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Rainforest Species

Step out of the ocean and into the hot and humid rainforest! Experience what life is like beneath the tropical treetops. Winding through the roots and tree trunks, rainforest rivers are home to a host of weird and wonderful creatures.

  • SEA LIFE, Rainforest Adventure

In this landscape food can be plentiful. During the wet season rivers flood the rainforest floor where fruits, nuts and seeds fall. When the dry season returns some fish are trapped in ever decreasing, muddy pools without food, with little oxygen and no way of escaping predators.

On the river predators can appear from any direction, above or below the water; Crocodiles and monster Catfish lurk in the waters red with mud whilst birds of prey and big cats prowl the banks. You've got to be tough to make it in this habitat. Many rainforest creatures are big and toothy but sometimes it's the smallest and most harmless looking animals which can pack the deadliest punch! 

Are you ready for a jungle adventure? Let's go!

Piranhas

Red Bellied Piranhas

There are around 40 species of Piranha and it may surprise you to read that most are vegetarian; Feeding mainly on fruits, nuts and seeds that fall from the trees. The Red Bellied Piranhas you will encounter on your journey through SEA LIFE London, are one of the few meat-eating varieties.

These fish have a fearsome reputation but you'll soon discover that this is for the most part undeserved and that they are actually rather beautiful! Their bodies appear to be covered in glitter; These sparkling scales make them hard for predators, such as birds, to spot from the riverbank as they look like the sunlight reflecting off the water's surface. They spend much of their time hovering motionless in the river plants and roots to avoid catching the attention of any hungry Crocs or River Dolphins.

Red Bellies are scavengers that mostly feed on dead or dying creatures and very rarely attack anything that's living. They sometimes take baby birds that fall from their nests and aquatic insects. Their triangular, serrated teeth, like little steak-knives, are perfectly designed for slicing through flesh. Piranhas will dart in and out very quickly whilst feeding in order to grab a mouthful but get out fast before they are accidentally bitten by another Piranha.

These fish are at their most dangerous when trapped in a small pool of water. If they are starved for a long period of time they are driven to more aggressive behaviour in order to get a meal.

Cuban Crocodile

Cuban Crocodile

This small species of Crocodile makes up for what it lacks in size, in attitude! In areas where they share the waters with much larger American Crocodiles, Cubans are dominant.

Take a look at our Cuban Croc's legs; They are longer than most crocodiles and her feet are less webbed. That's because Cuban Crocs are better suited to chasing down prey on the riverbanks than most Crocodile species. They hunt for fish and turtles but will also chase down small mammals and birds.

As a reptile, you will notice that our Croc spends much of her time basking. Reptiles are unable to maintain a warm blood temperature internally as we mammals can, instead they must warm their bodies in the light to keep them at the right temperature. These reptiles don't move around very much, but when they do they can move at lightning speed!

Cuban Crocodiles are one of the most intelligent and most endangered species of Crocodile in the world! Their beautiful skin is highly sought after to make bags and accessories whilst their natural habitat is being destroyed. Today they can only be found in Cuba's Zapata Swamp and Isle of Youth but they were once found in many parts of the Caribbean.

Poison Dart Frog

Poison Dart Frog

These beautiful little creatures, native to Central and South America, are like brightly coloured jewels bouncing amongst the foliage.

Don't be fooled though, they are small but deadly.

As their name suggests these Frogs secrete toxic poison from their skin. The bright colours on their body act as a warning to potential predators that eating them would be a mistake.

Toxicity varies between Dart Frog species. Most pose little threat to humans but the Golden Poison Dart Frog is amongst the most poisonous animals in the world; with enough poison to kill ten to twenty men!

It is not yet fully understood exactly how they produce this deadly poison, but it is suspected that they absorb chemicals from the prey that they eat in order to synthesis the poison.

Poison Dart Frogs are threatened by habitat loss due to human activities such as logging and farming.

Catfish

Big Fish

Tropical rainforest rivers are notoriously full of BIG freshwater fish and we have plenty of these in Rainforests of the World. It might surprise you to discover that almost all of the fish in our Amazon and Southeast Asian displays were donated by members of the public who could no longer look after their giant fish.

Species such as Red Tailed Catfish and Black Pacu are often sold by pet shops when they are very tiny, to owners who only have small tanks. However these river monsters soon grow large... very large! And big fish need big tanks. So if you're looking for a pet fish, do some research and be sure you can still look after your pet once it's fully grown.

Rainforest fish tank

Big Fish Campaign

We've rescued a lot of big fish, but we're fast running out of space! We are proud to support the Big Fish Campaign

Find out more