Rainforests are wet and warm habitats. Trees grow very tall to compete with other plants for sunlight in the rainforest. There are rainforests in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Central and South America. The biggest rainforest is the Amazon rainforest. Most rainforests are found along or near the Equator, where it tends to be hot. More than half of the world’s animals live in the rainforest.
Now let’s meet with the rainforest animals through yoga because they are already waking up!
Rainforest Animals Yoga
Anteaters (Dog: We press our feet and hands into the floor as we lift our bottoms to the sky) have no teeth. But their long tongues are more than sufficient to lap up the 35,000 ants and termites they swallow whole each day. It is covered in grayish brown fur and a bushy tail. They are not aggressive, but they can be fierce. They can fight off even a puma or a jaguar.
Armadillos (Mouse: We kneel down and tuck ourselves into a little tiny ball, like a mouse) are the only mammals that have protective armor. Giant armadillos sleep about 18 hours a day. They live in temperate and warm habitats. They have very poor eyesight and utilize their keen sense of smell to hunt. In addition to bugs, armadillos eat small vertebrates, plants, and some fruit.
Caimans (Crocodile: Lie on your side with your arms long over your head. You can open your crocodile jaws by opening your arms or feet, then clapping your hands or feet back down together) are long, squat creatures with big jaws, long tails and short legs. They have thick, scaled skin, and their eyes and noses are located on the tops of their heads. This enables them to see and breathe while the rest of their bodies underwater. They are better adapted for swimming in the water than walking on the land.
Green anacondas (Snake: Coming onto our tummy, we place our hands underneath our shoulders. We wiggle up into a snake) are the largest snakes in the world, growing up to 9m long and weighing as much as 227kg. They don’t kill prey by delivering venom through bite. Instead, they wrap their bodies around their prey and squeeze until it stops breathing. And they open their mouths wide enough to swallow prey whole.
Jaguars (Tiger: Coming on all fours, claw out with one arm forwards and the opposite back paw/leg at the same time) are the third largest cats in the world. Jaguars live alone and mark their territory with their waste or by clawing trees. Jaguars are mammals. They eat a diet rich in meat and fish. They can live to be 12 to 15 years old in the wild.
Macaws (Parrot: Standing up, bend forward from your middle, keeping your back long and straight. Your arms become wide wings floating up and down at your sides as you fly like a bird) are beautiful, brilliantly colored members of the parrot family. They can easily crack nuts and seeds with their powerful beaks. They are intelligent, social birds that often gather in flocks of 10 to 30 individuals. Some species can even mimic human speech.
Orangutans (Gorilla: Standing, legs a little wide and gently thump your chest and the floor between your legs with your fists) can weigh up to 100kg. Some males can stretch their arms 2m from fingertip to fingertip. The word orangutan comes from the Malay words “orang hutan”, meaning “human of the forest as we share nearly 97% of the same DNA! Sadly, they are on the endangered species list because of deforestation and illegal hunting.
Pink River Dolphins (Dolphin: Coming onto your hands and knees. Clasp your hands together and come further down onto your elbows. Rock forward and backward over your arms making your best happy dolphin clicking noise.) have the characteristic dolphin smile. Most strikingly, males can be pink. The brighter the pink, the more attractive the males are to females. They find their prey in the dark, muddy water. They are the largest of the four river dolphin species. They have powerful flippers.
Piranhas (Fish: Lying on your back, prop yourself up on your elbows and point your toes down. Then pop your chest up to the sky and look all the way back behind you.) live in lakes and rivers in South America. They have a round body and large head. They sometimes use their mighty mouths to gobble up other fish or animals such as shrimp, worms, etc. they swim and hunt in schools, that can include more than a hundred individuals. They like to group together for protection from predators.
Poison dart frogs (Frog: Up on your toes, crouching down, with your knees out wide and use your hands for balance and hop!) are considered Earth’s most toxic, or poisonous species. With a range of bright colors, those colorful designs tell potential predators “I am toxic. Don’t eat me.” Scientists think that poison dart frogs get their toxicity from some of the insects they eat.
Sloths (Bat: Turn around, legs a little bit wider, bend forward. Put your hands on your legs hanging upside down) sleep up to 20 hours a day! And even when they are awake, they barely move at all. With their long arms and shaggy fur, they resemble monkeys, but they are actually related to armadillos and anteaters. They rarely come down from the trees. About once every week, they descend to go to the bathroom, slowly moving.
Spider monkeys (Monkey: Crouching down, we count 1,2,3 before leaping up like a monkey) have long, thin arms with hooklike hands that allow them to swing through the trees. During the day, the spider monkey searches for fruit, which makes up the main part of its diet. Spider monkeys hug each other and wrap their tails around each other. They are very intelligent and have robust memories.
Tapirs (Cow: On all fours, round your back up and then down) look something like pigs with trunks but they are actually related to horses. They are excellent swimmers and can even dive to feed on aquatic plants. Tapir babies have brown and beige stripes. These stripes help camouflage them from predators.
Toucans (Flying: Standing up tall, step forward and tilt, lifting your back foot off the ground, sending it long and strong behind you like a tail. Stay steady and balanced as you take your arms out wide to the sides like wings and fly) lay their eggs in holes in trees. Both the father and mother take care of the babies. Toucan babies don’t have big bills. The bills become larger as they grow. These popular birds live in small flocks. Some people keep toucans as pets.
If you would like to go on safari in Africa, and see some of our animal friends there, please visit Yoga Theme: African Animals.