Rainforests are full of hidden creatures that survive by pretending to be something else. They wear a disguise in order to fool predators, the other animals that hunt and kill them. The clever disguises that they use are known as camouflage.

Look carefully at this picture. Can you see a butterfly hiding in the leaves? The butterfly’s wings look just like the leaves around it so that it can rest without being spotted by other creatures. Can you think of any other creatures that hide in this way?

This is a creature called a Praying Mantis. It is exactly the same colour as the leaves it rests on. Can you see it? Can you think of any other creatures that hide in this way?

Make a Rainforest Camouflage Mask
You will need a simple strip of card with eye holes cut in it. Decorate with dried leaves or cut out leaves from various colours of green paper. You could add tissue paper and crepe paper leaves for different textures. As an alternative, you could decorate the mask with feathers and a cardboard beak in the middle to make a tropical rainforest bird mask.

Camouflage Animal
Design and decorate your own camouflaged animal whose habitat is your classroom and hide it in the class. Will anyone spot it?

  • Name your animal
  • What would it eat?
  • Where would it live?


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Houranis Story

In Rainforest Symphony, Hourani tells this story about the rainforest animals. We have reproduced it here in case you would like to retell it to your class or perhaps use it in an assembly. However, it would be great if you could wait until after the programme has visited your school before using the story so that we can maintain the surprise!

ButterflyAt the end of the night as the moon went to sleep, it was always the gentle flutter of the butterflies wings that would begin the new day.

Then the snakes, which had twisted themselves around the trees, would slowly uncurl and slither to the forest floor. Hiss, hiss. The Toucans with their huge colourful beaks would swoop down and join in with the snakes. Squawk, squawk. Then swinging from tree to tree came the cheeky chattering monkeys. Chatter, chatter.

Last of all was the sleek the smooth jaguar who let out an all mighty roar. Yowl.

The forest was alive with the sounds of all the animals working together to wake up the sun.  And they did, everyday.

But then one day, the jaguar had a different idea.

As the moon went to sleep and the animals gathered to start the new day the jaguar stepped forward

“I and I alone will wake up the sun today. After all I am the loudest, I am the strongest and I am the bravest animal in the forest. I do not need you small creatures to help.” And she chased all of the animals away.

The animals watched from the trees as the jaguar took a deep breath and let out a huge yowl but the sun did not riseShe tried again but still the forest remained in darkness.

The jaguar quickly realised she needed help. So she went to the snakes.

“Hey you Snakes!  Help me wake up the sun.”

But the snakes replied, “It is always the gentle flutter of the butterflies wings that begin the new day.”  The Jaguar was angry.Butterflies! They are not important, now hiss snakes, hiss!”

So the snake hissed and the jaguar yowled but the sun did not wake up.

The jaguar now stomped over to the toucans. “Hey you toucans! Help me wake up the sun.”

But the Toucans replied,  “It is always the gentle flutter of the butterflies wings that begin the new day.”

The Jaguar shouted Butterflies! They don’t even make a sound. Now squawk toucans, squawk.”

So the snake hissed, the Toucans squawked and the jaguar yowled. But still the sun did not wake up.

The jaguar, now very angry, looked up to the trees and roared, “Hey you Monkeys, stop your games and help me to wake up the sun!”

But the monkeys replied, “It is always the gentle flutter of the butterflies that begin the new day.”

The jaguar roared, “Those tiny creatures can not make a difference.  Now chatter monkeys, chatter.”

So the snakes hissed, the toucans squawked, the monkeys chattered and the jaguar yowled. But of course the sun did not wake up.

The jaguar was in slump.  “For us all to live the sun must rise.  What can I do?”

All of the animals began to whisper the word butterflies.  Just then a single butterfly flew in through the trees and landed on the most beautiful flower in the forest. He sat, still and silent. The jaguar slowly prowled over. “Butterfly, tiny butterfly I am so sorry. Please, I need your help.”

For a while the butterfly did nothing.  The jaguar held her breath, then suddenly his beautiful wings began to flutter and he rose into the sky, then the snakes hissed, the toucans squawked, the monkeys chattered and the jaguar yowled.

