied territory, a system tapir trails and trap doors, which allowed daily use. However, if the owner of the site is being attacked by a jaguar, the only predator, dangerous for the adult animal, tapir nahozhennoy turned off the trail and dives into the thicket. Here peaceful animal receives some benefits, and it often saves his life.
Much more difficult to live in the jungles of the okapi. The younger brother of long-necked giraffe unable to dissolve in the bush, as tapirs and small deer. Okapi extremely attached to thickets and wide open country roads and clearings prefer not to use it. To pave the way in the wilderness, they have only one device – a massive chest, slightly overhanging the front legs. This allows the animal to bring down the barrier the whole weight of his body, and is lifted up and a forward head gives a glimpse of the obstruction and to assess whether it can be overcome.
Well adapted to life in the jungle pig. In the mountain forests of Africa lives more forest hog, opened only in 1904. This is the large representative of the family of pigs. More prevalent kisteuhie or river pig – big beautiful animals in bright yellow, with a white mane-strap on the back, with white whiskers and tufts on the ears. Unlike most of the forest ungulate kisteuhie pigs live in herds, sometimes up to 100 head, but so careful about what they found in the jungle difficult.
Bearded pig, so named for the abundant undergrowth light stubble that covers the face, lives in the jungles of the Malay Peninsula, in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan and small islands in the Indian Ocean. Size of it from the European wild boar and also lives in families and herds. On the island of Sulawesi babirussa lives, almost naked pig medium size, with two pairs of large canine teeth, recurved and intended only for decoration. The lower pair takes its place between the teeth of the lower jaw. The top does not grow out of his mouth, and sticks right on the face. In old males the tips almost reach the forehead or bent 180 degrees and back to grow into the skin of the snout. In the form of upper canines was an explicit analogy with horns forest ungulates.
Body shape and weight of large pigs and tapirs were successful for life in the jungle. At this size, they are not stuck in the tangles of vines, and a solid weight allows them to give way through the thicket.
Are about the same size pygmy hippo. Pygmy again! His height at the withers less than 80 cm. He size of a large pig and a weight 10 times lighter than its larger cousin. Dwells "baby" in the tropical forests of the Niger Delta. Adjusting to life in the wilds, he has not only changed its size, but borrowed from the indigenous inhabitants of the forest the most common forms of behavior. Animals are not going herds, and live alone or in pairs, less related to water and trampling bushes in coastal track.
Most wood rodent in adapting, like other mammals jungle became pygmies. Take for example the protein. In the mountainous jungles of Panama, spread out on the slopes of Chiriqui, live bright red dwarf proteins of about 15 centimeters. In thickets Amazon proteins midges live with a body length 10-11, and in South Asia, in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan and other Indo-Pacific islands proteins crumbs growth of 7 – 10 centimeters.
Some adaptation to terrestrial rodents wilds gone by increasing the size. It is in tropical rain forests inhabited by the largest members of this group. Them quite a bit. Largest – capybara, or capybara. Externally, the animals – a replica of the guinea pigs, increased 10-fold. Males reach 1.5 meters in length and weigh 60-70 pounds. The body is covered with long thick brown beard, well protects the skin from the many thorns.
Capybara not like seclusion, very sociable and live in groups, sometimes quite large. On the feet, between the toes, the capybaras are flipper, so she, like tapirs, swims and dives. Not surprisingly, capybaras lodge on the banks of rivers and other water bodies. Most sites like capybara shoreline covered with tall grass, which they feed.
Two other giant rodent – pack and agouti – resemble large rabbit ears only they are short. They are much smaller capybaras, but similar to drink habits, good swimmers, and are able to pack even dive. In the case of dangerous animals rush to the water and flop back with a terrible noise that the rest of the group is a signal at danger.
Here are the requirements in the jungle to the shape and size of the animals who can not climb trees. It is unprofitable to be neither too large nor too small. For living in the wilds of good middle ground. Apparently, the value of the body between the agouti (up to 50 cm) to the capybaras and big pigs are not impose severe restrictions on the movement in the dense thickets of tropical rain forests, to drastically reduce the number of natural enemies. After all, there are few large predators, so capybaras, tapirs and pigs have almost no enemies. That's where there was a tradition of dwarfism and gigantism of large animals from small fry.