Life in the jungle

Discover the facts...

Only 6% of the land on Earth is covered by rainforest, but half of all species live there. Here are some fantastic facts about the birds, insects, trees and humans living in this incredible habitat.

Las Cuevas rainforest, Belize, Central America

Las Cuevas rainforest, Belize, Central America

  • Shake any rainforest tree and up to 1500 different types of insect may fall out.
  • More than 2000mm of rain falls in the rainforests every year.
  • The bird-eating spiders of the Amazon rainforest can grow as big as a dinner plate.
  • As little as 1% of sunlight reaches the forest floor.
  • In a patch the size of a tennis court there may be as many as 60,000 seedlings waiting for their chance to stand in the sunshine.
  • Jungle vines can grow to 200m long and can be as thick as your leg.
  • 1.5 million people live in rainforests around the world.
  • About a quarter of all medicines we take are made with plants that grow in the rainforest.
  • Some trees stick out above the canopy, and each can stretch as wide as a football pitch.
  • Scientists from the Museum explore the rainforest for undiscovered species. They think there are millions out there but 100 species of rainforest animals and plants are being wiped out every single week.
  • Scientists studying the rainforest sometimes use hot air balloons to reach the very top of the canopy.