And finally, the sun woke up to begin a new day and all was well in the forest once more.


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Animals in the rainforest

Did you know?

Over 600 new species of beetle have been discovered in a single species of tree.

  • A three-toed sloth only goes to the toilet every eight days…and …he moves so slowly that algae (a kind of moss) grows on his fur!
  • Anableps are fish which live in the Amazon river. Their eyes are divided into two parts so they can see above and below the water at the same time.
  • Macaws eat clay to stop themselves becoming poisoned by the seeds that they eat.
  • Over 300 species of frog live in the Amazon.

Make a Turtle/Tortoise

Turn a paper bowl upside down and cover the top with PVA glue and various shades of green tissue paper. When dry, draw round the bowl (which is now the shell) Add a head tail and feet to this circle then cut it out.Stick the shell to the body to complete the turtle.

Make a Crocodile/Alligator

To make an effective alligator skin, start with a green piece of paper. Paint dark green or green blue paint onto a piece of bubble wrap and print in onto the green paper. When dry, draw an alligator shape and cut it out. Add eyes and teeth to finish him off.

Animal footprints

Cut out one big circle and three small circles from a washing up sponge (the flat ones about 1cm thick) Stick these circles on a piece of thick card to form an animal footprint. When dry, dip in paint and make footprints all around the room!

Make a Frog puppet

The following web-sites have easy to follow instructions of how to make two different frogs using construction paper or paper plates.

Rainforest poetry

Share this poem with your class. Ask them to write a similar poem about other rainforest animals.

Three talking toucans sitting in a tree,
The first one turned and squawked at me!
Three little toucans sitting in a row,
The second one said “I flap my wings now watch me go”.
Three little toucans sitting side by side,
The third one said “My bright beak I open wide”.
Three red-eyed- frogs sitting in a tree
The first one turned and jumped towards me.
Three red-eyed frogs hopping all about,
The second one said “At night I come out”.
Three red-eyed-frogs, leaping tree to tree,
The third one said “Wait for me”
Three morpho butterflies gliding through the trees,
The first one swooped to take a look at me.
Three morpho butterflies sitting on a leaf,
The second one was eating something sweet.
Three morpho butterflies flitting all about
The third one landed on my snout!


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People of the rainforest

People have lived in the rainforest for thousands of years. They live in harmony with the forest around them, scattered in small villages which are built in cleared land. Some rainforest people live in tree houses. They climb up by using steps made from the branches of a tree. Rainforest people are experts at hunting and gathering. Some hunt with spears, or bow and arrows. Others blow poisoned darts through long, bamboo pipes. Many fish from dugout canoes on the rivers. They help each other with jobs like cooking and growing food.

Headdress of Hourani

In our story, Hourani wears a headdress like the one below. Click on the image to access a larger, downloadable version of the headdress. You can colour in and decorate your own headdress, cut it out, and add on extra paper or cardboard tabs to fit around your head.


Who lives in the Rainforest?

Tropical rainforests are home to tribal people who rely on the forest for food, shelter, and medicines. Today very few forest people live in traditional ways anymore because most have been forced out by Industries like logging and farming and sometimes by the government.

The Amazon has the largest number of indigenous people and most still depend on the forest for traditional hunting and gathering.

They also grow crops (like bananas, manioc, and rice), use western goods (like metal pots, pans, and utensils), and make regular trips to towns and cities to bring foods and wares to market. Still, these forest people can teach the world  a lot about the rainforest. Their knowledge of medicinal plants used for treating illness precious and they have a great understanding of the ecology of the Amazon rainforest.

Hourani belongs to the Yanomami tribe.

The Yanomami tribe live in the rainforests of Brazil and Venezuela in South America. They live in wooden open sided huts called Shabanos.  One hut can fit many families inside.

The Yanomami grow sweet potato, sugar cane and bananas in small plots of cleared land around their huts. They hunt animals such as deer and monkeys. They believe that the environment is sacred and everything in nature has a spirit. The Yanomami have suffered because gold miners and cattle farmers keep clearing the rainforest for their own use.


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