20 Animals That Live In The Forest (With Pictures)

The forest is a complex and fascinating place, home to an incredible variety of animals. Animals that dwell in the forest have adapted to life in this unique environment in a variety of ways, from their physical features to their behavior.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to 20 different animals that live in forests around the world. You’ll learn about the different ways these animals have adapted to life in the forest, and see some amazing pictures of these creatures in their natural habitat.

1. Monkeys

The majority of monkeys reside in rain forests and are arboreal. Old World monkeys are those primates that come from Africa or Asia, while New World monkeys hail from Latin America. These latter animals often live in trees and travel in troops of their own kind. Monkeys eat fruit and disperse the seeds throughout the forest in their feces, playing an important role in the health of the forest ecosystem.

2. Sloths

The sloth, an adorably lazy creature that resides in treetops, is integral to the health and survival of Central and South American tropical forests. The animals largely stay in the tree canopy, where they take frequent naps and avoid detection by predators. Sloths live alone and go from one tree to another using vines in the canopy.

3. Squirrels

Squirrels play an integral role in many ecosystems, particularly forests. One of the most important things that these animals do for the forest is they help decide which plants grow there. They accomplish this by eating seeds and then burying them deep in the ground. Some squirrels hibernate in burrows underground to keep warm during the winter. They dug these systems of tunnels as their homes.

4. Hawks

Hawks are vital to maintaining a balanced ecosystem by preying on small mammals such as rodents and rabbits. Forested areas in the United States are home to many Sharp-shinned Hawks. The birds typically prey on smaller songbirds near bird feeders. These birds are very adaptable, living in a wide variety of habitats including woodlands, prairies, and even some human habitats.

5. Owls

Although owls are beautiful animals, you don’t often see them because they’re active at night. Additionally, some owl species have adapted to living in rainforests. Not only do owls fair well in humid and rainy conditions, but they also help to control these forests’ small animal populations by hunting them.

6. Bears

North American black bears generally live in wooded areas where there is plenty of fruit and nuts, as well as open spaces that encourage growth of fruiting shrubs. The Tongass National Forest is home to more black bears than anywhere else on Earth, and has a high density of brown bears as well. Bears in the Tongass tend to be found near salmon-bearing streams where they can feed on both fish and vegetation.

7. Wolves

Among land animals, gray wolves have some of the longest ranges. They can be found in a variety of habitats, from cold tundra to forests, prairies, and hot deserts. Hunting and the destruction of natural habitats has led to a dramatic decrease in populations. Wolves in the United States only live in areas where they can find enough animals to eat.

8. Deer

The plants that deer find tasty or not can determine which plants will live and die in our forests, thus shaping the future of these ecosystems. Not only do forests give deer a place to forage and live, but it also provides them with adequate cover from predators. Much like other animals, deer have specific living requirements that are essential to their survival.

9. Woodpeckers

Most woodpeckers species inhabit woods, with the greatest diversity found in tropical rainforests. However, they can be found in almost any suitable habitat. The majority of woodpeckers mostly eat insects and never leave trees their whole lives; meanwhile, a small minority are able to perch on the ground searching for food.

10. Wild Boars

The animal’s preferred habitats include grassy savannas, wooded forests, farmland, shrublands and marshes. Boars are only native to the northern region of the peninsula and can typically be found in areas north of the river and close to mountains. They are known to travel long distances in search of food and water.

11. Bats

Without forests, most North American bats would disappear. Over 50% of all bat species roost in dead trees, particularly beneath pieces of bark that are loose or in cavities and crevices within the tree itself. These spaces can be created by damage from lightning strikes or other causes. Though bats may seem like merely spooky creatures of the night, they actually play a very important role in our ecosystem. Bats help to pollinate and disperse the seeds of hundreds of species of plants, making them vital for maintaining a healthy environment.

12. Raccoons

Raccoons typically reside in wooded locations near a water source and are most commonly seen by the lake in open, grassy areas above fertile lands. Raccoons are land animals, but they can swim really well too. They make their homes in holes in trees, cracks in rocks, and burrows underground. Raccoons usually have several dens that they move between every two days or so.

13. Moose

Moose are commonly found in the forests of the Northern Hemisphere, where they live in both temperate and subarctic climates. Moose populations have decreased in recent years due to hunting and other human activities. This has caused the moose to lose some of its natural habitat over time. In order to help bring the population back up, these animals have been reintroduced into some areas where they used to live before humans disrupted their ecosystem.

14. Rabbits

Rabbits tend to hide in groups, which are called colonies. These underground dwellings, called warrens, provide safety from anything that might hunt them. The rabbits live in these underground systems of tunnels which can be discovered in forests, deserts, meadows, or grasslands.

Out of all the rabbit species found in temperate rainforests, the mountain hare is the only one whose numbers suggest it has a chance of surviving deforestation.

15. Snails

Snails are found in a variety of habitats, from the upper leaf litter of forests to active gardens and even cities. You can find snails and slugs hiding under logs, rocks, or other forest debris. These creatures can withstand any type of terrain, whether it be a city or the wilderness.

16. Forest Geckos

Forest geckos typically come out at night, but they will bask in the sun near their shelters during the day. In particular, forest geckos in the upper north island are often active during daylight hours. They are arboreal animals that live in forests and usually build their nests high up in the trees. Geckos have evolved many physical traits over time to help them both survive and avoid predators.

17. Orangutans

The only places in the world where you can find orangutans are the rain forests on the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. They spend the majority of their time in trees—swinging from branches and building nests to sleep in. One of the risks they face is large areas being fragmented as habitats, so these animals have to wander farther for food.

18. Hornbills

According to a new study, Hornbills are large birds who mainly feast on fruit. They’re native to forests in Asia and unfortunately are considered an endangered species. What’s interesting about these animals is that they play a role in dispersing seeds which leads to the growth of fruit tree orchards. The Rhinoceros hornbill is among the biggest birds in rainforests across Asia. They spend most of their lives on treetops.

19. Koalas

The habitats of koalas span different types of open forests and woodlands, but what really matters to them are the presence of specific food trees. Koalas are more likely to be found in abundance near food trees that are growing in fertile soils and areas with close access to water. Technically, koalas don’t live in rainforests or desert areas. These animals typically live in the tall eucalypt forests and low eucalypt woodlands of mainland eastern Australia, as well as some islands near the eastern and southern coasts.

20. Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs generally like to live near the edge of a woods, in hedgerows, or in suburban areas because there is more food available for them. Arable land that is intensively farmed is likely a poor habitat, as well as moorlands and dense conifer forests. Central, East and West Africa are home to a large number of hedgehogs species who have adapted to various climates and terrains.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, 20 animals who call the forest home. Some of these species are more common than others, but all of them play an important role in their ecosystems. The next time you’re out for a walk in the woods, see if you can spot any of these creatures!

Forest Gecko Image by: Zureks, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons