We shall never know about some animals, which live in the rainforests, because every year about a thousand different species disappear forever.
The giant otter lives in the Amazon rainforest. It is about two metres long, and one group of otters eats more than 30,000 fish a year. There are not many giant otters now, because people will pay a lot of money for their thick fur.
In the 1960s, people killed more than 60,000 giant otters in Brazil.
Tapirs live in the forests of Latin America and in Malaysia. We don’t know how many tapirs there are, but we do know that they were already living in the rainforests twenty million years ago. They live near rivers, and they eat leaves at night. During the day, they stay in the river to keep cool.
The mountain gorilla lives in Rwanda in Central Africa. Mountain gorillas live in family groups and are very big so they don’t climb trees very often. They spend most of the time on the ground and they need to eat lots of leaves and fruit.
The golden bamboo lemur lives in Madagascar. Its favourite food is giant bamboo. Giant bamboo is a deadly plant but, strangely, the lemurs eat it every day and they don’t die. No one knows why. The golden bamboo lemur was unknown until 1986.
No one knows all the species of insects in the rainforests. Perhaps there are more than 40,000 species of insects in the Amazon rainforest. The leaf katydid is one of these. It looks like the leaf it is standing on. This is a very good way to protect itself from the insect-eating birds in the trees around it.