An enormous variety of reptiles and amphibians have adapted to the environment of the tropical rainforest.


Nearly all arboreal reptiles have prehensile tails. With such tails, tree snakes can shoot out for almost their whole length when striking at a prey.

Geckos also have suction pads on their feet that help them to climb.

Tree snakes tend to give birth to living young, unlike snakes that live on the ground, which lay eggs.

This means that although tree snakes produce fewer offspring, they have a greater chance of survival.


Camouflage protects the reptiles of the tropical rainforest from predators, such as eagles and predatory mammals. Most vulnerable snakes and lizards are camouflaged to some extent; they are either dappled brownish-orange, as some chameleons, or bright green, as the green tree python, Morelia viridis

Rainforest reptiles also use camouflage to make themselves invisible to their prey.

Most tree-dwelling reptiles catch their prey by remaining invisible until the moment of their surprise attack.

As the light on the chameleon changes, so does the shade of its skin.

Several tree snakes mimic twigs and branches in color and form. They even sway from side to side to simulate the effect of air movement.

Geckos resemble tree bark. They even have raised knobs on their skin that resemble irregularities in the bark.


Although reptiles have waterproof skins and are not restricted to damp places, amphibians readily lose water from their bodies. Therefore, they must live in moist, dark areas.

This makes the tropical rainforest an ideal environment for amphibians.

Amphibian must lay their eggs in water - first, for protection, as the eggs do not have shells, and second, for the aquatic tadpole stage.

The poison dart frog, Dendrobatidae, lays two or three eggs in a wet place, though not actually in water. When the young hatch, they climb on to their father's back for transportation to the forest understory.

There he deposits his charges in a water-filled bromeliad whorl. Insects also use these tiny ponds, so there is plenty of food for the developing tadpoles

The poison dart frog's body holds a poison so strong that one millionth of an ounce of it can kill a dog.

Other frogs have reacted to the vulnerability of their eggs in different ways; in Darwin's frog, Rhinoderma darwinii, the male takes the newly fertilized eggs into his mouth and protects them in a throat sac until they develop into tadpoles.

Tree frogs have feet with special suction pads. These pads allow them to cling to the underside of shiny leaves.