Jungle Beasts

by Harry Miller August 22, 2017

Rainforest or jungle?

Firstly we need to clear up the common misconception of what a true jungle habitat actually is. You could be forgiven for believing that a rainforest is a jungle, but there are some key differences between the two: jungles rightly reside next to rainforests, although they actually have less trees which means that more light can pass through the canopy - which in turn means that many more species of plant life can thrive; and where there’s an abundance of plant life, there’s an abundance of animals!

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So what do we expect to find in the average jungle?  Well how about the 'King of the Jungle', the lion?… What’s that you say… lions don’t live in jungles!  Well, my intrepid jungle explorers, I beg to differ.  True, the title 'King of the Jungle' has often been thought of as a misnomer because of the creatures preference for dry open plains, but this big cat has actually been spotted in the jungles of Ethiopia, and I’m sure the forest dwelling Asiatic lion could easily stray into the more jungle like habitats of India… but ok, it is very rare.  Although fear not fellow feline fanatics because there are other big cats, and yes, tigers, pumas, leopards, and jaguars, all very much like the jungle.  Spotting them could prove to be troublesome though, but do not threat, they’re sure to spot us! 

As we begin to hack our way through the bush you may be starting to think why we’re not riding safely on the back of elephants, but it turns out that elephant riding can be extremely cruel for these majestic and intelligent creatures - something to think about if it’s on your bucket list.  Wouldn’t it be much nicer to come across a herd of wild jungle elephants living free, such as the African forest elephants; a forrest dwelling elephant found in the Congo Basin, sightly smaller in size than its African cousins, with smaller rounder ears, a straighter tusk, and even an extra toenail.   

Other animals to look out for as we traipse through the jungles of the world are: monkeys, limas, flying squirrels (literally), spectacle bears (i.e., Paddington Bear), birds of paradise, water buffalo, parrots, poison dart frogs, flying fox fruit bats, bush babies, sloths, harpy eagles (the worlds largest eagle), gorillas (the largest primate in the world - including us humans), capybara (the worlds largest rodent), anacondas (yes, the worlds largest snake)... but I’m going to have to stop there because the jungles of the world are actually home to half of the worlds animals and plant life, and that’s an awful lot. Daniel has already got his work cut out to complete his Jungle Collection! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed our trip to the jungle and have come away unscathed.  For all their potential danger, I’m sure you’ll agree that the they are magnificent and magical places that deserve our respect and efforts of conservation. They are after all - along with their neighbouring rainforests - the lungs of our dear planet after all.            

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Harry Miller
Harry Miller

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